Cancer patients likely to deal with medication errors

When a person suffers from a life threatening disease in Pennsylvania, the treatment they receive may be extremely detailed, and must follow a specific schedule in order to avoid any additional injuries or illnesses. When medication errors occur, and patients are given the wrong drug or a dosage mistake is made, the consequences to the body can make it harder for the patient to fight off the disease that is being treated. These problems can be particularly hard on the body of a child who is fighting off a disease that threatens their lives.

Miscommunication between parents, pharmacists, and doctors may have been a primary source of confusion in a recent study that found that children who are treated for cancer at home are likely to get the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a particular medication during their treatment. Researchers viewed cases in which patients were given oral chemotherapy drugs, and determined how likely the patients were to receive the wrong drugs.

Several of the cases involved in the study led to injuries or illnesses that were particularly severe and caused significant injury in the patient. Although other factors may have been involved in the findings, the high number of errors suggests a problem with how at home care is handled.

When a parent is given charge of a child who is ill in their home, they may follow the instructions that are given to them by the doctor and pharmacist in order to make up for their lack of medical knowledge regarding the condition. If the parent is given the wrong information, the medical professional may be responsible for any significant injury that occurs from the patient taking the wrong medication.

Source: Healio, “Medication errors common in outpatient pediatric cancer care,” Walsh K., May 16, 2013