Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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Jamie Sheller
Jamie Sheller
Attorney • (800) 883-2299

Hospitalized Children At Risk for Drug Errors

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It is difficult for anyone whose loved one is hurt by a medical-related error while in the hospital. However, it is especially difficult for a parent to have their child suffer from such an error. A recent study has shown that pediatric patients have a greater than 1 in 10 chance of suffering an adverse drug event. The study was published in the medical journal Pediatrics, and is titled, Development, Testing and Findings of a Pediatric-Focused Trigger Tool to Identify Medication-Related Harm in U.S. Children’s Hospitals. Prior data had shown a 2.3 percent risk of such events. However, that information was based on voluntary reports, while the recent study relied on a specific methodology used to review randomly selected medical charts. Analgesics and opiods were involved in the largest percentage of adverse events. The vast majority of the drug errors caused mild harm, such as itching and nausea. However, even such mild reactions should be avoided when a child is already sick. The study also found that many of the adverse events were preventable. The Joint Commission, a not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies hospitals, has recommendations for hospitals in light of the study findings. Hospitals should use kilograms for calculating dosages, improve identification of medicines and improve communication, as the errors most commonly occurred during the monitoring and prescribing/ordering of the medication process.