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Medical Mixups; Hospital Prescription Drug Error Can Lead to Deaths

David Mittleman

We have been aware of the shocking reality that 98,000 hospitalized patients die each year in the United States due to error for nearly a decade. What has been done?

Recently two of fourteen babies died after getting heparin overdoses. Unlike the case involving actor Dennis Quaid’s twins, those Texas newborns got the overdose as a result of an error at the hospital pharmacy rather than a labeling problem. The heparin dose turned out to be 100 times stronger than was recommended. Nurses discovered the mistake and administered medication to counteract the effects of the drug.

Medicine mixups, accidental overdoses, and bad drug reactions adversely affect one out of fifteen hospitalized children. That means as many as 540,000 children are harmed every year, according to this recently released study. Hopefully this data will provide strategies to decrease the risk of medication-related harm to our children who need to be hospitalized.

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