What would you do if your child got the wrong vaccine? And the dr. admitted it and apologized for it.

Diana Rose - posted on 04/13/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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What would you do???
My 24 month old daughter received the wrong vaccine! She received the Varicella vaccine when she did not need to get it. Once the pediatrician told me she made a mistake, she apologized and sounded very genuine about it and she also assured me that it would not harm her in anyway, if anything it would be "extra protection" but I still dont feel good about it. What should I do? I feel like this pediatrician should get a warning or be addressed in some way so this does not happen to someone else.
1 day ago

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Nikki - posted on 04/13/2011

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I would be wild, God help any doctor that mixed up a vaccine for my child. I wouldn't care if it didn't have adverse effects, Doctors have a responsibility and a duty of care to double check, triple check medications. I would be taking it further. In Australia you can report doctors to the Aus medical association. I would find a government agency that deals with complaints.

Nikki - posted on 03/10/2013

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Diana, the same thing (sort of) just happened to me too. My son, who is 4 months old, went for his 4 month old check up on 3/6. At that appointment our Doctor advised my husband that at my son's 2 month old appointment, he was accidently administered the wrong vaccine which was intended for the "older child" or 12 years old. My son was given his regular set of vaccinations that day for 4 months and the next day he developed a severe fever of 105.6 and was rushed to the ER where he underwent a battery of tests which all came back negative for other illnesses. I contacted the State (NH) Health Department and Immunization program and they are going to call me and report this to the State tomorrow morning. My Dr. also apoligized for the mistake and told us she called the State herself and they don't think any adverse effects will take place for my son. However, I was uncomfortable with this and I contacted the State myself. I hope that my son will suffer no long term effects from this but apparently this sort of thing is not common and there is little statistical information regarding long term effects of being vaccinated with the wrong strand or types of vaccines. Keep us posted with what you choose to do but I absolutely recommend reporting the incident, even if nothing happens to your child you can absolutely help out another mother or father whos child has the same incident happen!

Jenn - posted on 04/14/2011

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Diana- I am from Canada and I also was not given any form regarding which vaccines my kids would be getting, i was also told verbally, so there was no paper to "double check".

I think the onus is on the doctor to make sure that they are prescribing/administering the proper medication. Sure this time nothing serious happened, but it could also easily be a fatal mistake if someone was highly allergic to that medication. What if the had given your child a vaccine for adults or to strong of a dose of a live virus, results could be very serious. Yes we are human and mistakes happen, which is why there are procedures in place to eliminate human error. Things are supposed to be checked and double checked. I would definitely be contacting someone about it. They need to be aware so that they can improve the procedures and prevent future mistakes. Your child's health is in the hands of docters when they are sick and we trust them to provide the care they need and prescribe appropriate medication. This could have easily been a very serious matter.

Jennifer - posted on 04/13/2011

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The way I feel is that doctors are human too, and make mistakes. I would talk to nurses and other moms to see if this is a one time thing, or a common occurance. If it is a one time thing, and your child will suffer no ill effects from it, I don't see the need to make such a huge stink about it. The doctor knows what she did wrong, and will probably punish herself over it. If it is a common occurance (maybe not that vaccine in particular, but the doctor makeing "mistakes" often, just because she isn't taking the time to recheck things) then I would say that you should report it to the state medical board.

Sharon - posted on 04/13/2011

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As a nurse, we are supposed to check any medication or injection least three times before it is administered. Mistakes do happen but they also have to be addressed when they do so changes can be made and like you said it doesn't happen again. Maybe the bottles for the different vaccines are too similar. Most hospitals and offices have patients advocacy departments to report poor care. So my suggestion as a health professional is report it, it helps us to improve the care to our patients, especially our most vunerable ones!

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Kari - posted on 04/19/2011

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I would get a second opinion from another doctor just to make sure that it really won't have any adverse effects on your child.

Crystal - posted on 04/16/2011

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If it happend to my child (accident or not)(appolagy or not) I would have her under probation pending the loss of her licence ! its not a small thing it is a big deal what if it wasnt something that was harmless to her what if it couldve caused serious injury to her body then you wouldnt be taking it lightly. she shouldve paid more attention to what she was giving your child! what she did was sloppy and careless and I do not stand for actions of this kind coming from those who are suppost to beproffesional and paying specail attention to what they are doing.

Melissa - posted on 04/16/2011

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You need to report her...everyone makes mistakes but that is very very serious!!!!! I would be soo upset. I would even tell a different doc and get there advice! I would not let this just pass as an opps sorry! Oh man I am so sorry!

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The same thing happened to us. We requested to be on the Dr. Sears delayed immunization schedule. I even handed a copy of it to my ped. We discussed it at length, and then the nurse came in and gave my son an extra vaccine that he wasn't supposed to receive.

I was seriously pissed.

They apologized profusely. I didn't report them, but I did switch peds immediately.

