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Pediatric Strokes: Misdiagnoses Often Harm Newborns

It might come as a surprise to many Ohio parents to learn that pediatric stroke is one of the ten most common causes of death for children in the United States. An estimated 3,000 children have a stroke every year, often within the first weeks of life.

While most children who suffer a stroke during the late stages of pregnancy or shortly after birth are able to make a full recovery, this usually depends upon how quickly doctors and nurses diagnose and respond to the problem.

Because we do not generally associate stroke risks with infants and children, doctors do not always spot indications of a problem. Shockingly, the average pediatric stroke diagnosis takes 28 hours - an enormous amount of wasted time when an immediate response is especially important.

For one Ohio family, the consequences of a delayed diagnosis mean that their three-year-old son is still working through difficult physical therapy. The son suffered a "significant" stroke shortly before being born prematurely. It took doctors five days to spot the problem.

With growing awareness in the medical community about pediatric strokes, there is no excuse for failing to recognize signs and symptoms. Doctors who fail to diagnose a stroke appropriately jeopardize the newborn's life and wellbeing - families are entitled to hold them accountable for these dangerous mistakes.

Source: ABC News, "Pediatric Stroke Often Misdiagnosed, Treatment Delayed," Susan Donaldson James, Feb. 11, 2013

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