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Medical Malpractice Has Serious Consequences in Children

Doctors say that medical mistakes can have more serious consequences in children than they do in adults. A study in the journal Pediatrics found that problems due to medications occurred in 11 percent of children who were in the hospital, and that 22 percent of them were preventable. An Institute of Medicine report found that besides medication errors, children are also the victims of diagnostic errors, incorrect procedures or tests, infections and injuries. Medical errors are a greater threat to children than to adults because they are physically small and their immune systems are still developing. Even a tiny increase in the dose of medication can have serious effects, especially in premature babies. Children deteriorate more rapidly than adults and they are less able to communicate their problems. 32 percent of medication errors in children in the operating room involved the wrong dose, while this only occurs in 14 percent of adults. Experts have come up with ways to reduce the threat of medical malpractice in children such as ID bracelets, ensuring that health care providers are hygienic, getting all the correct information, and asking questions. Although these are ways to reduce risks, it is ultimately the role of the physicians and staff to ensure that children are properly medicated. To read the full story, click here.