Nov 30, 2023

Daughter wants stronger pharmacy processes after Mum’s major medication mistake

Untitled design - 2023-11-30T124048.528
Lisa Carratelli (left) with her parents and sister months before her mum was admitted to hospital and then an aged care facility (right). [Source: Yahoo News Australia]

A concerned daughter wants to see pharmacy packing policies change after a Webster-pak mishap eroded her mother’s health, leaving her in need of constant care.  

Lisa Carratelli said she has watched her 87-year-old mother Maria’s health deteriorate who is now unable to walk or eat on her own after a pharmacy mistake allegedly caused her to overdose on her own medication, claiming “the pharmacist nearly killed her”.

Having been prescribed methotrexate by her doctor, a chemotherapy drug used to treat some cancer, autoimmune diseases and rheumatoid arthritis, Maria began feeling unwell and complained of a consistent sore throat.

Maria was eventually sent to Maroondah Hospital in Victoria where doctors inspected her Webster-pak and were alarmed when they found the 87-year-old was taking seven times the prescribed amount.

Maria was then sent to Box Hill Hospital and her discharge documents allegedly stated Maria was suffering from “methotrexate toxicity resulting in Mucositis with Pancytopenia” the terms used to define low levels of red blood cells.

“She was supposed to take two [tablets] once a week but the pharmacy had packed the Webster packs with two tablets daily,” Lisa told Yahoo News Australia.

Aside from her burns, Maria lost her hair — a common side effect of chemotherapy, and is now living in a nursing home to receive consistent care, funded by Lisa’s dad’s pension. 

Lisa has alleged the pharmacist, who is a friend of the family apologised after learning what had happened, but claimed it wasn’t he who made the medication pack. 

Lisa has also reached out to a number of solicitors for advice and the Pharmacy Board of Australia to report what she claims to be pharmaceutical malpractice but all have allegedly said there’s nothing that can be done for her mother due to her age.

Lisa is now calling for it to be mandatory across the board for all prescriptions to be checked by two pharmacists before being handed out – a double-checking process that is usually determined by the individual pharmacist.

She said, “I want to help people to understand why they should always check the medication and not just trust the pharmacist.”

A Spokesperson for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is said to have told Yahoo News Australia:

“When dispensing medicines, pharmacists should be guided by professional practice standards, the Pharmacy Board of Australia’s code of conduct and guidelines for pharmacists including: guidelines for dispensing of medicines [and] guidelines on dose administration aids and staged supply of dispensed medicines.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Blister packs can be convenient but as a nurse I prefer the method of checking doctor’s order and having the bottle of medication locked in the clients’ draw or medication trolley. Therefore every time administration is conducted you are doing the 3 checks.
    Unfortunately that means we need to find more nurses nationally to execute this. I am a strong advocate for more nurses at the bedside or community level where we also educate the client and importantly pick-up on any changes in the client and report immediately to the doctor.
    Best practice seems to be slowly eroded because of the cost.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

The long and short of contracture management

Free movement of our limbs is a prerequisite of mobility and autonomy. It’s something that most of us take for granted. However, as we age this freedom of movement can diminish and have significant consequences on our quality of life.  What is contracture? Joint contractures are characterised by a lack of full range of motion... Read More

How do we promote access to the right care at the right time?

HelloCare Exclusive – part 3 in a series of 4. Read Part 1 and Part 2. The Aged Care Workforce Strategy, due to be delivered to the Minister for Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt, at the end of this month, lays out pragmatic actions to grow and sustain the aged care workforce. The strategy... Read More

Police hunt suspect who violently carjacked and kidnapped elderly woman

Police are searching for a woman who allegedly kidnapped an 80-year-old woman during a violent carjacking in the Victorian suburb of St Kilda earlier this month. Read More
Advertisement