Schertz infant given harmful dosage instructions, parents say

The prescribed medicine, Propranolol, was meant to slow down the child’s heart rate

SCHERTZ, Texas – A Schertz couple is warning families after their child was prescribed a harmful dosage of medicine by their pharmacy.

Erin Chastain has delayed giving her daughter the medication prescribed for infantile hemangioma. Doctors prescribed her Propranolol, a medication that slows down the heart rate.

“I was pretty nervous about giving it. I kept second-guessing,” Erin Chastain said.

Just as she prepared the dosage, she noticed something wasn’t right. She asked her husband Chase, who has a nursing background, to make sure.

After double-checking instructions, doing the math and calling the pharmacy, the couple realized the instructions were to give her four times the amount she was prescribed.

“That day, when my wife went into this pharmacy, she was handed, by a professional, in a bag the means to severely harm my child,” Chase Chastain said.

The family wants to use their scary moment to warn others to double-check their prescriptions and to ask questions.

“We called the initial pharmacist, to speak to her and ask her if this was the correct dosage,” Chase Chastain said. “I mean, she was beside herself, frantic. I mean, you can hear her throat welling up, and she was like, ‘Please tell me you didn’t give that medication.’ She knew right away.”

Melanie Stone is a public health doctor and assistant professor of family and community medicine at UT Health San Antonio. She is also the director of community service learning with the Charles E. Cheever, Jr. Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio.

Stone is not a pharmacist; she is a health literacy expert.

“Americans struggle with health literacy because our health care system is very complex and difficult to use,” Dr. Stone said. “A lot of people don’t have that baseline knowledge, and they don’t feel empowered to be able to question their health care provider. And that’s one of our problems.”

Dr. Stone urges anyone picking up a new prescription to ask the pharmacist to explain the instructions for the medication.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up, because it is your health, your family’s health,” Dr. Stone said. “And you have to be your greatest advocate.”

KSAT reached out to the pharmacy involved in giving the wrong dosage instructions. The company did not respond to our calls or emails. We are not naming the pharmacy because it isn’t clear where the breakdown happened and who is responsible for the mistake.

Here’s more information on prescription labels as well as a link to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to file a complaint or verify a pharmacist’s license.

About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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