A Fort Lupton, Colorado Safeway has made a very serious error. Mareena Silva was six weeks pregnant when she thought she was ingesting an antibiotic which her doctor had prescribed for her. She was not. She was accidentally given methotrexate, which is used in combatting cancer or terminating pregnancies.
Silva began to feel nauseous and consulted the bottle only to discover that she had been given another patient’s medicine — one who shared Silva’s last name and had a very similar first name. Silva immediately called her doctor who recognized the severe nature of the drug and encouraged her to throw the drug up. She was then rushed to the hospital.
Danielle first covered the horrible story for Babble over at StrollerDerby.
Luckily, doctors at Platte Valley Medical Center were able to prevent a miscarriage. But Silva and her unborn child are far from out of the woods. Doctors will continue to monitor her closely. Silva could, indeed, still have a perfectly healthy baby. But methotrexate is such a powerful drug that she could also wind up giving birth to a baby with serious abnormalities and birth defects or even suffer a miscarriage.
“This is my first child, so it’s really difficult to deal with,” Silva told ABC News. “For all this to happen now is really overwhelming, to know that I have to come home and wait.”
Safeway has admitted their mistake and released the following statement:
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. We have extended our sincere apologies to the customer, and offered to pay any medical expenses incurred as a result of a prescription error.
Safeway has pharmacy systems and processes in place to prevent this kind of occurrence. We have a well-earned reputation for reliably and safely filling prescriptions, and we will continue to work diligently to ensure our procedures and policies are being followed at each of our pharmacies.
But a gracious statement isn’t going to do Silva much good. Besides, it’s not just the prescription filling process that went awry here. Methotrexate is the type of dangerous drug that should always come with a consultation according to Mike Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medicine Practice. “Any time it is prescribed, it does warrant the pharmacist talk directly to the patient, even when the patient doesn’t ask to do so,” he said. “That’s very critical.”
Tragically, that didn’t happen this time. Silva’s quick actions may have prevented any adverse effects, but only time will tell.
If you ever feel as if you’ve somehow taken the wrong medicine, do not hesitate to call the poison control center right away at 800-222-1222.
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