A 12-year-old girl experienced bizarre hallucinations after being given a powerful sleeping pill instead of her prescribed antibiotics from a Southern California pharmacy, her mother claims.
Family members have filed an initial claim against CVS in Corona, the first step toward a lawsuit, for what they call complete negligence.
In cell phone video of the incident, Riley McDougall can be seeing screaming and crying, nearly incomprehensible. She said the video is hard for her to watch because she doesn’t remember any of it.
"I looked really scary,” she said. “And I didn't look like myself."
According to Riley’s mom Coleen, her daughter was having severe hallucinations.
"She was pulling the stair railing, trying to pull it off the wall thinking that it was a curtain and it shouldn't be there," she said.
Coleen says she took Riley to the emergency room, and doctors told her the hallucinations may have been caused by bad reaction to Sudafed, an over-the-counter cold medicine the girl was taking because she had a bad cold.
Riley had also been prescribed and was taking an antibiotic called Azythromyacin. So, the next day Coleen only gave Riley the antibiotic.
"And within 20 minutes she was seeing double vision," Coleen said.
Coleen called the Corona CVS pharmacy where she picked up the antibiotic prescription, and described the medicine in her possession to the pharmacist, including the name and number on the pills.
"And that's when the pharmacist was like ‘Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. It's Ambien,’" Coleen said.
Ambien is a powerful sleeping drug, and the family's attorney said the white pills look nothing like the pink ones often used for Azythromicin.
"This is pure negligence. They have protocols in place to prevent these things from happening," said attorney Jeffrey Greenman.
A company spokesman for CVS couldn't comment on the allegations because of a pending civil lawsuit.
“The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority and we have policies and procedures in place to ensure prescription safety,” the company said in a statement.
But Coleen says what happened to her daughter should be a warning for everyone.
"Make sure you really read your prescriptions,” Colleen said. “And make sure it's the right thing."