March 17, 2023 | at 12:19 p.m
Stay tuned for this disturbing unfolding story.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 68 patients in 16 US states have been diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection likely caused by preservative-free eye drops.
A rare strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that is resistant to antibiotics has caused the death of one American and the loss of vision of eight other people across the country, according to the health organization.
Four infected people have been forced to have their eyes surgically removed, including Florida grandmother Clara Oliva, who is now suing the supposed makers of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
“My client is terribly injured and now legally blind. I am currently investigating others who have been harmed by this recalled product,” Oliva’s attorney, Natasha Cortes, wrote in an email to Law&Crime. “These companies must be held accountable for the devastating consequences their product has caused Ms. Oliva and other consumers. “
In January, the CDC warned people to stop using this product and Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears after opened bottles taken from patients were found to contain potentially deadly bacteria.
Cortes told NBC that the Florida man frequently used EzriCare Artificial Tears before developing the infection.
“It [the product] does not contain preservatives used to combat bacterial contamination,” the legal eagle told the news network in an interview on Tuesday. “There are probably many more people who have suffered from infections and don’t know, like Mrs. Oliva was.”
According to Oliva’s suit, the 68-year-old grandmother started using EzriCare Artificial Tears in May of last year.
Several months later, his right eye became “red, swollen and unusually watery.” She later developed a bacterial infection that caused a corneal ulcer and her vision to deteriorate.
“Taking into account the severity of the infection in Mrs. Oliva’s right eye, the exhaustion of treatment methods and the risk of systemic spread of the infection causing a life-threatening condition, it was decided that enucleation of Mrs. Oliva’s right eye was the best option. an opportunity to control a serious antibiotic-resistant infection,” the suit declares.
“On September 1, 2022, Mrs. Oliva’s right eye was surgically removed and replaced with a plastic implant. With the visual acuity in her remaining left eye reduced to 20/200, Mrs. Oliva is now legally blind.
Meanwhile, the CDC has not released personal information about the person who died after developing a rare strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
In January, the health organization warned customers to stop using both EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma artificial tears after a rare outbreak of the infection.
In February, Global Pharma – the company that owns both products – voluntarily removed the product from the market, following an official recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration.
However, a spokesperson for EzriCare Artificial Tears said that the testing is not finally linking the Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak to their products.
“We have contacted customers as much as possible to advise them not to continue using the product,” a company representative said.
“We immediately contacted both the CDC and the FDA and indicated our willingness to cooperate with their requests to us.”