Are Children More Vulnerable to Medical Errors?
Children are more likely than adults to suffer permanent disabilities or death from medical errors. This is because organs and immune systems are still developing during early childhood. Children are also less capable of communicating with doctors or nurses when errors are made. For these reasons, it is important for parents to help prevent medical errors.
What types of medical errors are most likely to harm children? According to a New York Times article, children fall victim to diagnostic errors, unnecessary procedures and medication mistakes. Furthermore, these errors are extremely common.
A study published in Pediatrics discovered medication errors affect 11 percent of child hospital patients. The study also claimed 22 percent of these errors were preventable. For example, actor Dennis Quaid’s newborn twins almost died after being given an overdose of blood-thinning medication.
Can Parents Help Prevent Medical Errors?
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has suggestions for helping parents prevent medical errors from harming their children. If your child is undergoing treatment in a hospital, you can help prevent medical errors by being involved in his or her care.
To prevent medication mistakes: To reduce the risk of medication mistakes, you can tell your doctor of any medications and supplements your child is currently taking. Your doctor should also know of any possible drug allergies. If your doctor writes a prescription, make sure you can read the labeling. You can also ask about your child’s treatment, such as the name of prescriptions and what they are used for. In addition, you could ask about possible side effects and activities, supplements or foods to be avoided.
To prevent hospital mistakes: If your child is undergoing a specific treatment, the AHRQ recommends parents choose hospitals where many other children have received the same procedure. When your child is discharged, ensure that you fully understand the treatment plan that will be used at home. If your child is undergoing surgery, make sure all surgeons involved agree on the procedure.
Finally, never be afraid to voice your concerns. Parents must advocate for and speak for their children. By staying proactive in your child’s treatment plan, you can help them avoid falling victim to medical errors.
The Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group can help parents hold hospitals accountable when their children are harmed by negligence.