Controversial Stem Cell Procedure Robs Three Women Of Sight
Three older women were blinded shortly after undergoing a controversial stem cell replacement therapy designed to alleviate the symptoms of macular degeneration, according to the Miami Herald,. The three women, aged 72, 77, and 78 respectively, suffered varying degrees of blindness. Even after one year, the womens' vision had not returned. One was totally blind, and the others were left with 20/200 vision. The medical malpractice attorneys at Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law want their clients in the Southeastern portion of the U.S. to be leery of controversial, unproven, and risky medical procedures.
The eye disease from which the women suffered is common in older adults. They underwent a stem cell replacement procedure by which the stem cells from fat cells in the body were injected into their eyes. The procedure is designed to stop the progression of macular degeneration and the theory behind stem cell injections, which has not been subjected to rigorous testing and research, purports to re-grow the cells in the area in which the stem cells were introduced.
The women's injuries manifested quickly. Within a day and a half after receiving the injection, two of the three women were blinded and in the emergency room. They also experienced increased blood pressure in the eyes, excessive bleeding, retinal detachment, and lens dislocation. The clinic performed almost no follow-up or aftercare despite each patient paying $5,000.00 to have the treatment.
Many questions were raised from this procedure. One of the initial questions, which has not been answered, is why the doctors at the clinic injected both eyes of the women on the same day. According to the Miami Herald, a local ophthalmologist questioned the wisdom of injecting both eyes on the same day when more routine procedures, such as cataract surgery, are performed one eye at a time. The ophthalmologist was incredulous that someone would administer this treatment to both eyes considering the procedure is experimental.
Stem cell replacement holds the potential for great things, but the scientific research has yet to satisfy regulators or the medical community. Many purveyors of stem cell replacement applaud its potential to cure diseases and conditions previously believed to be incurable. Some processes are not monitored by the government because the stem cells are removed from the patient's body and are injected elsewhere in the body without much alteration. Medical professionals urge patients searching for answers to be careful when agreeing to participate in such experimental trials.
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