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Survey of research shows medication errors common among children

In a recent post, we wrote on the issue of medication errors in nursing home settings and noted the surprising frequency with which these errors occur. Medication errors are not uncommon only among the elderly, though, but also in health care settings involving children. According to a new study which looked at a number of previous studies on the issue of medication errors, anywhere from five to 27 percent of all medication prescriptions for children result in child patients taking the incorrect dosage of the drug.

The study found that the reason for this has largely to do with deficiencies in the way prescriptions are filled and administered.  For example, doctors who use preprinted prescription order sheets are less likely to cause prescription errors. The reduction in error has been shown to be as high as 82 percent. 

Addressing the issue, researchers say, is not possible without cooperation between patients, their doctors and the pharmacists who fill the prescriptions. This means, of course, that patients need to step up and help ensure the accuracy of prescriptions. That being said, doctors have a special responsibility to ensure the prescriptions they write are accurate and legible. Gross errors on the part of physicians are unacceptable and can in some cases become the basis for litigation.

Those who have personally been harmed or who have a loved one who has been harmed because of a medication error should contact a personal injury attorney for assistance in identifying at fault parties and determining whether litigation is the appropriate means for obtaining compensation. 

Source: Reuters, “Doctors find strategies to reduce medication errors among kids,” Kathryn Doyle, July 14, 2014. 

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