10-Years-Old Child Dies After Medical Diagnosis Error


10-Years-Old Child Dies After Medical Diagnosis Error

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Doctors in Australia have come under attack after a 10-year-old girl died due to an improper medical diagnosis. The girl named Briony was brought to the hospital by her mother Bridget Klingberg, after developing a fever and a sore throat. Her mother noticed all was not well when she failed to take her tea, which she never missed. Her mother confesses to visiting many doctors in Adelaide Hills but never receiving a proper diagnosis.

Medical diagnosis errors

Briony‘s case has been one of negligence and medical errors. Her first diagnosis was at a general practitioner’s when she started vomiting and having trouble swallowing food. The GP diagnosed her with a throat infection and gave her an antibiotic prescription. Her condition did not improve forcing her mother to take her to the Women’s and Children Hospital in Adelaide. Doctors found ulcers in her throat and sent her home for further diagnosis the following day. After a check-up the new general practitioner prescribed a steroid to try and reduce the throat inflammation.

Briony underwent several blood tests recommended by the general practitioner, only to wake up a day after, unable to pass urine. Her mother rushed her to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, but she experienced a seizure in the parking lot and died.


Post mortem results revealed she died of organ failure, caused by the herpes simplex virus, which was causing all her symptoms. Briony’s mother is now crying foul, blaming all the doctors who gave them guesswork diagnosis and sent them home. She feels that if the doctors had raised concern about her daughter’s condition and asked for an admission, she would have complied.

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Medical misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are proving to be an Australian medical nightmare. Extreme cases which result in harm have attracted massive malpractice lawsuits. Statistics put cases of diagnostic errors at 140,000 cases per year in Australia. 21,000 of these cases end up in serious harm and about 3000 results in death. Some surveys reveal that misdiagnosis is the greatest fear for most patients seeking medical care. Such concerns contribute significantly to malpractice claims. It is important to note that, diagnostic errors provide the largest number of claims.

Contrary to popular belief, misdiagnosis is not always caused by negligence. The first probable cause for such errors can be the variables involved in the manifestation of the disease, in relation to the rising number of illnesses. The world health organization currently recognizes 12,000 medical conditions. Secondly, doctor’s variables such as expertise on a disease and access to patient’s medical history may affect the ability to give a proper diagnosis.

It is for such reasons that proving negligence claims and getting compensated for it becomes tough. Courts require plaintiffs to prove the negligence was the direct cause of the injury or harm. In cases where there is negligence, but the outcome is not a result of the negligence, the case cannot stand. Some people, though, have worn such claims. In 2013 a mother in Sydney was awarded $360,000 as compensation for a medical negligence which caused the death of her newborn.

Controversy is now brewing in the Briony case after a junior doctor at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital admitted to noticing something unusual about her throat. She went further to state that the previously diagnosed ulcers warranted an admission, which the doctor consulted with a senior who downplayed the concerns, and cleared Briony for discharge.

Briony’s mother now mourns for her loss full of questions on what would have been, if the situation was treated differently. She says the hospital failed when they asked her to bring her daughter back if she got worse and no other means to observe an adverse change. She did not get worse just as she did not improve and now she is dead.

Theconversation.com Tgb.com.au


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