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Failure to diagnose severe illness results in child's death

Parents all across the nation, including in Louisiana, worry almost constantly about their children's health. Some are terrified by the idea of being unable to help their children when they are ill. This may be why some parents rely heavily on the advice given to them by doctors. However, there are times when symptoms are overlooked, or proper precautions are not taken and the result is a doctor's failure to diagnose a potentially severe illness. 

Very early one morning in Aug. 2016, a mother and father brought their 4-year-old daughter to an emergency room clinic. The child had a fever, abnormal breathing and a rapid heartbeat. She was attended to by a medical resident who was still in training. Clinic workers gave the little girl fluids, ordered lab tests and checked her vitals before discharging her with an antibiotic prescription to treat an ear infection.

A mere five hours later, the parents and their child returned to the emergency room. The child's condition had worsened, and she was in full cardiopulmonary arrest by the time they arrived. Unfortunately, the medical staff was unable to save her. An autopsy revealed that the child was suffering from bacterial meningitis, an infection which can kill very quickly. 

Soon after their daughter's death, the parents filed a lawsuit against the emergency room clinic. The lawsuit included notes from experts saying that the child's symptoms should have been a red flag and that she should have been admitted to a hospital. Another expert also indicated that the girl's blood tests showed an abnormal white cell count, which indicated an infection.

A failure to diagnose a severe infection has forced these parents to live what many others might consider to be a parent's worst nightmare. People living in Louisiana who believe they or their families are victims of medical malpractice may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A successful lawsuit could result in the individual or family being awarded compensation for medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, or funeral costs if needed.

Source:, "Keller family sues Texas emergency room chain for over $1 million after preschooler's death", Sabriya Rice, Nov. 10, 2017

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