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Preventing medical errors from happening to your children

karas-with-familyOur children are our most precious gift. As parents, it’s our job to protect them and keep them safe. When our kids get sick, we rely on medical professionals to help guide us through their illness or injury, and to make them well again.

However, what we sometimes forget is that no one is perfect, and even doctors and nurses can make mistakes in diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Amy Rice Young

Dr. Amy Rice Young

Some of these mistakes may be minor, like a missed or late dose of medication, but others can be potentially life threatening.

So what can we do to help protect our kids from medical mistakes?

  • Choose your pediatrician carefully. Finding a doctor who specializes in children’s health can greatly reduce the possibility of medical errors in the future, and verify that your doctor is board certified.
  • Never be afraid to ask questions because you think the doctor or nurse will be annoyed or too busy to answer. Write down questions ahead of time and make sure you understand the answers. At Akron Children’s, we strive to make parents active members of their child’s healthcare team.
  • Share your child’s medical history with their doctors and nurses. Include all medications, past surgeries, immunizations, vitamin supplements and herbal remedies currently being taken, any chronic illness and any allergic reactions they’ve had in the past.
  • Make sure all prescriptions are legible. If you can’t read it, a pharmacist probably can’t either.
  • Ask for information about the medicine your child is taking. Find out what it’s for, the best way to administer it, when it will take effect, how long it should be taken, how it should be stored (room temperature, in refrigerator etc.), what the possible side effects are, and what it interacts with.
  • If your child is hospitalized, make sure they have a hospital identification bracelet on, so it can be checked before receiving medications.

Remember, you are your child’s best advocate. If you think a mistake has been made, point it out. Trust your instincts and tell your doctor about your concerns if you think something isn’t right.