In 2006, Eric Cropp, RPh, lost his license, career, reputation, and more due to a fatal medication error. Eric Cropp went to jail; he is a convicted felon.
What was Eric Cropp’s crime?…he was human.
An error occurred that had tragic consequences to an innocent toddler and her family. It wasn’t that Eric even made the error; he failed to catch the error someone else made.
When you hear his story, it is not hard to see how this error could have been made by anyone, especially under the circumstances of the day. He was under lots of pressure: overworked, understaffed, and with constant interruptions.
How did Eric Cropp pay for his crime?
Eric lost his job, his profession, his livelihood, his freedom, and he lives with the memory of a young girl whose life was cut short.
What has Eric Cropp chosen to do?
He could be bitter, sullen, depressed. All of which would be clearly understandable reactions to these events. Instead, Eric has chosen to speak to those of us who are still practicing. Those of us who, by placing a simple initial on a label, could easily do the same thing.
As a health care provider who regularly functions under similar circumstances, I know full well that “there but for the grace of God, go I.”
I can vividly remember near misses, that had I failed to catch, could have had devastating consequences to the patient. I believe most of us that practice has one or more of these events forever frozen into our memories.
I will never believe that Eric committed a crime…he made an error. But I do believe that there are crimes associated with this event.
The crimes as I see them are:
- Making a human error a criminal offense
- The loss of Eric’s license to practice his profession
- The failure of the people and organizations that could have helped and supported him
- The lack of automation and technology for dose preparation in so many hospitals…even today
Courage Under Fire
Despite the fact that Eric has paid dearly for his error, and despite the fact that the profession appears to have turned its back on him, Eric has decided to speak out to those of us who still practice. He is using his voice to help prevent anyone from harm in the future.
Eric has to stand up in front of all of us and say:
“I made an error and a toddler lost her life, I want to prevent this from happening again”.
That takes courage and Eric Cropp is not short on courage.
Thank you, Eric, for not turning your back on us.
In 2010 I took a short term pharmacy program in Toledo, OH. The textbook we used was dedicated to the memory of 2 year old Emily Jerry. On the very first day of class our teacher who was a Pharmacy Technician told us about Emily’s story. Today I work in retail pharmacy in another state but have never forgotten about Emily, her family, and Eric Cropp. My heart goes out to Emily’s family and to Eric. I am very thankful that Mr. Jerry established the Emily Jerry Foundation and forgave Eric. I am also thankful for Eric’s courage and his work to help ensure safety in the medical field. I do not believe Eric should have been convicted of a crime or stripped of his license and profession.