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Walgreens Accused of Drug Error

Local couple sues, said mistake hurt baby

Sep 23, 2005 |

A Chesterton couple sued Walgreens, accusing a local pharmacist of giving their baby the wrong prescription.

The 3-month-old girl was supposed to receive a medication to treat a stomach acid problem, yet instead was given a drug designed to slow an adult's heart rate, according to the suit filed by Mark and Karen Titcomb.

The error caused the girl to suffer two to three weeks with severe symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disorder and potential side effects from the mistaken drug, the suit says.

Her parents also claim to have suffered severe emotional distress by watching their daughter suffer unnecessarily through the family's first Christmas together. The family also incurred medical expenses.

"Walgreens holds itself out as 'The Pharmacy America Trusts,'" according to the suit. "Walgreens and (pharmacist Kimberly) Hager breached that trust and breached their duty".

Walgreens spokesperson Carol Hively said on Thursday the company had not seen the suit and typically does not comment on pending litigation.

Hager could not be reached for comment.

Karen Titcomb said the problems began Dec. 19, 2003, when she filled a prescription for a liquid form of Prevacid at the Chesterton Walgreens store. After returning home, she said she noticed the label on the bottle reflected a higher dosage than she and her husband had been giving her daughter, Ella.

Titcomb said she called the Walgreens store and spoke with Hager, who had filled the prescription. Hager said the dosage on the label was incorrect and directed Titcomb to give the drug to her daughter and return to the store to pick up a correct label, according to the suit.

Titcomb said she picked up the new label on Dec. 21, 2003. While packing to leave town for the Christmas holidays the following day, Titcomb said she received an urgent call from Hager telling her the child had been given the wrong drug and to take the baby to a doctor's office.

Titcomb said she was told her daughter had been given the drug Amiodarone, which is not approved for use by infants and children. The child had been given four dosages of the wrong medication, the suit says.

Titcomb said she notified her husband, Mark Titcomb, who rushed back from a business trip in Omaha, Neb.

The suit alleges gross negligence and negligence, and seeks an unspecified amount of money to compensate the Titcombs. The suit also seeks payment from Walgreens and Hager to punish them and dissuade them and others from similar conduct in the future.

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