Study Says Hospitals Make More Errors with Chronically Ill Kids

Posted on September 18, 2012

Researchers looking into a government database of children hospitalized in 38 U.S. states found that kids who were hospitalized with chronic health problems were more likely to be victims of medical error than those who did not have a chronic condition.

The difference was astounding. Just over five percent of hospitalized children with a chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes, a digestive disorder, or cancer were affected by medical error. Only 1.3 percent of children without a chronic illness were victims of medical error, according to the study.

The authors of the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, were not surprised by the findings. Citing the complexity of the illnesses that kids with chronic conditions endure, the senior researcher for the study said, “They may stay in the hospital longer, and their condition may be more complicated.” This would make it more likely these children will be victims of preventable hospital errors such as inappropriate drug dosing or infections following surgery.

A 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine found that preventable medical errors cost the U.S. up to $29 billion a year and kill nearly 98,000 people annually.

Researchers say the bottom line for keeping children with chronic illnesses safe when they are hospitalized is for medical professionals to be aware of the problem and take steps to curb potentially deadly medical errors.

Medical professionals and institutions have a duty to exercise due diligence to keep their patients safe from harm. This especially holds true when the patient is a child. If a loved one has been harmed due to a medical institution’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages. Call a Gainesville hospital error injury lawyer at Farah & Farah to discuss your legal options if you think you have a case. We’re at (800) 533-3555. Your call and consultation are free.

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