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Doctors and parents can reduce medication errors among children

Many New York parents who have had to deal with sick children may know just how difficult it is to make sure that their kids not only take their medication when they are supposed to, but they also have to ensure that the appropriate dosage is taken. In fact, a report that looked at a number of studies indicated that medication errors could be the cause of approximately 7,000 deaths throughout the U.S. every year.

According to reports, five to 27 percent of all cases where a child patient was prescribed a medication resulted in having a wrong prescription or the wrong dosage taken. The report notes that there are ways to reduce the possibility of having a medication error that could potentially be harmful, but changes need to be made by doctors, pharmaceutical companies and parents.

For example, some studies have found that doctors' poor handwriting could be one of the main causes of medication errors. The studies found that when electronic forms were used, errors were reduced by up to 82 percent in some cases. Other studies found that using tablespoons or teaspoons as a dosage also can cause errors as many parents opt for a kitchen spoon over the standard measuring devices. Moreover, studies found that using milliliters as a measuring unit reduces potential errors because the doses are much more standardized.

Giving a child the wrong medication or the wrong dosage can cause serious harm. If a child was seriously injured or had their condition worsen due to a medical mistake, a parent may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for doctor negligence. This may allow the family to seek compensation for any medical bills or pain and suffering that was caused by the error.

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

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