Prescription mix-up makes woman sick

by Kathryn Bursch
St. Petersburg, Florida – Greta Wiggins still feels horrible Friday afternoon after spending hours in the emergency room Thursday night.

“My head’s been hurting and my body feels weak,” says Wiggins from her St. Petersburg home.

Wiggins, who has diabetes, suffered an insulin reaction and she blames that on the wrong kind of insulin and a CVS pharmacy.

On Tuesday, Wiggins picked up her usual prescription for a type of insulin called Humulin. She thought she took home two boxes of it.

Humulin is a cloudy liquid that comes in a small vial. But one of the boxes, labeled Humulin by CVS, contained a vial with a clear liquid. It was actually a different type of insulin called Humalog, and that’s the one Wiggins injected.

On Tuesday night, Wiggins knew something was wrong.

“I didn’t want to go to sleep,” Wiggins sobbed. “I didn’t want to go to sleep. I felt I wasn’t going to wake up.”

So the next day Wiggins called CVS. Wiggins says she was assured that she had received the correct medication, so she continued taking it.

However, by Thursday morning Wiggins felt so ill she went to her doctor and he discovered the mix-up. “My doctor said, ‘No wonder you’re sick. You’re taking the wrong medicine.’”

Wiggins’ doctor could not talk with Tampa Bay’s 10 News about Wiggins’ case because of confidentiality concerns. But in general, he says Humulin and Humalog work differently and that a mix-up could be serious.

Wiggins says CVS admitted the mistake and offered to give her a $25 gift card for her inconvenience. But this mother of four says what she went through was much more than an inconvenience.

“They put my life in danger and jeopardy, because I could have died.”

After being contacted by Tampa Bay’s 10 News, CVS/pharmacy extended apologies to Wiggins and offered to pay for her medical expenses. CVS is also investigating what happened.

CVS offered the following statement to us:

CVS/pharmacy Statement for WTSP
The health and safety of our customers is our top priority. We extend our sincere apologies to Ms. Wiggins and we will reimburse her for any medical expenses she incurred as a result of this incident.

CVS/pharmacy has industry leading pharmacy systems and processes designed to enhance the safety of the prescription filling process. In the rare event of a prescription error, we work diligently to learn what happened and take steps to prevent a further occurrence, which is what we are doing in this matter.

We also have strict quality assurance procedures that pharmacy staff are required to follow in the event they are made aware of an incident. It appears that those procedures may not have been properly followed in this case, so we will investigate this matter and reinforce our proper procedures.

Because any process involving people is not immune from the possibility of error or deviation from procedural controls, we remain committed to continually improving quality measures to help ensure our pharmacists fill prescriptions safely and accurately.

Again, we offer our sincere apologies to Ms. Wiggins.

Call me an ■■■, but this is PATIENT ERROR. Obviously this wasn’t her first prescription, so she should know what she is taking. AND why did she call CVS when she didn’t feel right? I don’t know about you, but I would’ve called my doc…

My main question, however, is why didn’t she read the bottle, which is labeled by the manufacturer???

Granted, CVS did make an error (and the main point is that it left the pharmacy), but this is ridiculous. I absolutely hate it when people blame others for their mistakes.


And if she’s drawing up insulin, then she should’ve noticed that the bottle had a different word on it. Or when she called the pharmacy, she could have said, this used to be cloudy and now its clear. Or open up the other bottle and compare the 2! Geez.
Did she ever check her blood sugar? Whenever I feel off that’s the first thing I go to. I want to know if I’m sick sick or blood sugar sick.

I’ve had the exact same thing happen to me only with a different type of Insulin. The pharmacy gave me a large bottle and I questioned it. They said “Things have changed since the first of the new year”. Turned out to be an Insulin only to be used by Hospitals to bring Diabetics out of Comas. Super concentrated regular insulin that almost caused me to go off a cliff while driviing.