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Medication error leads to patient’s blindness

Most people would expect a facility such as the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center to have proper procedures in place for controlling the supply chain of medicines. However, this facility was recently penalized after the state Department of Public Health found there was a lack of safety in obtaining and storing medicines. In addition, procedures in distributing and dispensing of medicines were also handled in manners that could lead to a medication error.

The hospital’s lack of control over medicines was found to be the cause of a patient losing sight in one eye. According to the incident report, the patient suffered of a compromised immune system with insufficient antibodies to fight infections. During treatment for bowel inflammation, the man was taking a steroid medication that was anti-inflammatory, along with intravenous administering of an immunoglobulin therapy.

Despite indications by the manufacturer of the vaccine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the vaccine should not be administered to patients who are receiving the above mentioned treatment, a doctor ordered a nurse to administer a chicken pox vaccine containing a live virus. It is not known why this treatment was ordered, as the patient already had chicken pox immunity. The patient subsequently developed blurred vision and the sensation of a foreign object in his eye.

This medication error caused the development of chicken pox in both the eyes of the patient, requiring multiple surgical procedures. Clinical studies failed to prove why the vaccine was administered. The patient has lost sight in his right eye while suffering retina inflammation in his left eye, and an ophthalmologist said eventual glaucoma and cataract surgery may follow. California residents whose health and well-being have been adversely affected by the alleged negligence of medical professionals may pursue compensation by filing medical malpractice claims in a civil court. Proper documentation of financial and other losses may lead to a monetary judgment.