Medication errors are an unfortunate yet common occurrence throughout the United States. While these errors can have deadly consequences, they are most dangerous to vulnerable populations such as older adults, pregnant women, and children. In Maryland, those who suffer a medication error may hold the responsible party liable for their losses. Children are a unique population in that they have little to no control over the medication they consume yet can face the most consequences after a medication error. Statistics indicate that over 50% of American children consume one medication or more every week, and one study revealed that almost half of caregivers gave an incorrect dose.
While a single dosing error of a common medication may not result in a significant injury, persistent errors can raise the likelihood of serious harm. In light of the growing concern surrounding pediatric medication errors, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a piece on preventing home medication errors. The authors acknowledged that home medication errors commonly occur with liquid medications requiring preparations. Caregivers with reduced health literacy or limited English proficiency are at an increased risk for making an administration error.
In addition to home caregivers, health care providers may also be responsible for pediatric medication errors. Many health care provider practices enhance the occurrence of errors. Providers who do not include complete information related to indication, frequency, or duration, can affect how the caregiver administers the medication. Further, providers who fail to include a consistent dosage or conduct a thorough medication review may inappropriately prescribe medication.