When you go to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled, do you look at the labels when you finally get your medications? If not, you may want to start today. Simone Allen's 6-year-old daughter died last year due to a morphine overdose, because the pharmacy—from which the mom got the painkiller—gave her a dose that was 10 times the correct dose.
Allen's daughter had been taking morphine to combat the symptoms of sickle cell anemia. The pharmacy has not come forward accepting blame, even though the coroner's report confirmed Allen's claim—Jaclyn, her daughter, died of morphine toxicity. Mom is suing for $250,000, but above all she wants to see changes at pharmacies: "Miss Allen hopes that Cullen Pharmacy and all other pharmacies will pay more attention to the training of their employees," her lawyer told KTRK-TV. Oh, and she wants an apology, like any human being would. "I lost my child, why wouldn't you call me?" she wondered.
Allen had been going to Cullen Pharmacy for years, which makes this story even harder to digest. You come to expect a certain standard of quality; you come to trust the people behind the counter. And then you let your guard down. So how can this be avoided? Unfortunately, it may fall on us to be diligent and always confirm we've got the right medication and dosage. Especially if you're getting a refill, you know best after repeated use and can (and should) question if you think there's been a pharmacy error. Bottom line: be proactive.