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|Government Demands Chrysler Recall 2.7 Million Jeep SUVs||
On June 3, 2013, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) wrote a letter to Chrysler, stating that a safety-related defect exists in 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles, and demanding that Chrysler recall them. The model years for the Grand Cherokee were 1993-2004, and the model years for the Jeep Liberty were 2002-2007. The alleged defect is related to the rear fuel tanks, which cause an unreasonable risk of a fire occurring in the event of a rear-impact collision. Specifically, there are concerns about the likelihood that the fuel tanks will leak gasoline and catch fire in rear-impacts, resulting in serious injuries and fire-related deaths.
There is presently a lawsuit pending in the Superior Court of Decatur County, Georgia, involving the death of 4 year old Remi Walden, who was a passenger in a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it was struck in the rear by a Dodge Dakota truck. The collision occurred in Bainbridge, Georgia. Remi was properly restrained in his booster seat in the backset of the Grand Cherokee when the rear-impact collision occurred. The Grand Cherokee, which had a fuel tank located just inside the rear bumper of the car, ruptured upon impact, causing a fire. The Grand Cherokee was quickly engulfed in flames, witnesses were unable to rescue Remi, and he died from fire-related injuries. Remi Walden's death was one of the incidents referred to by NHTSA in its recall letter to Chrysler.
In the 1970s, 27 deaths were attributed to Ford Pinto rear-impact fires. There was a 1972 accident which resulted in the famous court case known as Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company, in which a California appellate court ultimately upheld a compensatory damages award of $2.5 million and punitive damages of $3.5 million against Ford, ostensibly because Ford had been aware of the design defects for several years but had decided against altering the design. It was later discovered that Ford had done a "cost-benefit analysis" to compare the cost of a recall and repairs against the cost of settlements or verdicts for injuries, deaths, and vehicles burning up.
Given this background, it appears that automakers have known since the 1970s that putting gas tanks in the rear of a vehicle where they are unprotected by the vehicle's frame places the vehicle occupants in grave danger. In the case of the above-referenced Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberties, the fuel tanks are located behind the rear axle, adjacent to the rear bumper, and they hang down below the rear bumper. This location is commonly known as the "crush zone," which is the location where the vehicle is most vulnerable to rear-impacts.
Interestingly, Chrysler has in recent years relocated the fuel tank in its newer model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles, locating it ahead of the rear axle, where it is protected from rear-impact. However, Chrysler has failed to warn owners and refused to recall its older model year Jeeps in which the fuel tanks are located in the rear crush zone. In response to the June 3rd letter from NHTSA, Chrysler stated that it will not recall these Jeeps, it does not agree there is any problem, and it vowed to fight the recall effort. Meanwhile, the parents of young Remi Walden await their day in court.
|Tylenol Liver Damage Lawsuits Consolidated||
A number of victims throughout the United States have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, McNeil-PPC, after suffering severe liver damage, liver failure and, in some cases, death after taking Tylenol or Acetaminophen. The lawsuits allege that the Defendant manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with the side effects of Acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol. The victims suffered serious and life-threatening injuries, even when the medication was taken as directed. Liver damage can lead to prolonged hospitalizations and potentially, the need for a liver transplant. The average cost for a liver transplant in the United States exceeds $500,000.
In April of 2013, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating and centralizing all of the Tylenol liver damage lawsuits pending in Federal Courts throughout the United States in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Any Tylenol liver injury lawsuits filed hereafter in the Federal Court system will be transferred into the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Court for the purpose of coordinated pretrial proceedings. This is not a class action. Any case transferred to the MDL Court remains an individual lawsuit throughout the process. The consolidation of such cases is more common in complicated product liability cases, where there are a significant number of lawsuits filed regarding similar injuries allegedly caused by a common medication, medical device or defective product. If a settlement agreement is not reached after the pretrial proceedings are completed in the MDL Court, the individual cases may be sent back to the U.S. District Courts where they were filed or could have been filed originally, and they are assigned dates for trials.
