Reporting Children’s Medication Errors Can Help in Prevention

A recent news article reports that medication errors are among the most common mistakes made by healthcare practitioners—and also among the most under reported.

In a tragic medication error from last year, a child at Seattle Children’s Hospital died from a medication error allegedly involving Calcium chloride. The hospital reported its mistakes to the health department and has acknowledged them publicly. Calcium chloride, the medication that reportedly caused the child’s death, is listed on the Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ (ISMP) class of pharmaceuticals as one of the institute’s “high-alert” medications.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), medical errors are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the U.S. The AHRQ reported in a recent study that rates for potential adverse drug events in hospitals were three times higher with children than adults, with an even higher rate for infants in intensive care units.

According to Dr. Allen Vaida, executive vice president of the Institute of Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), acknowledging medication errors and reporting them is the most important step toward prevention. Vaida claims that children are especially vulnerable to drug overdoses in hospitals because of calculation errors that can occur with medications. Nurses must administer the medication dosages according to a child’s body weight and other necessary factors, that can lead to medication mistakes. He claims that in situations like this, it is important to share information about the medication errors that do occur, as reporting them can prevent errors from happening in the future.

In a recent blog, our Maryland medication error attorneys discussed current AHRQ recommendations on how parents can help to prevent medical errors in children by being involved with doctors and healthcare professionals in every step of their child’s healthcare.

In Maryland and the Washington D.C.-area, contact our attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen today.

Medication Errors Like Those at Children’s Common, Underreported, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 1, 2010
Despite Law, Medical Errors Likely Go Unreported, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Institute of Medicine (IOM)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports
Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

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