12.31.2008

Errors in Oncology

A new study shows that medication errors
are common among children and adults taking chemotherapy drugs at home or in
outpatient clinics.
Researchers reviewed records of nearly 1,300 patient
visits at three adult oncology outpatient clinics and 117 patient visits at one
pediatric facility between Sept. 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006.
They showed that
7% of adults and 19% of children taking chemotherapy drugs in outpatient clinics
or at home were given the wrong dose or experienced other medication
mistakes.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, calls for
improved communication to cut down on errors it describes as "high" in adult and
pediatric cancer patients.

Calculating chemo doseages is tricky stuff -- not just based on weight but on
current lab results, concentrations and clearances. I used to help the chemo
nurses do it for a dozen outpatients ever week -- scared the heck out of me.

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