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Diagnosis of condition important part of treatment


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Oct 22, 2014 in Medical Malpractice

When it comes to treating an injury to a child, the approach is not always the same as for adults. Tools used when assessing adults may in fact do more harm in the long run to children. One situation where this may be the case is where blunt head trauma is concerned.

Computed tomography, also referred to CT is one of the most often used methods of determining the severity of a blunt head trauma injury in children. While it is effective in determining the severity of the injury, it could ultimately lead to other health issues in the future for children, such as radiation-induced malignancies. In cases where a head injury is minor, the risk associated with the use of this diagnostic tool can make it less desirable to use.

Recognizing this risk, two doctors took it upon themselves to conduct a study, the outcome of which was to define situations when a CT does not need to be used in cases of BHT. The PECARN (Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network) Head Injury Study looked at 42,412 child patients who had a score of 14-15 on the Glasco [sic] Coma Scale, to create the prediction rules. Of the participants, 14,969 received CT scans. Of those individuals, 376 had traumatic brain injuries considered clinically important.

Based on the information gathered from the study participants, the doctors created two sets of prediction rules for children that will likely reduce the instances in which CT is used to determine the severity of BHT. The second set pertains specifically to children under the age of 2 years.

The way in which a medical condition is diagnosed is an important part of the treatment process. When the medical assessment done (or the failure to complete a particular assessment) has an impact on the health of a patient, regardless of his or her age, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be appropriate. It is possible that the creation of rules such as these could have an impact on when medical malpractice cases are filed regarding BHT in children.

Source: Contemporary Pediatrics, “Prediction rules help in evaluating head injuries" Karen Rosenberg, Oct. 14, 2014