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Nearly Eight Million Childhood Deaths from Illness Preventable

A new report reveals that nearly eight million of the childhood deaths that occurred in the year 2013 around the world were preventable. The information was presented after an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study (2013), and explains that more than six million children lost their lives to preventable diseases and complications, including respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, and malaria. The vast majority of these childhood deaths occurred in developing countries; however, children die or are harmed by preventable illnesses in the United States as well every year.

Top Killers of Children Around the World

One of the most common causes of death of children around the world every year is diarrhea. Diarrhea can quickly and devastatingly dehydrate the body, wreaking havoc on a child’s system. The majority of childhood deaths caused by diarrhea around the world occurred in just five countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.

The leading cause of long-term disability in children around the world was anemia, a condition that is characterized by low red blood cell count. In fact, this condition affected approximately 619 million young persons the year of the study.

Other common killers of children, particularly children under age five, were:

  • Neonatal encephalopathy;
  • Malaria;
  • Preterm birth complications;
  • Lower respiratory tract infections; and
  • Infectious diseases.

More details of the study can be found in a brief summary of the study published by

Why Preventable Childhood Deaths Occur

Again, the majority of preventable childhood deaths occur in developing countries where sanitation systems are underdeveloped, and access to vaccines is limited. Further, medical treatment when an illness is contracted is rarely available. Overpopulation, poor nutrition, lack of healthcare, and poor sanitation in developing countries all contribute to the high rate of preventable childhood deaths.

In the United States, the above problems are much less common; it is rare for a child to not have access to vaccinations (unless parents adamantly deny to vaccinate them, as some do), and sanitation systems are advanced enough in the U.S. to provide potable drinking water and effective waste management. When preventable childhood deaths in the U.S. occur, they often do so due to:

  • A birth injury or birthing error;
  • Missed or delayed diagnosis; or
  • Improper treatment from a medical professional.

In fact, in the United States, medical malpractice is a leading cause of death amongst patients of all age groups.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving You

At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we are saddened by the fact that so many preventable childhood deaths occur each year. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we are doing what we can to raise awareness about the problem by drawing attention to doctors who continually commit acts of malpractice and get away with it.

If you are a victim of malpractice, we want to aid you in holding the doctor responsible liable for the harm you have suffered. To request a free consultation with our experienced legal team today where you can learn more about your options, contact us now at (215) 567-3500.


Contact us for your consultation (215) 567-3500