In a past post, we addressed some of the issues that can arise when a doctor is accused of failing to inform a minor patient’s parents of the child’s test results. In Michigan, another case has arisen which touches on this topic. The case may lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.
The case involves a young boy from Michigan. In 2005, the boy went to a hospital to undergo some preparatory procedures to have his tonsils removed. As part of these procedures, the boy received an EKG. The boy’s family claims that this EKG showed that the boy had a potentially life-threatening heart abnormality. The parents claim that a doctor reviewed the EKG results, but did not inform the parents about the heart abnormality.
In 2009, the boy died after being discovered unresponsive in his bed. The parents say that the boy’s autopsy was not able to ascertain the specific cause of death. However, they claim that the boy did have genetic indicators consistent with having a condition that can cause heart arrhythmia.
The family argues that the boy’s death could have been prevented. They claim that if they had been informed about the heart abnormality the EKG showed, they could have taken steps to try to address this potential health problem.
Thus, they claim that the doctor and the hospital were wrong in not informing them of the results of the boy’s EKG. They are now considering bringing a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital.
This case brings up some critical questions regarding the medical treatment of children. What test results are doctors required to inform a patient’s parents about? What happens when a doctor fails to inform parents of test results that might have been able to prevent a child’s death or injury? When can doctors and hospitals be held responsible in these situations? These are important and sometimes complicated questions.
Source: WDIV, “Family Blames Doctor For Boy’s Death,” 4 Jan 2011