Jury Sides With Doctors, Neonatology Group in Boys Death

The parents of a 3-year-old boy said doctors were "negligent" in the treatment of their son, who was born with a rare respiratory condition.

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  • Edward Volpintesta MD

    Of course from a human standpoint, the death of the child was a tragedy and the parents will carry the pain with them forever. I am a general practitioner, not a pediatrician but it seems that it would be almost impossible even for the most capable of pediatricians, to diagnose a rare heart condition in a twelve-hour old infant treated for a respiratory infection as in this case. What is remarkable about this tragedy from the legal standpoint is that the attorney who sued the doctors was quoted in the article as saying that members of the medical profession stood together to defend their colleagues “as is so often [the case] in matters like this”. His comment was uncalled for regardless of how disappointed he may have been for not prevailing in the case. Contrary to what his words insinuate, the doctors were found innocent because of the good judgment of the jury and nothing else. That it took the jury members only seventy-five minutes to reach their decision confirms this. Expectations of winning malpractice cases against good doctors who have acted competently are common among aggressive personal injury lawyers because of the questionable methods allowed by the legal system that disadvantage physicians. For these reasons, Congressman Tom Price who was recently confirmed as director of Health and Human Services has made lawsuit abuse reform his goal. As a physician he knows that good physicians who have acted competently can be sued when complications occur. In fact physicians are so threatened by unjustified malpractice suits that they order unneeded tests and consultations in hopes of warding off unwarranted suits. This is called defensive medicine and it raises the cost of care for all of us. There are better ways to handle medical liability than in the courts. One such method is called alternative dispute resolution. It is similar to workmens’ compensation. It is fair to patients, fair to doctors, and fair to attorneys. Our lawmakers must give alternative dispute resolution serious attention for it eliminates many of the defects of the current system. Edward Volpintesta MD Bethel, CT 06801 ?

  • Hector Morera

    First sentence is not correct - it‘s NOT a rare respiratory condition - CoA actually is recognized by the AHA as a common congenital heart defect. Not that I support unnecessary litigation, but I find it hard to believe noone put a stethoscope to his chest (he supposedly had breathing problems AND discoloration - the latter being a typical symptom of poor circulation) and did not hear a murmur. When I was 6 years old, 40 years ago, a simple ER visit for a bad cold and fever, the doctors detected a mitral valve regurg. Medicine hasn‘t progressed in 40 years?

  • Hector Morera

    First sentence is not correct - it‘s NOT a rare respiratory condition - CoA actually is recognized by the AHA as a common congenital heart defect. Not that I support unnecessary litigation, but I find it hard to believe noone put a stethoscope to his chest (he supposedly had breathing problems AND discoloration - the latter being a typical symptom of poor circulation) and did not hear a murmur. When I was 6 years old, 40 years ago, a simple ER visit for a bad cold and fever, the doctors detected a mitral valve regurg. Medicine hasn‘t progressed in 40 years?

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