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Study Confirms Pediatric Medical Errors Are Preventable

While medical mistakes are traumatic whenever they occur, pediatric medical errors are particularly difficult for both parents and children. That’s why it is important to determine how these errors happen and what can be done to prevent them.

A new study involving medical errors suffered by pediatric inpatients confirmed that many adverse events are completely preventable. While the findings are understandably frustrating, the researchers are hopeful that their results will help identify the most common causes of harm in pediatric inpatient environments as well as provide a consistent approach to assessing the effect of interventions on harms in hospitalized children.

As reported by MedPageToday, the goal of the study, which was conducted at six academic children's hospitals, was to assess the effectiveness of a new tool designed to measure harm due to medical care in the pediatric setting. The new tool is intended to detect triggers – defined as "a medical record based 'hint' that 'triggers' the search of the medical record to determine whether an adverse event might have occurred." The Pediatric All-Cause Harm Measurement Tool (PACHMT) is based on a similar tool that has been successful for adult patients.

The study’s findings revealed that the novel tool is a promising way to detect pediatric medical errors. They also highlight that medical mistakes that result in harm are common among hospitalized children. From the 600 patient charts evaluated, 240 harmful events were identified, resulting in a rate of 40 harmful events per 100 patients. Nearly one-quarter of the pediatric patients suffered at least one harmful event.

Of the total medical harms, the researchers determined that 45 percent were potentially or definitely preventable. The most common patient harms were intravenous catheter infiltrations/burns, respiratory distress, constipation, pain, and surgical complications.

If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t hesitate to contacta San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.