Medical Errors in Pediatric Chemotherapy

This is one of the more depressing reports on medical malpractice that you will read. A recent study from Johns Hopkins has found that hospital staff members do not spot the vast majority of errors in pediatric chemotherapy until they have affected the child. According to the study, doctors and other health care providers failed to identify errors in dosage or administration of drugs 85 percent of the time. The figures drastically underestimate the number of errors in treating these sick children. But this does not mean that the child is not impacted by these medical mistakes. Many complications are never attributed back to chemotherapy because the child is so sick and at risk for so many complications.

Chemotherapy patients are vulnerable to these medical mistakes because there is no usual dose. The amount of chemotherapy received usually depends on body weight. Body sizes affect pediatric dosages. Chemotherapy exacerbates the problem because it is practically poison. Coming from someone who has taken chemotherapy, it is poison. For example, if you take three times the amount of OxyContin, you will sleep a little longer than you like, but no actual harm occurs. With chemo, this margin of error does not exist.

The Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer blog specifically avoids being trite or preachy. But let’s put that aside, just for today. Doctors and other health care providers have to be more careful in treating some of the sickest and our most innocent patients.

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