Tuesday, December 8, 2009

3rd Hospital Cited in Los Angeles for Radiation Overdose

It appears that 34 patients have received excessive radiation from CT perfusion brain scans at Burbank’s Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. In Los Angeles County, Providence St. Joseph is now the third hospital under investigation for problems with CT brain perfusion scans. The FDA and county officials said the problem was discovered by Los Angeles County radiation safety inspectors and reported to the FDA last week. The first indication that anything was wrong with the scans came in August when Cedars-Sinai discovered that it had accidentally exposed more than 200 patients to eight times the normal radiation for the procedure. In November, a similar problem was discovered at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. The hospital said that over a 10-month period, 10 patients received up to four times the normal level of radiation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good Samaritan Killed in Auto Accident

While Peter R. Holland was trying to be a Good Samaritan and help render aid to victims of a car accident he was sadly killed by another vehicle that struck him. The couple in the first accident were headed southbound when the car ran off the road on a curve and struck a tree. Holland came to their aid and was standing just off the roadway when another vehicle ran off the road on the same curve. The others involved had only minor injuries.

Man Injured in Two-Car Accident

Alcohol or drugs are believed to be a factor in a two-car accident that injured one man. Randall L. Persinger was headed eastbound when his Nissan Maxima went off the road. After overcorrecting Persinger hit a Toyota 4Runner also going east. The other driver, David M. Bock was not hurt, but Persinger was taken to Kadlee Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and released. This accident is still being investigated for the relation of alcohol and drugs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wrongful Death During Police Pursuit

Lillian Stahl, a 27-year-old, was killed by a drunken driver who was fleeing from police. Stahl’s family has filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Yellowstone County and the city of Billings. The lawsuit claims that city officers and county deputies violated their own pursuit policies and that city and county law enforcement agencies lied to the public by stating that the sheriff's deputy leading the pursuit called off the chase several blocks before the fatal collision. "We recognize the Billings Police Department and Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office have a difficult job," said Chris Edwards, a lawyer representing the Stahls. "That is precisely why they have policies and procedures in place that are designed to protect the public while they carry out that job. Unfortunately, on the day that Lilly Stahl was killed, those policies and procedures were violated numerous times, resulting in a completely preventable loss of life."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cedars- Sinai Patients Receive Radiation Overdose

All 206 patients were not told that they had received a radiation overdose during CT scans at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In interviews with The Times, “four people said that although they were called and questioned by Cedars-Sinai radiologists last month, the doctors neither acknowledged any error nor explained that the patients had been exposed to eight times more radiation than necessary.” Cedars-Sinai has said the overdoses stemmed from an error made when the hospital reconfigured a scanner to improve doctors' ability to see blood flow in the brain. The faulty scans began in February 2008 -- after the computerized protocols were modified -- and continued until this August when the hospital discovered the error after learning of a patient's hair loss. The most serious risk from the radiation overdose is a brain tumor. Radiation experts said that chance is remote, perhaps 1 in 600 for each scan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cedars-Sinai Radiation Overdose Lawsuit

It has been revealed that 206 people over the last 18 months while undergoing a CT brain perfusion scan have been subjected to a radiation overdose at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles.

The dose of radiation was eight times what it should have been.

The machine was used for other types of scans but the reset error affected only the potential stroke patients, said Richard Elbaum, a hospital spokesman.

This August, a stroke patient informed the hospital that he had begun losing his hair after a scan. When the hospital reviewed its records, it found -- and contacted -- 206 people who had received the overdoses to inform them of the mistake. Only then, Elbaum said, did the hospital learn that about 40% of them had suffered patchy hair loss. Many also experienced reddening of the skin.

Radiation overexposure can have many long term effects. One concerned victim already has approached the our firm about their rights to a radiation overdose lawsuit. Owen, Patterson & Owen have set up a Cedars-Sinai radiation overdose information page and are offering free, no obligation consultations for anyone involved to discuss their legal options.

Monday, September 21, 2009

High School Senior in Fatal Auto Accident

High School Senior, Tabitha Stanton, was involved in a fatal car accident this past weekend. Riding home with fellow volleyball team members from a tournament that day Stanton was one of three people in the car that was sideswiped when a pick-up truck lost control and hit her vehicle. The collision caused Stanton’s vehicle to overturn and eject all three people in the car. Stanton was transported to Sparrow hospital where she was pronounced dead about an hour after arrival.

ATV Accident

12-year-old Hunter Stipes is in the hospital after sustaining injuries in a head-on ATV accident. According to the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, Stipes was riding an ATV on a dirt path when his four-wheeler collided with an ATV driven by 16-year-old Tony Brillhart when the two boys came around a blind spot. Stipes was taken to Coshocton County Hospital and later transported by Med Flight to Akron Children’s Hospital.

