Baby ‘could have died’ due to hospital drug error

Baby 'could have died' due to hospital drug error
A three-month old baby was mistakenly prescribed a dose of painkillers ten-times higher than the recommended level following an operation at Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital near Stockholm.

Had the infant’s parents not discovered the mistake, the child could have received serious and life-threatening injuries to its liver.

The hospital has now reported the matter to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

The child had undergone an operation on its ear and thereafter been prescribed medicine to ease that pain in the form of liquid paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen).

Instead of being given 60 milligrammes of the drug, the infant’s IV drip was outfitted with a bottle containing 60 millilitres, a level ten-times higher than normal.

“The parents thought that the bottle looked too large for such a small child. It was lucky,” said Peter Redell, head of the hospital’s paediatric anesthesiology and intensive care ward, to DN.

Similar mistakes have happened previously at the clinic and Redell said he was present for one such incident.

In September, a three-month old girl died at the hospital. A subsequent autopsy revealed that she had been given an extremely high dose of the anaesthetic Pentothal.

The girl’s doctor was detained on suspicion of manslaughter but was released after three days.

The health board conducted its own investigation of the incident and concluded that the neither the doctor nor the hospital had done anything wrong. However, prosecutor Peter Claeson has yet to decide whether or not he will file charges over the baby’s death.

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