Children Hospitalized for Common Medication Errors in Pittsburgh, PA

January 8, 2019

Medication errors cause children to be hospitalized Pittsburgh, PA

The most vulnerable hospital patient is a child. Patients in hospitals are trusting and vulnerable all at the same time. As a child, you are taught that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are here to help us get healthy or recover from injuries. We are also taught that these medical professionals have our best interest in mind when treating us. The majority of medical professionals perform their duties at the highest standard of care. There are others who make preventable mistakes that lead to injuries and illness in their patients. Adults are able to analyze their symptoms and report back to a doctor or nurse that they are bothered by the treatment they have received. Children do not have the ability to do this.

Alarming Statistics for Children Medication Errors in Pennsylvania Hospitals

The statistics regarding child medical errors are quite alarming. According to a study published in the April 2008 edition of The Journal of Pediatrics, roughly one in every 15 children in hospitals across the United States suffer from one type or another of drug error. Some of these errors include overdoses, medication mix ups, and negative reactions to drugs.

Researchers working on the study found that these types of drug errors could very well affect more than 540,000 children every year, which equates to roughly seven percent of all children who are hospitalized across the country. The researchers also discovered that one in every five drug errors evaluated was one that could have been prevented.

How Results Were Reached

The researchers who ran the study said that the old methods of voluntary reporting of the drug errors and reviews of patient charts in nonspecific terms were used to determine that there is an estimated drug error of two out of every 100 children. New methods have changed that estimate to 11 out of every 100 children. Researchers went as far as saying that some children experienced multiple drug errors in the same hospital stay.

The method used for this study, the new one, took 15 triggers that were found in the charts of patients that might have suggest harm caused by drug errors. This method of screening was tested using the medical charts of 960 randomly chosen charts of medical students. The children were treated at 12 hospitals for children in the country in 2002 that are freestanding.

The researchers discovered that more than half of the drug errors involved the painkiller morphine and resulted in allergic reactions and accidental overdoses. There were other painkillers found in the research as well. The triggers used to conduct the study included the following:

  • The symptoms of an overdose of morphine
  • The symptoms of an overdose of naloxone
  • Using a blood test to detect overdoses involving insulin
  • Using Vitamin K, which is used to fight an overdose of Coumadin
  • The use of a lab test to spot blood clots, which are caused by overdosing on heparin, a blood thinning medication

The study concluded that close to 22 percent of the drug errors discovered could have been prevented. There were zero fatal issues found in the study and none of the errors caused permanent damage, but the researchers noted that they easily could have.

Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Child Medication Error Case in Pennsylvania

Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh child medication error attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Aliquippa, Butler, Beaver. Call us today at (412) 766-1455 or email us to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 3634 California Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.