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Pregnant Woman Given Abortion Drug Instead Of Antibiotic Due To Pharmacy Mix-up

By Danielle Sullivan |

methotrexate, abortion drug, pharmacy error, safeway pharmacy, drug mixup, pregnant woman abortion pill, Maureen silva, Fort Lupton Colorado,

A prescription drug mix-up caused a pregnant Colorado woman to mistakenly consume an abortion pill.

A pregnant woman in Fort Lupton, Colorado was mistakenly given an abortion drug instead of the antibiotic she was prescribed. A Safeway pharmacist inadvertently mixed up the medication and gave Mareena Silva methotrexate, which is used to treat cancer or terminate pregnancies. Silva is six weeks pregnant.

Silva says she felt nauseous and immediately called her doctor when she realized there was a different name on the bottle. The doctor told her to try to throw the medicine up and she was rushed to an area hospital, where doctors used charcoal in an attempt to absorb the drug.

Doctors can’t say what the long term affects will be but since Silva was so early in her pregnancy, the fetus is the most vulnerable. Silva can miscarry, carry the child to full-term with serious birth defects or have a healthy baby.

“This is my first child, so it’s really difficult to deal with,” said Silva. “My baby could have deformities. There’s a lot that goes with it.”

Another woman’s name was on the bottle along with a birth date in 1953 but Silva didn’t see the error until it was too late.

“I took it because I thought it was mine. I came back and I looked at the bottle and it wasn’t my name,” says Silva.

This is Silva’s first child.

Pharmacy mix-ups are not new. According to ABC News, a report in the Atlanta Constitution indicated that about 3 percent of all prescriptions have potentially harmful errors including the wrong medicine, the wrong dosage or the wrong directions.

ABC reports that Safeway confirms its pharmacy mixed up prescriptions and says they’re investigating:

Safeway admitted the prescription mistake to ABC and said they would launch a full investigation.

“When the pharmacist became aware of what happened, he worked with the patient and with her physicians to minimize any possible health consequences to the patient and her unborn child,” Safeway said in a prepared statement. “We have extended our sincere apologies to the customer, and offered to pay any medical expenses incurred as a result of a prescription error.

Image: Flickr/e-MagineArt

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About Danielle Sullivan


Danielle Sullivan

Danielle Sullivan writes for Babble Pets. She is also an award-winning parenting writer, who authors a monthly column for NY Parenting and ASPCA Parents blog. You can read more of her work at her blog,Some Puppy To Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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11 thoughts on “Pregnant Woman Given Abortion Drug Instead Of Antibiotic Due To Pharmacy Mix-up

  1. Joe says:

    I am sorry! But how old is that girl? Did she and her mommy plan for her to become a single, teenage mother?

    In the back of my mind I’m wondering if the mix-up is being turned into a Get Rich Quick opportunity. Perhaps the fetus should be aborted for other practical reasons, like her growing up before she starts another unhealthy family.

  2. Danielle Sullivan says:

    The woman’s age has nothing to do with this horrifying mix-up, and quite frankly, no one should judge her.

  3. Jenna says:

    Joe, the fact that you’re turning this woman’s heart wrenching situation into a platform to voice your own ignorant and hurtful opinion is sick. Aside from the fact that I saw nothing in this article to indicate that she was very young, do you think it is less painful for a young woman to deal with losing a child than an old one?

  4. Jen says:

    While I understand that the pills in a bottle can always be wrong……. I have to wonder why she didn’t read the bottle/material that came with the prescription. Am I the only one who actually reads the information sheet that comes with my prescriptions? I’m not blaming the woman… this is a horrible story and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. But there is a reason you get that information and there are reasons you need to double check meds before you take them.

    ….and Joe is certifiable jerk (I’d like to use other words).

  5. harley says:

    Accountability is always hindsight, yes the pharmacist should have checks/balances in place to avoid prescription mix ups; and yes the patient should always check their medication before taking it, actually before leaving with medication in tow. It has happened to me, not so dramatically. Mine was with a miscount/dosage of pills from a Walgreens. And yes they corrected the dosage and count of medication.
    In our hurried lives we ASSUME all is well and place trust 1000% in doctors, pharmacists, bankers, lawyers, car mechanics, TV commercials, etc. When mistakes occur we are horrified and immediately look for some one to blame other than ourselves. The issue here is BLAME. This is simply a tragedy of errors…period. A big red light once again saying “HEY WORLD SLOW DOWN PAY ATTENTION” and we should

  6. Susan Stoltz says:

    A Safeway Pharmacist in Colorado overdosed my Jack Russell Terrier with 10x the amount of antihistamines prescribed by the vet. Safeway ‘investigated’ that too and I was told that they weren’t responsible and wouldn’t pay any damages. I wish this young woman good luck. The pharmacist didn’t even get a slap on the wrist from the pharmaceutical board even though I reported it. I wonder if it was the same pharmacist since he runs a big company to ‘fill in’ for other pharmacists on vacation.

    Take a look at what happened:

  7. Danielle Sullivan says:

    @Susan That is terrible and I am so sorry that happened. I just watched the video and what was equally infuriating is the lackadaisical attitude they had toward your dog. Our pets are part of the family, and it’s sick how they view them as possessions incapable of suffering pain. And it’s another Safeway too! How is Sharkey doing today?

  8. Susan Stoltz says:

    Hi Danielle, Sharkey suffers from allergies and can no longer take antihistamines due to the overdose and subsequent liver damage. We try to manage with topical solutions and occasionally have to put her on a round of steroids. This pharmacist was reported to the proper authorities, to no avail. You can read more about Sharkey’s story on her website

    Thanks so much for your concern – so many people were rooting for Sharkey. This isn’t the last of the mistakes at Safeway, they’ve made several others recently and in the same area – to humans. There’s a contact page on Sharkey’s site if you’d like to speak further, I’d welcome the opportunity to let you know what’s up.


  9. Michele says:

    can’t find the link, but she is in fact married or at least with the father. And if it is a ploy then she must really have some dirt on the pharmacist to get him to change up the medication and such.

    So I doubt it, this stuff happens more than we as the public like to believe.
    Hope it turns out well, no matter what occurred.

  10. Toni says:

    It’s funny how they say animals are possessions and don’t feel pain, but if that were that case then why do they put animal owners in jail for animal cruelty and neglect, and the animal rescues are always saying they’re noticeably in pain…..

  11. Brandon says:

    While this is terrible, there are multiple people who are wrong here and just pointing the finger at one person is wrong. How about the corporations that demand that pharmacies cut corners and are understaffed to ensure that shareholders make an extra cent per share. Or the people who demand their prescriptions be filled in 10 seconds. Or the woman who shoved pills in her mouth before even looking at the name on the bottle.

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