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MD News Article: The Critical Role of Documentation in the Medical and Surgical Management of Children

January 27, 2020

"Critical to the defense of any medical malpractice claim at trial is neutralizing and eliminating sympathy from the pool of prospective jurors that will ultimately render a verdict as to whether the defendant physician is liable for the patient-plaintiff’s injuries. This is especially true when the injured party is a child.

 

Children are attractive prospective plaintiffs for the personal injury lawyer, as a juror’s natural sympathetic response to an injured child may color how they see the evidence at trial. Additionally, the plaintiff’s attorney knows the defense lawyer will not dare to aggressively cross-examine or challenge the child on the witness stand (assuming the child is old enough to testify) for fear of angering the jury, especially knowing that children are less likely to exaggerate the truth. These are only some of the factors that complicate the defense of the healthcare professional at a trial involving an injured child. As such, when dealing with children as potential plaintiffs, it is important for the treating physician to develop strategies which mitigate their potential exposure even before a lawsuit is brought."

 

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