Last year our firm successfully held a doctor and hospital accountable for causing a patient to suffer avoidable, permanent blindness, following a two week trial to a jury that resulted in a verdict of more than $6.75 million. We hoped that the case would serve as a reminder to the eye care community in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex that accountability following a bad outcome causing patient blindness is paramount.
Sadly, the Dallas Morning News has reported a disturbing case about dozens of injured patients at Key-Whitman Eye Center in Dallas who are questioning whether they will ever have their vision restored following routine cataract surgeries gone horribly awry, while a pharmacy company that made and sold the product that allegedly harmed them refuses to accept accountability, and the physician running the facility where they were injured is expressing his hopelessness, and his anger at that pharmacy company.
Dr. Jeffrey Whitman, president and chief surgeon of Key-Whitman and its related surgery center, said the injuries have been traced to steroid antibiotic injections prepared by Guardian Pharmacy Services. Dr. Whitman reportedly stated that the situation is devastating in many ways and that he feels “a little bit hopeless” given that his career has been dedicated to helping people see better, and angry at Guardian for “making something that injured our patients.”
Refusing to accept any accountability in the matter, Jack Munn, the owner and president of Guardian, reportedly has stated only that the compound “is being evaluated”, offering no further comment. But the story does not end there. Last Friday, a state district judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent Guardian from selling, distributing or destroying any of the compound, or from destroying related documents. And the Dallas Morning News also reported that Guardian was cited by the FDA last October for several problems after an inspection that revealed sterilization issues, failure to document dispensation of drug products, and operating a facility that lacks adequate space for the orderly placement of equipment and materials to prevent mix ups between drug produces and to prevent contamination.
Some of the victims in this story are now unable to work due their vision loss, and they are understandably scared and unsure of what the future now looks like for them. They have been deprived of their sight, their livelihood and the way of life each had grown accustomed to until they suffered this catastrophic injury. And most must prepare for a new “normal” requiring increased, expensive third party care and lots of medical treatment to deal with the effects of their lost vision.
This reported incident and devastating injuries are tragic. And while we would hope that that Key-Whitman and Guardian will stand up and be accountable for this horrible mistake on their part, it appears that judicial intervention may be required in the matter, as if often the case.
This story is an important reminder about the need for accountability when wrongdoing occurs. And when those who commit wrongs refuse to accept accountability, the counsel of an experienced personal injury and products liability lawyer can assist the victims in obtaining their legally entitled compensation, and in holding the wrongdoers fully accountable.