What is a paediatrics expert witness?
Paediatricians are doctors specialising in the management of medical conditions affecting infants, children, and young people. This can encompass a very wide range of physical and mental health conditions, and can include all aspects of the medical pathway from acute emergency care to long-term management of chronic illnesses.
All doctors in paediatrics must first complete medical school and then two postgraduate years of training as a foundation doctor. Specialty training in paediatrics generally takes up to eight years, although may be longer for doctors choosing to sub-specialise.
Paediatricians may sub-specialise in 17 distinct areas of the specialty, meaning they have focussed expertise in a particular area of paediatrics. This can include:
- Child mental health
- Community child health
- Working with vulnerable groups of children, including those with developmental disorders and disabilities, complex behavioural presentations, and at risk of abuse or are being abused
- Neonatal medicine
- Looking after new born infants or those born prematurely
- Paediatric allergy, immunology, and infectious diseases
- Paediatric pharmacology
- Diabetes and endocrinology
- Emergency paediatric medicine
- Gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition
- Inherited metabolic medicine
- Including conditions such as phenylketonuria, tyrosinaemia, acute hyperammonaemia and MCAD deficiency
- Paediatric intensive care
- Palliative care
- Respiratory medicine
Why might you need to instruct an paediatrics expert witness?
Expert witnesses in paediatrics may be called to give evidence on any matter which requires specialist knowledge of conditions affecting infants and children up to the age of 18. As this is such a wide-ranging speciality it may be helpful to consider the sub-specialty of the paediatrics expert witness which will be most appropriate to the case in question.
As with any area of medicine things can go wrong, and often expert witnesses in paediatrics are instructed in cases of clinical negligence and personal injury. Expert evidence plays a central role in informing the court regarding the relevant standard of care in medical litigation. Expert witnesses are often instructed to provide “quantum reports” to help the court calculate compensation. An example of a case of clinical negligence requiring expert evidence from a paediatrician would be a case of misdiagnosed bacterial meningitis. The symptoms of meningitis in children can mimic many other conditions in the emergency department, for example fever, lethargy, vomiting, sensitivity to light and neck stiffness. However, if bacterial meningitis is missed it can lead to serious consequences such as hearing and sight loss, limb amputation, irreparable neurological damage, and fatality.
Other incidences where an expert in paediatrics may be instructed include:
- Assessments of life expectancy
- Birth injuries
- Cancers in childhood including leukaemia
- Cerebral palsy
- Childhood abuse and non-accidental injury
- Neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD and autism
- Post-traumatic acquired brain injuries
- Psychiatric injury including trauma
- Respiratory conditions including asthma, croup, bronchiolitis
- Sleep disorders
- Spinal injuries following trauma including road traffic accidents and sports
- Surgical interventions for acute illness e.g. appendicitis
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
What experts does Expert Court Reports have?
We have a highly experienced and well-respected paediatrics expert witness on our panel, Dr Manjeet Raina.
Dr Manjeet Raina is a consultant neuro-developmental paediatrician with specialist expertise in the areas of cerebral palsy, neurorehabilitation and childhood epilepsy, brain injury and children safeguarding. He currently works for the Birmingham community Healthcare NHS Trust and leads one of the largest multi-disciplinary spasticity management services for children in the West Midlands.
Dr Raina has completed sub-specialist training in paediatric neurology, and neuro-developmental paediatrics. He regularly gives expert evidence in cases of suspected child abuse, and has worked with both social services and the police to provide expert reports in these cases.
Why use Expert Court Reports?
A good paediatrics expert witness should come with years of clinical experience as well as specific competencies to act as an expert witness. Look for someone who has established expert witness experience. Our paediatrics expert, Dr Manjeet Raina has many years of clinical practice and established experience of acting as expert witnesses.
How quickly can you provide a report?
At Expert Court Reports Ltd, we understand the pressures of the legal profession. We recognise that litigation is subject to defined timescales and for this reason, we will be as flexible and accommodating as we are able to be. However, we pride ourselves on not promising work that cannot be reliably delivered within a given timescale. The quality of the evidence which is provided by our experts is subject to review and scrutiny. All expert reports are subject to a detailed and robust proofreading process to ensure that our expert evidence is accurate and expertly formatted.