How Often Do Medication Errors Happen to Children?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on May 5, 2021
When we trust a pediatrician, surgeon, or other medical professional to provide care to our children, we expect him or her to uphold a certain standard of care. If our children require medication, we expect these providers to prescribe the right drug and the right dosage. Unfortunately, not all healthcare professionals uphold this duty—leading to dangerous medication errors that can cause severe harm to our children.
The Prevalence of Medication Errors Among Children
Medication errors are unfortunately common among young patients. According to a study of 1,933 children receiving prescription medications, approximately 15 percent of pediatric patients had potential dosing errors. 33 percent of these patients were younger children weighing less than 77 pounds. Additionally, younger children were more likely to experience dosing errors than older children; 20 percent of patients under 4 years old had dosing errors, compared to 13 percent of patients between 4 and 12 years old.
Another study examined six office practices over a period of two months. During this time, there were 57 preventable adverse prescription drug events among child patients. In particular, younger children and children who received multiple medications were at the highest risk of these errors. Some of the most common causes of these errors include inappropriate abbreviations, illegible handwriting, and improper dosage calculations.
What to Do If Your Child Experiences a Medication Error
Discovering that your child has taken the wrong medication or dosage can be a scary experience. He or she will require immediate medical attention and treatment to recover from the effects of the error and receive the correct medication. Your child may develop a worsening condition or adverse symptoms due to the error as well. In these situations, you and your family may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Under Missouri law, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit if your child sustains harm due to the negligent actions of a medical professional—including surgeons, nurses, and pediatricians. Through this claim, your family can recover compensation for additional medical expenses, pain and suffering, and the cost of caring for your child during this difficult time. However, you will need to take careful steps to preserve evidence, protect your family, and strengthen your future case.
- First, seek emergency medical attention for your child immediately. Save all records related to his or her treatment and additional injuries.
- Next, request copies of your child’s medical records from the previous provider. If you have written prescriptions or pill bottles, save them. These pieces of evidence will be important for your future claim.
- Begin documenting your child’s injuries. If possible, take photographs of any visible injuries or symptoms. Keep a journal and record the symptoms that your child has experienced. If your child is old enough to write, encourage him or her to keep a record of his or her symptoms as well.
- Do not speak to the medical provider who caused the medication error. Instead, contact a Missouri medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will guide you and your family through the litigation process and explain how to prepare for each step.
Witnessing your child suffer from a medication error can be a very painful and difficult experience. In these situations, your family deserves justice—and a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer can help. As soon as your child receives follow-up medical care, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options and optimal path to recovery.