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Mother blames pharmacy for 8-year-old boy’s death

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LOVELAND, Colo. -- An 8-year-old boy suddenly died two weeks ago, and his mother blames the family's pharmacy.

Jake Steinbrecher was diagnosed with Sensory Input Disorder at an early age.

Children with SID can become overwhelmed if there is too much going on around them. They need a lot of motion and exercise. Jake's mother, Caroline Steinbrecher, said she was against putting Jake on medication, but she said his doctors and teachers insisted.

“He needed to be able to sit long enough to learn,” she told KDVR.

He started taking a pill form of clonidine when he was 4 years old. Doctors prescribed Jake 0.1mg pills and he was supposed to take one quarter of a pill per dose, or 0.025mg of clonidine per dose.

“But then he grew in size and we needed to go to a third,” Steinbrecher said. "And you can’t cut thirds so we went to compounding it.”

Jake’s new prescription called for 0.03mg doses dissolved in liquid form. They filled the prescription at Good Day Pharmacy in Loveland, Colorado, on Oct. 31.

“Within a few minutes, he fell into such a deep sleep his dad couldn’t wake him up,” Steinbrecher said. "I was pinching him and shaking him and I could not get him to open his eyes.”

They rushed Jake to the hospital where he was eventually airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Denver. He was having seizures, hallucinating and had swelling in his brain.

Lab tests of Jake’s bottle of prescription medication came back showing Good Day Pharmacy allegedly mixed the clonidine into the liquid at 1,000 times the boy’s prescription. He was given a 30mg dose instead of his normal 0.03mg dose.

“No child should have to go through what he went through,” his mother said through tears.

Jake was released from the hospital after a few days, once the drug had cleared his system.

Steinbrecher said his case was so rare, doctors were not sure whether there would be any long-term side affects from the overdose.

On June 7, Jake fell ill, and began vomiting and urinating blood. His mother rushed him to the hospital. His blood platelets were clotting throughout his bloodstream. This time, the little boy didn’t make it.

“It went faster than they could stop it. They put him on a ventilator and transfusion of platelets, and he bled out into his lungs and stopped his heart,” she said.

Steinbrecher filed an insurance claim against Good Day Pharmacy after the boy’s overdose in 2015. She is planning to pursue further lawsuits against the pharmacy and the pharmacist. She also hopes her son’s story will lead to increases in regulations and oversight of compounding pharmacies.

“No children should have to die,” she said. "But I guess if it has to be mine, I don’t want it to happen again.”

The boy’s autopsy will not be finished for another two to three weeks because the Larimer County Coroner’s Office is waiting on toxicology reports to be returned. Until then, no one can say for sure what caused Jake’s death.

Good Day Pharmacy was already closed Wednesday night and no statement was available.

Steinbrecher’s attorney said in a news release that the pharmacist who mixed Jake’s prescription is being disciplined by the State Board of Pharmacy. As of Wednesday, her license was still valid with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Jake loved to dance and his family has set up a fund for donations to establish a dance scholarship in his name.