Children who are hospitalized and suffer from a chronic condition are more likely than children with no chronic health problems to be the victims of medical error. Data has indicated that 1.3 percent of children who do not have a chronic illness were affected by medical errors.
However, more than five percent of children who had a chronic illness were exposed to medical errors. This error rate may seem low but medical professionals should work to prevent errors that affect patients, especially children who are the one of the most vulnerable groups of patients.
This is not unexpected since children with chronic disorders tend to have longer hospital stays and the condition they are in the hospital for may be more complicated. Additionally, the risk of medical error tends to increase with the number of conditions the child has. When a child had one chronic illness there was an average error rate of three percent. Children with two chronic illnesses had an error rate that was closer to seven percent.
Medical errors that were included in these statistics were errors such as adverse reactions to medication, infection following surgery, and even bed sores. These are conditions that are preventable but are considered medical errors. Infections seems to be one of the most common complications in hospitals across the United States and one that has received focus and funding to improve patients’ safety.
There are some steps parents can take to protect their children from medical errors. First they should be asking the medical professionals involved questions. Also, they can make sure there is someone, such as a pediatrician, coordinating their child’s health care and making sure everyone has all the information.
Parents should also be sure to understand their child’s at home medication regimen, especially if the child has more than one condition. However, should a medical error occur that results in injury, the child’s doctor can be sued for medical malpractice to provide the victim compensation for the medical error.
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