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Boy's death after misdiagnosis leads to medical malpractice suit

It is frightening for any parent in West Virginia to have to bring his or her child to the emergency room. Imagine if the ER doctor who examines your child negligently misdiagnoses his or her injuries -- and sends him home. Left untreated, the child’s condition worsens, until he passes away.

This nightmare scenario is what happened to parents in another state, according to a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against a children’s hospital. The plaintiffs’ 6-year-old son died of internal injuries suffered in a schoolyard accident. Their son might not have died, the parents say, if his doctor had not misdiagnosed his condition and sent him home without necessary treatment.

The boy was taken to the hospital after running into a pole. He was in terrible pain, but apparently received no tests beyond an X-ray and an enema. The X-ray failed to reveal that the boy’s kidney had been lacerated and he was bleeding internally, according to the lawsuit. The enema was improper, the suit contends, and led to the misdiagnosis.

The doctor misdiagnosed the source of the boy’s pain as constipation. He released the boy from the hospital.

Four hours later, the boy was in and out of consciousness. His father called an ambulance, but the boy died on the way to the hospital.

His parents’ suit names the doctor and the hospital as defendants. They say that the doctor failed in his duty to care for their son. They say that their primary motivation in filing suit was to alert the public to their son’s mistreatment.

Source: KVUE-TV, “Lawsuit: Hospital misdiagnosis led to boy’s death,” Janet St. James, Feb. 25, 2014

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