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December 14, 2012

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Hospital gives wrong drug to boy

TEN days after one of its patients - a child - was given a wrong anti-viral medicine, Xinhua Hospital managed to trace the four-year-old boy yesterday and tests showed all indicators were within the normal scope.

The hospital will do another check on the boy in four days to ensure his safety, officials said yesterday.

The Anhui Province boy was given an anti-cancer and anti-viral drug instead of another anti-viral medicine for gastroenteritis by a refresher doctor in the emergency department on Tuesday last week, the hospital said.

The refresher doctor, who was undergoing training at the hospital, picked the wrong medicine with a similar Chinese name from the medicine list in the computer. The boy received 200 milliliter intravenous injection on the day.

A nurse found the mistake the next day and reported to hospital authority, which started searching for the boy immediately.

"Since the cell phone number that the family had left behind had only 10 digits - missing one digit, we couldn't find them," said Dr Bao Yixiao, director of the hospital's pediatrics department. "We also sought the help of police."

Failing to find the patient, the hospital issued an emergency notice online and through local media. "With the help of a netizen working at telecom company, we finally traced the boy's parents," Bao said.

The hospital said it has tightened inspection and banned refresher doctors from working at the emergency department.

While netizens commented positively about the hospital, insiders were questioning the loophole in the computerized medicine prescription system, which can't identify mistakes by doctors.

Traditionally, experienced pharmacists would double check the prescribed medicines and return questionable prescriptions in time while the computer system doesn't have a check for medicines, insiders said. "So such mistakes are usually found out days later."


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