Malrotation is a medical condition that occurs during fetal development in which the unborn baby’s small and large intestines (bowels) become twisted. The reason for this occurrence in some children is unknown. It has been estimated that approximately 1 in 500 babies will experience malrotation. Symptoms of malrotation typically develop during infancy, and physical indicators of malrotation include: abdominal cramping, irritability, lethargy, bloody/irregular stools, and unnaturally colored (yellow or green) projectile vomit. A swollen, tender abdomen, fever, and rapid heart rate or breathing may be further evidence that a child is suffering from malrotation. Malrotation can a be a serious digestive problem for which immediate treatment is urgently needed. Unfortunately, maltrotation is often misdiagnosed as colic or acid reflux.
If malrotation is misdiagnosed a child suffers further injury or dies as a result, the health care provider that failed to properly diagnose the condition could be held liable for medical malpractice.
When a child is experiencing symptoms of malrotation, health care providers should conduct medical tests such as CT scans, ultrasounds, and x–rays. The child may need to ingest a liquid contrast agent such as barium in order for the intestinal blockage to show up more clearly during testing. Without performing these types of tests, doctors may not be able to accurately diagnose the child’s condition. Any delay in diagnosis may cause permanent and irreparable damage to the child or even death. If doctors fail to perform the tests necessary to accurately diagnose the child’s condition thereby delaying urgently needed medical treatment, the family may have ground to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Families may be entitled to monetary reimbursement for medical bills and emotional trauma when their child is injured or dies due to a health care provider’s failure to correctly diagnose and treat their child’s medical condition.
Surgery is required to correct malrotation, and the urgency of the surgery will depend on the severity of the child’s condition. In some cases emergency surgery is required, especially if the child is ill or if blood flow to the intestine has been obstructed causing tissue to die. If proper treatment is not administered to the child in a timely manner, the child may suffer unnecessarily and face further health problems as a result. When health care providers are negligent in their assessment or treatment of a serious medical condition such as malrotation, the health care provider may have committed an act categorized as medical malpractice. Because medical malpractice can cause injury or death to a patient, instances of medical malpractice should not go unnoticed. Parents of children whose condition of malrotation was misdiagnosed may want to contact a lawyer to have their case reviewed to determine if the doctor was negligence thereby committing medical malpractice.