Medical malpractice

Updated Guidelines Seek To Decrease Pediatric Medical Errors

March 4, 2019 by Carrie Capouellez

With advances in modern medicine, infants and children should not experience preventable injuries at the hands of the medical professionals entrusted to care for them. Unfortunately, medical professionals are human and often fatigued and/or overworked, and mistakes occur more often than they should, some of which include pediatric medical errors.

To combat pediatric medical malpractice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its guidelines for pediatricians to help reduce the number of pediatric medical errors. Even the smallest of medical errors can have devastating consequences for a child, especially a newborn infant.

Types of Pediatric Medical Errors

A previous study of the incidence of errors occurring in the ambulatory pediatric setting revealed the breakdown of pediatric medical errors as 37% medical treatment, 22% patient identification, 15% preventive care, 13% diagnostic testing, and 8% patient communication.[1] And while children are at risk for the types of medical errors that occur in adults, they are at particular risk for medication errors. Factors like age-related changes in drug metabolism and a child’s dependence on his or her parents or other care providers can dramatically impact the medical care of a minor.

Communication Failures Cause Pediatric Medical Errors

To avoid costly mistakes, the complex network of medical professionals interacting with and treating a child must be precise and thorough in its communication. Each professional in this network must ensure they don’t do anything to jeopardize the patient’s health. Each additional doctor, nurse, or aide who gets involved in a single patient’s care presents another opportunity for a communication breakdown and, thus, another chance for the patient to be harmed.

In a hospital setting, some of the most common medical errors affecting children include communication failures. Failure to communicate effectively ranks as the third most common safety concern in children’s hospitals. Many of the issues arise due to flaws related to caregiver-to-family communication. Studies find behavioral competencies and tools can be effective in improving communications both with families and between providers. Communication failures between providers reflect 80 percent of cases reported.

Philadelphia Pediatric Medial Malpractice Lawyers

Sometimes doctors and hospitals make it difficult for parents and guardians to get information on what happened to their child during his or her medical care. This means you may never know what really happened to your child unless you hire an attorney to help you dig up the facts. Our medical malpractice lawyers have handled many pediatric medical malpractice cases against doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other medical care providers. Contact us today if your family needs help.




[1] Mohr JJ, Lannon CM, Thoma KA, et al. Learning from errors in ambulatory pediatrics. In: Henriksen K, Battles JB, Marks ES, Lewin DI, eds. Advances in Patient Safety: From Research to Implementation (Vol 1: Research Findings). Rockville MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2005:355-368.


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