(RightWing.org) – Few things are more precious to couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) than the eggs and sperm that will eventually (hopefully) grow to become a child. Likewise, few things are less in a person’s control than the process of a doctor prescribing and a pharmacy dispensing needed medications. These things tragically collided for a Nevada couple in 2019.
Sadly, for Timika Thomas and her husband from North Las Vegas, Nevada, several apparent errors at their local CVS pharmacy in 2019 resulted in the loss of two embryos that had just been implanted in her, according to a story that was first broken by the local CBS affiliate KLAS. Although the couple already share four children, the woman had always wanted a large family and as she moved past 30 years of age, she developed problems conceiving and decided to go this route to fulfill her lifelong dream.
The doctor prescribed Endometrin to be inserted vaginally which would, as Thomas put it, “trick” her body into believing that it was pregnant and begin generating the correct hormones. Instead, the pharmacy technician who entered the script into the computer allegedly made the erroneous assumption that she knew the generic replacement for the brand name written by the doctor.
Instead of sending Thomas home with hormone-boosting drugs that would help her carry at least one of the babies to term, the tech started the process of substituting misoprostol instead. According to the website of Planned Parenthood, this medication “causes cramping and bleeding that empties your uterus… like having an early miscarriage.” The error caused Thomas to lose both embryos.
It appears that the only consolation that Thomas has received from CVS came in the form of an apology and after several years she and her husband filed a complaint with the Nevada Board of Pharmacy against two pharmacists and the store in which they work on April 21, 2023. After an investigation, the board found in their “findings of fact” that the technician’s mistake did take place, which would be the first domino to fall in this horrific scenario.
Licensed pharmacist Sandra Le did not discover the mistake when verifying the prescription, and actually “overrode a system warning pertaining to the… error relating to misoprostol.” When Thomas came in a few days later to pick up her prescriptions, a second pharmacist by the name of Khanh Pham failed to perform the necessary counseling of the patient which the investigation found “would have alerted Thomas that she had been given the wrong medication.”
Had there not been such an epic failure on the part of all the employees of CVS, the physical pain suffered by Tamika Thomas and the emotional distress felt by her and her husband could have been avoided. The Board revoked the licenses of both pharmacists but stayed those orders provided they take certain continuing education classes within one year of the effective date. Le was fined $2,000, Pham was fined $750, and CVS was ordered to pay $10,000, each of the respondents was also ordered to pay a prorated share of the costs incurred by the investigation and the Boards expenses.
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