When the Tylenol lawsuits were consolidated in the MDL Court recently, there were only 27 Tylenol lawsuits filed against various manufacturers in Federal Courts throughout the United States. I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg, and that the Tylenol litigation will increase over the next few years as more victims discover that their liver damage or liver failure was caused by Tylenol manufacturers' failure to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with this over-the-counter medication. Acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., and has been for the past ten years. This fact has been reported by the FDA, and is well known to the makers of Tylenol. It has been estimated that more than 50,000 emergency room visits, 25,000 hospitalizations, and between 400 and 600 deaths occur annually as a result of liver damage or liver failure associated with Acetaminophen. Consequently, the FDA and other health organizations have been studying the association between Acetaminophen overdose and liver damage.
In November of 2011, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published the results of a study that highlighted the risk of liver damage that consumers face from a Tylenol overdose, albeit an accidental overdose. In many cases, the liver damage goes untreated because it is not diagnosed correctly during hospital visits. This, in turn, increases the risk of the individual suffering liver failure or death. The British study showed how consumers who suffer accidental, small overdoses of Tylenol can be at a greater risk of liver failure or death because the liver damage is not readily detectible at the onset of symptoms. The British study found that out of 663 patients who were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with Acetaminophen, 161 of those patients had experienced what are known as staggered overdoses, which don't always show up in blood work done at the hospital. Such patients are more likely to need a liver transplant or die because their Tylenol overdose and liver damage went undiagnosed and untreated.
Tylenol is a billion dollar drug. For decades, Johnson & Johnson, McNeil, and manufacturers of other products containing Acetaminophen failed to adequately warn consumers about the known risk of liver injury associated with this over-the-counter medication. In July of 2011, after increased pressure from various consumer advocacy groups and an increase in the number of Tylenol lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was decreasing the recommended maximum daily dose from 4,000 mg per day to 3,000 mg per day. However, many of us believe that action was too little and too late.
The Tylenol liver damage attorneys at Suthers Law Firm believe that there could be many more liver injury lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson and others in the future. The firm has represented many victims injured by dangerous drugs, including over-the-counter medications, and defective medical products. If you or a loved one has suffered liver damage, liver failure or death after taking Tylenol, you may be eligible to file a Tylenol damage lawsuit. Such lawsuits are pursued under a contingency fee basis, meaning that there are no attorney fees unless a recovery is obtained, and the law firm will advance all out-of-pocket expenses associated with the Tylenol litigation. To discuss a potential lawsuit for yourself, a family member or friend, call 1-800-320-2384 or go to www.sutherslaw.com for a free Tylenol lawsuit consultation.
|Drunk Driving Fatalities||
The well-known organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), has been leading the fight to save lives and prevent injuries caused by drunk drivers. In 2006, MADD started what it called the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. The campaign is working, as fatalities caused by drunk drivers have decreased by greater than 25% since the campaign began. 9,878 people were killed and approximately 350,000 were injured by drunk drivers in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This was the first time since NHTSA began collecting data that there were less than 10,000 fatalities. When MADD was first founded, there were more than 22,000 drunk driving fatalities each year.
While we rejoice in the fact that the numbers are going down, the battle is long from being over. 9,878 deaths is still too many, and each death impacts not only the victim, but family, friends, classmates and others. The yearly price tag of drunk driving runs into the billions. Proof that there remains more work to be done can be found in the preliminary statistics regarding the first half of 2012. Regrettably, these statistics showed a 7% increase in traffic deaths related to drunk drivers. While the year-end statistics have not yet been released, if fatalities continued to occur at that rate, that means an additional 700 people will have been killed by drunk drivers last year.
