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Guidelines Seek to Reduce Medication Errors Involving Kids
Date:4/11/2008

A key recommendation is measuring a child's weight in kilograms

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- The group that accredits most U.S. hospitals issued guidelines Friday to help prevent medication errors in hospitalized children.

Among the recommendations: Children should be weighed in kilograms -- the global standard and the standard for medication dosing -- when they are admitted to a hospital.

"The vast majority of countries utilize the metric system, and the recommendations for pediatric medication use are based on the metric system," said Dr. Peter Angood, vice president and chief patient safety officer for The Joint Commission, which announced the "Sentinel Event Alert" at a teleconference.

"Sadly, there seems to be a lack of widespread appreciation even among health-care providers that children have unique safety and medication needs," said Dr. Matthew Scanlon, assistant professor of pediatrics-critical care at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a member of the Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Advisory Group. "The issues of having to adapt products -- be it technology or medications -- that were created for adults and apply those to pediatric patients is terribly problematic and really is the source of a great deal of work that has to be performed on a daily basis among pediatric health-care providers."

Added Catherine Tom-Revzon, clinical pharmacy manager at Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City: "This is definitely increasing the public awareness that at least something's being done to address the medication errors that occur in children."

The alert follows publication this week of a study that found that medication errors, including accidental overdoses and adverse reactions, affect about one of 15 -- or 7 percent -- of hospitalized children. The study was published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.

That 7 percent figure is much higher th
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