Prescription error: changes urged after infant takes near-fatal dose
Published Wednesday, February 18, 2015 11:50AM EST
An Edmonton-area pharmacy is changing its practices after it's believed a local newborn was given a nearly fatal dose of morphine.
Shortly after his birth, Baby Asher's doctor prescribed morphine for a medical condition. The prescription was filled at the Dispensaries Limited pharmacy in south Edmonton.
Asher's grandmother, Vera Smith, told CTV News that, last weekend, she gave Asher a dose of the medicine and sat down to feed him. It took just minutes for her to realize something was wrong.
"Within about three suckles, he started drooling. He wasn't swallowing. His eyes rolled in the back of his head and his arms just fell back," Smith said. "He went limp in my hands."
The family called 911 and the infant was rushed to hospital where doctors confirmed a morphine overdose. It turns out Asher had been given 100 times more morphine than he should have received.
"If the paramedics didn't respond the way they did and do such a fantastic job, I am 100 per cent sure Asher wouldn't be here," Smith told CTV News Tuesday.
Asher's parents were given the wrong concentration of morphine. While the pharmacy wouldn't appear on camera, CTV Edmonton's Carmen Leibel was told that a pharmacist checked the prescription, an assistant filled it, and the pharmacist checked it again.
CTV News also learned that a pharmacist went to the hospital to visit the family as soon as they found out what had happened.
The pharmacy says it's changing its procedures to make it mandatory for a second pharmacist to double check "high-risk" prescriptions, such as morphine.
The Alberta College of Pharmacists says it is launching an investigation to determine what happened.
Vera Smith says she's glad the incident is being taken seriously, but would like to see more. She says she's since heard from other people who also were victims of prescription errors and says people need to be made aware that mistakes can happen.
"I'm going to spend my last dying breath making sure something does happen," she said.
With a report from CTV Edmonton's Carmen Leibel