Pharmacy Lawsuit Alleges Error Resulted in Girl’s Fatal Morphine Overdose

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a Houston pharmacy, alleging that a six year old child was given a fatal amount of morphine due to a medication dosage error.  

The complaint was filed by Simone Allen against Cullen Care Pharmacy, over the morphine overdose of Allen’s daughter, Jadalyn, on April 3, 2012.

According to the lawsuit, the girl was taking morphine to treat sickle cell anemia and a pharmacy dosing error resulted in the child being given 10 times the amount of morphine she was prescribed.

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Cullen Care and the mother attempted to negotiate a settlement, but that ended when the pharmacy tried to blame the little girl’s death on her sickle cell anemia, according to a recent report by Good Morning America.

Liquid morphine oral solutions like that prescribed to Jadalyn carry a black box warning about the risks associated with dosing errors, indicating that particular care must be taken to avoid confusion between different concentrations of morphine and between milligrams and milliliters, which could result in accidental overdose or death.

Allen claims that both the pharmacy’s records and the coroner’s report indicate that the pharmacy gave her the wrong dosage and that she died a day later from morphine toxicity.

Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared that unintentional prescription drug overdose deaths had hit “epidemic” levels in the U.S.

Misuse and accidental overdoses of painkillers like OxyContin and morphine have driven the skyrocketing numbers, with opioid painkillers responsible for more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined since 2003.

In 2007, there were about 27,000 unintentional prescription drug overdose deaths in the United States, the CDC reported. Since 2008, prescription drug overdoses have accounted for more deaths than traffic accidents.

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