Medicine can save little lives when the right patient takes the right medication at the right time, in the right dosage, and for the correct length of time. When medications are not taken correctly, or when the wrong medication is prescribed, children can suffer greatly. Often the consequences are more severe for children than adults for a number of reasons including:
- Kids are physically smaller than adults.
- Their immune systems are still developing.
- Their kidneys and liver are still maturing.
- They deteriorate faster than adults when they take a turn for the worse.
- They are less able to communicate what they are experiencing and feeling.
Because children are still developing and growing, wrong medications can have serious effects—even the smallest increase in the dose of medication can be dangerous to kids. According to the Joint Commission, an independent non-profit organization committed to the accreditation and certification of health care organizations and programs in the United States, 32 percent of medication errors in children in the operating room involved the wrong dose of a medicine, compared with 14 percent in adults. But not all medication errors occur in hospitals. Medication mistakes involving children’s prescriptions also occur at pharmacies.
Why Are Pharmacy Wrong Dose Errors More Common with Children’s Medication?
Children may receive the wrong dose as a result of pharmacist error. This is because children’s medication varies and comes in different formulations, such as drops, liquids, and chewables. Additionally, kids often receive adult medications that have to be diluted for children. Most medications come prepackaged and have standardized doses. Doctors have to take a child’s height and weight into consideration when writing a prescription for pediatric medication. The pharmacist then fills that prescription. If a doctor misplaces a decimal point, or if the pharmacist misinterprets the decimal, for example, and does not fill the correct dose, medication mistakes can occur.
Pharmacists receive orders for all different milligrams of the same medication, making the chance for human error great when filling children’s medication. If a pharmacy technician fills 65 milligrams instead of 55 milligrams and the pharmacist does not catch it, a child may suffer.
As pharmacy error attorneys, we know that there is a need for more medications to be manufactured specifically for children in order to reduce children medication errors from wrong doses. However, we also recognize that it is a pharmacist’s responsibility to check the medication against the prescription each time medicines are picked up by patients.
If a pharmacy error led to your child’s illness, injury, or death, you need to talk with the experienced pharmacy malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P. at 888-526-7616 for a free consultation and request a FREE copy of our report, 10 Tips to Protect Your Kids from Pharmacy Error: Avoid Every Parent’s Nightmare.