FOX 11 Investigates: Mother says pharmacy mistake could have harmed her child

A Southern California mom says the pharmacy made a mistake that could have been deadly. She reached out to FOX 11 with her story -- and it's news for any parent.

Hayley Phelps says she almost gave her infant a prescribed antibiotic without realizing she was portioning out way too much. It was grandma who stepped in before Hayley administered what they believe could have been a dangerous dose.

"My mom instantly jumped in and said, 'Absolutely not, you can really hurt her. You can potentially kill her by doing that,' and thank God I have them there because I could have seriously injured my 11 month old daughter," Phelps said.

Phelps was so upset and angry, she posted a video to our FOX 11 Facebook page.

She says a pharmacist in Moreno Valley gave her a prescription of Amoxicillin to treat her baby's ear infection, but Phelps says the pharmacist failed to mix the drugs into a diluted, liquid form.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, more than 1.5 million potentially dangerous drug mistakes occur every year.

Attorney Jeffrey Greenman specializes in these cases. We showed him Phelp's video, and he says the family was lucky.

"The pharmacy gave a powdered form of this drug to the parents. This is something that should be reconstituted into a liquid form. Every pharmacist knows this," Greenman said. "Letting this Amoxicillin drug go out as a powered form to a parent could be devastating, it could cause a severe allergic reaction in a child and it could be potentially fatal."

Some of the most common pharmacy mistakes:

1. Assuming that the drug you take home is the one your doctor prescribed. Write down the name and dose of everything you doctor prescribes and what each is for. At the pharmacy, double-check that you have the correct medications.

2. Not reading or following the instructions on the drug's label and the FDA leaflet. Before you leave the pharmacy counter, get the pharmacist to go over the most important things you need to know, including the correct dosage and whether to take it with or without food.

3. Storing medications improperly and keeping them too long. Bottles should be kept in a cool, dry place. Some drugs lose their effectiveness over time, but others can become toxic.

Phelps says she confronted the pharmacist who gave her the prescription at a Rite Aid in Moreno Valley.

"Do you understand what you did? Because you could've done this to somebody else and they wouldn't have had somebody there to tell them otherwise," she said.

She says she finally received the correct prescription with the right dosage, but the pharmacist seemed unsympathetic.

"He said, 'Oh well I'll just fix it for you.' No apology, nothing," she said.

Rite Aid sent FOX 11 News this statement:

Patient and customer safety is a top priority at Rite Aid... We take all customer matters, including this one very seriously. We have a strong commitment to safety with attention to appropriate education and training for pharmacy associates as well as our continued investment in technology in an effort to ensure that our pharmacies maximize accuracy. As soon as we became aware of this incident, in addition to reaching out to the customer, we immediately began an investigation, and have taken appropriate actions based upon our findings.

Hayley says she too is taking action by speaking out in hopes that infants like her daughter never suffer from a pharmacy failure.

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