Published Online: Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The authors of a new study recommend that hospitals improve communication and designate a pharmacist to be consulted for each patient to help combat medical errors. Their report offers 42 recommendations.

The research, conducted by United States Pharmacopeia (USP), the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and 2 nurses'associations, determined that young children are the most likely victims of surgery-related mistakes.

The researchers determined that poor communication as the patient goes from the operating room to recovery is probably responsible.

The study examined 11,000 errors that had been voluntarily and anonymously reported to USP by hospitals since 1998.The research was limited to errors made on patients having surgery, and the rate of harm (5%) among all patients was 3 times higher than is normal for medication errors. The rate of harm among children was 12%.

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