Mistakes in hospital prescriptions for children – 10% of children given the wrong dose of medicine


It's been reported that up to one in ten hospital prescriptions written for children contain mistakes, usually stating the wrong dose of medicine for the child.

A study by the School of Pharmacy, University of London - which covered five London hospitals - found that mistakes in prescribing medicine for children in hospital were seen in 13% of the 3,000 prescriptions examined.

Even worse, when nurses have to mix up a solution of medicine to be injected, almost one in five injections of medicine for children were wrongly administered.

Although the study was conducted in London, the experts behind it believe that they would find similar results in hospitals across the UK.

The researchers even had to step in on several occasions to prevent the wrong dose of medicine being given to a child – including a dose of medicine for epilepsy which was 10 times the dose required for the epileptic child.

In fact, the biggest problems of mistakes in hospital prescriptions for children tend to be with painkillers and anti-epileptic drugs.

This is because most drug doses are formulated for adults, so doctors have to change the dose of medicine to suit the child’s age, weight and medical condition. Often, that means a high level of guesswork for the doctor prescribing medicine for a child in hospital.

Professor Ian Wong, one of the authors of the study, said "It is a challenge working on the ward and humans are bound to make errors. Most would not cause serious harm, but some are potentially fatal."

For example, during the study one child was saved from being injected with a dose of morphine four times stronger than required.

If you believe that your child has been given the wrong dose of medicine in hospital which did or could have caused illness or unnecessary distress, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

At Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors, we have extensive expertise in claiming compensation for medical errors involving children and adults in hospital. We will handle your case on a "No win No fee" basis and you will keep 100% of any compensation recovered for being the victim of a medical error in hospital.

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