Healthcare News & Insights

Pharmacy’s foul-up could cost first-time mom her baby

Instead of the antibiotic prescribed for a woman in her first trimester, a pharmacist dispensed a drug used to induce medical abortions.

When Mareena Silva of Ft. Lupton, Colorado, picked up her prescription at the Ft. Lupton Safeway, she didn’t notice the patient name on the bottle. Instead of her antibiotic, she had been given methotrexate intended for a woman with the same last name and a similar first name.

Methotrexate is used in chemotherapy and also to terminate early-stage pregnancies.

After taking the pill, Silva started to feel nauseous. That’s when she checked the pill bottle and noticed the mistake.

Her doctor advised her to try to make herself vomit — when that didn’t work, she was rushed to a local hospital and given charcoal to absorb the drug.

It’s unclear at this point if Silva will be able to carry the pregnancy to term — and if she does, whether the child will be born healthy. Doctors say there’s a risk of severe deformities.

Safeway has admitted the pharmacist made a mistake, and it’s investigating how it happened. Like most pharmacies, Safeway has procedures in place — such as asking a patient to repeat their home address or the name of the drug they’re picking up — just to avoid this kind of similar-name snafu.

Safeway also said it will pay for any medical expenses incurred by the Silva’s due to the mistake.

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