Introducing The Emily Jerry Foundation’s New Guardian Angel Pediatric Safe Label Program to Help Reduce Tragic Pediatric and Neonate Medication Errors
Ever since the Emily Jerry Foundation was established a few short years ago, we began interacting and collaborating with great organizations like The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), The American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), our technology partners like Codonics, SEA Medical, etc. The primary reason for this, was due to the fact that my beautiful daughter Emily died from a tragic medication error in 2006, as a direct result of “human error” that occurred when a pharmacy technician incorrectly compounded her IV medication that horrible day when she was overdosed. With that being said, ever since Emily’s death, I have been working very diligently to try to find, and clearly identify, logical ways in which our nation’s medical facilities could significantly reduce the probability of this “human error” component from arising during the course of a patient’s treatment. Bottom line, I wanted to find ways that made sense and would be cost effective for any medical facility to implement, regardless of their size and scope of treatment.
In 2011, at the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, I met a gentleman by the name of Robert Braverman for the first time. Robert is the President of a company called Medi-Dose which has been an industry leader for more than 30 years. They have an inexpensive system used by hospital pharmacies to package, handle, and dispense, predetermined amounts of medication, into individual unit doses for patients. Shortly after the meeting in 2011, Robert sent us a rather large box that included examples of all of their medication packaging and corresponding labeling. After receiving this from him, we began developing the overall idea for The Emily Jerry Foundation’s Guardian Angel Pediatric Safe Label Program.
When it comes to medication safety and the prevention of human errors in the hospital pharmacy, babies and children are of particular concern due to their body weight. This fact was not only evident in my daughter Emily’s case, it was also very apparent with Dennis Quaid’s twins, when they were accidently given adult doses of heparin and almost died as a result. With all of this in mind, our new Guardian Angel Pediatric Safe Label Program, coupled with our ongoing relationship with companies like Medi-Dose, will help to significantly reduce the number of overall medication errors that occur, all too often, with our nation’s most valuable resource, our babies and children.
The basic concept of The Emily Jerry Foundation’s Guardian Angel Pediatric Safe Label Program is very simple and effective. However, please keep in mind that it is not meant or intended to be a guarantee of medication accuracy. Rather, our guardian angel logo, with the likeness of Emily, will now be able to be printed directly onto all medications that are intended for babies and children. It will be a gentle reminder to all of the caregivers (i.e. doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, etc.) involved. This includes every caregiver in a facility who comes in contact with a particular medication that is meant for a baby or child. From the pharmacist dispensing the medication in the hospital pharmacy, to the pediatric nurse administering the medication. Now, they will all see Emily’s Guardian Angel logo and be reminded that they will all need to be extra careful, double checking and rechecking, dosages and concentrations, for all neonate or pediatric patients at their specific facilities.
With all of this being said, I am also very pleased to formally announce this new partnership between The Emily Jerry Foundation and Medi-Dose on this very important program. Medi-Dose was the first of our partners to actually implement and add the guardian angel logo directly into their MILT 3.0 software, allowing any medical facility to easily and cost effectively design and subsequently produce, any medication label they may need (images attached of real Medi-Dose label examples with EJF Logo). With the introduction of this newly revised software, unit dose medications for babies and children will now have Emily’s Guardian Angel as a constant and gentle reminder every step of the way, from the packaging of the medication by a pharmacy technician, to the administration of it by a nurse.
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