Friday, October 26, 2007

Hormone injection kills three-year-old

GAINESVILLE, FL -- Three-year-old Sebastian Ferrero underwent testing for his slow growth rate at the University of Florida Physicians Pediatric Outpatient Clinic.

The medical director of the clinic says Ferrero was pumped with 12 times the prescribed dose of the amino acid argenine for the test. Argenine is a naturally occurring substance used for testing growth hormone deficiency.

That was October 10. Ferrero was taken off life support a few days later.

A nurse and a pharmacist have been placed on administrative leave.

Donald Novak with UF Pediatric Clinics told First Coast News Thursday afternoon, "There was a significant problem that we did not know about until after Sebastian passed away and that was that another child who received argenine earlier in the year had also received too high a dose."

Jessica Mayberry says that child is her son.

"He just jumped off the couch, threw himself on the floor and started writhing and screaming and just grasping at his hair," said Mayberry. "He was screaming, `My brain is on fire!'" just continually."

Shands HealthCare of Flordia is taking steps to prevent another such terrible incident...a moratorium has been placed on IV drugs, the pharmacy can only deliver customized doses of argenine, children scheduled to receive the drug will be treated in a center dedicated to infusions, and there will be mandatory training for clinic staff who administer infusions.

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