Saturday, October 6, 2012

Medicinal Scare

Some of my readers are aware that Bobble has been sick for pretty much the last month now. Here's a brief run-down of what the poor boy has been through:

It started with teething, drainage from that, and coughing from the drainage. That weekend he got a stomach bug. Then he was getting better, but the next weekend he got a cold. That got better, but his rash on his bottom (which he had since the week before) was worse. Doctors treated it like staph and gave topical and oral medicines. 

His cough and temperature worsened. We went to urgent care a few days later. He had an upper respiratory infection as well. Another antibiotic added on. Oh, and the doctor confirmed that not only is Bobble cutting his 4 canines, but his 4 two-year molars as well. Joy!

Tuesday he went back to the doctor. He wasn't eating for the past month, pretty much. He had let us give him yogurt still, but since he started the antibiotics the week before, he wouldn't eat and refused liquids from anyone but mom. Difference is, my liquids are 'on tap' for him. We go back in and find out that his ear infection is cleared up, so we need to stop giving him that medicine. His bottom now looks like it's yeast infection (from the antibiotics he was on), and he has thrush from those antibiotics. Okay, stop all antibiotics and switch to this new medicine .... DIFLUCAN.

That was Tuesday. That night we got the Rx. It was thick. It was supposed to be oral suspension, but it was THICKER than glue. Not kidding. I looked in the bottle (not even 1/4 full) and wondered how the hell that was supposed to last 14 days. (well, 7.... we had two bottles made up). The dosage was 6.5ml the first day, 3 ml each day after that for 14 days. My husband complained about it and it took about 3 minutes for him to even DRAW UP THE MEDICINE. I said that it didn't look right. It just didn't. We administered the medicine anyway, but while trying to administer it, and Bobble fought and fought. I was able to see a closer view of how the consistency was (since I didn't draw it, only peeked at it in the dropper) and he was BAWLING. Gagging. Throwing his head side to side as that disgusting looking paste was in his mouth. He would sob and then silence for a minute because the stuff was so thick that it blocked air passage. 

I told hubby to call the pharmacy, this is definitely not right. He did. They said to bring the medicine in and they would gladly look at it. I took both bottles in. Not one, but TWO pharmacists looked at the medicine. Not Cashiers. Not Pharmacy Technicians. PHARMACISTS. CHEMISTS. Whatever the heck you call them... the people that make about $90k a year because people's lives depend on them. Those people. Yeah, them.

They looked at the medicine I brought in, then tried to shake it. It wouldn't shake because it was so thick.

They grabbed a new (unmixed) package of the medicine and evaluated.

They discussed.

After all this, they came back to me and said this is definitely correct.


I went home and that was that. The next day my poor little pumpkin, again, fought and fought the medicine. I still swore this was not right. He got the last little bit of his dose and vomited everything up. He had FINALLY eaten. Up came the beverages. Up came the yogurt. Up came the segment of donut he decided he had to eat. Up came all the medicine. It bubbled out his mouth and nose, and it was so thick that the bubbles took eons to pop. After cleaning it all up, I called the doctors office. If this was correctly mixed, then we need a different medicine. Him losing what he ate is NOT progress for us.

It was after 5... heck, it was after 7pm, so we got the nurse-on-call. That's fine by me, she'd do what I needed. I explained. She called the doctor on call. Called back and told us to NOT administer any more to make up for what he just lost, and that the dr's office that prescribed the medicine will call me the next day (thursday).

Thursday is the day I got hit hard by the bug going around my house. All my joints ached. My glands/lymphnodes were swollen. It hurt a wee bit to swallow. My boss strongly encouraged me to go home from work and I finally did. I got a call from the nurse in the pediatrician's office. She said that there is no substitute for this medicine, and that he has to have it. She said to mix it with applesauce. I told her it couldn't be mixed with anything, it was too thick. She said they prescribe this to children much younger than mine and they have no issues. I said there was no way he could take this, described it as being thicker than paste, any thicker and it would be DOUGH... she kept saying I needed to try to administer it. I kept complaining until she put me on hold and went to speak to the doctor again.

I wait and wait.... then she comes back on the phone. She said the doctor does NOT think that sounds right and he wants me to go back to the pharmacy and have them remix the medicine. I call the pharmacy and a pharmacist that actually looked at the meds 2 days before was the one that answered. He offered to remix the medicine for me without me even getting that far. 

