AHRQ Tips for Preventing Medical Mistakes with Children

In yesterday’s blog, our Baltimore, Maryland Medical Mistake Attorneys discussed leading causes of medical mistakes with children in this country, and important ways to prevent medical errors from happening.

According to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, 88% of medication errors involve the wrong dosage or incorrect drug. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the lead Federal agency that supports research to improve the quality of healthcare, addresses the importance of patient safety and the cause of many medical errors in a recently published press release.

In the press release, the AHRQ addresses the large problem of medical mistakes with children in this country, and gives parents and guardians tips on how to prevent these medical errors from happening with children, to avoid personal injury.

According to the AHRQ:

• Being involved in your child’s healthcare is the most important way to prevent medical errors or pharmacy misfills. The AHRQ stresses that it is extremely important for parents or guardians to take part in every decision that is made regarding the healthcare for a child.

• Make sure that your child’s doctors know every detail regarding the history and statistics (height and weight) of your child, every prescription, all over the counter medications, and any vitamins or dietary or herbal supplements, as well as any known allergies to any medication.

• At least once a year, bring a bag of everything your child is taking and go through each one with the doctor to ensure that there is no problem or conflict with any medication.

• Make sure you can read every prescription that the doctor writes. Double check the name and dosage, or if there is any question, have the doctor re-write the prescription in capital letters, printing the name of the drug and the dosage. If you can’t read the doctor’s handwriting, chances are the pharmacist will not be able to either.

• To avoid pharmacy misfills, when you pick up your child’s prescription at the pharmacy, verify if this is the medicine that the doctor prescribed. Always double check the name on the label, the usage, the dosage, and whether the drug is appropriate for your child’s height and weight.

• Also check the potential side effects, whether there will be any known interactions with other drugs or dietary supplements, and what activities, food or drinks the child should avoid while taking the medicine. Another good question is when to expect the child’s health to improve.

• AHRQ also recommends asking the pharmacist to discuss the medication label and dosage with you, as well as any other information on the drug, and what the best device for administering the liquid medicine to a child.

• Always wash your hands at the hospital, and encourage doctors to do the same, to make sure that no one on the healthcare team is spreading infection.

• Always ask why a test or possible surgery is being done, and how it will help benefit the child.

• If your child is having surgery, make sure that you are in agreement with the doctor and the surgeon on what the exact surgery will be and where—to prevent a possible wrong-site surgery. Also, try and find a children’s hospital, where other children have similar conditions and have experienced similar procedures or surgeries.

• When your child is in the hospital, always be clear as to who is in charge of your child’s care, and make sure that your child is wearing an identification band.

Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers represent victims of medication mistakes in Maryland or the Washington, D.C. area. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children, AHRQ Patient Fact Sheet

Related Web Resources:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, (AHRQ)

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

Institute of Medicine, (IOM)

National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, (NCCMERP)

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