Monday, April 07, 2008


Medicine mix-ups, accidental overdoses and bad drug reactions harm roughly one out of 15 hospitalized children, according to the first scientific test of a new detection method, according to a new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Other findings:

  • Researchers found a rate of 11 drug-related harmful events for every 100 hospitalized children.
  • That compares with an earlier estimate of two per 100 hospitalized children, based on traditional detection methods.
  • The rate reflects the fact that some children experienced more than one drug treatment mistake.
  • The new estimate translates to 7.3 percent of hospitalized children, or about 540,000 kids each year, a calculation based on government data.
  • Simply relying on hospital staffers to report such problems had found less than 4 percent of the problems detected in the new study.

The new monitoring method developed for the study is a list of 15 "triggers" on young patients' charts that suggest possible drug-related harm. It includes use of specific antidotes for drug overdoses, suspicious side effects and certain lab tests. By contrast, traditional methods include non-specific patient chart reviews and voluntary error reporting.

The researchers said their findings highlight the need for "aggressive, evidence-based prevention strategies to decrease the substantial risk for medication-related harm to our pediatric inpatient population."

Patient safety experts said the problem is likely even bigger than the study suggests because it involved only a review of selected charts. Also, the study didn't include general community hospitals, where most U.S. children requiring hospitalization are treated.

Source: "Med Mix-Ups Hurt 1 In 15 Kids," USA Today, April 7, 2008.

For text:

Hospitals are dangerous places for children as well as adults.

The best way to prevent hospital errors is by avoiding hospitals. But to avoid hospitals you need to stay healthy.
Getting yearly wellness exams , learning about how your body works, learning about lifestyle modifications you can make to stay healthier will all help to achieve that goal.
How many of you are at an ideal body weight? If not do you know a healthy way to achieve it?
How many of you smoke and can't find a way to quit?
How many of you have had recent physical exams with proper laboratory testing to gauge your risks?
How many of you have sat with your doctor and talked about your families medical history and how it relates to you?
There are many things you can do to stay healthy. Truly knowing the status of your health and promoting continued well being is the foundation that gets you there.
If you have not done so already, set up a wellness physical. The time you spend will be well worth the good health you will enjoy!!
Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Founder Institute for Medical Wellness

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