I took the bottles and went. 

BOTH pharmacists that were there the other day (and evaluated his meds) were there. They got out a new bottle of the meds (powder), administered the 24ml it calls for to be mixed in, and started shaking the bottle. They shook, and shook, and shook. After a few minutes one talks to the other. They seem to do some bottle-looking (new and old, maybe? I couldn't see from where I was), and more conversing. After a few minutes, they grab another bottle and add water like they did a few minutes earlier. 

Shake shake shake.

I wander down an aisle, up another, and back. Killing time and all. Finally, the pharmacist comes up to the counter. I head over and he is leaning over it to be very close to me to talk. My experience with that is usually a secret..... or simply anything they don't want others hearing.

He shows me the bottle of newly mixed medicine. It's full to the top, and very much a liquid. The previous bottle was not even 1/4 full, and very much a sludge.

He apologizes profusely for the mixup, and says he will look into who mixed it the first time. Even more so, he is sorry that they didn't investigate it further when I brought the medicine in the first time. He said it seemed odd to them it was such a thick medicine, but when they looked at the unmixed bottle, it was nearly full to the top with powder, so they assumed it was just a dense medicine. He went on to say they never really saw it mixed before, yada yada yada. He said that he doesn't know how it happened, but maybe they only mixed it with 14ml of water. Actually, considering how much was in that bottle, it was likely only mixed with 10ml. Yes, that 4 ml makes a difference... that's an entire dose for him after day 1.

Alright... Back up.

YOUR JOB is to make sure the medicine is made properly. Yes, I understand a pharmacy technician is probably who mixed it up, but YOU SHOULD HAVE REALIZED that what I brought back in to you was NOT 24ml of fluid at all... and if YOU thought that it seemed odd, MAYBE IT WAS!
First off, I'm thankful that it was not a super dangerous medicine. My son received (and held down) 6.5ml of a SUPER CONCENTRATED dose of that stuff.... over 2x what he should have had. 
MY SON COULD HAVE DIED if it were more dangerous, and even now he could have suffered damage from that strong of a dose. 

I was surprisingly polite, thanked him for the new medicine, and left. I called my doctor's office to let them know what happened, and didn't get a call back until I was napping.... but my phone should have woken me up (it was next to me). What I didn't know was hubby moved it so I wouldn't get woken up from my nap, so I noticed I missed a call after the office closed. Had I gotten the call, I would have heard they didn't want me to administer his medicine last night, but wait until tonight to do so. They didn't leave a detailed message, just who they were and to call them... so I had no clue. I gave him the meds last night. He started to fight, but eventually took a bit. After he realized it was not paste, he happily took the rest. No fight.

I spoke with them today and learned of the whole medicine hold-off thing. They said to just skip tonight's dose and then resume the low doses tomorrow (just to make sure it's all spaced out enough to make up for that one big dose). The nurse I spoke with happened to be the same nurse I chatted with the day before. She was in disbelief at the pharmacists. 
I am too. That's ALL their job is. Seriously. They couldn't get that right. Even with it brought to their attention, the dismissed it. What if that HAD been a more dangerous drug? Even though it was administered to my child, I went STRAIGHT THERE after that with the meds, and they could have said "oh, this is wrong.... do this for your child" or "take your child to ER" or "give him this to help break down the medicine" or something. The way this played out, had it been more dangerous, they would have had a second chance to prevent disaster, and still would have failed.

Moral of the story? TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. I knew something was not right with that. Also, don't trust the pharmacists at (MY) Discount Drug Mart. Sure, they have a drive-through. Sure, they are open until 10pm. Sure, they are not even a mile from my house. All that convenience wouldn't have brought my son back if something had happened to him.
I am 100% not impressed.


  1. oh no! I hope your baby feels better!! I'm a pharmacy tech and I hate it when stuff like this happens but it does because healthcare is run by people who only care about money. I worked at a hospital with the most bare bones staff and our boss was harping on about sending new meds up ASAP but we argued that a choice has to be made ...either sending things up fast, or sending this up correct because the workload was too much for one person to do both each time and he just said there was enough time to do it right and fast...pretty much the only person in the pharmacy of that opinion.

    1. What kills me is that hey had the chance to rectify it that first day, but the pharmacists looked at the medicine and said it was fine.