As reviewers of pediatric claims for a large, physician-owned malpractice carrier, we have noted an increase in claims involving cardiac deaths. Eight to 10 of these claims have been documented since 1993, whereas none previously existed in cases reviewed since 1976.

These cardiac-death claims involve two types of patients: those with viral myocarditis, and patients with arrhythmias or idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis (IHSS) who die suddenly, with minimal to no warning. Reviewed claims all showed "standard of care" medicine. To date, those claims that have closed have been in favor of the physicians. Why, then, are they coming to claim at all and especially in increasing numbers?

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