Timika Thomas and her husband decided to add a fifth child to their four children in 2019. Unfortunately, she was having difficulty becoming pregnant. She suffered two ectopic pregnancies, which prompted the removal of her fallopian tubes.
She and her husband agreed to pay for invitro fertilization, or IVF, in order to have that final child. Doctors anesthetized Thomas before implanting two eggs within her body and sending her home with medicines, one of which would trick her body into releasing enough hormones to launch her pregnancy.
Thomas started injecting herself in the buttocks to stimulate that hormone but injecting oneself was stressful and Thomas wanted to give her “butt cheek a rest,” she told 8 News Now.
So, instead of the injections, her doctor recommended a vaginal suppository. Thomas headed to her CVS in North Las Vegas at W. Craig Road and Camino Al Norte. She took two of her prescribed tablets and immediately realized something was amiss. She began to have severe and excruciating cramps. This drove her to conduct a search for the name of the medication she had taken.
“The first thing I read is it’s used for abortions,” Thomas recounted. She told herself, “‘They just killed my baby’. Both my babies, because I transferred two embryos.”
8 News Now discovered records revealing how two technicians and two pharmacists made a number of mistakes that resulted in Thomas being given the wrong prescription, thus killing her pregnancy. In the documents, one technician, assuming that she understood the generic name for the brand ordered by the doctor, typed the inaccurate name into the prescription. Another pharmacist missed the mistake, and another neglected to counsel Thomas when she came to pick up her medication.
“It [the error] would have been caught because then they would have had to have the medicine in their hand. And they would have said, ‘Oh, this is Misoprostol or Cytotek, have you taken this before?’ And I would have said ‘no’,” Thomas remarked.
The mother of four complained to the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, which convened in September. Following her testimony, the two pharmacists were penalized and had their licenses temporarily suspended.
However, according to records from the pharmacy board, the licenses of both pharmacists will be restored provided they pay fines, complete their mandatory continuing education, and avoid disciplinary action during the following 12 months.
CVS told the news outlet, “We’ve apologized to our patient for the prescription incident that occurred in 2019 and have cooperated with the Nevada Board of Pharmacy in this matter. The health and well-being of our patients is our number one priority and we have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to support prescription safety. Prescription errors are very rare, but if one does occur, we take steps to learn from it in order to continuously improve quality and patient safety.”
For its indirect responsibility for the pharmacists’ errors, the pharmacy board fined CVS the maximum authorized by statute—$10,000.00.
At the hearing before the fine was imposed, the retail giant’s counsel distanced the corporation from its former employees, arguing that “To suspend or take action against a pharmacy license when they really didn’t do anything wrong [it] wasn’t pled they did anything wrong. The only allegation is that they had these pharmacists.”
It didn’t feel right to Thomas. She expected that the entire organization would suffer consequences. Four years later, Thomas remains unhappy despite the pharmacists’ apology and their explanation that it was a “human error.”
She said, “All I got was a sorry. It will never be good enough.”