Boston Children’s Hospital is one of the most well-respected children’s hospitals in the country; however, not every medical case is going to have a happy ending. This case ended in a lawsuit that went to trial. The lawsuit alleged that the hospital was negligent when it failed to report the parents of a teenager for medical negligence. Of note, children’s hospitals are mandatory reporting agencies. They have a duty to protect children at all costs. Therefore, if they are confronted with circumstances that constitute abuse, they need to report the issue to child protective services. The lawsuit alleged that the children’s hospital was derelict in its duty. After a trial that lasted five weeks, the jury disagreed and ruled that the hospital was not negligent in its treatment of this teenager.
In the case, doctors at Boston Children’s hospital were concerned that the parents were engaged in Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (also known as medical child abuse) with their youngest daughter. Munchausen Syndrome takes place when a patient feigns an illness to get attention from doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy takes place when parents create illness in their child to garner attention from medical staff. The doctors at the local hospital believed that the parents were making up symptoms when they visited the doctor, subjecting her to tests and procedures that were unnecessary. In some cases, parents will even intentionally poison their children, making them ill, just to get attention. Lawyers for the family of this teenager argued that the hospital should have reported the suspicions of the doctors to the proper authorities. They argued that, because the hospital did not, this constitutes neglect and medical malpractice.
According to coganpower.com, common forms of medical malpractice include “a missed or incorrect diagnosis, surgical error, or another form of substandard care. It is not unusual for medical negligence to lead to birth injuries, brain damage, or death.”
During the trial, the medical care this child received from dissected from start to finish. She had been to the hospital multiple times during the preceding six years. There was even a custody battle that took place across state lines. Doctors were forced to answer questions about the medical care this child received. The lawyers for the hospital argued that they did not consider filing a report until the child demanded to be released from the custody of her parents, which was a major red flag. It was this report that set the custody battle and ultimate lawsuit into motion. Now, the parents of this child are limited to one visit per week.