Knowledgeable and Experienced Guidance

Reducing medication errors in children

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2014 | Doctor Errors |

For North Carolina parents, ensuring that the right medication for their children is obtained in the right amount can be a challenge. Medical malpractice and doctor error always present risks, but medication involves a doctor’s order, filling by a pharmacist and then administration of medication by a parent at home. Because of the many links in this chain of administration, medication errors in children account for about 7,000 deaths each year.

One step in prevention is a relatively simple one. Prescriptions can easily made more readable by pharmacy staff. Handwritten prescriptions can be misread, resulting in a child receiving the wrong dosage or, in some cases, even the incorrect medication. Instead of handwritten prescriptions, some doctors used typed or computerized systems.

In addition, many doctors prescribe medications in teaspoons or tablespoons as opposed to metric dosing. When this happens, parents are twice as likely to make dosing mistakes. The problem is compounded by the fact that few medications come with measuring cups or other means of administration. In order to avoid injuries, complications, and fatalities from incorrect prescriptions, many experts advise communication between doctors, pharmacists, and parents of children taking medications.

In some cases, however, medication-related malpractice leads to serious injury or death. In these cases, medical bills may be very high, especially if medication is not identified as the cause early on. Insurance may cover part of the cost, but it often isn’t enough. In order for a family to pay bills without going bankrupt, it may be helpful to consult with a lawyer who has experience in medical malpractice cases and can determine whether a cause of action exists.

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