April 14, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Medicine: Ex-Bipolar Paramedic Faces Side Effects

Medicine: Ex-Bipolar Paramedic Faces Side Effects

A former paramedic developed severe side effects five months into treatment for bipolar disorder.

Marie-Pierre Fillion was diagnosed at age 33. His doctor prescribed him a treatment whose serious side effects could occur in one in a million cases.

“We automatically think it won’t happen to us,” began Marie-Pierre Fillion in an interview with TVA Nouvelles.

Five months after starting treatment, the first symptoms appear.

“I had very red eyes, I had very swollen lips, almost bleeding,” she added.

She was rushed to a Quebec hospital, where doctors diagnosed Stevens-Johnson syndrome caused by the medication.

“I have [été] Third degree burns all over my body, I lost my skin. My lacrimal glands are blocked, I have no tears, I have no saliva,” she explained.

The disease left him blind for more than two years, but an operation in Boston, USA partially restored his right eye.

Costs for operations and treatments are covered by the Régi de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec, but not other costs.

“I’m on my third operation, it’s going to cost about $7,000 while I’m there,” she confirmed.

His friends finally convinced him to seek help and started a crowdfunding campaign on the GoFoundme site to allow him to continue his treatment in Boston.

“It’s unimaginable to think she can’t go to Boston anymore and she’s going to be blind again,” said her friend Genevieve Gouvreau.

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