Tragically, approximately 1/3 of all drunk driving incidents, ranging from arrests, car crashes, deaths, and injuries, are caused by repeat offenders. We potentially share the highways with approximately 2 million people who have 3 or more drunk driving offenses. That's one of the primary reasons that states have attempted to crack down on drunk drivers by enacting stiffer penalties for offenders and especially, for repeat offenders. The State of Georgia can take pride in the fact that it has the 3rd lowest percentage of traffic deaths that are DUI related in the USA according to the 2011 Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The State of South Carolina is one of the worst states when it comes to DUI fatalities, ranking 46th among the 50 states. Taking away the driver's licenses of repeat offenders isn't always enough, as more than 50% of them will drive anyway. MADD and other organizations are supporting research into various forms of technology that could help eliminate drunk driving. An example of technology being studied includes a system that can read a driver's blood alcohol concentration and lock the ignition system, which would stop drunk driving offenders before they repeat their crimes.
While the efforts to reduce drunk driving have been focused on enacting stronger criminal laws and imposing stricter penalties, victims should not lose sight of their rights under our Civil Justice System. If you or a loved has been injured by a drunk driver, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and under certain circumstances, the owner of the automobile that the drunk driver was operating. You have the right to recover monetary damages related to your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may also have the right to seek and recover what are known as punitive damages. These are damages that are designed to punish a wrongdoer and deter that person from engaging in the same conduct in the future. In the case of a wrongful death caused by drunk driver, the victim's family has the right to sue to recover damages representing the full value of the victim's life. The attorneys at Suthers Law Firm have represented victims and families of victims who were injured and killed by drunk drivers. The firm remains committed to doing its part to make our roads safer.
|Generic Drug Manufacturers Should Be Held Accountable||
Generic drugs comprise 80% of all of the prescriptions filled in the United States. These generic drugs generate approximately $53 billion dollars in revenue. Unlike brand manufacturers, generic drug manufacturers have no duty to disclose new safety risks pertaining to their drugs when such risks become known. Brand manufacturers are required to update their warning labels upon learning of new safety risks or hazards associated with their drugs. Why should generic drug manufacturers be treated any differently?
In 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Pliva v. Mensing that generic drug manufacturers cannot be held responsible for injuries caused by their failure to warn about safety risks associated with their generic drugs. Sometimes, these generic drug manufacturers are the biggest or only manufacturer of a particular drug. The Mensing decision protects generic drug manufacturers from being held accountable for failing to warn about potential hazards associated with the use of their drugs.
A young lady named Kira Gilbert is one of many examples of why generic drug manufacturers should be held accountable. Kira, who was 22 years old at the time, took a generic pain medication prescribed by her doctor for a few days prior to undergoing knee surgery. The drug was the generic version of Darvocet, which was eventually removed from the market because it posed a significant safety hazard. Kira Gilbert died from cardiac failure caused by her taking the generic drug. Unfortunately, her family was unable to hold the manufacturer of the generic drug responsible for Kira's death because of the Mensing decision.
In its ruling in the Mensing case, the Supreme Court left it to Congress to change the law and hold generic drug manufacturers accountable for their drugs' safety. Having represented victims who suffered serious injuries or died after taking unsafe drugs, the attorneys at Suthers Law Firm believe Congress needs to amend the law and require both generic and brand manufacturers to be responsible for warning consumers about their drugs' safety. Consumers can help in this campaign by sending messages to their members of Congress, urging them to hold generic drug manufacturers accountable for their drugs' safety.
|Georgia and South Carolina Nursing Homes Paid the Most Fines||
According to the website Nursing Home Inspect, multiple nursing homes located throughout the States of Georgia and South Carolina lead the country in the amount of fines paid for violations of regulations that govern their operation. Nursing homes are inspected periodically by regulators (sometimes called "surveyors") as a matter of routine. Additionally, when the Government receives a complaint from a family member about a nursing home, the facility will be inspected as part of the Government's investigation of the complaint. If it is determined that the nursing home failed to comply with regulations that govern their operation, they are issued what are known as "deficiencies." Simply stated, these are citations for failing to follow the rules.
