A study conducted by The National Initiative For Children’s Healthcare Quality, using a new scientific detection method, has determined that for every 100 hospitalized children, there are 11 drug-related harmful events. These include medicine mix-ups, accidental overdoses, and bad drug reactions. This new estimate translates to more than 7% of hospitalized children, or approximately 540,000 children annually, based on government data. The new method uses a list of 15 “triggers” on children’s charts, including use of specific antidotes for drug overdoses, suspicious side effects and various lab tests.
The results will be made available to the public in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics. Experts say that the problem is larger than the study concludes, because it only reviewed selected charts, and didn’t include results from general community hospitals, where most U.S. children are treated.