Pediatric Medication Errors



Did you know that medicine mix-ups, accidental overdoses and adverse drug reactions harm one out of 15 hospitalized children? 

Researchers found a rate of 11 harmful drug-related events for every 100 hospitalized children.  This seems like a serious issue that needs to be taken care of immediately. 

These types of medicine mistakes are considered crises.  PR professionals working in the health care field must prevent these drug errors from happening in order to maintain medical facilities’ credibility.

One of the publicized cases of an accidental drug overdose happened in a Los Angeles hospital last November.  Actor Dennis Quaid’s newborn twins were givin an accidental life-threatening heparin overdose.  The twins survived, but Quaid said it was “the most frightening time” of his life.

WebMD article stated that a hospital accreditation group, The Joint Commission, issued new guidelines for preventing pediatric medication errors in hospitals. 

Here are the tips:

  • Hospitals should weigh children in kilograms because that’s how pediatric medication doses are measured.
  • Hospitals shouldn’t give children any high-risk drugs until the child has been weighed.
  • Doctors writing prescriptions for hospitalized children should note the calculations they made to arrive at the prescribed dose.
  • Parents and caregivers are encouraged to seek information and ask questions about their children’s medications.

I would consider these tips to be good PR because they inform hospitals and parents of how to cut the risk of drug errors.  This in turn will hopefully be a step toward success in reducing the amount of pediatric medicine mistakes at hospitals. 

Clinical pharmacy manager at New York’s Children’s Hospital, Catherine Tom-Revzon, said “her hospital works to minimize medication errors in various ways, including using a computer system for doctors’ orders, standardizing concentrations of high-risk drugs and putting bar codes on medications to make sure the right patients get the right medications.”

I am glad to see hospitals are starting to implement strategies to minimize medication errors, but I think the health care industry has a long way to go.


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