Pharmacy Tech Students to Learn About Costs of Medical Errors

March 2024

Christopher Jerry has learned, in the most tragic way imaginable, the cost of medication errors at the hands of medical personnel.

Jerry’s young daughter Emily had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her abdomen that required both surgery and chemotherapy. She tolerated her treatment remarkably well, and eventually, all signs of the cancer disappeared. Emily began what was to be her final round of chemotherapy on her second birthday – February 24, 2006. On the third day of that round of treatment, she woke up from a nap seeming uncharacteristically groggy. Emily eventually became unresponsive, and within a few days, she died. The cause: an accidental overdose of sodium chloride in her chemotherapy IV bag.

The pharmacy technician at the Ohio hospital where Emily was a patient made a fatal mistake: filling Emily’s IV bag with a concentrated sodium chloride solution of 23.4 percent, rather than the one-percent sodium chloride solution required.

“The pharmacy technician was asked if she knew that an overdose of sodium chloride could result in death,” Christopher Jerry has written on the website for the nonprofit organization he now runs, the Emily Jerry Foundation. “She (the pharmacy technician) claimed that she was not aware of that fact. How can a person who works in a pharmacy and compounds medications daily not know that? At the time of Emily’s death, Ohio didn’t even register pharmacy technicians. In fact, there weren’t even any training or licensing requirements.”

As the pharmacy technician instructor for the Area 31 Career Center’s Pharmacy Tech Program, Jessica Lamb became aware of Emily Jerry’s story, and of her father’s subsequent work as an advocate for improved oversight of the medical industry.

“I began to read and learn more of his story and felt it was necessary to share it with my students,” Ms. Lamb said. She wanted to bring Mr. Jerry to Area 31 to share his story with her students in person, but lacked the resources to make that possible. The Wayne Township Education Foundation stepped in with grant funding, and Mr. Jerry is now scheduled to speak to both the morning and afternoon pharmacy tech classes on April 4.

“It is my hope that hearing from Mr. Jerry will allow the students to understand the importance of their roles as pharmacy technicians and just how critical it is to remain focused and on task at hand,” said Ms. Lamb. “Unsafe medication practices and medication errors are a leading cause of injury, harm and death and can be easily avoidable.”

As a result of Mr. Jerry’s advocacy, Ohio legislators passed what is known as “Emily’s Law.” The law requires pharmacy technicians to be at least 18 years of age, and to register with the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. It also requires them to pass a board-approved competency exam. Additionally, the law includes language regarding technician training and education, criminal records, and approved disciplinary actions.

Area 31’s pharmacy tech students will learn about Emily’s Law and about Mr. Jerry’s continued advocacy work during his upcoming presentation. Ms. Lamb feels hearing Mr. Jerry’s story will give her students “a renewed sense of energy and excitement to finish the program, get out in the field and do their best always. I want them to realize that every action has a consequence and we must always choose wisely so we continuously see positive results and change.”

Please contact if you would like to attend this program on April 4.

Learn more about the Emily Jerry Foundation here.

Learn more about the Area 31 Pharmacy Technician Program here.

The Wayne Township Education Foundation (WTEF) provides community leadership to enrich, engage, and stimulate teaching and learning in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. WTEF accomplishes this by supporting school programs and resources, while recognizing excellence among students and staff. To learn more about WTEF, call 317-988-7966, visit, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @WayneTwpEdFound.