Iatrogenic risks and financial costs of hospitalizing febrile infants

Am J Dis Child. 1983 Dec;137(12):1146-9. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140380006003.


We identified, by diagnostic categories, the iatrogenic and financial costs that arise from hospitalizing febrile infants 60 days of age or younger. Thirty-seven (19.5%) of all admissions resulted in 48 separate complications. Twenty-nine (60.4%) of these complications were preventable, and six complications (12.5%) occurred in infants who probably did not require hospitalization for therapy. Twenty-four (50%) of all complications resulted from intravenous therapy. In addition to the complications, 26 diagnostic misadventures were identified. The average length of hospitalization for all infants was 7.0 days, with a range of two to 28 days. The average cost of hospitalization in 1979-80 dollars was $2,130 per infant, with a range from $6,345 for those infants with bacterial meningitis to $1,480 for those infants with aseptic meningitis. On the average, 25.6% of the bill was for diagnostic studies and 8.3% for physician fees.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Fever / therapy*
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Injections, Intravenous / adverse effects
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Meningitis / diagnosis
  • Risk


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents