Pharmaceutical

Death by Trasylol: one man’s story

Joseph Randone was a healthy 52-year old family man from Long Island when he underwent heart valve replacement surgery at Stony Brook University Hopsital in New York. The risks were low, according to his surgeon. Joe would likely return home to recover after less than a week in the hospital.

Months later, Randone was still in the hospital fighting a losing battle for his life. The problem began during surgery, when Randone was hooked to an IV drip containing Trasylol for four hours.

Trasylol is administered to control blood loss during heart surgery. It is one of the most widely used drugs worldwide for that purpose.

After the surgery, the doctor told Randone’s wife Josephine and daughter Marissa that something was wrong, that Joe was experiencing complications.

“They didn’t go into specifics,” Marissa told the television program 60 Minutes. “Just that there were a lot of complications, and that making it through the night was basically our first concern.”

Just after surgery, Joe Randone experienced two heart attacks. Then his kidneys failed. Randone’s surgeon rightfully suspected that Trasylol was at fault. He recorded Randone’s complications as “aprotinin-induced graft thrombosis.” In other words, blood clotting caused by Trasylol.

Randone battled for his life in the months following his Trasylol IV. He was placed on dialysis so that machines could perform the work of his kidneys.

“It was a domino effect. Once the kidneys stopped working, then it affected other organs. He was so swollen that he couldn’t even close his eyes,” Josephine told CBS.

Circulation was so poor in Randone’s lower body that gangrene settled into both of his legs. Both legs were subsequently amputated.

Josephine described the experience as “a living hell” for both Joe and his family.

Randone died eight months after his heart surgery. His family filed a suit against Bayer in Suffolk County for $80 million.

Randone’s surgeon, Dr. Todd Rosengart, has filed a report with the FDA and has stopped using Trasylol.