Everyone who is suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity has been hurt by the medical system–obviously. A prescription drug, an antibiotic no less, caused a multi-symptom illness that includes damage to connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, cartilage, muscle, fascia, etc.) throughout the body, damage to the nervous systems (central, peripheral and autonomic), and more, for those who are “floxed.” There are thousands of people who suffer from a myriad of adverse-effects as a result of taking Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, Floxin/ofloxacin, or other fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Despite the devastation that fluoroquinolones bring to their victims, and the fact that most symptoms are documented in various studies and on the FDA-published warning label, most victims of fluoroquinolones are unable to gain any sort of justice, retribution, or compensation for the damage done to them.
Justice System Failure
“Why don’t you just sue?” is a question that is commonly asked. While a complete answer to this question is more than I can give in this post, the short 2-part answer is that: A) People who are hurt by generic drugs cannot sue the maker of the drugs that hurt them, and B) If a symptom is listed on a drug warning label, you cannot sue for the drug causing that symptom. Most symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are listed on the 43-page drug warning label, so if, for example, you suffer from toxic psychosis after taking a fluoroquinolone, you cannot sue for that severe and life-altering effect because “you were warned.” Never mind that few victims, and almost equally few medical professionals ever read the drug warning labels, much less the studies behind them.
Because suing is near-impossible for most victims of fluoroquinolones, thousands of people are left without any sense of justice or compensation for their losses.
Justice through State Medical Boards?
A recent note from a floxie friend gave me hope that some acknowledgement, and maybe some change, could come through filing complaints against the doctors (and other medical professionals) who are prescribing fluoroquinolones. Here’s her story:
My friend was an active senior citizen who enjoyed dancing before she was floxed. She is a petite vegan and was entirely healthy before she took ciprofloxacin. My friend recently filed a complaint with her State Medical Board against the Physician Assistant who prescribed her ciprofloxacin to treat an unconfirmed urinary tract infection. Her complaint asserted that the P.A. misdiagnosed her with a urinary tract infection and improperly prescribed fluoroquinolone antibiotics “which resulted in long term complications” (i.e. she got floxed).
My friend was pleasantly surprised when she received a letter back from the State Medical Board stating that they found that the P.A. was guilty of a “simple departure” from the standard of care. The letter explained that a simple departure from the standard of care is a “departure from the standard of practice,” and that “there must be two or more negligent acts or omissions before there is a violation of the Medical Practice Act.”
Basically, this P.A. now has one strike against him, and if there is another Medical Board complaint against him, he can be found to be in violation of the Medical Practices Act, and disciplinary action can be taken.
Though I don’t know how the P.A. reacted to the findings, it is reasonable to assume that he isn’t happy about having one strike (of two) against his record. I would also guess that he’s not going to prescribe fluoroquinolones for unconfirmed UTIs (it turned out that my friend didn’t even have bacteria in her urine), and maybe he will refrain from prescribing fluoroquinolones again unless they are completely medically necessary. This, in itself, is progress. Having fewer doctors, P.A.s, and other medical professionals prescribing fluoroquinolones is a step in the right direction.
With the letter from her State Medical Board, my friend is approaching lawyers to see if any will take her case against the P.A. who prescribed her ciprofloxacin.
Perhaps filing complaints with State Medical Boards, and suing, doctors who hurt people through prescribing fluoroquinolones is one way to get change to happen.
Changing the System
If there are consequences for prescribing fluoroquinolones, perhaps more doctors will be cautious and prudent with them. If doctors hear of their associates having Medical Board disciplinary action taken against them, perhaps they will take the well-documented side-effects of fluoroquinolones seriously.
Fluoroquinolones are serious drugs with severe consequences. They should be prescribed with care and prudence, and, when they’re not, those who prescribe them inappropriately should face consequences.
If you were prescribed a fluoroquinolone inappropriately (the FDA recently changed the warning labels to note that fluoroquinolones should not be prescribed to treat bronchitis, uncomplicated cystitis, or sinus infections, and there are also documented reasons that athletes, children, people taking steroids or NSAIDs, immunocompromised individuals, and those with a history of psychiatric illness, should not be prescribed fluoroquinolones), your doctor should be reprimanded for inappropriately prescribing dangerous drugs to you–especially if those drugs hurt you.
I encourage everyone who was inappropriately prescribed fluoroquinolones to look into filing a complaint with your State Medical Board against the person who prescribed fluoroquinolones to you. Each State Medical Board has different forms and procedures, but you should be able to access them through Googling, “____(your State) Medical Board.”
I also encourage those whose fluoroquinolone side-effects were disregarded or ignored by doctors to file complaints with their State Medical Boards. The wide-ranging side-effects of fluoroquinolones are well-documented (HERE are hundreds of articles about the dangers of fluoroquinolones), and denial of documented drug side-effects is not appropriate. Perhaps with some Medical Board complaints, more acknowledgement of fluoroquinolone effects will come as well. That would certainly be nice, as acknowledgment is healing.
My friend has been empowered by the Medical Board findings, and I hope that she eventually gets justice. Disabling people with strong and consequential drugs, especially when they don’t even have an infection to begin with, is wrong. All “floxies” have to pay the consequences of taking fluoroquinolones with every loss that they sustain. Perhaps some of that burden should be shared by the doctors who inappropriately prescribe fluoroquinolones.