Dad Leads National Push For Drug Safety Checks

Emily Jerry Died In 2006 After Receiving Wrong Dosage During Chemotherapy

There is a nationwide effort at health care reform in memory of Emily Jerry, a little girl from Ohio who died six years ago after receiving the wrong dosage during chemotherapy.

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It was a death that broke her father's heart.

Christopher Jerry told 10News, "She was very angelic even before she became an angel."

He looked at the health care industry and decided there needed to be change and more safeguards, so he created the Emily Jerry Foundation.

Emily had just celebrated her 2nd birthday and was soon to be released from a hospital in Cleveland after removal of a tumor. She was healing well until the final and fatal round of chemotherapy.

Eric Cropp did not make the error but as pharmacist-in-charge, he missed it. He was prosecuted and sent to jail for six months.

"I see a small child and I wish Emily could be here and I could change places with her… that I was there and she would still be alive," he said. "It's a hard thing."

He added through tears, "It's hard to get up some days because you think, 'I did this horrible thing. I missed a simple check that if I wasn't under all these restraints and it was a bad day... I could have caught that error and she'd be around.' It's one of the worst days of my life. I thought of suicide. I thought of ending it all."

Emily's dad believes Cropp was set up to fail and that there was no malice.

"I knew in my heart that it was wrong… wrong on so many levels," said Jerry.

Blaming a system breakdown, Jerry began traveling the country and telling Emily's story at medication preparation and delivery seminars.

It has an impact. Michelle Blackmon is a registered nurse who works at CareFusion in Torrey Highlands. "I have an 8-year-old son and it does make you think about if he went into the hospital, is everything in place to make sure he's going to be safe?"

Patty Infantine, another registered nurse at CareFusion, had similar thoughts.

"I just dropped off my youngest child at college a week ago and can't imagine the fact that he doesn't have that opportunity to do the same thing," she said. "It was emotional [and] heartwarming. Everyone in the crowd was in tears."

Registered nurse Adam Danielski shared this: "I'm a father of a 2-year-old and during his speech all I thought about was my daughter, Melia, and how if this happened to us and my family and my wife and my daughter… it really brings you into the reality of an error can happen."

The consensus was to slow down and prevent errors.

In 2006, the year Emily died, the Institute of Medicine estimated 1.5 million medication errors happen each year, resulting in about 7,000 deaths annually.

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