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Medication Mixups and Adverse Reactions Affect 1 in 15 Kids Hospitalized

Filed April 8th, 2008 amy

1 in 15 hospitalized children will be injured by medical mistakes including accidental overdoses, medication mix-ups and adverse drug reactions, according to a new study in the journal “Pediatrics.” The study says that about 7 per cent of children being hospitalized in U.S. get the wrong drugs, accidental overdoses and unfavorable reactions.

“This is the first publication that indicated that it’s that level of harm,” said Dr. Charles Homer of The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality. “It’s much greater than the previous studies have shown.”

The researchers randomly selected 960 charts of children from 12 hospitals around United States. They trace medical errors from the list of 15 “triggers” that a patient’s charts might indicate possible drug-related problems. The study reveals that around 11.1 for every 100 children hospitalized were given adverse drugs, from which – 22 per cent were preventable, 17.8 percent could have been identified earlier while 16.8 percent could have been handled more effectively.

These findings come in the wake of the well-publicized Heparin overdose given to Dennis Quaid’s newborn twins. Since the incident almost killed his newborn children, he has used his celebrity status to draw much needed attention to the fact that medical mistakes put more children in danger than most parents realize. Quaid wants the medical profession to change their ways, and has even sued the maker of Heparin over their poorly labeled drug. He also warns parents to play a more active role. “Every time a caregiver comes into the room, I would check and ask the nurse what they’re giving them and why,” Quaid told the Associated Press.

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