Medication Errors in Children: Causes and Protection (Part A)

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Medical malpractice may come in many forms. One of the ways that mistakes are made in the medical profession is related to the types of medication prescribed, as well as their doses. 

In children, prescription medications can pose a particular danger. Their smaller size means that their bodies metabolize medication differently than adults, so mistakes may be made in regards to the amount of medication given. 

Additionally, a misdiagnosis may lead to a prescription for the wrong medication altogether, which could result in life-threatening conditions. When that happens, parents may need a Jefferson County medical negligence lawyer to help them determine who is responsible for the medical mistake. 

A 2008 New York Times report cited a study in the journal Pediatrics that said 11% of hospitalized children were victims of some form of medication error. Of those, more than one in five (22%) were preventable. 

Doctors say there are several unique challenges to treating children that make prescriptions especially dangerous. Their smaller organs don’t deal with medication as readily, which could lead to the possibility of dangerous, toxic levels of medication in the blood. A child’s smaller body may deteriorate more rapidly when toxic doses of medication are introduced. Children also may not be as effective in conveying when something doesn’t feel right. 

One of the issues that may lead to errors is the way dosages are determined with certain medications. Many medications have adult dosage indications, and the drugs are simply diluted for children. All it takes is a misplaced decimal or a miscalculation in the dosage relative to the child’s size for dangerous implications to present themselves. 

As a result, errors may be present. Thirty-two percent of medication errors in hospital operating rooms involve the wrong dosage. That number drops to just 14% for adults. 

There are things parents can do to protect themselves and their children from medication errors, so please continue to the next page for more information from a Jefferson County medical negligence lawyer. 

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