Friday, August 21, 2009

23 Year-Old Dies in Motorcylce Accident

23-year-old, Christopher Burnett was riding his 2008 Yamaha motorcycle when he was killed Thursday night. Burnett was driving northbound on Lemay Avenue when a 2006 Nissan Xterra heading southbound made a left turn in front of him. Burnett's motorcycle collided with the rear of the Xterra and then went into southbound traffic, colliding with a 2003 Honda van. The driver of the Xterra, Daniel Ogden, 35, and the driver of the van, Janice Moog, 57, were not injured. Charges are still pending in this accident.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Family Receives $1.8 Million in Medical Malpractice Case

The family of Lucy Ames was awarded $1.8 million by a Gratiot County jury in a medical negligence suit against Dr. Gregory Strauther and Gratiot Medical Center. In March 2002, Ames, 42, was admitted to the hospital for abdominal pain. Two days later she had her gall bladder removed in a laparoscopic surgery. On July 30 of that year, she died at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. She was suffering from sepsis and a perforated pouch at the beginning of the large intestine. The jury agreed with the plaintiff’s attorney, Brian McKeen of McKeen and Associates of Detroit, that Strauther was negligent in clipping the right hepatic duct which led to her death.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1 Killed and 4 Injured in Car Accident

Just before midnight on Monday a teenage girl was killed and four others injured when their car crashed. An 18-year-old male driver tried to pass another vehicle but lost control and ended up running into a ditch and rolling the car. A 17-year-old girl who was the front seat passenger was killed when the car crashed into a pole. “The other four people in the car suffered what police called non life-threatening injuries.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Recall on Bugaboo Bee Baby Stroller

A recall has been made on about 22,500 Bugaboo Bee strollers after at least 121 reports were received about the brakes on the baby stroller failing. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Bugaboo North America, Inc. announced the baby stroller recall on June 2, 2009, indicating that although no injuries have been reported in association with the defect, consumers should stop using them immediately.

One or both sides of the Bugaboo Bee baby stroller brakes can fail, posing a potential risk of injury to a child if the stroller is on an incline. Given the relatively small number of strollers involved in the recall, the large number of reported brake failures is concerning for consumers, as reported problems usually only account for a small fraction of the actual failures caused by a defective product. The Bugaboo Bee Strollers were sold on various web sites and at retail stores throughout the United States from August 2007 through April 2009. The high-end strollers retailed for about $530.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Widow of Car Crash Files Wrongful Death

Kelly Spurlock has filed a wrongful death lawsuit after her husband Darren Spurlock was killed as a result of a high speed chase. Spurlock was killed when a Valorie Cox, who was leading police on a high speed chase, crashed into his car. The suit has been filed against the cities of Huntsville, Madison and Decatur, Madison and Morgan counties, and 3 members of the Madison-Morgan County drug task force. Cox who has been convicted of Spurlock's death is serving a 30 year prison sentence.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Child Dies in ATV Accident

A fatal accident was reported on Memorial Day when 11-year-old, Samuel Miller, died due to an ATV accident. Samuel Miller was riding on a Polaris Ranger utility vehicle with his 9-year-old cousin, Howard Miller, when Howard lost control. Samuel Miller was pinned beneath the body of the machine after the vehicle overturned. CPR was attempted, but Samuel was declared dead at the scene.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Personal Injury Accident at Del Taco Restaurant

Winnie Young and her son Philip went to a Del Taco in Simi Valley on March 12, 2008.
As they left the eatery, Winnie was in a wheelchair and Philip had begun guiding her down the ramp to the parking lot. "The lack of handrails and a sharp drop off to the parking lot--not visible from Philip's vantage point--prevented Philip from properly negotiating the ramp and she fell out of her wheelchair," said California personal injury attorney Brian Chase.

Winnie experienced a number of critical injuries, including brain injury, as she fell out of her wheelchair and hit her head on the asphalt parking lot. "She suffered a heart attack during the incident and bleeding on the brain that needed surgery, and she lay in a coma for 1 1/2 weeks," noted California wrongful death lawyer John Bisnar. In addition, Winnie suffered broken upper teeth and a punctured lip. Winnie was already aging and in a wheelchair. She never fully recovered from the accident and died earlier this year.

In their personal injury and wrongful death suit against the property owner, the general contractor and the city, Winnie's surviving children seek a jury trial and recovery of damages suffered by their mother for the medical, dental, housing, nursing convalescent and hospice care she received as a result of her fall. Plus the costs of funeral and burial expenses and the emotional loss of their mother are a part of the recovery.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Man Awarded $4 Million in Medical Malpractice

Robert T. Baird Jr. had been working as a truck driver since 1981 until he began experiencing extreme pain in his right arm in 1999. He went to see Dr. Kenneth J. Morrissey, who operated to improve his movement and in the process removed a benign tumor. Within weeks, Baird’s right hand began hurting, changing color and temperature and sweating. Dr. Manuel DaSilva diagnosed him as having Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, a chronic neurological disorder that causes severe pain. Dr. DaSilva, operated and discovered that another nerve had been sliced. Baird’s hand since has seized into a claw and he remains in continuous pain.

