Errors in computing drug doses

G. Koren, Z. Barzilay, M. Modan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 85 members of the pediatric and neonatal divisions of a medical centre were tested for their ability to calculate the appropriate volumes of drugs commonly administered to pediatric patients. Of a total of 680 computations 43 (6.3%) were wrong. Half the errors would have led to either a 10-fold overdose or a dose a 10th of that prescribed. Significantly more of the errors (p < 0.01) were made by the nurses in the neonatal division (11.5%) than by those in the pediatric division (3.4%). A deficiency in the in-service training of the nurses in the neonatal division appeared to contribute to the higher proportion of errors in this group. There was also a trend towards a greater chance of error as the length of professional experience increased. All medical personnel involved in the ordering and administration of drugs should be taught computing skills and be evaluated routinely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-723
Number of pages3
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes


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