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Pediatric errors cost lives, money

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 28, 2004

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The rate of medical errors among pediatric patients is more than 100 per every 10,000 hospital discharges and these errors led to an extra $1 billion in excess charges and an estimated 4,483 deaths, according to a report published in the June Pediatrics.

In what is considered the first nationwide analysis of child patient safety, researchers analyzed 5.7 million discharge records from the year 2000 for persons 19 and younger from 27 states.

The study included data on teenage mothers giving birth, and the highest rate for "patient safety events" were for obstetric trauma for vaginal birth with instrumentation (2,152 per 10,000 hospital discharges), followed by obstetric trauma for vaginal birth without instrumentation (1,072 per 10,000 discharges). In contrast, there were only 37 obstetric traumas related to cesarean sections per 10,000 discharges.

Other significant findings of the study, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for Health Research and Quality, included: patient safety events were "significantly more likely" to occur for children covered by Medicaid and that birth trauma was "significantly less likely" to occur in teaching hospital.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/06/28/prbf0628.htm.

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