The Virginia Department of Health reported in 2007 that over 2,200 Virginia children were hospitalized for injuries ranging from bug bites to poisoning, cuts, falls, and motor vehicle accidents. Whether you are visiting the hospital for a minor injury, or your child is being admitted for a scheduled medical procedure, how can you ensure that your child will be best cared for?
Pediatricians generally encourage parents to be their child’s advocate, and to educate the child on some issues before being admitted, so that they can feel safe and are aware of what is going on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your child’s caregiver, and to become involved in the child’s hospital care in order to prevent medical errors.
Prepare for Your Child’s Hospital Stay
- Make sure you have all of your child’s drug allergy information.
- Review the identification band once they are checked in to make sure the information is correct.
- Talk to the surgeon or anesthesiologist if you are uncertain about any aspect of the medical procedure, and ask if you may stay with your child while the sedatives are working.
- The caregiver should always wash their hands before touching your child, and must wear clean gloves when taking blood or dressing wounds.
- Hospital staff is required to wear ID badges. Don’t feel shy about asking to see an ID if it is hidden.
- If your child is staying in the hospital overnight, try to stay with them so they feel safe.
- You and your child should be aware that caregivers should check the hospital band or ask your child’s name before dispensing any medication, performing any test, or giving any kind of treatment in order to prevent medical errors.
- Notify hospital staff immediately if your child is experiencing pain.
- Ask your visitors to call or stay at home if they are feeling ill to prevent spreading colds.
- Be sure to collect home care instructions, and ask for names and numbers of those who could help you if you have any questions about ongoing care or in case of an emergency.
Protecting the Rights of Your Child in the Case of Medical Malpractice
Developing a strong relationship with your child’s healthcare provider will not only help you to feel confident and informed about their care, but will also create sense of calm for your child. If your child has been the unfortunate victim of a medical mistake, you need a skilled lawyer on your side that is familiar with the complications of medical malpractice.