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Medical errors doctors often miss are caught by parents

According to a study done at Boston Children's Hospital, about one in 10 parents saw mistakes that doctors missed. The study included observing safety incidents on two pediatric units.

The lead study author said in an email, "As anyone who has ever been hospitalized knows, hospitals are very complex places where there are a lot of moving parts, and errors are bound to happen despite all of best efforts." She believes, though, that parents can work with health care providers to identify errors.

The data the researchers reviewed covered 383 children who were hospitalized in 2013 and 2014. Parents filled out surveys that asked about safety incidents that their children might have experienced while in the hospital. Two reviewers then looked at the incidents and determined if they were quality issues, medical errors or a situation that didn't count as a safety problem.

According to the report in JAMA Pediatrics, there were 37 safety incidents reported by 34 parents. Doctors who looked over the incidents found that in 23 of the cases, the incident was a medical mistake. That's 62 percent. Thirty percent of these incidents were preventable and caused patients harm.

Parents said that problems with communication was a factor in many of the errors, such as when a change in one person's medication wasn't noted by the staff or when information to be in placed in one person's chart was actually put into a different person's chart.

The study is small and only done at one hospital, but it's possible that in hospitals with more parents and children who don't speak English could be quite susceptible to errors.

The study is too small to make any broad conclusions, but definitely highlights how important it is for parents to speak up when something doesn't seem right the medical care their children receive.

Medical mistakes and medical negligence are areas where significant improvements need to be made to improve the level of health care.

Source: Fox News, "Mom and dad often catch hospital errors doctors missed," Reuters, Feb. 29, 2016

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