Charlie Cherriere is three, but he’s lucky to be.
“My husband picked him up and his head flopped right back. It’s something you’ll never get out of your head,” said Charlie’s mom Kate.
Charlie had tonsil surgery this past May, and was prescribed morphine for his pain over the next 48 hours.
But when the family got to the London Drugs at Tillicum Mall, it was overly busy and the family was given the prescription without a consultation.
“We thought it was odd, we talked about it that night that it was strange to get given a bag of narcotics for a toddler and nobody talked to us about it. But we’re capable people and read through all the instructions and administered like the bottle said,” said Kate.
What happened the next morning, was something the family couldn’t even imagine in their worst nightmares.
Kate and her husband Cory found Charlie unresponsive and breathing strangely the next morning.
“Initially we maybe thought he had an allergy to morphine and that he was having a reaction, but I never thought he was overdosing,” said Kate.
“I have Narcan in the house just because I’ve done training through work for it. I would have never thought to grab it and give it to my three-year-old,” said Kate.
He was rushed to Victoria General Hospital where doctors realized Charlie was in fact in the midst of an opiate overdose.
He was administered Narcan and his condition stabilized, but doctors said that had his parents not caught this in the early stages, it could have been fatal.
“I asked if I had made an error and they checked, and no, I gave him exactly what I was supposed to,” said Kate
And she had, according to what was on the bottle, but it was not at all what the doctor had ordered.
In fact, the dosage printed by the pharmacists was five times what the doctor had suggested. Since then, London Drugs has admitted they are at fault for the incorrect dose, citing human error.
“Something like this makes our hearts stop. We’ve definitely taken a learning. We are moving forward so this doesn’t happen again,” said London Drug’s pharmacy general manager Chris Chiew.
In addition to an internal review of their processes and retraining, London Drugs has apologized to the family and intends to pay for the family’s medical expenses.
B.C.’s College of Pharmacists also conducted an investigation, the results of which are anticipated soon.
And while Charlie has since recovered, the Cherriere family will be checking, and double checking each prescription from now on and suggests other families do the same.