The numbers are higher than previous estimates, new study says
MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse "drug events" -- including getting the wrong drugs, accidental overdoses and unfavorable reactions -- affect about 7 percent of U.S. children in hospitals, a new study says.
That figure is much higher than previous estimates. And it underscores growing concerns about medical errors involving hospitalized children -- an issue that generated headlines in November when actor Dennis Quaid's newborn twins were accidentally given life-threatening overdoses of a blood thinner.
"This gives us some valuable insight into the frequency of medication-related harm," said study lead author Dr. Paul Sharek, medical director of quality management at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
"The number is larger purely because of the way we collected the information before. But most of those who work in children's hospitals realize that because of the complexity of children's health care in the United States harm occurs," Sharek said.
The findings are published in the April issue of Pediatrics.
For the study, the researchers reviewed the charts of 960 randomly selected children from 12 children's hospitals around the United States. The new method of detecting medical errors was a list of 15 "triggers" that a patient's charts might indicate possible drug-related problems. The triggers included the use of antidotes for drug overdoses, suspicious side effects and lab tests.
The researchers found adverse drug events for 11.1 of every 100 hospitalized children. Earlier estimates, using standard measures, had placed adverse drug events at two for every 100 patients. Of these adverse drug reactions, 22 percent were preventable, 17.8 percent could have been identified earlier, and 16.8 percent could have been handled more effectively, the study found.
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