To the Editor:
As a result of a recent CBC story, many of you by now have heard the tragic story surrounding the circumstances of the death of my mother two years ago. She was killed as a result of a toxic drug-to-drug interaction. The doctors who tried in vain to save her life told us, “The interaction of these two drugs is well known and well documented. This incident was one hundred per cent preventable.”
First I want to thank the many friends, acquaintances and strangers for their kindness and understanding.
I have read each of the over 700 comments on the CBC website, as well as the feedback in this newspaper. I am confident that the “love and trust” given to the local pharmacist provides the pharmacist with comfort and solace.
It is true that nobody has firsthand knowledge of what unfolded. Few saw the huge water blisters on her feet. The sores in her mouth making it too painful to eat. They did not experience the horror of seeing her with tubes into every orifice in her body. They did not see the terror in her eyes when they tried to wake her to see me and she realized what was happening. They did not watch as each of her vital organs shut down. They did not hear us beg the attending doctors to keep looking for another cause because we did not believe it was possible for such an error to occur in this day and age. They did not hold her hand as she took her last breath.
During a visit, a couple of years prior to my family and I returning to the valley, my mother made a point of taking me to the pharmacy where she regularly went. She wanted to introduce me to her pharmacist. She was very enamoured with the pharmacist because she was always treated so well. The pharmacist always made sure she never had to pay for any drugs that she didn’t need to and was always so nice. After being introduced I remember shaking the pharmacists hand and telling him that I was assured knowing there were others helping to take care of my mother’s needs when I was not near.
My mother loved and trusted all of her health providers. In fact she trusted them with her life.
It is also important to understand that I am not the one making judgement on the health care professionals responsible. I have simply demanded an investigation as to how and why. Ultimately it will be the College of Pharmacists, the College of Physicians and Surgeons and potentially the laws of this province and country that will make judgement. I am also continuing to explore why, to date, the investigations appear to be focused on the pharmacist or pharmacists who missed the error, rather than the physician who made it.
The BC College of Pharmacists places inquiry and discipline notices at www.bcpharmacists.org to protect the public.