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What medical tests are appropriate for children in Michigan?

Patients seeking medical care trust that they will receive a certain standard of care because of a doctor's training and education. This trust is heightened when Michigan parents put the health of their children into the hands of doctors and hospital staff. But medical professionals can and do make mistakes. Mistakes become even more tragic when they result in serious injuries that never should have happened.

While failing to follow recommendations from health institutions is not itself a medical error, when a doctor fails to take a reasonable action and that failure causes an injury, it may be considered medical malpractice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute advise that children receive yearly high blood pressure screenings, beginning at three-years-old. But a recent study indicates that many pediatricians skip over this step, with one in three doctors failing to test for high blood pressure at routine visits. This omission could lead to serious outcomes.

According to a doctor and assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan, high blood pressure and pre-hypertension might indicate health problems for children in the future. Such conditions place children at a higher risk for heart disease and strokes. Checking blood pressure can also catch hidden health problems.

The study found that doctors were more inclined to check blood pressure for child patients diagnosed as obese or overweight. In these scenarios, a check was administered 84 percent of the time.

Parents should speak up if the doctor fails to administer a blood pressure check or if the results seem odd. A crying or nervous child may have falsely elevated blood pressure levels and the test may need to be repeated. As routine blood pressure checks become the norm, doctors may be more likely to be held liable for skipping the procedure if health conditions are missed and children are harmed as a result.

Source: Fox News, "Pediatricians may skip kids' blood pressure checks," Sept. 19, 2012

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