Nursing Home Inspect was designed to make it easier for consumers to do research online and compare nursing homes based upon the number of deficiencies and penalties that were issued against them during the past 3 years. A non-profit investigative news organization known as ProPublica continually updates the information on the website. When nursing homes are repeatedly cited for deficiencies, they can face penalties, including fines. According to Nursing Home Inspect, the most fined nursing home in America over the past 3 years is Unihealth Post-Acute Care - North Augusta, a nursing home located in North Augusta, South Carolina. That facility paid a total of $737,000 in fines over the past 3 years. The second most fined nursing home in America is Cobb Healthcare Center, located in Comer, Georgia. That facility paid a total of $592,000 in fines over the past 3 years. Sadly, of the 20 most fined nursing homes in America during this time period, 3 were located in the State of Georgia. In addition to Cobb Healthcare Center, a nursing home known as Willowbrooke Court at Lanier Village Estates in Gainesville, Georgia and a nursing home known as Bethany Nursing Center of Vidalia in Vidalia, Georgia were among the 20 most fined nursing homes. Two nursing homes located in the State of South Carolina were also in the top 20, Unihealth Post-Acute Care - North Augusta and Heartland of Columbia Rehab. and Nursing Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
Not coincidentally, the most fined nursing home in America over the past 3 years, Unihealth Post-Acute Care - North Augusta, was also designated as a "Special Focus Facility," which is a nursing home cited for having a history of serious quality issues. Of the 20 nursing homes across the U.S. listed as having the most serious deficiencies, 5 of those facilities are located in South Carolina. In addition to Unihealth Post-Acute Care - North Augusta, the other South Carolina nursing homes cited were Magnolia Manor - Columbia in Columbia, Brookeview Healthcare Center in Gaffney, Unihealth Post-Acute Care - Aiken in Aiken, and Camp Care in Inman, South Carolina.
Virtually all nursing homes have been cited for some deficiencies, so an isolated deficiency alone is not necessarily an indication that a home is substandard. However, when a nursing home is cited repeatedly for multiple deficiencies, that should be a red flag to consumers and a reason to investigate the facility more closely. Citations related to healthcare issues, such as pressure sores (bedsores), falls, malnutrition, dehydration, and citations for inadequate staffing should be of greatest concern to consumers, because such deficiencies can lead to serious illnesses, injuries and even death.
If you have a complaint about how a family member has been treated in a nursing home, you should report it to the appropriate state agency. Many state agencies have local representatives known as long-term care ombudsmen, who are authorized to advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. If you believe a family member has suffered a serious injury or died as a result of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you should contact an experienced, nursing home litigation attorney. For helpful tips on how to recognize signs of elder abuse or neglect, go to the Nursing Home Resource Center.
|GranuFlo (Dialysis Product) Litigation||
Lawsuits filed against Fresenius Medical Care contend that the product has twice the level of acetate as the liquid solution. When used during dialysis, it can affect the patient's blood's pH level and disrupt the patient's heart rhythm, a condition known as arrhythmia. One of the lawsuits involves a patient who went in for his routine dialysis treatment during which GranuFlo was used. The patient went into cardiac arrest and died while he was still connected to the dialysis machine.
In March of 2012, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Class 1 recall of GranuFlo. The basis for the recall was the FDA's finding that an excess bicarbonate level in the bloodstream can cause a drop in blood pressure, low blood oxygen, a drop in the potassium levels in the blood, and cardiac arrhythmia, which can result in the patient suffering cardiac arrest. Lawsuits allege that Fresenius Medical Care knew about the inherent risk of elevated bicarbonate levels in the blood, but failed to warn clinics to change the settings on the dialysis machines to account for the elevated bicarbonate levels. Company memos revealed that 941 patients at dialysis clinics owned by Fresenius had experienced cardiac arrest while being treated with GranuFlo. Fresenius warned its clinics to reduce the acetate value when using GranuFlo in its concentrated form. However, the lawsuits allege that the company failed to warn thousands of other dialysis clinics about the increased risk of suffering cardiac arrest while using GranuFlo. It is unknown at present exactly how many patients who were treated with GranuFlo experienced cardiac arrhythmia and/or cardiac arrest. Plaintiffs' lawyers have estimated that the potential number of injured victims from all dialysis clinics across the U.S. could range between 5,000 and 10,000.
