Have you ever wondered what would happen if someone was given the wrong medication? Or worse yet, if an entirely inappropriate adult medication was given to a child? For one family in Arkansas, this isn’t a theoretical question. Their 4-year-old daughter was accidentally given pills to treat high blood pressure when she was supposed to receive a medication to help her cope with an allergic reaction. The family has received little satisfaction over this potentially life-threatening error from the pharmacy, and has decided to sue.
Patient Given Wrong Drug
Acuera Sloan had been to Memphis’ Le Boehner Children’s Hospital repeatedly because of stomach problems. At least part of her trouble involved an allergic reaction, and she had been prescribed cyproheptadine to help deal with this issue.
On November 13th her father picked up a prescription for her from the local pharmacy. After taking a dose of the medication, the little girl complained to her mother that she couldn’t breathe. She later suffered from vomiting and diarrhea. Believing that the symptoms were due to Acuera’s stomach problems, her parents gave her another dose of the medication several hours later. The symptoms became more severe, and the girl complained of pain in her head and legs and was unable to sleep.
When her mother looked closer at the medication, she discovered a problem: the information on the bag was for her daughter, but the bottle and the pills inside were for another patient.
A Serious Pharmacy Mistake
Acuera had not been given her allergy medicine, but instead had received Maxzide, a drug used to treat certain high blood pressure symptoms. The effects of Maxzide have not been studied in children, and it is not recommended for their use.
According to her mother, Acuera spent several more days in severe pain while recovering from taking the wrong medication. The family notified the pharmacy of the error and attempted to reach a reasonable resolution with their corporate office, but was rebuffed. Almost three months after the incident, the company offered the family $500 to apply toward any medical expenses. The family has decided to take legal action.
Prescription Errors can be Disastrous
The Sloan family can consider themselves lucky in one sense: Acuera recovered from this error after a few very unpleasant days. Some children aren’t so fortunate. Another 4-year-old girl, in Texas, received permanent brain damage when her dentist attempted to sedate her rather than get help as she suffered a seizure. Thousands of children are given the wrong prescription, or get into someone else’s medication, every year, with predictably bad results. The exact scale of the problem is difficult to pin down, but in 2009 the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculated that 824 children died from poisoning. That was up 80% over 10 years, and the CDC attributed most of that increase to prescription drugs.
The wrong medication is not just a problem with children, of course. Taking the wrong medication or receiving an incorrect dose can affect anyone. Prescription drug errors can and do kill. In fact, overall more than 40,000 Americans die each year from accidental prescription drug poisoning.
Helping Prescription Error Victims
If a child or any other member of your family has been the victim of a prescription mix up or another medication error, you need knowledgeable legal representation to help you reach the resolution you deserve. The office of Wilson Kehoe Winingham has experience with prescription drug injuries and other forms of medical malpractice.
Get in touch with us. We offer a free consultation to help you explore your options and understand what decisions will be involved as you move forward. Give us a call at 317-920-6400 today or contact us online to have someone reach out to you.