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  • Not vetted for CNN

  • Posted July 19, 2008 by
    CSJerry
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Larry King Live: Your questions

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    Medication Error Killed My Beautiful 2 Year Old Girl!

     

    Thank you for the opportunity to share our daughter, Emily’s, tragic story with all of you today.  This does not get any easier, in fact, our lives still seem so surreal.  There is no pain greater than losing a child. My beautiful Emily’s death was senseless and preventable.  However, I hope to prevent any other family from having to endure the pain that I live with every day.

       

    Emily was diagnosed with a yolk sac tumor when she was about a year-and-a-half old.  The tumor was the size of a grapefruit and stemmed from the base of her spine.  Even though our Emily was diagnosed with this frightening form of cancer, her team of doctors and nurses assured me that Emily’s cancer was not only treatable but highly curable!  Emily endured months of surgeries, grueling testing and rigorous chemotherapy sessions (which would last for five straight days).  If Emily’s blond ringlets had not fallen out due to the chemotherapy, no one would have been able to tell that she was even sick.  She maintained her sweet disposition and contagious little giggle through out all of her treatments.  Emily loved to play dress up with her big sister, Katherine, with all of their princess outfits!  Nate, her big brother, would read to her for hours and hours, the same books over and over.  How Katherine and Nate adored their little sister, Emily!

     

    Emily’s treatment had been so successful that her last MRI clearly showed that the tumor had nearly disappeared.  She was scheduled to begin her last chemotherapy session on her second birthday, February 24, 2006.  This last treatment was just to be sure that there were no traces of cancer left inside of her little body.  We celebrated Emily’s second birthday in the hospital.  Some of her doctors and nurses had planned a surprise party for her and showered her with gifts, balloons and the whole works!  She had a constant flow of visitors to help with the celebration.  After Emily’s grandparents left, Nate and Katherine came with with me bearing cupcakes for everyone on the floor.  I could not think of a better birthday present than being told that this was Emily’s last chemotherapy and she would be coming home cancer free!!  Emily would finally be able to  live as a normal two year old!  Tragically, that never happened.

     

    Sunday, February 26th was Emily’s third day of her last chemotherapy treatment.  It started out as any typical morning in the hospital.  Emily ate her breakfast while watching her favorite Barney episode as doctors and nurses made their morning rounds.  As usual, my wife and Emily took a few laps around the floor following Emily with her IV equipment while she pedaled her big wheel with all of her might.  After playing in the activity room and scrubbing the play kitchen set with the nurses’ stash of alcohol swabs, it was time for lunch and an afternoon nap.  Emily’s grandparents stopped by for some hugs and kisses and to help entertain while my wife took a much needed shower.  That was the last time they ever saw their little “Emmy” alive.

     

    Emily’s fatal dose was administered at 4:30 Sunday afternoon.  She woke up from her nap very groggy which was so out of character for her.  She kept trying to sit up and asked my wife to hold her in her lap.  As she picked her up to cuddle with her, I noticed how her little body was so listless.  She kept grabbing her head and moaning that it hurt.  Emily spotted her mother's can of Coke that she had on the tray and begged to have a sip.  She sipped the rest of the can through the straw in a matter of seconds.  She cried for more before she started screaming, “Mommy, my head, my head hurts!  MY HEAD HURTS!”  The whole time she was screaming she was holding the sides of her little head.  My wife frantically called for the nurses as Emily began profusely vomiting.  I was just walking in as the nurses were grabbing her from my wife’s arms.  Emily went completely limp and the nurses began to resuscitate her.  Within seconds, there were doctors and nurses everywhere.  Emmy was rushed to the intensive care unit as the team was urgently attempting to find out what could possibly be going so very wrong.  Within the hour, our precious daughter, Emily, was on life support.

     

    We held Emily’s little hand and ran along beside her bed as she was rushed to have CT scans and other tests to determine the extent of damage to her brain.  Since the life support machines could not go through the scans with her, the nurses climbed on the bed and manually kept her breathing during the testing.  This was so surreal to have this happening and still no answers as to why Emily was dying.  This couldn’t really be happening!  We should have been having dinner and talking with Nate and Katherine on the phone to make sure that they had their book bags packed and ready for school.  What was I going to tell Nate and Katherine?  The last time they saw their little sister alive was on her birthday, February 24th.  They were not allowed to visit on the weekend due to the cold and flu policy.  What a joke.  No one got any sleep that night.  we sat on Emmy’s bed holding her hands and kissing her little toes as the machines kept her body alive, hoping that we would wake up and this terrible nightmare would be over.  It never ended.  It just got worse.

     

    The next morning the room was filled with strangers’ horror-filled faces as we were told of how my little angel, Emily had been killed.  Killed by an overdose of sodium chloride in her chemotherapy IV bag.

     

    Wednesday, March 1st  was supposed to be a day of celebration.  Before entering the hospital, we had planned a belated birthday and a cancer-free party  for our Emily.  Instead, our little Emily was delivered to the Cuyahoga County Morgue.

     

    Our family has been completely destroyed by the inexcusable and preventable homicide of our daughter, Emily.  A pharmacy technician that had been working for the hospital for quite a number of years decided not to use a standard prepared bag of sodium chloride solution ( with less than 1% of sodium chloride solution).  Instead, the pharmacy technician filled a plastic bag with a concentrated sodium chloride solution of 23.4%  of which she had compounded herself.  When the pharmacy board investigators and other officials investigating Emily’s death asked the technician why she had made this outrageous error, she replied that she did not know.  She claimed that she knew that something was not right but she was not sure.  The pharmacy technician was asked if she knew that an overdose of sodium chloride could result in death.    She claimed that she was not aware of that fact.  How can a person who works in a pharmacy and compounds medications daily not know that?

     

    Currently, the pharmacist that was in charge of overseeing the technician’s work has been indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.  The pharmacist also had his pharmacy license revoked by the State Pharmacy Board of Ohio.  The way the law is today, the pharmacist is the ultimate responsible party for any medications that leave the pharmacy.

     

    What has happened to the pharmacy technician who actually compounded Emily’s lethal dosage of sodium chloride?

        NOTHING!

     

    Would you want this pharmacy technician filling your prescriptions?  Or your children’s?  She may be!   Channel 3 news (in Cleveland) and the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that she was working at a CVS and training other technicians!  Ohio does not even register pharmacy technicians.  As of now, the state of Ohio only has three requirements to be a pharmacy technician.  The first requirement is to have a high school degree or a GED.  The second requirement is to have a felony-free record.

     

    If you have any questions regarding this issue or if you would simply like to discuss it, please do not hesitate to call.  We genuinely look forward to hearing back from you soon!

     

     

    Very best regards, 

     

    Chris

     

    Christopher S. Jerry

    747 Cobblestone Ct.

    Painesville, Ohio 44077

     

    Mobile:  216-551-3784

    E-mail:  christopher.jerry@sbcglobal.net 

     

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