Like many kids with sickle cell anemia, Jadalyn Allen had to deal with a lot of pain. It got so bad at times that she had to take morphine. But back in March, Jadalyn died from a massive morphine overdose. Now her mom claims she died because of a dosage error at the pharmacy.
Simone Allen says her 6-year-old daughter, Jadalyn, died after taking a dose of morphine 10 times higher than her prescription called for. Jadalyn had been taking the liquid painkiller off and on for sickle cell anemia.Jadalyn was originally prescribed 20 milligrams per 10 milliliters of morphine. But what she actually got was 20 milligrams per one milliliter--ten times the prescribed amount. The overdose was so massive that Simone was initially the target of a criminal investigation.
Jadalyn died April 3, 2012, one day after taking the mega dosage, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Harris County District Court against Cullen Care Pharmacy. The cause of Jadalyn's death was "morphine toxicity," according to the lawsuit.
Allen's lawyer, Muhammad Aziz, said he had hoped to settle out of court, but negotiations "fell apart" when the pharmacy's insurance company blamed Jadalyn's death on her blood disorder instead of a pharmacy error.
"There's more than enough evidence to support our claim," said Aziz, citing what he says are facts established by the coroner's report, pharmacy records that reflect the dosage discrepancy and tests on the remaining contents of the morphine bottle. "Frankly, I'm surprised it had to come to this."
According to KTRK-TV in Houston, Allen initially sought $1 million in damages. While Texas tort reform caps the damages at $250,000, what she wants more is an apology.
Believe it or not, what happened to Jadalyn is more common than it seems. Back in 2011, ABC reported that pharmacists sometimes mix up drugs because the names sound alike, or because they can't decipher a doctor's writing.
Another factor may be inadequate training. Back in 2010, a Florida woman got a stroke after taking ten milligrams of blood thinner when she have only gotten one. She suffered a massive stroke, and ended up having to stop treatment for breast cancer--a disease that killed her in 2007. The Walgreens pharmacy tech who filled it had just started working at Walgreens after leaving a job at a movie theater. Walgreens was forced to pay $25.8 million in damages.