Baird filed medical malpractice suit against Dr. Morrissey in 2002. A six-member jury agreed with Baird May 7, following a three-week trial before Judge Alice B. Gibney in Providence County Superior Court. The jury awarded Baird $1.5 million for physical pain, $1.5 million for mental suffering, $500,000 for disfigurement and $500,000 for lost wages, according to David Morowitz, Baird’s lawyer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Old Medical Devices Need New FDA Approvals

Medical devices whose Class III approvals were grandfathered in during the 1970s must now go through the process of proving their safety.” The hope is to make the devices more marketable by reclassifying them into less-risky categories. The FDA has had three classes of devices, from non-risky Class I bandages to very-risky Class III pacemakers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two Motorcycles Involved in Accident

Ronald Saltz and passenger, Rosemary Rodriguez, were airlifted to Regions Hospital after Saltz’s motorcycle crossed into the opposite lane on a sharp curve and hit a northbound Chevrolet Suburban. A second cyclist, Daniel Schreier was treated and released at a near by hospital when he was struck by Saltz’s motorcycle as it crossed back into the southbound lane.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nurse Assistant Accused of Abuse at Nursing Home

28-year-old, Sharoia D. Hill, was arraigned on two counts of aggravated battery, alleging that she struck an 87-year-old man in the face with a fist while working at a Champaign County nursing home. Sheriff's Lt. Ed Ogle said Hill is a certified nursing assistant in the Alzheimer's unit of the nursing home in Urbana and became upset with the man. Two witnesses saw her hit him with a closed fist sometime between 5 and 6 p.m., Ogle said. The Class 3 felony charges carry potential penalties ranging from probation to three to five years in prison upon conviction.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Children's Pacifier and Play Yard Recalled

Due to choking hazards HealthTex of Miami, Florida has recalled about 40,000 Healthtex Zoo Pacifiers. The CPSC explained that the Healthtex Zoo Pacifiers failed to meet federal safety standards. The nipples can separate from the base easily, posing a choking hazard to young children. The recall involves Zoo pacifiers with animal cartoon figures as handles. The recalled Healthtex Zoo Pacifiers were made in Spain and sold at supermarkets and pharmacy stores nationwide from December 2002 through March 2009 for about $1.40.

Also about 25,000 Simplicity Travel Tender Play Yards have been recalled by importer Simplicity, Inc. and SFCA, Inc. of Reading, Pennsylvania. The recall was implemented because one or more rails on the Simplicity Travel Tender Play Yards can collapse unexpectedly, posing a fall or entrapment hazard to young children. The CPSC is aware of at least five reports of one or more rails collapsing. The recalled Simplicity Travel Tender Play Yards were made in China and sold at Burlington Coat Factory stores nationwide and online at Babiesrus.com, Target.com, and Kohls.com from March 2005 through January 2009 for about $100.

Companies Fined for Defective Children's Clothing

“Fourteen companies have agreed to pay more than $1 million in civil penalties for failing to promptly report sales of children's clothing with drawstrings through the hood or neck,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission said today. Safety experts said these drawstrings can get caught in other objects and cause children to get strangled or trapped. In May 2006, the commission announced that all children’s jackets, sweaters and other upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be "regarded as defective and a substantial risk of injury to young children." The commission said the 14 companies, which include T.J. Maxx, did not immediately report the hazardous products, which all were recalled eventually. In settling the matter, the companies denied knowingly violating the law.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hepatitis Patients Claim Medical Malpractice

In early 2008, more than 50,000 patients at two now-closed outpatient clinics were notified that they may have been exposed to bloodborne diseases caused by shoddy injection practices. The patients who believe they contracted Hepatitis C are demanding a change to the state law that limits how much defendants can collect in medical malpractice cases. "These healthcare providers, under anybody's standard, were grossly negligent, and they absolutely put profit ahead of patient safety," said Bill Bradley, a representative for trial lawyers.

16-Year-Old Attacked by Pit Bulls

While walking down the street a 16-year-old girl was attacked by two pit bulls. A male pit bull began biting her leg as the female dog latched on and wouldn’t let go. Two people who saw what was going on tried to help the girl by attempting to pull her away from the dogs. The girl was taken to Dyersburg Regional Medical Center where she received treatment. Her wounds consisted of bite marks, scratches, puncture wounds and bleeding. One deep wound had to have a suture, while the others were too jagged for stitches. Both pit bulls were caught and taken to the Dyersburg/Dyer County Humane Society.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Negligence Suit FIled After Drownings

Marshaun Williams has filed a negligence suit after the drowning of three students during a leadership retreat on the Fox River last November. The suit alleges that the school, the camp and those running the program didn’t provide proper supervision. On Nov. 14, 2008, 16 of 31 students chosen from the school to attend a campground retreat in suburban Algonquin snuck out of bed after 1 a.m. to cross the Fox River using paddle boats. But they didn't know the cork-size plugs under the boats had been removed to prepare the boats for winter and the paddle boats began taking in water. Jimmy Avant, 18; Melvin Choice III, 17 and Adrian Jones, 16, were killed in the drowning accident. The ten-count suit — which claims negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress and willful and wanton conduct against each defendant — seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wrongful Death Suit Filed in 6-Year-Old's Death

The parents of 6-year-old Sierra Rein Clark have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Marcos Juares Gonzalez and his wife, Eulalia Gonzalez, after their daughter died from falling onto the Gonzalez’s electrified fence. Gonzalez was arrested February 17 and charged with criminally negligent homicide. Reports state that Sierra was playing in the backyard with her brothers when she fell onto the electrified fence Gonzalez had placed around his property. “District Attorney Joe Black said earlier that Gonzalez had electrified the fence to keep predators from getting into his chickens, ducks and rabbits. Black said the fence was improperly wired.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Parents File Negligence Suit Against School District

