BLINDNESS AFTER CATARACT SURGERY
In these three separate pharmacist negligence cases, each of our three clients was undergoing routine cataract surgery when they were blinded in one eye by an improperly compounded Vancomycin antibiotic solution. A chemical analysis of the solution injected into the patients’ eyes showed that it had a pH of 3.9 when it should have been 7.3-7.5. Further, the solution contained no sodium chloride (salt), which is necessary as both a buffer to maintain the pH and to more closely match the natural fluid of the eye. As a result of this toxic insult to the eye, each patient developed a rare injury called Toxic Anterior Segment Syndrome or TASS.
Importantly, the pharmacy technician responsible for compounding the Vancomycin solution destroyed the solution once she was informed that there was a problem. Rather than preserve the solution for comprehensive analysis, she decided it was best to dispose of the materials.
Thankfully, the surgeon who performed the cataract surgeries and unwittingly injected the toxic solution into our clients’ eyes recognized that something was wrong with the solution. So, he saved what little remained and sent it off for the analysis that revealed the pharmacy utilized the wrong solution to compound the antibiotic.
Rather than admit responsibility for blinding three completely innocent people through its own negligence, the pharmacy and pharmacist chose to deny wrongdoing and challenge the results of the chemical analysis performed on the solution preserved by the surgeon. The defendants argued that the universally accepted testing methodology employed by the laboratory was faulty while completely ignoring the fact that its own employee destroyed incriminating evidence and attempted to cover up the wrongdoing.