Mom Calls for Change After Her Son Dies from a Mississauga Pharmacy's Mistake

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The tragic death of a young, eight-year-old boy has his mother lobbying for change in how the province tracks and reports medication errors.

Melissa Sheldrick has been on the forefront of this issue ever since her son Andrew died back in March, according to a recent CBC news article.

Andrew, who was an otherwise healthy child, suffered from a sleep disorder that caused him to frequently wake up during the night. He was prescribed a liquid sleep medication in October 2014.

The tragedy struck in March of this year, when Andrew’s father tried to wake him up one morning only to find him dead. Several months later, a coroner’s report confirmed that the medication he usually took had been accidentally switched by the pharmacy with a muscle relaxant drug, leading to a toxic overdose that would’ve been lethal even to an adult.

“The liquid that was in the bottle, it looked the same as Andrew’s medication, and he didn’t say that it tasted any different,” Melissa told CBC. “Unfortunately there was no way of knowing that it was anything different than what he was supposed to have.”

The pharmacy in question is the Floradale Medical Pharmacy, located on Hurontario Street in Mississauga. It is currently the target of a multi-million dollar lawsuit launched by Andrew’s family.

In addition, Melissa Sheldrick is calling for mandatory reporting on medication errors. She has launched an online petition on change.org to directly appeal to Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s minister of health and longterm care. The petition asks the province to create a law that enforces the use of error tracking tools for dispensaries, in order to limit the number of pharmacy errors that occur annually. The petition currently has the backing of more than 1600 people, and is working toward its target goal of 2500 signatures.

Although Hoskins has not yet remarked on Melissa’s proposed changes, he addressed the family’s situation, telling CBC that “This is a tragic situation and my heart goes out to this family as they come to terms with their terrible loss.”

He continued: “Our government is committed to working with our partners to improve safety for patients... We will continue to work with the Ontario College of Pharmacists and patient groups to improve the monitoring and reporting of medication incidents, as well as working with all of our colleges to increase transparency for the public.”

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