Jerry and Melinda Brock, parents of Anna Brock, have filed a lawsuit against the Alcorn School District. The suit has been filed on behalf of their physically-disabled daughter and claims their daughter was injured when she was allegedly grabbed by a teacher at Alcorn Central Middle School. They accuse the district of negligence, gross negligence and violation of the right to bodily integrity. An order filed in U.S. District Court has set a date of Feb. 10, 2010, for a jury trial.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Claims Wrongful Death After Man Hit by Train

Fred Stark was visiting Las Vegas for his daughters wedding when he was killed as he crossed the train tracks on the way to a city garbage transfer station. The family of Stark has sued Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Amtrak, Las Vegas, San Miguel County and Ride to Pride Partnership contending Stark’s line of sight was blocked and he could not see an approaching train. The lawsuit accuses Amtrak of gross negligence, seeks damages for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit alleges that because vegetation blocked Stark's view, he did not see the train approaching at an "unreasonably" high rate of speed on the tracks, owned by BNSF. The lawsuit also contends the engineer failed to sound the horn and bell in time to warn Stark, and the crew failed to brake or otherwise slow the train to avoid a collision.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pit Bull Owner Pleads Guilty to Attack

Travis Dean Cunningham has pleaded guilty to possession of a dangerous dog after his two pit bulls mauled a 72-year-old woman. Huong Le was returning home after walking a child she cares for to the school-bus stop when she was attacked. A neighbor called 911 and used a pitchfork to try to get the dogs off her. When King County sheriff deputies arrived, the dogs were still biting her so they fatally shot the two male dogs. Le suffered severed ears, a crushed arm and deep bite wounds all over her body. Cunningham was arrested in September after his two dogs escaped the fenced yard and attacked Huong Le.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tour Bus Crash Near Hoover Dam in Arizona - Several Fatalities

Earlier today a tour bus traveling on highway 93 in Arizona (about 20 miles past the Hoover dam at the Nevada / Arizona border) ended up on its side after rolling at least once. The most recent report indicates 7 dead and 15 injured.

Several of the passengers were ejected from the bus (a model capable of carrying 24 people) and the driver was one of the critical injured.

When catastrophic bus accidents occur many factors may be involved. Our past experience in bus crashes have indicated causes such as driver error, unsafe road conditions, and mechanical failures. Many times several factors are responsible, such as low tread tires in a severe rainstorm.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nursing Home Resident Dies From Suffocation

The family of an elderly nursing home resident has been awarded $2.9 million by an Illinois jury as compensation for wrongful death and neglect. The Healthcare and Retirement Corp. resident died when her tracheotomy tube became clogged, causing her to suffocate.

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Malpractice Suit Settled

A lawsuit where a woman contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while having a varicose vein removed has been settled for $100,000.00 Dorothy Hartman sued Norman Cohen, of the Vein Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, after a visit to his practice in 2004 left her disfigured for life. Hartman was in a coma for a month as a result of the flesh-eating bacteria, and spent seven months undergoing numerous surgeries and skin grafts in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Hartman accused Cohen of medical malpractice for allegedly performing surgery on her with instruments that were not sterile. Cohen, however, vehemently denies any allegation of malpractice and insists he has done "absolutely nothing wrong". Cohen, who sold his practice and moved from Jacksonville to Edgewater, also denies that any settlement was reached. But Hartman's attorney Sean Cronin states that Cohen settled for $100,000.00, which is the maximum amount covered by his medical malpractice insurance. This is not the first time Cohen has faced allegations of medical malpractice - last year he was accused of using illegally-gained botox on his patients. The Vein Clinic is still open, but under new management. Cohen claims to be in-between jobs rather than retired. Hartman, whose medical bills run up to $400,000.00, states she brought the lawsuit again Cohen to prevent him from causing further harm to members of the public.

Methadone Victim Family Sue Cruise Line for Negligence

A mother is suing a Miami cruise ship company for wrongful death and negligence after her daughter died from a methadone overdose on-board a liner. 24-year-old Ashley Bartnett, from Burbank, CA, was on a three-day cruise with boyfriend Geoff Ginsburg on October 14th, 2005 when the tragedy occurred. Ginsburg contacted emergency services on 911 and a volunteer firefighter performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Barnett. When a Carnival Cruise Lines nurse arrived at the scene, she called a doctor, but Bartnett was found to have no pulse. The use of a defibrillator did not revive the victim, who was declared dead. Ginsburg admitted to having taken methadone and Vicodin on-board the ship, but denied giving any to Bartnett. But Barnett's mother Jamie insists the events surrounding her daughter's death are suspect. She says, "I know that she would never have knowingly or willingly ingested that." Attorney Gloria Allred insists the doctor should have given the victim anti-overdose medication. Carnival Cruise Lines deny any allegations of negligence, insisting they properly handled the situation. In an official statement, the company says, "Tragically, Ashley Barnett died of a drug overdose and was deceased well before medical assistance was summoned. The cruise line's medical professionals responded rapidly, appropriately and professionally and the suit is completely without merit." The suit was filed in Miami on Thursday.

