Kids get sick constantly because germs are everywhere including at the playground, schoolyard, classroom, and store. Unfortunately, families often pass their sicknesses around from child to parent and usually to another kid in the same household. When sicknesses occur among children, doctors are frequently visited and prescriptions are often given out to help kids get well again.
Sometimes, children don’t get better but instead get worse due to breakdowns at the pharmacy. When pharmacists guess at what a messy handwritten prescription is, a child may receive the wrong medication. Additionally, if a pharmacist or pharmacy technician mistakes a prescription for a sound-alike or look-alike medication, an incorrect drug may be given to a child by mistake.
What’s scary is that these medication mistakes involving children occur more frequently than most people would like to believe. Because the majority of people trust their doctors and pharmacists, they often don’t catch the errors. Why do these critical errors occur at the pharmacy in the first place?
The main reason mistakes are made behind the pharmacy counter is a result of breakdowns in the following two areas:
- Staffing – Sometimes a lack of training on policies can contribute to these mistakes. Additionally, lack of supervision can also can lead to errors. When too few of the pharmacy technicians and pharmacists are working, it can cause for a stressful environment. Because there can be high levels of stress, not enough people to do the work, and a high amount of medications being filled daily, mistakes with medications are bound to occur. As you can see, pharmacies that lack the necessary training and supervision as well as understaffed pharmacies can cause unnecessary pharmacy errors that can affect innocent children.
- Communication – Poor communication between pharmacists and doctors, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and pharmacists and patients, often contribute to pharmacy errors that affect children and adults alike. Sadly, communication lapses often contribute to patient injuries and deaths. In fact, many studies have revealed that communication failure is one of the top causes of medication errors.
Because poor communication and staffing can contribute to mistakes made at the pharmacy, parents of young children should be aware of these issues and concerns in order to protect their children from critical mistakes. In order to keep children as safe as possible and free from prescription errors, parents should take the following steps:
- Ask the doctor for the generic and brand name of medication prescribed to your child
- Ask the doctor questions about the drug including dosing information
- Pull the medication out of the bag at the pharmacy to confirm that everything is right including the medicine’s name and dosage as well as your child’s name
- Ask for a consultation with the pharmacist to review the medication and side effects
If you have found these tips helpful, we welcome you to share this information with your friends and family. We encourage you to click one of the buttons to the left of the screen. Doing so may save a child’s life.