Child Dies From Undiagnosed Infection

Pediatrics Expert WitnessThis case takes place in North Carolina and involves an infant born via vaginal delivery with no complications. Some time shortly after the child’s birth, his parents brought him in for a checkup. It was during this checkup that the doctors noted a fever in the child and, as a precaution, a blood sample was taken. Despite the child’s fever and a few other worrying symptoms, the doctors did not admit the child to the hospital, electing to send his home with his parents with an appointment to follow up within the week. Within the next few days, the child’s condition deteriorated significantly, at which point his parents took him to the emergency room. It was discovered that the child was suffering from a massive kidney infection and sepsis, which proved fatal after a few days in the hospital.


Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you treat patients similar to the one described in the case?
  • 2. Have you ever had a patient develop the outcome described in the case?

Expert Witness Response E-001331

This case is right in my area of expertise. I am an associate professor of pediatrics at my academic health center, medical director of the intermediate level nurseries, and physician lead for the patient safety committee. I am very familiar with the literature on newborn sepsis and the standard of care in this area. As director of our NICU follow up clinic, I am also experienced in post discharge care of infants that are at high risk for infection or poor outcome. Neonate patients with sepsis is a common case that I evaluate and treat. I have developed a protocol for sepsis evaluation in infants at a major university hospital based on the standard CDC recommendations, and am very familiar with the standard of care in this area. Urinary tract infection is a common source that needs close evaluation and every baby with a fever less than 6 weeks of age needs aggressive evaluation and treatment for suspected sepsis. Had this been done it is likely that this child’s outcome would have been more favorable.

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