The Suthers Law Firm has experience representing individuals who have suffered serious injuries, and the families of individuals who suffered wrongful deaths, as a result of dangerous medical products. Such cases are among the most challenging cases that are pursued, and it is important to retain an attorney who has the experience and resources that are necessary in order to prevail.
|Atlanta Hospital Sued for Three Baby Deaths||
The birth of a child is normally a joyous occasion for families. However, lives can be turned upside down when a newborn is catastrophically injured or dies during childbirth. There are many things that can go wrong during the labor and delivery process, so doctors and nurses alike must have a heightened awareness of any changes that could indicate fetal distress. The failure to react quickly to signs of fetal distress can lead to catastrophic injuries or the death of a newborn child.
Recently, an Atlanta area hospital was sued in three, separate cases involving the alleged wrongful death of babies, all of which occurred during a two month period. The lawsuits allege that doctors and nurses at South Fulton Medical Center were negligent in not recognizing signs of early labor in one of the cases, delaying a C-section delivery in another case, and neglecting to recognize the signs of fetal distress in the third case. None of the three babies survived.
In the first case involving the alleged failure to recognize the signs of early labor, a pregnant mother who was suffering from fever, back and stomach pain, and a decrease in fetal movement by the baby went to the hospital to be evaluated. She was told that she was suffering from the flu, was given Tylenol, and told that she could leave. No testing was done to determine whether she was in labor. Her pain worsened, so she returned to the hospital the same day and delivered a baby that weighed less than two pounds. The baby died shortly after being delivered.
In the case involving the alleged delay in performing a C-section, a pregnant mother noticed decreased fetal movement of her baby. She, too, went to South Fulton Medical Center for evaluation. Upon being admitted to the hospital, the mother was placed on a fetal monitor and the baby's heartbeat was detected. A C-section was scheduled to take place that day, but was subsequently delayed until the next day. When the baby was delivered the next day, it was dead. The mother was told by the staff at the hospital that the baby had likely died several days prior to the delivery. When the family requested and obtained an autopsy, the autopsy revealed that the baby had died within 24 hours of the delivery. The lawsuit alleged that if the baby had been delivered when the mother was first admitted to the hospital, the baby would have been born alive.
In the case involving the alleged failure to recognize fetal distress, a young, pregnant mother who had reached full term was admitted to the hospital for delivery of the baby. The lawsuit alleges that the attending doctors at South Fulton Medical Center failed to recognize signs of fetal distress and were negligent in not scheduling an emergency C-section delivery. When the baby was delivered, there was no sign of brain activity. The baby was placed on life support, and died when life support measures were discontinued.
The doctors and South Fulton Medical Center have denied that they were negligent in all three cases, and the cases are now in litigation.
Lawsuits involving catastrophically injured newborns are among the most complex and challenging cases that are pursued by medical malpractice attorneys. They often require multiple medical experts in varying fields of medicine to investigate what actually happened and determine whether doctors or nurses are responsible for the injuries or deaths that occurred. Accordingly, they are among the most expensive cases for lawyers to investigate and pursue. Therefore, it is important to retain an attorney who is both experienced in medical malpractice cases and who has the financial resources to thoroughly investigate and take such cases to trial, if necessary. If you or a loved one has a child who was catastrophically injured as a result of the failure to properly manage the mother's pregnancy or the failure to deliver the child in a safe and timely manner, contact the attorneys at Suthers Law Firm. We recognize that mistakes during the labor and delivery process can impose lifelong challenges for the injured babies and their families.
