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Chatham man claims Well Pharmacy error caused mother's death


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A man is planning legal action after a pharmacy prescribed his ill-mother the wrong medication.

Rachel Sands, from Chatham, died three and a half weeks after Well Pharmacy gave her antidepressants instead of her usual water retention pills.

Mr Troiani is in conversation with the coroner about Mrs Sands' death. Picture: Rocky Troiani
Mr Troiani is in conversation with the coroner about Mrs Sands' death. Picture: Rocky Troiani

The dispensary, in Magpie Hall Road in Chatham, said it is investigating whether or not the mistake played a role in Mrs Sands' death.

Her son, Rocky Troiani, also from Chatham, described how his family was left "broken" by the 82-year-old's passing on New Year's Eve.

Mr Troiani, who was Mrs Sands' carer, returned from a break in November to find her semi-concious.

After checking her medication, the charity fundraiser discovered she had taken the antidepressant fluoxetine, instead of furosemide, which she usually took to treat water retention problems.

He spoke to the pharmacist who told him "I got the two Fs mixed up."

Mr Troiani and Mrs Sands. Picture: Rocky Troiani
Mr Troiani and Mrs Sands. Picture: Rocky Troiani

The 50-year-old said: "I received a letter from Well Pharmacy's head office, saying that the pharmacist has made a mistake, but it doesn't bring back my mother.

"The heartbreaking thing is, I protected her during isolation and Covid and she didn't go out for almost a year.

"I made sure she was safe, I did everything in my power to look after her and now she's been taken away. That's why I am so furious.

"On the day of her death I found her covered in blood, and it has left me traumatised. I'm signed off of everything, I'm in a mess physically and mentally. I can't accept it."

A possible side effect of fluoxetine is internal bleeding.

Rachel Sands died on New Years Eve. Picture: Rocky Troiani
Rachel Sands died on New Years Eve. Picture: Rocky Troiani

Mrs Sands was taking the incorrect medication for three and a half weeks from October 21 until November 18 when Mr Troiani returned from his time away.

Fluoxetine usually takes around three weeks to have an effect.

She passed away at around 6.30pm at Medway Maritime Hospital on December 31. Her death certificate gave the cause of death as an upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage.

Mr Troiani is in contact with the coroner to arrange an inquest into what caused the internal damage.

The Newnham Street resident added: "As a family we are broken.

The pharmacy in Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, that prescribed Mrs Sands with the incorrect medication. Picture: Google Maps
The pharmacy in Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, that prescribed Mrs Sands with the incorrect medication. Picture: Google Maps

"We feel very let down because you put your faith and trust in pharmacies and the medication that they deliver.

"This whole thing has left a very bitter taste in my mouth regarding trust."

A spokesman from Well Pharmacy said: "Our thoughts and condolences go out to Rachel Sands' family at this very difficult time.

"We are very sorry that this error occurred and for the distress it has caused.

"We would like to reassure her family and our customers that we treat all errors extremely seriously and take active steps to learn from them, as well as reporting to the NHS.

Rocky Troiani
Rocky Troiani

"Patient safety is our highest priority and a full investigation has been undertaken.

"We continue to work closely and constructively with Mrs. Sands' family to understand whether the error played any part in her death."

In June 2019, Mr Troiani attempted to pull a 50-ton truck to raise awareness of knife crime in memory of his friend who was stabbed to death.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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