Diana Rose - posted on 04/14/2011

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Thank you so much Mommies for all your feedback! I have called the the hospital and spoke with the Family Relations ( i was initially looking for the Patient advocacy department) which were the right people to talk to. The lady was very sympathetic and listen to my complaint very patiently and assured me the issue would be addressed. A few hours later, I received a call from the Medical Director of the hospital who answered all of my questions and concerns about my daughter receiving the extra vaccines, she made me feel a little better, said that in all her years of experiencde, she has seen it happen and that the varicella vaccine is a "mild" vaccine and is a "safe" vaccine. She even told me she would call the Poison control center and double check with them that it is not harmful and will call me back and let me know. So the aftermath of it all, reassured me and made me feel better and I made sure that it was noted in her medical file that it happened.

Hope this helps anyone who is in the same situation!

Bonnie - posted on 04/14/2011

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Initially, I would likely freak right out and probably have a talk with her boss. He or she has to know what happened.

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Diana - ohh that doctor is leaving themselves wide open then. In that case I would ask them to write it down so you can see which vaccines they are getting. Child health in australia (Well at least in townsville) is fantastic you have to sign off which vaccines your child is getting then i believe they check the vaccines they are getting at least 3 times then when they walk in they have the empty vile and say "so you/your son/daughter is receiving the varicellea vaccine" if thats right you say yes sign to say your child has got the vaccine then its injected they really don't have much room for error and it then becomes the parent's problem for not speaking up

Diana Rose - posted on 04/14/2011

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It was my first time in at a US pediatrician, procedures for vaccines in Canada are differetn, can anyone tell me what the procedure is when your child gets a vaccine???
When my daughter had hers, I did not sign anything I was not given any form at all, I was just told verbally by the Dr. which vaccines she would get.

Jess - posted on 04/14/2011

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I would be anxious to make sure there is no negative side effects, but otherwise's doctors are humans too. We all make mistakes, and its easy for us to judge but how many times have our little ones been hurt due to mistakes we have made ?

Donna - posted on 04/14/2011

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I would write a letter to them and their boss confirming that this has happened asking that this be recorded as an incident. If there is genuinely no harm done, then I would ensure it is logged so trends can be spotted. I think all of us are prone to over-react at medical mistakes, but as pp's have said the doctor's are people too. I was impresed you didn't fly off the handle at the time though!

Melissa - posted on 04/14/2011

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You definitely need to contact someone higher up and make a HUGE fuss about this. That's the only way anything will get done - if you're nice about it they'll brush it aside and nothing will ever get taken care of. If no one wants to cooperate, threaten with a lawsuit. Especially with children, these people need to watch what they're doing! Vaccines are nothing to fiddle with, and if they're so careless as to give a child the wrong one, what other kinds of mistakes are they making? I completely understand not wanting to make a big deal out of something that didn't harm your child, but think about the next child. What if they're accidentally given something that DOES harm them and you had the power to stop that from happening? If no one wants to offer any assistance from within the company, then you need to contact the town, the state, a lawyer, whoever you need to contact to make sure this gets handled. Like I said, even threaten with a lawsuit if you need to! Hit them where it hurts!

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shock horror doctors are human too! mistakes happen report it if you want but if this is a one off thing then nothing is likely to happen i really can't understand why its a big deal. My son was once given medication he's allergic to its not a lethal allergy more of an annoying one as it requires special creams to get rid of the rash. my paed apologised and said he made the mistake because we were talking about the particular medication he's allergic too in some depth and he absent mindedly wrote it down...no biggie he offered to write a script for the correct medication (which we had actually never used before so who knows if it would work). we still see that Paed as i know for him it was an honest mistake (over 30 years in practice and hes one of the hardest ones to get into). What I have learned from that is its up to YOU to read the script for anything you're given (including x-rays ultrasounds and vaccines) to ensure that its is correct...so part of the blame also falls on you as well for not checking the details...i don't know about where you are but here we're given the details of what it is our child is being immunised for then we have to sign it so if there is a vaccine on there we don't want them to have it then becomes the parent's responsibility to speak up so that way you cant say "you gave my child this and i didnt want it" because the doctor will simply say "you signed the consent form for it to be done...why didn't you say something before you signed?" another way doctor's cover their arses with these things

Amber - posted on 04/13/2011

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My SO is an NP in the ER, and gets his MD next year. I can't tell you how much he beats himself up when he messes something up. It's incredibly rare (in 5 years I can only recall 2 times). He feels that he shouldn't make mistakes. I tell him that he's human. His have never been things like this though. I think some people forget that doctors are human and even with precautions taken, something might slip through the cracks once in a blue moon.

I don't know if they do this where you are, but at the hospital here every single patient is sent a patient satisfaction survey. This is a great way to address unhappiness if you feel that this isn't something that is an ongoing problem with this doctor.

If this seems to be a trend of mistakes made by the same doc over and over again, then you should definitely report them to a higher authority. Numerous mistakes of the same nature indicate a lack of responsibility to their patients well being.

Erin - posted on 04/13/2011

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I agree with Nikki S I would not be happy and would report the matter and i would never go back to see that dr again

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If she's part of a large clinic you could contact a board head about it. If it's a small private practice though, you might just need to find a different doctor.

I'd be pissed honestly. Mistakes like that shouldn't happen and they should at least show that they have done some policy changes to insure it doesn't happen again.

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