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Study looks at medication errors among the young

Medication errors are not an uncommon occurrence in the health care world. Those who are most at risk for these errors, not surprisingly, are the young and the elderly.

According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, an average of 63,358 medication errors take place for children less than six years of age every year. Of those errors, around one-quarter occur in children less than 12 months of age. The study also noted that there are over 200,000 medication errors reported to U.S. poison control centers every year, and almost one-third of these are for children less than 6 years old. 

Fortunately, most of the time medication errors do not have serious consequences or even require medical care. Still, the study found that a total of 25 children died over the 11-year period of the study. So, regardless of the fact that medication errors usually don’t have serious consequences, they have the worst of consequences in some cases.

Medication errors can occur for a variety of reasons. Most medication errors occur with liquid medications when the incorrect dose is provided or a caregiver or parent mistakenly provides the dose twice. Confusion of units of measurement can also be an issue. In other cases, the wrong medication is taken or given.

When serious medication errors occur as a result of negligence on the part of a health care professional, the victims of the error do not have to sit back and suffer. In some cases, it may be appropriate to seek out damages in personal injury or wrongful death litigation. In other cases, it is possible to reach a settlement with the institution or individual provider.

Whatever the details of the case may be, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that one’s legal rights are protected and that one’s interests receive zealous advocacy.

Source: Anesthesiology News, “New Study Finds High Rate of Pediatric Med Errors,” Jan. 5, 2015. 

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