Research by the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center discovered that children under the age of six are more likely to suffer cardiac medication errors, including miscalculated dosages, more often than older children. The study analyzed 821 medication errors from a reporting database, 4% of which caused significant patient harm.
The study sheds a disturbing light on the chances of Texas infants suffering a wrong dose of medication:
- 50% of all errors occurred in children under one year old, while the other 50% occurred in patients between the ages of one and six years.
- 90% percent of all errors happened to children less than six months of age.
- Newborns and infants with congenital heart disease are at significantly higher risk for dosage errors since they will rely on heart medications with fluctuating dosages.
- Dose calculation and administration errors were “ominously common” in the results.
The researchers found that errors can occur at any step of the medication ordering process, including prescribing medication, calculating dosages, dispensing and administration. The most common dosage errors, however, were attributed to miscalculations. In one case, the infant’s weight was accidentally converted from pounds to kilograms. The error caused a massive overdose of three separate heart drugs, and the patient suffered cardiac arrest.
The study reinforces the fact that children are exceptionally vulnerable to dosage mistakes, mainly because doctors, nurses and pharmacists often miscalculate doses in children. A dose must be measured carefully, and a health-care provider who does not use extreme caution when modifying a dose could cause heart attacks, cardiac damage, and wrongful death of the child.
As trusted Texas pharmacy error attorneys, we have seen how difficult it can be for a parent to cope with an injury to or loss of a child. At Kennedy Hodges, we proudly provide a consultation with a board-certified drug error attorney free of charge to help parents get compensation for their child’s suffering.
Call us today at 888-526-7616 to speak with an attorney, or fill out our online contact form. We will also send you our FREE informational guide, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.