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Timika Thomas of Las Vegas is mourning the accidental termination of her pregnancy due to a CVS medication blunder, CBS 8 News reported.
Thomas, a mother of four healthy children, ultimately decided with her husband to try for another child in 2019.
But the couple had trouble conceiving as Thomas approached her 30s. She had two ectopic pregnancies– a fertilized egg is implanted into a place that doesn’t support its growth. It called for her to undergo a Salpingectomy, which removes the fallopian tubes.
Thomas and her husband decided to try invitro fertilization (IVF). Initially, she pushed the butt injections but didn’t like the emotional impact. So, Thomas had doctors input two eggs into her body and sent her home with prescriptions. One prescribed medication helps spark the pregnancy process by producing enough hormones.
“You have to make yourself think it’s pregnant,” she explained. “We’re taking a lot of supplements to make our bodies think it’s pregnant.”
The doctor swapped her butt injections for a vaginal suppository.
Thomas arrived at a North Las Vegas CVS located at W. Craig Road and Camino Al Norte to pick up her medication.
However, she noticed something felt off when she took the two required doses. She started cramping, but not in the same way she did during IVF.
“My cramping went beyond that,” she said. “It was extreme. It was painful.”
Thomas’ heart broke after she searched the prescription label online.
“The first thing I read is it’s used for abortions,” Thomas said. It would turn out that the CVS pharmacists accidentally gave her abortion medication, killing her embryos.
Still today, Thomas is devastated about the pharmacist’s mistake that snatched her pregnancy dreams.
“They just killed my baby,” Thomas recalled saying at the time. “Both of my babies because I transferred two embryos.”
The mom of four learned that the mistake happened because of CVS pharmacists and a technician’s error.
The technician believed she knew the name of Thomas’ doctor’s prescribed brand but entered the wrong one. One pharmacist should have noticed the mistake, and another didn’t counsel the devastated woman.
“It [the error] would have been caught because then they would have had to have the medicine in their hand,” Thomas said. “And they would have said, ‘Oh, this is Misoprostol or Cytotek, have you taken this before?’ And I would have said ‘no.’”
Thomas went to the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy and told her story. The two pharmacists were ordered to pay a fine and had their licenses temporarily suspended. The board also fined CVS the maximum amount the statute allowed, $10,000, for its indirect role. An attorney for the retail company argued that the fault lay in the pharmacists, not CVS, which felt like a slap to Thomas.
“I felt like that was not okay because he should have took initiative for the company as a whole,” she said.
CVS apologized for the error, claiming that prescription blunders were rare, but the company took steps to learn and improve to provide better patient care.
“We’ve apologized to our patient for the prescription incident that occurred in 2019 and have cooperated with the Nevada Board of Pharmacy in this matter. The health and well-being of our patients is our number one priority, and we have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to support prescription safety. Prescription errors are very rare, but if one does occur, we take steps to learn from it in order to continuously improve quality and patient safety.”
While both pharmacists apologized, one was a sobbing mess, claiming it was a human error. She also said the pharmacists were forced to handle prescription verification, drop-offs, and pick-ups.
But to Thomas, their “sorries” won’t be enough to compensate for her and her family’s tragic loss.
The two pharmacists responsible for the mistake are white and Asian. As stated in a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, racism, discrimination and biases plague this country’s healthcare system, leading to unequal treatment based on the patient’s race. This is not to say that the pharmacists intentionally caused the mixup, but Black people still have to worry about racism in every aspect of their lives, from education to health.