Two years ago, Heather Sparling was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. That means her body has a hard time fighting off infections. So when she started feeling under the weather last month, she immediately made an appointment with the doctor.
"He diagnosed me with an ear infection, sinus infection, inflamed liver and I had hives," said Sparling.
Sparling was given four prescriptions that were filled at a Walgreens pharmacy near Reems and Bell roads in Surprise.
Two days later, her condition worsened. And then she got a phone call.
It was a Walgreens employee telling her that she had been given the wrong medicine.
"She said, 'Well, we probably couldn't read the doctor's handwriting.' I said, 'I know that's not possible because the prescription was printed out. She kind of paused and said, 'Well, they both begin with H,'" Sparling said.
Dr. Donald Bucklin, who is the regional medical director at U.S. Health Works, said prescription mixups are very common.
Bucklin said there's no way to tell exactly how many mistakes are made. Most pharmacies do not report errors because state and federal laws don't require them to do so. That's why the patient should always be vigilant.
"Make the doctor tell it. Make the doctor spell it. Make the doctor write it down for you. Just be an aware consumer, and everyone will be safer," Bucklin said.
Sparling said she believes more still needs to be done.
"I think somebody else needs to be accountable for the situation since they're not having to tell any authorities the problem has happened," Sparling said.
Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso sent CBS 5 News this statement:
"We're sorry this occurred and we apologized to the patient. We have a multistep prescription filling process with numerous safety checks in each step to reduce the chance of human error. We reviewed this incident and will work to prevent it from happening again."
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