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How can I protect my child from hospital errors?

You can’t be a silent bystander at any point in the care of your child. Make sure to speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you’re the shy, passive type, you need to go through a major personality change while your child is hospitalized. You are your child’s advocate, and you need to take charge and communicate effectively with the hospital staff. You can’t be afraid to ask questions or point out things that seem amiss.

To encourage patients and their families to do this, The Joint Commission has a campaign based upon two words. You guessed it: “speak up.” This patient safety campaign is aimed at giving patients and their caregivers the muscle to prevent medical errors and infection. The Speak Up campaign has many suggestions for ways you can help prevent errors in your child’s care. Here are a few:

  • Don’t be afraid to tell the staff if you think your child is about to get the wrong test or medication.
  • If a worker isn’t wearing gloves and is about to take your child’s blood or other sample, say something. Also, the worker should always check your child’s ID and ask for her birthday or other identifying information before any test or procedure. (Make sure the sample is labeled in front of you with your child’s name on it.) 

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do! "Moms and dads need expert guidelines, especially when it comes to their kids' health. This book reveals the inside strategies I use myself-I'm a parent,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.