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13 Investigates: Prescription error gives Rockford man eye complications for months

ROCKFORD (WREX)- Last November, Edward Walker received a prescription for what doctors say was a simple eye infection. Now, almost 11 months later, his eyes have worsened. Not because of a misdiagnosis, but because of a prescription he should have never received.

It started in early November of 2018.

“I went to see my doctor because I had a slight concern to see maybe if I was allergic to something at my job that I no longer work at,” Walker said.

He was prescribed Tobramycin-Dexamethasone, eye drops aimed to treat what his doctor thought was an infection.

“When they gave me the prescription, they gave me eye information and eye instructions along with the prescription,” said Walker.

After about five days of putting those drops in his eyes, he realized it was not the right medication.

“I looked on the back of the box and it said, ‘for ears only,'” Walker said.

Instead, that box had Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Hydrocortisone Otic Solution, ear drops used to treat ear infections.

He then went to the emergency room and an emergency ophthalmologist.

“When I went to see them, they had concerns with my eyes,” he said. “They were swelling up bright red.”

Now, almost ten months later, he’s still in pain.

“My glands are clogged up right now behind my eyelids,” he said. “So, by my glands being clogged up behind my eyelids, it’s forming basically a pimple that you would get on your arm. It’s forming pimples on and off behind my eyelids.”

Walker is still taking medication for what he calls a mistake by the Walgreens Pharmacy on the corner of Sandy Hollow Road and 11th Street. Walgreens says it has apologized for the error, but said no worker was punished for the mistake and gave no other help to Walker.

It released the following statement to 13 Investigates: Cases like this are rare and we take any prescription error very seriously. In the event there is an error with a prescription, our first concern is for the patient’s well-being. We’re sorry this occurred and have apologized to the patient.

We have a multi-step prescription filling process with numerous safety checks in the process to minimize the chance of human error and have reviewed the process with our pharmacy staff. We also encourage patients to check with our pharmacists or their health care providers if they have a question or concern about their medications. We will investigate what happened and work to prevent it from happening again.

After hearing of this incident, 13 Investigates reached out to a local pharmacist to see how common prescription errors are.

“Medication errors don’t happen often, but it is a human process,” said Kyle Shick, Regional Pharmacy Director at OSF St. Anthony. “They do happen though.”

Shick says improvements in technology have made mistakes, like what happened to walker, few and far between. But, he still advises every patient to take every precaution possible, even after you get home.

“If medications look different when you get them home, there definitely could be a different type of medication error,” he said. “So, definitely ask the pharmacist if something looks different, or appears different.”

For walker, he just wants the pain to go away.

“Just waiting to go in and have my surgery and get this all done and over with and behind me,” he said. “Move further with my life.”

Walker tells 13 Investigates the apology from Walgreens isn’t enough, he has hired legal representation to explore his options. His lawyer says they are still at the initial stages of the case and cannot be resolved until Walker has surgery or has his eyes fixed with medication.


13 Investigates

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