Your Stories

I was fired for reporting hospital pharmacy errors

Attention: open in a new window.  E-mail

My story is coming from the hospital side.  Back in 2003 I was employed as a pharmacy technician and due to huge changes in the hospital we ended up with a new pharmacist that was making errors.  When I went to her to let her know what I was finding she became angry.  Medications errors were getting on to the floors and one of them was adult doses of Heparin in the maternity ward where the infant doses were supposed to be. 


When nothing was being done, I moved up the ladder to the VP in charge of the pharmacy.  When that didn't work I went to the President.  The President followed up and went to the VP, who in turn became angry because I went over her head.  She came down to the pharmacy one night and called me in this tiny office.  She began to tell me that I was to shut my mouth and stay off the 2nd floor (administration wing).  If I was caught up there again she would take further steps and I would lose my job.  She asked me if what she had said was clear, and I responded, crystal. 


However, I didn't stop and kept reporting the errors.  She hired back an old technician that had quit, demoted me, reduced my pay and blacklisted me.  I was eventually called up to administration, and in 2005 I was fired and escorted out of the hospital.  Everyone knew what was going on, but because of some unspoken code, no one stepped forward and stood my me.  


I was sent home, humiliated and broken to tell my family what had happened.  I had two small children at the time and my husband was a stay at home Dad and my income was the only one.  We were left without any income or insurance because I didn't want to be part of an error that could kill someone.  


If I had it to do over again, I would do the same thing.  Only this time I would document the things I found, I would have recorded the VP that threatened me and anything else that would back up my accusations.  It all happened so fast, but the worse part is that the errors still happened after I left. I found this out by a nurse that was no longer employed by the hospital.  


I filed a complaint with the state under the Whistle Blowers Protection Act.  Because no one would step forward, no documentation, I had little to go on.  Others that worked with the VP that threatened me all stood together and said that I was a trouble maker.  The state worked with an attorney that the hospital hired and the lies that were said about me were devastating.  I had never felt so helpless in my life, especially using the avenues that were designed to help someone who stepped forward because it was the right thing to do.


I am so sorry that you had to go through what you did with your twins.  That is exactly the thing I was trying to fight against.  Maybe if someone had listened to me, that wouldn't have happened.  I was again sickened when I read about the three premies at the Methodist Hospital that were given the adult doses of Heparin and died.  I was glad to read about your foundation and I hope in some way my story can help.   


My prayers go out to your family and anyone who has or will have to experience anything like this.  These were preventable errors.

Important Messsage

Our experience has shown that medication errors can and do occur at hospitals throughout the country, even the best ones like Cedars-Sinai.  We now want to work with hospitals to help support their efforts to eliminate medication errors.