This week, pharmacist Eric Cropp pleaded no contest to an involuntary manslaughter charge involving the death of a two-year-old patient in 2006. The toddler, Emily Jerry, died after she was administered an overdose of sodium chloride while undergoing chemotherapy at a hospital.
Cropp made the fatal pharmacy error while working as the supervising pharmacist at a hospital. On February 26, 2006, Cropp neglected to catch the pharmacy technician’s preparation error and properly verify whether the contents and composition of the solution were correct before approving a mix that was 23% salt-based when it should have only been 1%. The technician, Katie Dudash, later testified that she had warned Cropp that she didn’t think the mixture was correct.
Following the medication overdose, Emily slipped into a coma before dying on March 1.
Prosecutor James Gutierrez says that Cropp admitted to the mistake and says that he could have or should have seen the warning signs and caught the deadly mistake. Following the pharmacy misfill incident, another pharmacy hired Cropp, who made 15 more pharmacy errors until his license was revoked.
As part of Cropp’s plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the reckless homicide charge against him. Cropp’s sentencing is scheduled for July 17. He could end up serving a maximum five-year prison sentence.
Pharmacy misfills can be catastrophic for the patients that take the wrong medicine or dosage. This is why it is so important that the pharmacy or the pharmacist supervisor double check a prescription or mix to make sure that the dose and/or medication is correct.
In an unrelated incident in another US state, baby Lindsey Lindberg could have died last month if her mother hadn’t noticed that she gave her the wrong medication more than once because of a labeling error.
Lindsey was born in November with a heart defect. Her mother, Courtney Lindberg, had been giving her a number of prescriptions that she would get filled at a Walgreens. Right before the Lindsey was supposed to undergo open heart surgery, she began to act fussy. It wasn’t until she spit up that Courtney realized that Walgreens had put the correct label for Lindsey’s medication on a bottle containing the wrong medicine.
A 2-year-old. A death. A pharmacist facing jail. What will spur lasting change?, MedCity News, May 14, 2009
Pharmacist Could Get 5 Years For Fatal Chemo Error In Toddler, Newsnet5.com, May 13, 2009
Mom gives baby wrong drug after labeling error, SeattlePI.com, May 6, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Unreported Pharmacy Errors, ABC News
20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children, AHRQ.gov
Our Maryland pharmacy misfill injury lawyers are aware of just how common pharmacy errors are and how deadly these mistakes can be for patients. Please contact Lebowitz & Mzhen to request your free case evaluation.