After years of trying to get pregnant, a woman was accidentally given abortion pills instead of fertility medication while shopping at a Las Vegas CVS. Her story has horrified readers both inside and outside of the U.S. So what went wrong?
Pharmacy Trip Gone Wrong
A normal trip to the pharmacy has ended in tragedy for one woman in the earliest stages of pregnancy.
After multiple rounds of IVF, Tamika Thomas’ dreams were snatched away when pharmacists mistakenly provided her with abortion pills.
“They Killed My Baby”
A Las Vegas resident, the devastated Tamika has gone to local media to share her story and warn other expecting mothers who shop at U.S. pharmaceutical chain CVS.
“They just killed my baby,” she told 8 News Now. “Both my babies, because I transferred two embryos.”
An Otherwise Normal Day
This came about after Tamika had been prescribed a vaginal suppository to help trigger hormones that would aid her pregnancy.
She went to her local North Las Vegas CVS to fill the prescription and was handed a bottle of what she thought was fertility medication. She could never have expected what came next.
The Shock of Her Life
After taking two doses of the medication Tamika began experiencing severe abdominal pain.
She knew immediately that something was wrong; these weren’t normal cramps. “My cramping went beyond that. It was extreme. It was painful.”
The Wrong Medication
She scrambled for the medicine bottle she had just purchased. Sure enough, it was not what she had asked for.
“Misoprostol, 100 mcg, commonly known as Cytotec.” While it has several uses, misoprostol is best known for its use in aiding medical abortions. Tamika knew what this meant.
The Truth Dawns
The horrified woman realized that instead of facilitating her pregnancy, she had just terminated it. The CVS pharmacists had given her the wrong medication.
A Long Journey
This terrible error signaled the abrupt end of a long journey to pregnancy for Tamika and her husband James.
While Tamika already had four children with an ex-husband, and James one child, the couple dearly wanted to start a family of their own.
One Dedicated Mother
They had tried and tried for a baby, resulting in two ectopic pregnancies that eventually required Tamika to remove her fallopian tubes.
But not satisfied with giving up, they chose to turn to IVF (in vitro fertilization) to boost their chances of having a child.
Almost a Success
By June 14 2019 Tamika had taken on multiple embryo transfers as part of the IVF process, and on this date, two embryos were successfully transferred to her uterus.
She went to the nearby CVS to pick a fertility supplement that would help the embryos to implant onto her uterine wall, kickstarting the pregnancy. This was the day that everything went wrong for the Thomas’.
What Went Wrong?
It was discovered that a series of errors on behalf of two technicians and two pharmacists at the CVS had led to this heartbreaking incident.
One technician mixed up the generic names for both medications, and the others did not recognize the mistake. The consulting pharmacist then failed to discuss the medication with Tamika when she picked it up.
The Nail in the Coffin
It was in this final mistake that the traumatized Tamika laid the most blame. “It would have been caught because then they would have had to have the medicine in their hand,” she told reporters.
“And they would have said, ‘Oh, this is Misoprostol or Cytotek, have you taken this before?’ And I would have said ‘no.’”
Her Day in Court
While the incident happened back in 2019 and the family went on to file a complaint with the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, it wasn’t until September 2023 that it was taken to court.
The outcome? Both pharmacists were fined and their licenses suspended.
Apologies and Statements
One of the pharmacists even broke down in tears while on the stand, pleading that “it’s a human error. It was just a human error and I’m so sorry.”
A representative of CVS also issued a statement to the media saying “We’ve apologized to our patient for the prescription incident that occurred in 2019 […] Prescription errors are very rare, [and] we take steps to learn from it in order to continuously improve quality and patient safety.
But the damage is done, and Tamika and her family remain unmoved by the outcome, which she feels is inadequate to make up for the pain and stress they have experienced.
“All I got was a sorry,” she said. “It will never be good enough.”
A Tough Lesson for the Thomas’
It’s true that everybody makes mistakes, but some mistakes cannot be undone, something that Tamika Thomas and her family have had to learn the hard way.
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