Too many people underestimate the importance of managing pharmacy staff and inventory. Pharmacy slip-ups can have deadly results — and that’s exactly what happened when an Ohio pharmacy administered the wrong dosage to cancer patient Emily Jerry, who was just two years old at the time of her death.
What Is Emily’s Story?
At one and a half years old, healthcare professionals diagnosed Emily with cancer. “The tumor was the size of a grapefruit inside her tiny little abdomen,” her father, Chris Jerry, writes on his website, The Emily Jerry Foundation. Six months and several rounds of chemotherapy later, Emily’s tumor had all but disappeared. Shocked and pleasantly surprised, her doctor ordered a final round of chemotherapy treatment as a precaution — just to make sure the cancer was entirely out of her system. This final treatment killed her.
Authorities attribute Emily’s death to two causes. An electronic hospital system failed, likely affecting the pharmacy’s inventory. Second, a pharmacy technician prepared a custom chemotherapy bag containing 23.4% sodium chloride. A standard bag contains less than 1%! The technician later served several years in prison — and a few more under house arrest — for his part in Emily’s death.
How Can Pharmacies Prevent This From Happening?
“My beautiful Emily’s death was senseless and preventable,” Jerry continues. Years later, Jerry continues traveling the U.S. campaigning for change and urging hospital and retail pharmacies alike to reconsider potentially deadly practices. First, Jerry recommends using up-to-date pharmacy point of sale software — or pharmacy POS software. Pharmacy POS systems confirm hand counts and help prevent any stock shortages that may ultimately result in incorrect dosages or distribution. Jerry also asks pharmacies to invest in software that “provides real-time visibility into pharmacy inventory, so essential drugs and solutions can be monitored continuously,” according to Healthcare IT news.
By investing in quality — and current — software, pharmacies can prevent senseless and tragic deaths, like the death of two year old Emily Jerry. Refernce materials: Pharmacy point of sale systems