A 6-month-old Lehi boy is being treated at Primary Children's Medical Center after being given a potent drug used to treat Parkinson's disease instead of the steroid his pediatrician prescribed for his bronchiolitis.
Hunter Woodward's mother, Shaylene, thought she was following the doctor's orders Tuesday when she fed three pills to her baby.
"I'm very leery of giving him any kind of medication at all," she said Wednesday. "I thought I was being careful."
Hunter had been given benztropine instead of the one-dose steroid prescribed by his pediatrician.
Three or four times a month, the state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing receives reports of pharmacists who make mistakes.
"We don't keep statistics, but it's not uncommon to get complaints for prescriptions getting misfilled," said Steve Davis, the state's chief investigator.
Woodward said she overheard a pharmacist at the Lehi Albertson's store question pediatrician Marsena Conner over the phone about the medication.
"He said it didn't come in 6 milligrams; she said it did," Woodward said.
They compromised with the pharmacist giving Woodward six 2mg tablets with instructions to give them to Hunter three at a time.
Bonnie Midget, spokeswoman for Primary Children's Medical Center, said Hunter was in fair condition after being treated for a respiratory infection and drug reactions.
"He's doing well," she said. "He is on a heart monitor to make sure there's no problem, and so far he's fine."
Benztropine is similar to the hallucinogen jimson weed and popular among teenagers, said Barbara Insley Crouch, director of Utah Poison Control.
In large doses it increases the heart rate and blood pressure and dilates the pupils.
"It would be extremely unlikely to cause death, but some individuals may be at a higher risk for that than others," Insley Crouch said. Of 5,000 overdoses reported last year nationally, only four resulted in death and all of those four cases involved another substance that might have been responsible for the death, she said.
Woodward said it wasn't until Hunter turned "beet red" and his heart was racing that she noticed the computer printout she had been given at the pharmacy was an explanation of a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease.
"His whole body started shaking. I called the doctor to see what the medication was, and they had never heard of it. They had never prescribed it," she said.
Hunter was transferred from American Fork Hospital to Primary Children's where his heart could be more closely monitored, his mother said.
"It was the most terrifying experience to think I might be losing my son over a prescription even though I thought I was doing something right," Woodward said.
Karen Renos, spokeswoman for Albertson's pharmacies, would not discuss specifics of the case or name the pharmacist.
"The No. 1 priority for all our pharmacists and associates is the health and welfare of the patients we serve," she said. "We strive for 100 percent accuracy. That is what we work toward. Because we are human, we know mistakes are made from time to time."
Woodward said a man who identified himself as the pharmacist who filled Hunter's prescription came to the hospital Wednesday and apologized for the mistake.