|Mirena IUD Devices||
Injuries continue to be reported by women implanted with Mirena IUD devices. Mirena is a small, t-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the uterus by a trained healthcare provider. It is intended to provide contraceptive protection for approximately five years. However, many side effects have been associated with the Mirena device, including abscesses, birth defects in newborns, embedment in the uterus, erosion of areas adjacent to the device, perforation of the uterus, intestinal perforations or obstruction, and pelvic inflammatory disease. The most serious cases involve extra-uterine migration of the device, which occurs after the device has been properly placed. In some cases, years after being properly inserted, the Mirena device can perforate the uterus and migrate into the abdominal cavity. This can cause injury to adjacent organs, formation of scar tissue or adhesions, an even a medically necessary hysterectomy. In cases where the Mirena device has migrated into the area of other organs, surgery is almost always required to remove the device. Some women have suffered serious and debilitating or potentially life-threatening complications as a result of migration of the Mirena device.
If you or someone you know had to have a Mirena IUD device surgically removed because it had migrated from its original position and perforated the uterine lining or an adjacent organ, you may have potential lawsuit against the manufacturer of Mirena. The Suthers Law Firm is investigating potential Mirena lawsuits involving patients who were implanted with the Mirena IUD device, but had to have it surgically removed after it migrated.
|Nursing Homes Overbilling Medicare||
According to the Wall Street Journal, nursing homes are overbilling Medicare $1.5 billion dollars annually. A majority of nursing home residents are Medicare recipients, making Medicare a key payor for nursing homes throughout the United States. When residents are admitted to nursing homes, the nursing home is required to prepare a report known as a Minimum Data Set (MDS), detailing the type of care to be rendered to the resident and the degree or intensity of care, which is also referred to as the acuity. The amount of Medicare's reimbursement to a nursing home is based on the acuity level. The greater the acuity, the larger the reimbursement. Increased care rendered to residents in nursing homes includes things such as speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.
The recent study by the Government, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, revealed that some nursing homes have been guilty of what is known as "upcoding," a process in which they inflate their bill to Medicare by claiming that more intensive services were provided than were actually performed. For example, a facility may claim that physical therapy was rendered to a resident regularly when, in fact, little or no therapy was performed. In other cases, the study determined that nursing homes were providing inappropriate or unnecessary care for the sole purpose of inflating their bills to Medicare and receiving greater reimbursements.
Ironically, while nursing homes have been overbilling Medicare to the tune of $1.5 billion dollars annually, their lobbyists are asking Congress to enact a bill, HR 5, which would limit the recovery by a victim who has been abused or neglected in a nursing home. While nursing homes are defrauding the Government (and taxpayers), they are asking the Government to pass laws that would shield them from liability for negligently injuring residents. Keep in mind that many of these residents are part of the so-called "great generation," comprised of men and women who fought for our country in World War II and other wars, built factories that provided jobs for thousands of citizens, and were tax-paying citizens themselves.
The Suthers Law Firm, which practices throughout the States of Georgia and South Carolina, regularly represents victims who have been abused or neglected and their families in cases against nursing homes and assisted living facilities. For more information, see the page entitled "Nursing Home Resource Center" at the website of the Suthers Law Firm, www.sutherslaw.com.
|Mesh Litigation Update||
A new multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceeding has been formed for transvaginal mesh products manufactured by Coloplast Corporation. This MDL proceeding will take place in the Southern District of West Virginia, with Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presiding. The new Coloplast MDL joins 4 others in that Court involving transvaginal mesh product manufacturers C.R. Bard, Ethicon, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson), American Medical Systems, Inc., and Boston Scientific Corporation. In excess of 1,000 cases have been consolidated into these 5 multidistrict litigation proceedings. Other mesh-related cases are pending in State Courts around the United States.
