Florida Dept. of Health sues pediatrician for malpractice

The Florida Department of Health filed an administrative complaint against a pediatrician this week. The complaint alleges that the pediatrician committed medical malpractice when treating a nine-year-old boy in 2010. The boy died after medical staff, including the pediatrician, failed to properly diagnose and treat his symptoms.

The boy first sought treatment for a rash and a fever at an emergency room. When his symptoms steadily worsened, his mother brought him back to the hospital several times. On his third visit a week later, the hospital admitted him with swollen joints, cracked lips, and a continuing fever. At this point, the pediatrician took over care.

After three days of IV fluids and other treatments, the boy’s symptoms apparently subsided and the pediatrician sent him home with antibiotics. The pediatrician told the mother to seek a follow-up with his primary care doctor. The boy died four days later.

The Department of Health determined that the boy died of Kawasaki Disease. Kawasaki targets the immune system and caused coronary arteritis (inflammation of artery walls in the heart) in this case.

In its complaint to the Board of Medicine, the Department of Health made four sets of allegations. It said the pediatrician failed to conduct proper diagnosis tests, did not adequately diagnose the symptoms, did not set an appropriate treatment plan, and did not send the boy to a specialist.

As part of its responsibility for licensing the medical profession, the Florida Department of Health asks the Board of Medicine to punish physicians in cases like this. Injured victims or family members can also sue doctors for medical negligence.

Source: Ocala.com, “Ocala pediatrician could face malpractice allegations in child’s 2010 death,” Fred Hiers, Aug. 28, 2012