Colorado Woman Mistakenly Given Abortion Pill

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By Jason Beahm on February 14, 2011 8:55 AM

Mareena Silva, a Colorado woman, encountered a nightmare situation this week after a Safeway,  pharmacist accidently gave her an abortion pill, a powerful drug that can birth defects or miscarriages. The drug is designed to fight cancer and was not intended to be given to the women, Safeway said.

Silva had gone to Safeway in Fort Lupton, Colorado to pick up a prescription for antibiotics, Reuters reports. She was six weeks pregnant at the time. But the pharmacist provided Silva with methotrexate by mistake. That drug was actually intended for a 59-year-old patient.

Safeway apologized, saying they would pay for "any medical expenses incurred as a result of the prescription error." The grocery chain went on to add in the statement, "We understand the anxiety this has caused and the difficulty of Ms. Silva's situation."

Thus far it seems that Mareena Silva and her unborn child are doing well. Silva was first hospitalized and given charcoal in an attempt to absorb the drug.

When it comes to preventing this type of error, there are steps that patients can take as a failsafe, says Elizabeth Cohen.

  • Write down your prescription information. This is important because patients often have no idea what their prescription is after they give the slip of paper to the pharmacist. With more doctors calling in prescriptions online, it would be wise to have your doctor write it down for you at the office.
  • Check the label. Looking for errors on the label is important. Verify your name, the drug and the dosage.
  • Open the bottle. Cohen suggests opening the bottle at the pharmacy and showing it to the pharmacist and asking them to verify that it is the correct drug.

Hopefully Mareena Silva won't suffer any medical setbacks due to the mixup. If she does, you can bet that Safeway will find itself up against a major civil lawsuit.

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