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Ryan M. Springer
Ryan M. Springer
Attorney • 435-649-2525

Gentamicin Toxicity

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Antibiotics are frequently used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. There are a number of different kinds of antibiotics, and they are used to treat specific kinds of bacteria. Although all medications have risks, most antibiotics are relatively safe.

Aminoglycoside antibiotics are a potent class of antibiotics, and include such drugs as tobramycin, neomycin, and gentamicin. All aminoglycosides are toxic to the sensory cells of the ear and can permanently damage your vestibular nerve. This results in the patient experiencing loss of balance and vertigo.

Because of the high risks associated with gentamicin, it should only be selected as a last resort. When a doctor prescribes gentamicin, he or she should closely monitor the levels of the drug, as well as the patient’s kidney function, to ensure there is no toxic accumulation of the drug.

 

Unfortunately, many doctors prescribe gentamicin without carefully considering what is best for the patient. Additionally, they fail to order periodic testing of serum gentamicin levels and basic renal function tests. This is a rare form of medical malpractice, but it can have disastrous consequences.

Patients who are not closely monitored develop irreversible damage to their eighth cranial nerve. Once the gentamicin accumulates to toxic levels, able-bodied people are are suddenly forced into a world of perpetual dizziness and imbalance. They can no longer operate vehicles, go out on boats, be in crowds, swim, or carry on many of the daily activities we take for granted. In some cases, patients suffer deafness and severe kidney damage as well.

There is a group called “Wobblers Anonymous” that offers support for those that have been injured by negligent gentamicin regimens. The group offers encouragement and advice for people learning to adapt to these difficult new conditions.

Often, treatment requires regular visits with specialists and physical therapists that help injured patients to compensate. But these options can be expensive, and it isn’t the patient’s fault that the doctor was negligent in prescribing and monitoring gentamicin. If you or someone you know has been injured by gentamicin poisoning, you are not alone, and there is help.