Faulty pharmacy point of sale systems and inefficient pharmacy staff training and licensing cost one little girl her life. Emily Jerry, age 2, survived several rounds of chemotherapy and beat cancer. A pharmacy technician’s error ended her short life. “My beautiful Emily’s death was senseless and preventable,” her father, Chris Jerry, writes. What is Emily’s story, and what can pharmacies learn from it?
The Tragic Ending to Emily Jerry’s Story
According to The Emily Jerry Foundation (a site created in the toddler’s honor), doctors diagnosed Emily with a baseball-sized tumor when she was just one and a half years old. Just before her second birthday, scans revealed that Emily’s cancer had — after several rounds of chemotherapy — all but disappeared. Hospital staff ordered one final round to make sure Emily’s system was completely free of cancer. That final round of chemotherapy killed her.
How did it happen? A digitized hospital system failed the night before. That day, a pharmacy technician prepared a chemotherapy bag — with a solution of sodium chloride — by hand. The pharmacy technician added 23.4% sodium chloride to the custom bag. A prepared bag would have contained less than 1%. The overdose killed Emily.
Improved Pharmacy POS Systems Save Lives
Emily’s father, Chris Jerry, continues touring the U.S. and campaigning for change. Jerry emphasizes that his daughter’s death was preventable — and continues pushing pharmacies to install updated software and reevaluate current training for all staff, especially pharmacy technicians. Up-to-date pharmacy POS systems will carefully track inventory and confirm hand counts, Jerry argues. Emily’s father also support software that “provides real-time visibility into pharmacy inventory, so essential drugs and solutions can be monitored continuously,” according to Healthcare IT News. Jerry also asks retail and hospital pharmacies to reevaluate training and qualifications for positions that continually handle and prescribe sensitive medications.
Pharmacies, learn from Emily Jerry’s tragic story. Carefully update pharmacy software, track inventory at all times, and reconsider hiring employees without experience and pharmacy licensing.