Aussie toddler's terrifying 'overdose' after pharmacy error

Jessica Smith said she thought she had killed her epileptic son after discovering what happened.

An Aussie mum has detailed the terrifying moment she "thought she killed her son" after a pharmacy mix-up caused the toddler to overdose on his epilepsy medication.

Mum Jessica Smith blamed "human error" for the error which saw her son "lose all mobility" and vomit profusely for days, all because the pharmacist allegedly prescribed ten times the accurate dose.

Jessica, from Port Augusta, told Yahoo News Australia that Donald was prescribed the new medication by their doctor, but instead of the recommended 1ml, the label from the pharmacist stated 10ml instead. Jessica administered the first dose of medication on October 28, and within hours "he was having trouble standing up" and "couldn't lift his head".

Donald in hospital with his mother Jessica Smith
Donald was hospitalised after overdosing on his epilepsy medication. Source: Supplied

After monitoring him through the night, the one-and-a-half-year-old suffered a “chronic seizure” the next morning. It lasted almost five minutes which is “the longest he’s ever had,” Jess told Yahoo.

Within a 12-hour period, Donald had been rushed to hospital three times because of continuous vomiting and further "mobility issues". But it was another two days before his parents learned what was wrong.

"He had no mobility at all by this point. He couldn't sit on his own, he couldn't hold his head, and he was in and out of sleep. He was even vomiting in his sleep," Jess said. So she contacted her son's neurologist.

"After sending her a photo of the medication, she called me back and said 'get him to the emergency department immediately. That's the wrong dosage. He's overdosed and needs medical attention'."

Mum Jessica pictured with her two sons.
Jessica feared she almost killed her toddler (pictured with her two children). Source: Supplied

Mum 'thought she killed' her son

The news came as a shock to the panicked mum who said she "screamed" so loud it "scared" her other six-year-old boy. "I’d been overdosing my child. I thought I’d killed him," she said.

Jessica said she had no reason to believe the dosage on the label was wrong because she and her partner "trusted what the pharmacist said".

"We've been taught to follow the directions on the box. The error was definitely [made by] the pharmacist," she claimed. Jessica has chosen not to name the pharmacy.

Toddler in hospital bed
The toddler was in and out of hospital over the course of a week. Source: Supplied

Calls for major change

While Donald has made a miraculous recovery, the situation "had the potential to be fatal". The mum-of-two now demands a change to how medication is prescribed to ensure it doesn't happen again.

She wants it to be mandatory across the board for all prescriptions to be checked by two pharmacists, instead of one, before being handed out.

"When they're dealing with drugs when they're dealing with these medications, they need to be checked. They have the potential to kill someone," she said.

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