Cataracts are a common condition. The lens of the eye starts to cloud, usually as we age, leading to blurry vision. Many people choose to undergo surgery to remove their cataracts. Afterwards, they are supposed to use eye drops, but many patients dislike this part of the regimen; it is expensive and time-consuming. Because of this, many doctors now perform “dropless” cataract surgery, where the doctor injects the eye with a medication, which allows the patient to avoid using the drops.
Now, it appears that at least 68 people who underwent dropless cataract surgery recently have lost most of their vision due to a defective drug used in the procedure.
Sixty-eight people near Dallas have become partially blinded, or suffered worse effects, after being injected with the drug. The drug is a “knockoff” version of TriMoxi, the most commonly used injectable for dropless cataract surgery. Patients who were given the knockoff have complained of halos, darkness, depth perception problems, difficulty with colors, and nausea. They complain about not being able to see at night and not being able to drive.
One example shows how horrifying the effects can be: A truck driver reasonably expected that a cataract surgery on his right eye would put him back on the road quickly. Several weeks later, he realized that he was only seeing out of his left eye. When he called the doctor who performed the operation, she told him that the drug that was injected to help speed up the healing process (and to avoid the need to use eye drops) was giving other patients the same loss of vision.
The truck driver is now afraid to have cataract surgery on his left eye. He can no longer drive and has been forced into retirement. His wife will now have to keep working so the bills can be paid.
Who caused the problem with the drugs?
The problems with the drug seem to come from a compounding error. Per the article, the plaintiffs have “lawyered up against the pharmacy that mixed the drug, the company that allegedly designed the shoddy recipe, and the clinics that injected it. Two of the patients filed lawsuits last week, and several dozen others… are lined up to join them.”
Already, the different defendants are blaming each other. The Professional Compounding Centers of Americas (PCCA) created the drug recipe. It claims the pharmacy, Guardian Pharmacy Services, improperly designed the recipe. Guardian claims the drug didn’t cause the lost vision and that losing one’s vision is a known risk of cataract surgery. The clinics, in turn, blame PCCA and Guardian.
It’s a messy, complicated situation.
Making a claim for damages
Everyone is “pointing fingers,” and the chances are good that there may be multiple parties named in future lawsuits. There are different types of claims that can be brought based on this drug’s failures, and the injuries sustained by the victims. Medical malpractice claims can be filed against the clinics that injected the drug during the surgery. Product liability claims can also be brought against the compounding pharmacy, or against the manufacturer of the medication.
In product liability cases, there is no need to prove fault. It is required to show the drug or device was defective and the defect caused the injuries. Medical malpractice cases, however, are extremely complex. Plaintiffs need experienced and tough counsel because physicians will fight hard to save their careers.
In cases like these, a claim for punitive damages may also be brought if it can be shown the defendant’s conduct wantonly disregarded the safety of patients to make a profit.
The Larson Law Firm P.C. has the experience, tenacity, and resources to handle these types of hard cases. Contact our North Dakota law firm or call us at 701-484-HURT to meet with an experienced Minot product liability lawyer. Consultations are free. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.