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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075


BRENER, Pablo; BALLARDO, Mónica; MARIANI, Gonzalo  and  CERIANI CERNADAS, José M.. Medication error in an extremely low birth weight infant: paracetamol overdose. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2013, vol.111, n.1, pp.53-55. ISSN 0325-0075.

Errors are part of human nature and are usually present in our actions. Medical errors occur quite often and can be serious. Medication errors are among the most frequent, especially in newborn infants because of the multiple steps that occur during the process of prescribing and administering drugs and because most drugs are not licensed for being used in newborn infants (off-label). The aim of this report is to describe a medication error in prescribing paracetamol for closing a patent ductus arteriosus in a preterm infant and to analyze its causes. A preterm female infant born at 27 weeks of gestational age with a birth weight of 750 g received paracetamol at 9 days old at a dose 20 times greater than required. The initial plasma level was 480 µg/mL. N-acetylcysteine was administered and her clinical outcome was satisfactory. Parents were notified of the event, which was recorded in the medical record and in the electronic error reporting system of the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires. We consider this report as an example that we are exposed to making mistakes and should maximize precautions to improve patient safety in neonatal units.

Keywords : Errors; Paracetamol; Newborn infant; Patient safety.

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