Chris Jerry still hears the screams of his 2-year-old daughter, Emily, after a pharmacy technician gave her an improperly mixed dose of chemotherapy.
Emily Jerry of Mentor died in March 2006, three days after receiving the lethal dose during what was supposed to be her final chemotherapy treatment. A grapefruit-sized tumor found in her abdomen was gone, and her parents were planning a trip to Disney World to celebrate her defeat of the cancer.
The solution, mixed by a pharmacy technician, contained concentrated sodium chloride, a 23.4 percent solution, instead of a saline solution with 1 percent sodium chloride.
Pharmacist Eric Cropp, 39, of Bay Village, failed to catch the mistake in the saline solution and was fired by Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital a week later. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy revoked his license in April 2007.
Cropp was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide and awaits sentencing.
After her death, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed a law – Emily’s Law – that governs the monitoring of pharmacy technicians. But now the 41-year-old old grieving father wants to take his cause across the nation through Emily’s Foundation, a nonprofit group founded in the toddler’s memory.
Jerry plans to push for a national law to govern the work of pharmacy technicians and help prevent medical errors like the one that killed his daughter. The foundation will be partly funded by a $7 million settlement he won from Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, where his daughter died.
The foundation will also operate a Web site where grieving parents can console each other and offer advice.
“Children are getting sick and dying because of mistakes and because drug companies are forcing hospitals to cut corners,” Jerry said. “We will present these kinds of issues and force change by bringing them to the forefront.”
Jerry, who sought psychological counseling as he worked through his turmoil, began counseling families in local hospitals whose children were on life-support.
“I can speak to these people because I have gone through something similar, I know what they need to hear,” he said.
He believes his work with Emily’s Foundation will give him a purpose.
“I feel like my daughter is watching over me, like my personal guardian angel, guiding me in my efforts,” he said.
Article written by The Associated Press, and can be found on 10tv.com. It was originally posted on 6/15/2009.