Pharmacy Error Gives Pregnant Woman Abortion Drug Instead of Antibiotic
Paul NapoliFebruary 09, 2011 5:41 AM
February 8, 2011
A Colorado pharmacy mistakenly gave a pregnant woman the wrong drug, placing the life of her unborn child at risk, reports the Denver Post.
Mareena Silva, 19, went to the Safeway pharmacy in Fort Lupton, CO to pick up a prescription for antibiotics. The pharmacy mixed up Silva’s prescription with that of another woman with a similar name. Silva returned home and unknowingly took the dangerous medication, became ill and then rushed to the hospital.
Silva, six weeks pregnant with her first child, had been given methotrexate, a drug used to treat cancer, severe psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Physicians also prescribe methotrexate as a non-surgical option to abort early pregnancy.
When given for early abortion, methotrexate causes a miscarriage of the fetus two to six weeks after taking the drug. If the pregnancy does not terminate, the child has a high risk of deformities or birth defects.
Marcel Casavant, chief of pharmacology and toxology at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH told ABC News that Silva’s unborn child has a 50-50 chance of having problems, even though she only took one methotrexate pill before realizing the error.
Safeway has apologized for the error and has offered to pay Silva’s medical expenses. According to the company, pharmacy staff could have avoided this tragedy by following company procedures and performing a verbal verification of the Silva’s name and birthday when she picked up her prescription.
“We understand the anxiety this has caused and the difficulty of Ms. Silva's situation,” Safeway Inc. spokesperson Kris Staaf said in a statement. “We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that all our pharmacists follow the strict policies and procedures we have in place to prevent medication errors.”