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Medication error costs Miami man his eyesight

Hospital negligence and medication errors account for a substantial number medical malpractice claims in Florida. Generally, an individual enters the hospital with the expectation of getting well; they never anticipate leaving with a serious injury caused by the oversight of someone responsible for their care.

It has become a well known fact that Florida patient safety, particularly where medication errors are concerned, continues to be a matter of grave concern.

Recently, a 79-year-old Miami man who was receiving injections of a drug called Avastin for an eye condition at a Miami medical center experienced a terrifying medical ordeal he's not likely to soon forget.

The victim had previously received seven injections without incident. However, the 8th shot caused the man to go blind, and he may never regain his eyesight. An investigation confirmed that the injection was contaminated with two separate strains of strep, which subsequently caused the man's blindness.

Avastin is used to treat a number of illnesses; in fact, strong doses are often used in the treatment of cancer. A pharmacy typically retains the responsibility of cutting doses for allocation to various treatment areas, including ophthalmology.

The aforementioned Miami man is one of 12 people who say Avastin injections have caused blindness. The man has now sued the drug manufacturer, the hospital where the injections were performed, and the compounding pharmacy. The drug manufacturer and hospital told reporters that they do not comment on pending litigation, and the compounding company said it was cooperating with all state and federal authorities. A formal statement stated that the problem is limited to one particular drug and one particular batch of that drug. The pharmacy has voluntarily suspended all compounding of Avastin until the cause of the problem has been identified.

Most people who seek help for a medical issue don't expect to be injured at the hands of those responsible for their care. Medical malpractice, particularly in the area of hospital negligence and medication error, is as foreign to most people as the doctor's scribbling on a prescription pad. A Florida attorney who has handled cases of medical malpractice against hospitals and drug manufacturers may help people who feel they've been victimized.

Source: CBS Miami, "Miami Man Sues Hospital After Botched Injection Made Him Blind," Kelly Sedano, Aug. 4, 2011

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