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Doctors at South Carolina hospital could be liable for child's death

The family of a South Carolina child who died in the care of medical professionals has filed a medical malpractice complaint with state investigators. They suspect that those tasked with treating their child may not have made proper decisions regarding his care, and that doctor error may be partially responsible for his death.

On August 19th, the child suffered from a cough and was brought to a doctor for treatment. The doctor prescribed medication and released the boy. Three days later, the child was rushed to the Conway Medical Center after the family noticed the child's condition had deteriorated and saw his lips turn blue. Upon his arrival, an X-ray revealed an obstruction blocking his airway. In spite of the dire situation, doctors at the hospital requested the child be transferred to a medical facility in Charleston.

After a wait of an hour and a half, the child's heart stopped beating. Medical personnel attempted resuscitation, but to no avail. Shortly thereafter, a doctor performed a procedure to locate and remove the obstruction: a kernel of popcorn. Now, as the family copes with the loss of their child, they wonder if doctors could have done more to save him.

An investigation into the doctors involved is currently underway. If investigators determine that the doctors' choices did not reach a sufficient standard of care, the doctors could be found guilty of medical malpractice. The requirements for meeting this standard include thoroughly attempting to diagnose medical conditions and properly treating them upon diagnosis. If this standard is not met, the doctors involved can be found financially liable for the consequences.

Source:, "SC family seeks answers in toddler's popcorn kernel death," Feb. 7, 2012

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