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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article
Study

Medication errors among acutely ill and injured children treated in rural emergency departments.

Marcin JP, Dharmar M, Cho M, et al. Annals of emergency medicine. 2007;50:361-7, 367.e1-2.

In the pediatric population, medication errors occur at rates similar to those of adults. However, given the need for careful weight-based dosing of medications for pediatric patients, fast-paced emergency department settings may increase this risk. In this study, two pediatric pharmacists used a data collection instrument to retrospectively characterize the frequency and nature of medication errors in more than 175 cases. Investigators discovered errors in half the patient cases where a medication was prescribed. Incorrect physician orders accounted for the most common error source. The authors advocate for system redesign to prevent such a high rate of errors, particularly in rural settings where resources may be limited.