7 Year Old Girl Given Heroin Substitue Instead of Antibiotics from Boots in Serious Medical Negligence Error

7 Year Old Girl Given Heroin Substitue Instead of Antibiotics from Boots in Serious Medical Negligence Error

A London Boots pharmacist made a serious medical negligence error after giving a mother a heroin addict’s methadone (a heroin substitute) instead of chest infection medicine for her seven year old daughter.

The serious medical negligence error occurred because Boots staff claimed they felt the mother resembled the drug addict and got the prescriptions confused.

The young girl was given six doses of the methadone before her mother realised a mistake had been made and she was taken to hospital. Methadone causes confusion drowsiness weak breathing and in extreme cases it can be fatal.

This information was released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The incident happened when the mother visited the 24 hour Boots branch to pick up a repeat Flucloxacillin prescription an antibiotic used to treat children’s chest infections.

The staff confused the mother up with a customer who visited the branch regularly to pick up methadone.

The mother was given the heroin substitute which requires strict dispense guidelines instead of the chest infection medicine.

Later in the day the addict went to the Boots branch to collect the methadone but was refused it after the pharmacist claimed that it had already been given out.

The report showed that the mother gave her daughter 5ml doses of methadone thinking it was the Flucoxacillin.

By the time the serious medical negligence error was realised the child had taken 30ml of methadone.

She was taken to hospital where they cared for her until the effects of methadone had subsided.

The serious medical negligence error which occurred in 2011 was a catalyst to a ‘Serious Incident’ report at NHS London.

The summary of the report stated: ‘The pharmacist and the pharmacy should have followed the Boots standard operating procedures for dispensing medication. This involves checking that the right person receives the prescribed medication.’

A Boots spokesman said: ‘At Boots UK everything we do every day is about how we care for our customers and patient safety is at the heart of our business.

‘Our pharmacists adhere to the strict guidelines around issuing methadone.

‘We conducted a full and thorough review of our practices at the time of the incident in 2011.’

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