Medical Minute: Medical Errors in Kids

You may not know it, but each year in this country healthy children are treated with the wrong medication, sometimes with deadly consequences. Now, a government agency is alerting parents about how to prevent such tragedies from happening.

Watching Sorrel King play with her children, you wouldn't know their lives were shattered two years ago. Josie, one of her four children, was at this hospital recovering after falling into a hot bath. Then, the unthinkable happened.

"The nurse came over with a syringe of Methadone, gave her the Methadone, and she had cardiac arrest. I screamed for the doctors," says Sorrel.

A medical error had cost Josie her life. Recently, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality issued safety tips to help parents with their child's care.

"Making sure they're aware of the medications their children are taking and being knowledgeable about what they're being prescribed either in an outpatient setting or in the hospital,' says Dr. Peter Pronovost.

Dr. Peter Pronovost works at the hospital where Josie died. He says communication between parents and healthcare providers is vital.

"We know that 80 percent of all mistakes in every industry are the result of communication failure, and we see the exact same thing in healthcare."

He's leading an effort to train hospital staff to be more safety conscious.

"What happened to Sorrel and Josie is absolutely tragic and should never happen again. It illustrates what we've been talking about, that there's many communication failures."

Sorrel has started a foundation in Josie's honor. She hopes, by speaking out, those in the medical field will learn from her daughter.

For more information, contact:

The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality

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