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Young girl dies after misdiagnosis

Medical analysts suggest that Massachusetts families who benefit from Medicaid may be at greater risk for the kinds of medical misdiagnoses that led to the death of a 6-year-old girl from New York in 2010. The former New York State Medicaid inspector general said that many medical specialties have difficulty recruiting providers who will agree to be Medicaid-based. The ex-official went on to say that related trends of hiring specialists without board certification may have contributed to the girl's death.

The girl who died had been misdiagnosed by a non-board certified doctor whose practice was nonetheless listed by 13 different insurance networks. This doctor was recommended by the girl's pediatrician, who thought she might have diabetes. After administering a blood test, the second specialist said that the girl was simply pre-Type 2 diabetes and that diet and exercise could remedy the situation. Despite the fact that later testimony against the specialist revealed most children who have diabetes actually have Type 1, the practitioner continued to assert her false narrative of diet and exercise as a viable cure for the little girl. Following this initial misdiagnosis, the specialist failed to order a blood test at a second visit, and the girl became severely ill about a month later.

When the girl's blood sugar was eventually tested at the ER, it was found to be five times higher than it should have been. Physicians said that there were other signs that the girl had type 1 diabetes and asserted that the fact that she never received insulin directly contributed to her subsequent death. The specialist was later found entirely liable for the situation in court with the awarding the mother $7.5 million in punitive damages.

Medical misdiagnoses can lead to the administering of improper treatments that cause patients to die or become severely ill. This may result in higher medical expenses for families who were already under financial duress. Malpractice attorneys may be able to help these victims by establishing liability in the pursuit of compensation.

Source: Village Voice , "Type Miscast: An Elmhurst Doctor's Type 2 Diabetes Misdiagnosis Results in the Death of a Six-Year-Old Girl", Albert Samaha, October 02, 2013

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