Study: Math mistakes can cause big med problems

A new study underscores that simple math errors by physicians can prove deadly when it comes to medications. In the study, which appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers asked physician volunteers to give a hypothetical 5-year-old suffering from an allergic reaction 0.12 milligrams dose of epinephrine. Half the 28 volunteer doctors were given a bottle labeled "1 milligram in a 1 milliliter solution," while the others got bottles labeled "1 milliliter of a 1:1000 solution," both of which amount to the same thing. While 11 of the first 14 doctors got the math right, only 2 in the second group did, and one doctor in the second group administered what would have been eight times the correct amount. The study underscores that errors in converting from milligrams per milliliter could lead to errors by factors of 10, which can be very dangerous, researchers noted.

To learn more about the study:
- read this piece in The New York Times