Coloplast Corporation acquired the urology business division of Mentor Corporation. In doing so, Coloplast entered into the business of selling mesh products intended to treat conditions known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). These mesh products are surgically implanted through the vagina in women who are suffering from POP and SUI. The 3 Coloplast vaginal mesh products intended to treat POP are Novasilk Synthetic Flat Mesh, Exair Mesh, and Restorelle Smartmesh. Coloplast's bladder sling products intended to correct SUI include the Omnisure Sling, Minitape Sling, Aris Transobturator Sling, Supris Suprapubic Sling, and the T-Sling with Centrasorb.
Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an updated safety communication in which it warned doctors, healthcare professionals, and patients that the placement of surgical mesh through the vagina to treat POP and SUI may present greater risks for the patient than other procedures which do not involve the use of mesh. The FDA's investigation of problems associated with the use of transvaginal mesh to treat POP and SUI is ongoing.
The Suthers Law Firm is currently investigating and pursuing cases on behalf of women who were injured after being surgically implanted with transvaginal mesh products manufactured by Coloplast Corporation, Boston Scientific Corporation, American Medical Systems, Inc., Ethicon, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson), and C.R. Bard. If you need more information on this litigation, please contact John Suthers toll free at 1-800-320-2384 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Fungal Meningitis Outbreak||
During the past few weeks, we have learned of a growing number of fungal meningitis cases linked to a batch of contaminated epidural steroid injections created by the New England Compounding Center. Meningitis refers to inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Common types of meningitis are viral and bacterial meningitis which can be highly contagious and begin with flu-like symptoms. Often these types of meningitis may go undiagnosed as patients will simply write it off as a seasonal flu. Unlike viral and bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis is not contagious and cases currently under investigation by the CDC are limited to those who received the affected steroid shot.
In this case, the contaminated product, created by a compounding center, tested positive for strains of fungus - including one that is present in wood rot. You may not be familiar with how a compounding pharmacy differs from your local pharmacy, or how each is individually regulated by the FDA. Compounding centers create custom formulations of medications in order to fit patients' needs that may not be able to be met with a manufactured drug product. Currently, more than half of the nation's 56,000 community-based pharmacies provide some level of basic compounding services and one to three percent of all prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. are compounded.
Compounding pharmacies are licensed and regulated by individual states, but the final products created by a compounding pharmacy are not subject to FDA regulations that manufacturers of drugs must follow. The New England Compounding Center has voluntarily recalled products related to the outbreak, but the CDC, recommends all products from the center be avoided while the investigation continues.
The CDC estimates that as many as 14,000 patients may have been given the tainted product tied to the outbreak. Since last week, the outbreak has been connected to 205 infections spread throughout 15 states and 15 reported deaths. So far no cases have been identified in Georgia but it is important to note that the CDC has marked Georgia as a state that received the affected product.
|UPDATE: Steroid For Back Pain That Was Recalled Due To Risk Of Fungal Meningitis Continues To Claim Lives||
The toll from the outbreak of fungal meningitis tied to contaminated steroid shots has now killed 12 people in the United States with that number expected to rise.
On Tuesday, the outbreak claimed four more lives and Florida became the latest state to report at least one death linked to the illness in a widening health scare.
Since the September 25 recall of three lots of a steroid produced by New England Compounding Company, the outbreak has spread to 10 states and infected 121 people, according to state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In five states -- Tennessee, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida -- the outbreak has claimed lives, with the latest victim a 70-year-old man in Florida.
As many as 13,000 people received the injections to relieve back pain and other complaints and are at risk of infection, the CDC said, although the number ultimately stricken is likely to be far fewer.
For the first time on Tuesday, Tennessee state health officials gave an estimate of the rate of infection among those patients who received injections from the recalled steroid supplies.
Approximately 5 percent of patients treated with the suspect medication have contracted meningitis, said Dr. David Reagan, chief medical officer for the Tennessee Department of Health. Based on that rate of infection and the 13,000 shots given, the number of confirmed cases could grow to about 650 from the current 121.