12-Year-Old Skateboarder Hit By Truck

A 12-year-old skateboarder in LaGrange, GA was flown to hospital after being hit by a truck on the 146. The boy was skating without a helmet or any other kind of protective gear when the motorist hit him, and was taken to University Hospital in Louisville where he is being treated for head injuries. Police shut down city traffic for three hours in order to reconstruct the accident scene. La Grange mayor Elsie Carter claims to have already requested that a safe skate park be built in the city for young skaters, and that plans to open the park are underway. She says, "Many children skateboard on city streets because there's no skate park. I just want these kids to know the consequences of skating in the street."

Crematorium Faces Class Action Negligence Lawsuit

Several families of the deceased are bringing a class action lawsuit against a crematorium they believe has mishandled, mislabeled, and mistreated the remains of their loved ones. A New Hampshire judge is presiding over the class action lawsuit against the crematorium, which includes allegations of negligence, consumer protection violations, and misrepresentation. This case is the latest in a series of scandals to arise regarding increasing illegal conduct within the human tissue industry, which is causing a great deal of concern amongst funeral homes. Lawyer Chris Grant, who is representing the 25 plaintiffs, says, "One client in particular, Michael Ellis, has had his wife's remains analyzed and found they include orthopedic hardware and jewelry that did not belong to her."

Defective Ortho-Evra Birth Control Triggers Lawsuits

Pharmaceutical company Ortho-McNeil is being hit with a rising number of lawsuits after women using their birth control patch Ortho-Evra reported increased levels of strokes, heart attacks, blood clots and pulmonary embolism. Ortho-McNeil are facing allegations that they were well aware of the dangers associated with the Ortho-Evra patch and continued to market it to young women regardless. An FDA investigation is underway to ascertain the safety of Ortho-Evra.

Alzheimer's Disease Drug Defective?

A new National Institute of Mental Health study reveals that the negative aspects in three aberrant antipsychotic drugs actually outweigh the benefits for Alzheimer's disease sufferers. The study, reported in the October 12th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, reports that there is inadequate evidence that Zyprexa, Seroquel and Risperdal, which are used to treat psychosis, aggression and agitation in Alzheimer's patients, are actually effective. And the report points out that the three drugs carry black-box warnings on them warning of an increased risk of death in elderly patients who have dementia-related psychosis.

Child Brain Injuries Cost Over $1 Billion

A study has shown that the medical and rehabilitation costs for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are on the rise due to the number of children who frequently sustain life-changing head injuries. Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) in the Columbus Children's Research Institute at Columbus Children's Hospital in Ohio found that child TBI places a $1 billion annual burden on US health resources. Data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database, taken from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2000, from 2,784 hospitals in 27 states was analyzed. The results revealed that there were approximately 50,658 TBI-associated hospitalizations among children ages 17 and younger in the year 2000, with the highest hospitalization rates for 15 to 17-year-olds. CIRP director Dr. Gary Smith says, "Based on our research, pediatric TBI patients accrue more than $1 billion in total hospital charges annually."

Progesterone Found to Help Brain Injury

Doctors have discovered that the hormone progesterone, a steroid usually associated with pregnancy and libido, may help save people who are suffering from serious head trauma. The study online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, show that doctors at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital found that more patients who received progesterone survived head injuries than patients who were given a placebo. Researchers believe that the drug helps head trauma patients due to progesterone receptors being widely circulated in the central nervous system, and also because progesterone would appear to lessen brain swelling. Additionally, studies on injured animals show that progesterone prevents the loss of nerve cells. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries can cause anything from slight dizziness to death. More than 1 million head injuries are caused every year in the US as a result of firearms, car crashes and falls.

Doctors Must Screen Diseased Organs

A Supreme Court judge has clarified that the Massachusetts Promotion of Anatomical Science Act does not protect doctors guilty of malpractice from any liability if they give a diseased organ to a donee. The law, adopted in 29 states, prevents individuals and organizations who "act in good faith" from being sued by family members of donors who believed that their deceased's wishes were not respected. But Judge Peter Agnes reiterated that the Legislature was never intended to override the general law of medical malpractice. The ruling directly affects a tragic case where a patient by the name of Nelson Gonzalez died after being given a cancerous liver. The donor of the liver had died of brain cancer, and doctors had failed to discover that the cancer had metastasized to the liver. The doctors told Gonzalez's wife that they were protected from litigation from by the Promotion of Anatomical Science Act, after she sued them for negligence. The case of Estate of Nelson Gonzalez v. Katz, et al. will continue to go forward.

Pacific Grove Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settled

The city of Pacific Grove has reached a settlement with the family of an elderly woman who was killed two years ago when a tree branch fell on her. The family of the deceased was seeking $25,000 in damages from the city, accusing authorities of negligence for their failure to remove the decaying tree from Monarch Grove Sanctuary. The wrongful death settlement was reached on Friday night (13OCT06), although terms of the agreement have yet to be revealed.

UC San Diego and California Western School of Law Launch Joint MAS Degree

UC San Diego and California Western School of Law are set to launch a joint master’s degree in Health Law. The only degree of its kind in the western US, the program will enable graduates to have a thorough understanding regarding the best scientific, ethical, regulatory, and management practices in law and medicine. The purpose of the degree is to establish harmonious solutions in both policy and practice. Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at UCSD and Professor of Law at California Western Bryan Liang says, “Graduates with a MAS degree in Health Law will be better able deal with and solve the complicated medical issues that are arising in our global environment. "Coursework will delve into the controversy around issues such as the U.S. drug supply and safety, online pharmacies, medical malpractice, and access to Medicare—everywhere medicine and law interface.”

