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Medication errors cause one-third of infant poisonings

New Mexico residents may be interested to learn about a study on reports of infant poisonings. Researchers on the study that was conducted by the U.S. Poison Control Center looked at data gathered by the National Poison Data System over a 10-year period.

There were 271,513 reports of infant poison exposures over the period that researchers looked at. Researchers found that 96.7 percent of the calls to poison control centers were due to unintentional poisonings. More than half of the reports were called 'general unintentional" poisonings, a category that could include accidental ingestions of poisons by infants exploring their environments. Some of the substances that were commonly ingested by infants were diaper care products and acetaminophen.

After general unintentional, the next most common type of infant poisoning was therapeutic error. More than one-third of infant poisonings were attributed to the wrong dosage of medication, the wrong type of medication, medication given at the wrong time or other medication errors. The worst types of therapeutic error poisonings occurred when infants were given an unsafe combination of different medications. Researchers noted that they saw evidence of an increasing number of infant exposures to ibuprofen even though the drug is not recommended for infants under 6 months of age.

If a child is poisoned because of a therapeutic error, the health care practitioner that was responsible for the child's care may bear responsibility for the child's injuries. A lawyer may be able to help the family of a child that was poisoned to file a medical malpractice claim. The family may pursue compensation from the nurse, doctor or hospital that was responsible for giving a child the wrong medication or wrong dose of a medication.

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