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Children especially prone to medication errors


Pittsburgh parents are usually well-versed in prescription medication for their children. That's because they get a lot of practice from their kids' picking up illnesses at school and collecting injuries on the playground. Many times these illnesses require medication.

If so, it is important to make sure that child medication dosages are accurate when they're given to the child. Usually the medication dosage is based on the child's weight, which can vary dramatically among children. These variations make it easier to give out the wrong dosage. And a child's small size makes them more sensitive to dosage errors. Together, these factors make medication errors especially dangerous for children.

Because of that danger, the frequency of medication errors is alarming. One recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that in a 10-year period over 200,000 medication mishaps were reported to U.S. poison control centers; about 60,000 of those were for children under 6. Most of the time these medication errors were the result of user error such as giving too much medication or giving a medication too soon. But the study did say that one way to reduce the medication errors would be to label the medication better.

Medication errors also occur on the part of prescribing physicians. Although medication errors are rare, they can cause serious injury or even death. Physicians can prescribe the wrong drug, neglect to check for allergies or make any number of other mistakes.

If a person believes they have been affected by a medication error they may want to contact a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review what happened and hold the medical provider responsible for their negligence. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Source: Time.com, "Child Medication Errors Occur Every 8 Minutes, Study Says," Alexandra Sifferlin, Oct. 20, 2014

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