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Sick children live with medication error threat

Nov
18

Date: November 18th, 2016

Jamie Harris, a former nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital, says that some of the things that always occupied her thoughts included medication error. She says that most of her young patients depended on potent drugs. Upon being discharged, they would be left at the hands of their parents to handle everything pertaining to their health.

The time for giving a dose, the quantity of the dosage needed, and the tools to be used in administering the drug are some of the things the parents have to do. That is quite a challenge, especially for parents with tight schedules and gets back home exhausted. The most dangerous part arises when the drug turns lethal, when administered incorrectly.

Solving the problem at hand

Ms. Harris did not just sit down and let the problem worry her. She came up with a low-tech solution that would deal with the problem at hand: avail parents with a special kit that can store medication, has dosage tools and instructions on how to avail special dosages. The most important part is that the kit has a bright red warning that reads “Distraction Free Zone.” This is a sign that seeks to keep parents alert at all times.

Ms. Harris is currently still working at Boston Children’s Hospital but now as a nurse practitioner. She says that “In a health-care environment, where technology is talked about so much, sometimes it really is about going back to the bedside and sitting with the family and doing education on basic concepts.”

Dangers of Dosing

Ms. Harris idea is one of its own kinds that are used all over the country to ensure parents do not make medication errors. Such errors are commonly done and in the process put the life of the baby in a dangerous position.

To fully exploit the scope of the problem has never been that smooth. One of the reasons for this is that researchers measure errors in a varying manner. However, a study done by Johns Hopkins University researchers suggested that the errors could be somewhere from 5 percent to 27 percent of medication orders for children.

A different research by Nationwide Children’s Hospital suggests that for every 8 minutes, there is an out-of-hospital medical error that affects a child. This research was published in 2014 in the journal Pediatrics.

Health officials explain the situation saying that one of the problems is that the fact dosage is reliant on a child’s weight. Basing on weight basically opens lots of avenues for errors to be made. Certain liquid drugs come in concentrations that only adults can use. In such a case, the pharmacist has to dilute it for the child. On the other hand, a parent administering a dose may measure using a spoon or anything closer instead of using a specialized tool for the correct amount.

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