Can Mistaken Diagnosis of Child Sexual Abuse Result In a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

In Comstock v. Walsh, 848 S.W.2d 7 (Mo. Ct. App. 1992), a doctor in Kansas examined a child for suspected sexual abuse and reported her findings to the local police. In a subsequent state proceeding, the noncustodial father's visitation privileges were limited. The father then sued the doctor and hospital for medical malpractice "in the mistaken diagnosis of sexual abuse" (Comstock, 848 S.W.2d at 8), and the suit was dismissed. The appellate court reversed, holding there was no statutory immunity "from liability for malpractice in the examination of the child for indications of sexual abuse and the diagnosis of sexual abuse." Comstock, 848 S.W.2d at 9.