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include headache, fever and nausea. Fungal meningitis, unlike viral and bacterial meningitis, is not contagious.
Some of the thousands of people exposed may have to wait anxiously for weeks because the incubation period of the disease is up to a month, health experts said.
The potentially tainted steroid vials, which have been recalled, were shipped to 76 facilities in 23 states, the CDC has said.
Tennessee has been the hardest hit state, with six reported deaths and 39 cases of meningitis, followed by Michigan with three deaths and 25 cases, Virginia with one death and 24 cases and Maryland with one death and eight cases.
The other states with cases are Indiana (12), Florida (6), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (2), Ohio (1) and New Jersey (1).
|Steroid for Back Pain Recalled Due to Risk of Fungal Meningitis||
The New England Compounding Center, a pharmacy that distributed a steroid for back pain, has issued a voluntary recall of all of its products, due to an outbreak of fungal meningitis.
The Food and Drug Administration had previously told health professionals not to use any products distributed by the center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 105 cases of the rare form of fungal meningitis. The outbreak spans nine states and has killed at least eight people. The states with reported cases are: Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.
The steroid linked to the outbreak had already been recalled, and health officials have been scrambling to notify anyone who may have received an injection of it.
On September 25, 2012, the New England Compounding Center, located in Framingham, Massachusetts, voluntarily recalled the following lots of methylprednisolone acetate (PF) 80mg/ml:
On October 3, 2012, the compounding center ceased all production and initiated recall of all methylprednisolone acetate and other drug products prepared for intrathecal administration. A list of all recalled products related to the fungal meningitis outbreak can be found here.
It is not yet known exactly how many people may have been affected, though it could affect hundreds or even thousands of people who received the steroid injections for back pain from July to September.
The recalled products were distributed to clinics in the following states:
California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia.
Meningitis is caused by the inflammation of protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis is not contagious as are its more common viral and bacterial counterparts.
|The Importance of an Investigation as Soon as Possible After A Truck Accident||
The importance of a thorough investigation after a serious truck accident cannot be overstated. Often, key evidence exists on an onboard computer on the truck and also in paperwork required to be maintained by truck drivers and trucking companies.
Investigations sometimes reveal that a trucking company or a specific truck driver did not follow federal regulations and even took steps to circumvent federal regulations with bogus entries on log books and inspection reports. Sometimes the paperwork can reveal warning signs to a company about the condition of the truck or trailer before an accident. In some cases, the condition of the truck or trailer, at the time of the wreck, is determined to be the cause of the crash.
Trucking companies are required to keep specific records on their drivers, trucks, and trailers, but are only required to keep that information for a limited period of time. It is important that the attorney for the accident victim contact the trucking company as soon as possible after an accident and demand that the evidence be preserved.
One tactic that has been used recently by trucking companies has been to quickly repair the truck and/or trailer, in an effort to deprive the objective inspection of the truck and/or trailer. Sometimes by the time an accident victim has hired an attorney, the truck and/or trailer has been placed back in service, resulting in critical evidence being lost.
|Bard® PerFix® Hernia Plug --- Increased Risk of Nerve Entanglement||
The Bard® PerFix® Hernia Plug, introduced by Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc., in 1993, is a medical device used to repair "primary and recurrent inguinal hernias."
According to C.R. Bard, the PerFix® Hernia Plug, "requires less overall dissection" and a "tension-free" surgical technique which "results in increased patient comfort, faster rehabilitation and fewer recurrences."
Despite this, there have been numerous concerns raised by both patients and physicians that the PerFix® Hernia Plug increases the risk of various health related complications, including but not limited to, Post-Herniorrhaphy Pain Syndrome and possible nerve entanglement, resulting in chronic pain and often the need for extensive treatment and surgical replacement of such medical device.
If you or someone you know has received a PerFix® Hernia Plug and have suffered serious injuries or had to undergo revision surgery to remove the device, contact the experienced defective medical product attorneys at Suthers Law Firm for a free consultation.