Jerry Conway joins me on this episode of Drugwatch Podcast. Prior to taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics Cipro and Levaquin, he was an active, fit 57-year-old man with a good career. But, after he suffered an aortic dissection, he lost everything.
On the evening of October 7, 2014, he drove himself to the ER with chest pain.
“I was admitted to Plano Presbyterian Hospital’s ER, was given last rites,” Conway told Drugwatch. “I had no idea what was going on.”
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are popular because they treat a wide variety of infections. But, they also have a number of side effects. These include permanent nerve damage, tendon problems and most recently, a connection to aortic aneurysms and dissections — bulges and ruptures in the aorta.
Surgeons performed an 11-hour surgery to save Conway’s life. He had suffered an aortic dissection and a heart attack. While he was on the operating table, he had a stroke.
Doctors gave him a bleak 5 percent chance at survival.
After being in a medically induced coma and four months of rehab, Conway lost his job. He had about $2 million worth of medical bills that forced him to file bankruptcy. He had to live in his car and panhandle when he couldn’t find a job.
He filed a lawsuit against the makers of Cipro and Levaquin after he found studies connecting the drugs to aortic aneurysms and dissections.
Now, Conway says he is just happy to be alive. He found a job but only makes half of what he used to make before the surgery. Daily, he lives with nerve damage and the after effects of the surgery as well as lingering side effects of the drugs that changed his life forever.
He is angry that drug companies never warned him about the dangers of these drugs but tries to stay positive. Conway offers himself as a cautionary tale to others and encourages others to research a drug before taking it.
Michelle Y. Llamas is a senior content writer. She is also the host of Drugwatch Podcast where she interviews medical experts as well as patients affected by drugs and medical devices. She has written medical and legal content for several years — including an article in The Journal of Palliative Medicine and an academic book review for Nova Science Publishers. With Drugwatch, she has developed relationships with legal and medical professionals as well as with several patients and support groups. Prior to writing for Drugwatch, she spent several years as a legal assistant for a personal injury law firm in Orlando. She obtained her English – Technical Communication degree from the University of Central Florida. She is a committee member with the American Medical Writers Association.
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