Prospective observational study on the incidence of medication errors during simulated resuscitation in a paediatric emergency department

Eran Kozer*, Winnie Seto, Zulfikaral Verjee, Chris Parshuram, Sohail Khattak, Gideon Koren, D. Anna Jarvis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To characterise the incidence and nature of medication errors during paediatric resuscitations. Design: A prospective observational study of simulated emergencies. Setting: Emergency department of a tertiary paediatric hospital. Participants: Teams that included a clinician who commonly leads "real" resuscitations, at least two assisting physicians, and two or three paediatric nurses. Interventions: The teams conducted eight mock resuscitations, including ordering medications. Exercises were videotaped and drugs ordered and administered during the resuscitation were recorded. Syringes and drugs prepared during the resuscitation were collected and analysed for concentrations and actual amounts. Main outcome measures: Number and type of drug errors. Results: Participants gave 125 orders for medications. In 21 (17%) of the orders the exact dose was not specified. Nine dosing errors occurred during the ordering phase. Of these errors, five were intercepted before the drug reached the patient Four 10-fold errors were identified. In nine (16%) out of 58 syringes analysed, measured drug concentrations showed a deviation of at least 20% from the ordered dose. A large deviation (at least 50%) from the expected dose was found in four (7%) cases. Conclusions: Medication errors commonly occur during all stages of paediatric resuscitation. Many errors could be detected only by analysing syringe content, suggesting that such errors may be a major source of morbidity and mortality in resuscitated children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1324
Number of pages4
JournalThe BMJ
Volume329
Issue number7478
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

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