Police Face Wrongful Death Suit for Suicidal Driver Death

City police in Bucyrus, Ohio are facing a $1 million-plus wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a man who committed suicide after being arrested for drunk driving. Lance Randall told police officers he was having suicidal thoughts when they arrested him in October 2005 for driving under the influence. Randall allegedly committed suicide approximately one hour after being released. Randall's mother Evelyn Brady picked up her son and dropped him off at his apartment, unaware of his earlier threats to commit suicide. Brady filed the wrongful death suit against the Bucyrus Police Department, the city and three police officers, accusing them of negligence in failing to see that her son's suicidal claims were serious. She is also seeking $25,000 in compensatory damages. Brady's attorney Beth Owens claims the "defendants were negligent, which negligence includes but is not limited to their failure to use reasonable and ordinary care for Lance W. Randall's safety, to keep him safe and protect him from harm. As a direct and proximate result of defendants' negligence, Lance W. Randall came to his death on Oct. 13, 2005." Owens continues with, "She (Brady) was the one to pick up her son. She was never informed that he made any comments of suicide. "This is something she wanted some light shed on. She wants to see if something else can be done to prevent this from happening. We had to do some research on this one. You don't hear about this too often."

Understaffing Key Factor in Nursing Home Neglect

A recent investigation into nursing home neglect by the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform reveals that understaffing is the main reason for inadequate care of patients in nursing homes. The Faces of Neglect: Behind the Closed Doors of Nursing Homes delves into the case studies of 36 nursing home residents across 12 states, of which all but one resulted in the filing of lawsuits. A sample story from the report is as follows: "Katherine J. entered a nursing home with a small, red, blistered area on her buttocks. Within five days, an 11-inch by 13-inch pressure sore covering both buttocks developed. The doctor ordered a special mattress, and the woman was to have her food pureed to receive better nutrition to help heal her pressure sore. The orders were not followed. Despite documentation by nurses of the woman's severe pain, the only pain medication she was given was an occasional Tylenol. Eight days after being admitted, she was hospitalized with a high fever, fecal impaction, infected pressure sores and sepsis, which is an infection in the blood. The woman died two days later."

FDA Catches Out Negligent Drug Company

Bayer Corporation has admitted negligence in failing to share information on the risks of drug Trasylol with the FDA. A contract research organization showed that the use of Trasylol, which slows or prevents bleeding and is frequently used in heart surgery carries an increased risk of kidney damage, strokes, heart failure and death. The FDA received a tip about Trasylol a few days after a September 21 public meeting where Bayer failed to inform them of risks associated with the drug. Bayer admits its failure to disclose date to the FDA was "a mistake on the company's part."

Ortho-Evra Users Three Times As Likely To Die

The controversy surrounding Ortho-McNeil's birth control patch Ortho-Evra continues to rise after an investigation by the Associated Press discovered that users are three times more likely to die and suffer blood clots than women who are taking the birth control pill. The AP reported that around 12 women died in 2004 from blood clots, while dozens more suffered strokes and other ailments related to blood clots. Ortho-McNeil have been accused of gross negligence in failing to disclose the risks associated with Ortho-Evra and are expected to face a high number of lawsuits from women who have obtained serious injury through use of the patch.

Starbucks Personal Injury Suit Gets Go-Ahead

The Illinois Appellate Court is allowing a personal injury lawsuit against Starbucks to go ahead after overturning former Circuit Judge George Moran's previous decision to dismiss the suit. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student Molly Alter accused Starbucks of being responsible for her missing an entire semester of school after the lid came off her Starbucks coffee and the cup collapsed in on itself, causing hot coffee to burn both her hands. Alter also claimed that due to the burns, she was unable to use her hands in a metal smith program which put her graduate assistantship at risk and subsequently jeopardized her future earning capacity. Moran ruled that SIUE, where Alter purchased her coffee, is a state entity that has total control over the Starbucks. If Alter wished to pursue her case, she should go through the Illinois Court of Claims in Springfield. But Justice Richard Goldenhersh wrote, "The mere fact that the coffee was sold from a Starbucks store located on State property rather than a Starbucks located on private property should not protect Starbucks from liability if plaintiff can show that Starbucks breached its duty." He added, "Moreover, Starbucks cannot escape liability merely because the University voluntarily entered into a contract with Starbucks to reimburse and/or indemnify Starbucks in connection with any actions that may be brought against the Starbucks located on the University's campus."

Sugar Cure For Epilepsy?

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have found that a sweet compound by the name of 2-deoxy-glucose (or 2DG) may hold the key to a cure for epilepsy. Tests performed on laboratory rats showed that the compound prevents seizures. Tests on humans will follow shortly. Epilepsy, a neurological condition that makes people susceptible to seizures, affects around one percent of the world's population.

