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Medicolegal matters

Regaining trust: managing inadvertent vaccination errors

Naomi Lewis, USHMA NARSAI

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© TASHI-DELEK/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODELS USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

This series highlights common medicolegal issues in general practice. Written by a team from medical defence organisation Avant, it is based on actual cases with details changed for privacy and some issues summarised for discussion. This scenario of 20-month-old twins given the wrong vaccine shows the importance of protocols to prevent error and of effective disclosure after an error to restore trust.

Article Extract

Inadvertent errors in the administration of vaccines are consistently among the reasons that GPs contact their medical defence organisations (MDOs) for advice. Vaccination errors that commonly come to our attention include administering the incorrect vaccine, administering an adult dose to a child, administering an out-of-date formulation or using an incorrect technique (e.g. an intramuscular rather than subcutaneous route). As vaccination errors often involve infants, the emotional stakes are high. For GP registrars, this may be the first time they conduct open disclosure with a patient.

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© TASHI-DELEK/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODELS USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© TASHI-DELEK/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODELS USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY