A recent study in Canada suggests that the heavy workload of nurses, as well as distraction and poor communication are the most common causes of medication errors with children in hospitals. Moreover, the study suggests that the use of drugs approved for adults in children is a serious problem. Given a child’s unique physiology, especially their weight, a mistake administering these drugs originally formulated for adult physiology can have deadly implications.
According to cbc.ca, a team from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, led by Assistant Professor Kim Sears, anonymously surveyed nurses at hospitals affiliated with universities across the country and found that at least four young patients had died after a medication error during the three month study period. The study showed that 372 prescription errors were reported, including 127 cases where the error was caught before the wrong drug was administered. The most common errors were giving children the medication at the wrong time; giving them the wrong dosage; and giving them the wrong medication.
Standardized Approach for Preparing Medications
According to Professor Sears administering medication to children is largely based on the child’s weight. The study revealed that different hospital wards use different mathematical calculations to determine the right medication dosage. Professor Sears recommended the creation of a standardized approach to this process. Her study also showed that nurses often have to prepare the medications for their child-patients in a cluttered environment, one where they may be interrupted, such as someone mopping the floor or other patients, their relatives or other visitors asking questions and thus, distracting the nurse.
Sears recommends that the areas where nurses are to prepare medications should be well lit and clutter free, so that nurses are not distracted while preparing the medications for their patients.
Similar Things Happen At Pharmacies
Similar mistakes are made by pharmacists all over our State and country. Much like nurses within a hospital environment, pharmacists get distracted by customers asking questions while the pharmacist is preparing medications, causing them to make mistakes that can be deadly. In addition, many pharmacies are simply understaffed, and the pharmacists overworked. They don’t have the time to carefully check their work or the work of the pharmacy techs. As mentioned before, our firm has handled dozens of cases where mistakes in prescriptions have been made.
For example, we represented a 28-year-old Miami woman who was given a drug for men’s hair loss and/or prostate problems called Finasteride or Propecia at a large national pharmacy chain. Women are specifically warned not to take or even handle this medication and she took it for approximately three weeks while recovering from complications in her pregnancy, suffering significant negative side effects. In a very similar case involving the same medication, another client who had suffered the stillbirth of her child was mistakenly given Finasteride which had been prescribed for another patient, just because she shared the same last name of this other patient.
We also handled a case where a pharmacist’s ignorance about what medication should be used for active and inactive tuberculosis. The mistake caused a child to needlessly suffer from nausea, vomiting, headaches and fatigues for months. Both forms of the disease are treated with different medications, yet the pharmacist crossed out a prescription for INH given by a doctor to a nine-year-old boy with the inactive form of the disease, and instead gave the child “Rifampin,” a drug given to patients with active tuberculosis.
Please visit the Notable Cases Section of our website to learn more about these and other relevant cases.
We Can Help
With more than 100 years of combined experience, the lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to help clients that have the victims of medication errors by physicians and/or pharmacists recover the funds they need for their rehabilitation.
Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Pharmaceutical Error Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have represented many clients that have been the victims of medication errors. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.
If you or a loved one the victims of medication errors by physicians and/or pharmacists, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. As stated before, a lawyer can help you seek financial compensation from those whose negligence caused your injuries as well as from their insurers. This financial compensation may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
We offer a free initial consultation and we work on contingency fees, which means that there is no charge unless we win your case.