Hospital Hit with Negligence and Malpractice Suit

A hospital in Gallup, New Mexico is being sued for negligence and medical malpractice after the death of a two-year-old patient. Doctors Maria Abad and Teicha Wilson at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital are being accused by the patient's family of failing to accurately diagnose the condition of the girl. The family also claim that the patient was not given the required amount of antibiotics. The lawsuit claims that the patient died prematurely and unnecessarily as a direct result of the malpractice and negligence of Wilson and Abad. Rehoboth McKinley spokeswoman Elaine Bobo insists the defendants administered the correct level of care. The lawsuit, which was filed last month (SEP06), seeks unspecified damages.

Babysitter Guilty of Negligence in Baby's Death

A babysitter in West Palm Beach, Florida has been charged with aggravated manslaughter after failing to prevent the death of a two-month-old baby in her care. Aline Marcelin was convicted of negligence after the incident in March 2004, where baby Marissa Cadet died as a result of Marcelin's failure to call paramedics. Cadet had developed problems breathing, but Marcelin did not call an ambulance for fear of being caught operating an unlicensed home day care. Marcelin then decided to take the baby to hospital herself, but rear-ended another car on the way there. When paramedics arrived, Marcelin did not tell them the child was in danger. The baby subsequently died of pneumonia. Prosecutors claim that Marcelin tried to blame the baby's death on the car crash. Marcelin's lawyer insists that, while Marcelin should have called the authorities, she did not cause the baby's death.

Bush To Cut Traumatic Brain Injury Centers

President Bush is set to halve the budget set aside for soldiers requiring treatment in traumatic brain injury centers. The president has also cut $190 million from the Department of Veterans Affairs budget for 2007.

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Woman Awarded $2 Million in Medical Malpractice Suit

An Illinois woman was awarded over $2 million after a jury found that Lourdes Hospital in Paducah was negligent in her treatment. Cynthia Featherstone was left unattended at the hospital for more than three hours after suffering a stroke in January 2005. She survived, but suffered brain damage. Featherstone was subsequently awarded $2.11 in damages and compensation.

19-Year-Old Dies After Motorcycle Accident

A 19-year-old man died on Wednesday night (11OCT06) after his motorcycle hit a van. Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther reports that Douglas Stuart Haff Brown crashed into the van after running a stop sign at around 7.30 pm. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision. Gunther states that alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

$1 Million For Pacific Grove Wrongful Death

The city of Pacific Grove has reached a wrongful death settlement of $1 million with the family of an elderly woman who was killed when a tree branch fell on her. 85-year-old Anne Dickinson was at Pacific Grove's Monarch Grove Sanctuary in 2004 (27NOV04) with her son and three grandchildren when a 30-foot section of the pine struck her head after falling from approximately 50 to 60 feet. The lawsuit also included claims for emotional distress by Dickinson's son Royal and his three children, as well as wrongful death claims from Royal and his sister, Diana Shaffter. Pacific Grove arborist Frank Ono testified in a pretrial deposition that he had warned city officials three weeks before the incident that certain trees in the butterfly grove posed a risk to the public. Pacific Grove public works director Steve Leiker corroborated Ono's statement in another deposition. The court and the Public Agency Risk Sharing Authority, which insures the city, still have to approve the settlement which was reached on Friday (13OCT06). Pacific Grove is likely to end up paying less than ten percent of the damages.

High Injury Risk For Soccer Players

A recent article in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery has revealed that soccer players have a very high risk of suffering fractures and other serious injuries to the jaw, mouth and face. The most common injuries soccer players suffer are dental fractures. The majority of injuries happen to players aged 18-24.

Merck in New Defective Drug Scandal

Pharmaceutical company Merck is facing fresh controversy after it was discovered that their osteoporosis drug Fosamax may be linked to Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ). ONJ, also known as "Dead Jaw", is an extremely serious condition where the temporary or permanent loss of blood to bone tissue leads to death of the tissue and eventually causes the bone to collapse. Merck had ignored a request by the FDA in 2004 to add an appropriate warning label to Fosamax out of fear it would cause a loss in profits. Hundreds of Fosamax users are suffering from ONJ as a result of Merck's negligence. Merck are also facing a multitude of lawsuits regarding their anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, which was pulled from the market in 2004 after research showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke if used for over 18 months.

Air Fresheners Contain Dangerous Chemicals

Many consumers are unaware that the air fresheners and candles they use in their homes may contain hazardous and unregulated ingredients. Environmental health expert Albert Donnay says, "Among the hundreds of unregulated ingredients used in fragranced products, researchers have identified chemicals that are listed by the US EPA as hazardous, neurotoxic, carcinogenic, and teratogenic. Fragrance products designed to burn such as candles and incense also release hazardous particulate matter and carbon monoxide. The long-term effects of inhaling these pollutants are unknown, but it is clear that even exposures of a few seconds can provoke serious respiratory and neurological symptoms in people with hypersensitivity disorders such as asthma, migraine and multiple chemical sensitivity. Most at risk are infants due to their smaller lungs and still developing nervous systems."

Damages Awarded in Nursing Home Abuse Suit

The family of an 80-year-old woman who died from neglect in a nursing home have been awarded $285,000 ($441,665 including interest) by a jury in Middlesex County. The woman suffered severe burns from uncovered and excessively hot radiators, and died subsequent to the injuries. While the jury did not believe that the resident's death was due to her burns, they awarded the damages as compensation for the pain and physical and mental decline caused by the injuries. Inadequate staffing and poor training are known to be leading causes in nursing home injuries. Advocacy groups are calling for mandatory training for staff to prevent further instances of negligence and abuse in nursing homes.

