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As if struggling with and battling cancer is not enough, according to a researcher at Johns Hopkins Children Center, children often must also face the additional battle of having to overcome problems relating to medication errors.

Children with cancer often get the wrong dose of chemotherapy or are given the drug at the wrong time, and many require treatment because of the errors, U.S. researchers said on Friday.

Medication errors involving the improper administration of cancer medication present serious challenges as children struggle to cope with their illness. Usually the errors involve administration of chemotherapy designed to kill cancerous cells. When administered improperly, chemotherapy can kill good cells and cause further health problems.

The Johns Hopkins Childrens Center has already been on the cutting edge of research recommending methods to avoid clinical errors in the administration of chemotherapy to child cancer patients. As far back as 2003, Johns Hopkins has recommended a systematic approach using chemotherapy audits to minimize risk of harm administering chemotherapy. Researchers previously recommended checks and double checks prior to administrating chemotherapy to minimize risk of medication error.

If somebody’s child suffered consequences as a result of a medication error, should the care provider be held accountable for the resulting problems? Various tort reform initiatives would reject this notion and not hold the wrongdoer accountable for damages resulting from the medication misadventure. Is this an example of fairness? Frivolous litigation? Accountability? Do you believe that tort reform initiatives are the answer to the problems created by errors in the administration of chemotherapy medication? Rather than advocating tort reform under these circumstances, perhaps safe medication administration practices could be the answer to problems resulting from medication errors. What do you think?

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