Saving Ava: When a cancer drug shortage imperiled a toddler, her mom got to work

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The drug that Alyssa Luciano fought so hard to get for her little girl was ready. Two nurses held syringes. Together, they counted down: 3, 2, 1. Then they jabbed the needles into Avalynn’s chubby thighs. The sobbing 2-year-old shrieked even louder. Though it was tough to listen to her baby wail, Luciano knew this medicine was essential for wiping out any last leukemia cells lurking in Ava’s body. She had been told by every authority she could reach — the manufacturer, federal regulators, scores of hospital pharmacies — that it was unavailable. But she’d refused to take no for an answer. So now, here she was, soothing Ava — and, she hoped, saving her life. Click here t

About me

Cover COVID-19 

and patient safety

for USA Today.

Former long-time health/science

journalist, contributing to The

New York Times, The Washington Post, 

Scientific American.com, and others. Journalism educator and book author.

Contact:

kweintraub@usatoday.com

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