Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Surgical error suit could morph into drug maker liability case

The Food and Drug Administration processes reports of medication errors. No federal system is in place for mandatory reports of drug mistakes. Instead, organizations like the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention promote drug error reporting, safe medication practices and Pittsburgh and U.S. patient awareness.

A "no good" medicine may be the reason a half dozen eye patients suffered worsened conditions, including blindness, after normally-uncomplicated cataract surgeries performed by the same doctor. That's what the eye surgeon, named with a surgery center in a medical malpractice lawsuit, told an affected patient's attorney.

The patients alleged they suffered varying degrees of pain and vision problems, after surgeries performed in September at the same outpatient facility. Some patients developed Toxic Anterior Segment Syndrome or TASS, an acute eye inflammation linked to contaminants like unsterile surgical supplies.

TASS was also discovered in a 2006 outbreak among eight patients at a New England hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. TASS incidents spread to a nationwide level in 2005, due to a single brand of contaminated eye solution.

Some patients in the new lawsuit could face corneal transplants. In at least one case, the cataract patient lost her vision entirely.

The head of the surgical center, where the six surgeries were conducted, reported the facility was investigating whether an antibiotic the patients took was faulty. Surgical reports entered with the plaintiffs' petitions mentioned the use of an antibiotic-steroid irrigating solution, without isolating the drug as the cause for the patients' injuries.

Doctors depend upon the quality of medications they use as much as patients do. A surgeon might not be accountable for a patient's response to a badly manufactured drug, unless the doctor failed to notice a pattern. A jury could determine a surgeon was negligent, if a group of patients suffered negative effects following the same operation, performed around the same time.

Source: NBC Miami, "6 Patients Say Cataract Surgery at Coral Gables Surgery Center Cost Them All or Some of Their Sight" Diana Gonzalez, Dec. 20, 2013

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