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Medication error almost ended new mother's life

Infertility and/or pregnancy difficulties are realities that many couples face. For some, the pain and struggle of having a baby does not end with the joyous birth of a child. Many parents spend days, weeks or months in NICUs as babies struggle to survive. Massachusetts parents may be interested in how a medication error almost ended one mother's life within days of her child's birth.

The mother recounts that she and her husband struggled to become pregnant. Although she was able to conceive her son, the pregnancy was not easy. She suffered from a condition called preeclampsia which was dangerous for her and her baby. By the time her baby had reached 31 weeks in utero, the mother's blood pressure was dangerously high as a side effect of the preeclampsia. She and her doctors determined that an early delivery of the baby was in the best interest of both the mother and the child's health.

Both the mother and baby survived the delivery, and both began necessary treatments for their own recoveries. Once the mother was ready to be discharged to go home, her blood pressure continued to need oral treatment. After blacking out in the NICU while visiting her newborn, it was discovered that her pharmacy, CVS, likely dispensed her a blood pressure dose too low for her needs and as prescribed by her doctor. As a result of an incorrect dose, the mother required another hospitalization, and her milk supply diminished, which was essential for the health of her newborn. 

Although technology has added safeguards to prevent medication errors, they still occur. A medication error that jeopardizes the life of a human is serious and can lead to unexpected medical treatment. Some patients in Massachusetts find comfort in learning that some circumstances may be appropriate for a medical malpractice claim. At the end of a successfully navigated lawsuit, adversely affected patients may be granted compensation to help with the medical expenses. 

Source:, "Protecting your family from prescription errors", Adam Racusin and Mario Sevilla, April 26, 2018

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