Las Vegas native Timika Thomas hoped to expand her family of six to seven in 2019, as she and her husband wished to have another baby. However, Thomas soon found out that she was having trouble getting pregnant in her thirties, as she had two ectopic pregnancies, which led to her having her fallopian tubes removed.
Ultimately, the couple opted to pay for in vitro fertilization – IVF. To begin the process, her doctors sedated Thomas, inserted two eggs inside her body, and sent her home with prescriptions, one of which was supposed to trick her into producing enough hormones to kickstart her pregnancy. “You have to make yourself think it’s pregnant,” Thomas told the 8 News Now Investigators when recounting the early stages of the invitro process. “We’re taking a lot of supplements to make our bodies think it’s pregnant.” Previously, Thomas had taken shots to her buttocks to trigger the hormones needed, but wanted to take a rest. So her doctor prescribed a vaginal suppository in place of the injections. Thomas visited her CVS branch at W. Craig Road and Camino Al Norte in North Las Vegas. After taking two of the required doses, I knew something was wrong. “I started cramping really bad,” Thomas says.
She expected cramping, but this was not the pain she anticipated. “My cramping went beyond that,” she said. “It was extreme. It was painful.”
Thomas checked the bottle and looked up the name of the prescription on the label, and the results of her internet search began a spiral of disbelief and mourning. “The first thing I read is it’s used for abortions,” Thomas said. Documents obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators highlight how two technicians and two pharmacists made errors that led to Thomas being given the wrong medication, which terminated her pregnancy instantly.
“They just killed my baby,” she said to herself at the time. “Both my babies, because I transferred two embryos.”
One technician incorrectly believed that she knew the generic name for the brand prescribed by the doctor – and entered the wrong name into the prescription. One pharmacist did not catch the error, and another failed to guide Thomas when she came to pick up her medication.
“It [the error] would have been caught because then they would have had to have the medicine in their hand,” Thomas said. “And they would have said, ‘Oh, this is Misoprostol or Cytotek, have you taken this before?’ And I would have said ‘no.’ ”
As a result, Thomas complained to the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, which met in September. After she testified about the experience, two pharmacists were fined and had their licenses suspended provisionally. According to pharmacy board documents, if both pharmacists avoid disciplinary action over the next 12 months, pay fines, and take continuing education credits, their licenses will be reinstated.
CVS provided a response to inquiries from the 8 News Now Investigators:
“We’ve apologized to our patient for the prescription incident that occurred in 2019 and have cooperated with the Nevada Board of Pharmacy in this matter. The health and well-being of our patients is our number one priority and we have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to support prescription safety. Prescription errors are very rare, but if one does occur, we take steps to learn from it in order to continuously improve quality and patient safety.”
The pharmacy board fined CVS the maximum amount allowed by statute — $10,000.00 – for its liability for the pharmacists’ errors.
CVS’ attorney distanced the retail chain from its one-time employees during the trial. “To suspend or take action against a pharmacy license when they really didn’t do anything wrong [it] wasn’t pled they did anything wrong,” the attorney said prior to the board imposing the fine. “The only allegation is that they had these pharmacists.”
Thomas was insulted. “I felt like that was not okay because he should have taken initiative for the company as a whole.”
Both pharmacists apologized. “It’s a human error,” one pharmacist testified, in between heaving sobs. “It was just a human error and I’m so sorry.”
Thomas still feels the heartache and sorrow from the wrongful abortion, four years later. But
“All I got was a sorry,” she says.“It will never be good enough.”