March 17, 2023 | 12:19 pm
Keep an eye out for this disturbing developing story.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 68 patients in 16 U.S. states have been diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection likely caused by preservative-free eye drops.
The health organization says a rare strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is resistant to antibiotics, has led to the death of one American, as well as vision loss in eight other people across the country.
Four infected people have been forced to have their eyes surgically removed, including Florida grandmother Clara Oliva, who is now suing the makers of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
“My client is horribly injured and now legally blind. I am currently investigating others who have been similarly injured 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 impact their product has caused on Ms. Oliva and other consumers.”
In January, the CDC warned people to stop using that product, as well as Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears, after patients’ opened bottles were found to contain the potentially deadly bacteria.
Cortes, told NBC that the Floridian often used EzriCare Artificial Tears before developing the infection.
“It [the product] contains no preservatives, which are used to fight bacterial contamination,” the legal eagle told the news network in an interview Tuesday. “There are probably a lot more people who have contracted infections that aren’t aware, as Ms. Oliva was.”
According to Oliva’s suit, the 68-year-old grandmother started using EzriCare Artificial Tears in May last year.
Several months later, her right eye became “red, swollen and abnormally watery.” She subsequently developed a bacterial infection that caused a corneal ulcer and a deterioration in her vision.
“Given the severity of the infection in Ms. Oliva’s right eye, the exhaustion of treatment options and the risk of the infection spreading systematically and causing a life-threatening condition, it was determined that removal of Ms. Oliva’s right eye was the best option. option to control the serious antibiotic-resistant infection,” the suit states.
“On September 1, 2022, Ms. Oliva’s right eye was surgically removed and replaced with a plastic implant. Given her reduced visual acuity of 20/200 in her remaining left eye, Ms. Oliva is now legally blind.
Meanwhile, the CDC has not released any personal information about the person who died after developing the rare strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
In January, the health organization warned customers to stop using both EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears after clocking the rare outbreak of infections.
In February, Global Pharma, the company that owns both products, issued a voluntary recall following formal advice from the Food and Drug Administration.
However, a spokesperson for EzriCare Artificial Tears said testing has not taken place final linked the outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to their products.
“As far as possible, we have contacted customers to advise them not to continue using the product,” said the company’s representative.
“We also immediately contacted both CDC and FDA and expressed our willingness to cooperate with any requests they may have from us.”