First Paxil Birth Defect Suit Filed

A family is suing pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for failing to warn about the risks associated with antidepressant drug Paxil for pregnant women and their unborn children. Christopher Jackson and Lisa Boden of Denver, Colorado filed the suit against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), claiming that Ms. Boden’s ingestion of Paxil throughout her pregnancy resulted in their son Eric being born with severe Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN). Attorney Karen Barth Menzies says, "Eric and his family have endured a terrible ordeal. Based on its history, we believe that GSK likely had knowledge or, at minimum, should have known of this very serious risk and warned expectant mothers taking Paxil of this risk. We will conduct a thorough investigation of what GSK knew, when, and we will do all we can to vindicate the delicate life of this precious boy." The lawsuit, filed in Pennsylvania State Court, is the first PPHN Paxil birth defect lawsuit filed against GSK.

Vioxx Trial Cases Selected

The deadline has passed for lawyers representing plaintiffs in the upcoming Vioxx trials to present ten cases to Judge Carol Higbee. Pharmaceutical house Merck, the makers of Vioxx, had until today (17OCT06) to voice any objections to the plaintiffs chosen by opposing lawyers. Almost 14,000 cases have been filed in New Jersey's Atlantic County Superior Court alone. Over 21,000 cases have been filed against Merck nation-wide, causing Judge Higbee to look into finding different ways of getting the numerous cases to trial. Merck are objecting to the combining of lawsuits as they insist each plaintiff is "unique". They have until October 19 to file an official objection regarding combining cases.

GlaxoSmithKline's $70 Million Payout

Pharmaceutical house GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is paying out $70 million to cancer patients after allegations the company was charging inflated prices for cancer treatment drugs. There are between one million and five million cancer patients who used drugs Kytril and Zofran since 1991, and will potentially be eligible for refunds. The settlement, which was reached in August, has to be approved by the U.S. District Court in Boston. It is part of a continuing lawsuit filed in 2001 concerning 28 drug companies accused of defrauding patients by overcharging for drugs.

Permission Slips Not Legally Binding?

Most people assume that if they have signed a permission slip for their child to go on a school field trip, it relieves the school from anything that might go wrong. This is not necessarily the case - if the bus transporting the kids is involved in an accident, the school is still responsible for any resulting injuries. If your child is involved in an accident while on a school trip, don't make the automatic assumption that the permission slip you signed prevents your child from claiming compensation - even if the school claims immunity, consult a lawyer.

Comair Sues for Wrongful Death

The US government and Lexington airport are being sued for wrongful death by airline Comair for their part in the August plane crash that killed 49 people. The plane lost control after taking off from a runway that was too short, after an airport repaving plan changed the taxi route that led to the correct runway. Every passenger on board but one lost their life. Comair states that, while they still fully intend to make just settlements with the victims' families, the purpose of the lawsuit is to ensure that other parties involved in the tragedy share responsibility for the incident.

Nursing Home Abuse

With so many elderly citizens residing in nursing homes, reports of nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect, and exploitation continue to increase. Abuse of the elderly is a tragedy that is preventable in most cases. There are a number of signs and symptoms that indicate abuse or neglect. For instance, if you notice that a loved one in a nursing home is acting irrationally, take note. Elder abuse can be physical, emotional or even sexual. A victim's reaction can range from withdrawal to violence. Also, take note if your loved one becomes extremely lethargic, withdrawn or depressed. Such reactions are not uncommon in abuse situations. Check the personal hygiene and condition of the room. Pay close attention to whether your loved one seems malnourished or dehydrated. Look at his or her skin condition. Take note of whether bed sores have developed. Most importantly, listen to your loved one. Take all complaints seriously. If you believe abuse or neglect has occurred to someone you know or love, contact us immediately. Simply put, you will need an aggressive compassionate lawyer on your side.
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Merck Ordered to Disclose Vioxx Fees

The judge presiding over the Vioxx defective drug trial has ordered pharmaceutical company Merck to disclose information on how much it spends on trials, so the court has some idea of what its legal defense costs could be in the future. Judge Carol Higbee requested the information after plaintiff's lawyers demanded that Merck pay for $5.6 million in legal fees and expenses for the trial of two men who had heart attacks while taking Vioxx. Because the jury ruled that Merck had committed consumer fraud while marketing Vioxx, the plaintiffs had ground to ask for the legal fees. Merck's resistance to cover the expense led to further demands by plaintiffs that Merck disclose its legal fees. Merck has so far spent $285 million of the $970 million it reserved for legal costs. Merck legal spokesman Ken Jarrell says the company's lawyers do not agree with Judge Higbee's decision and are exploring all their options. He also insists that the amount defense lawyers spend is irrelevant to the plaintiff lawyer's expenses.

Girl Killed in Horse Accident

A 15-year-old girl was killed after being thrown from her horse in Calaveras County, California (14OCT06). Morgan Thomas, who was celebrating her 15th birthday, sustained a major head injury when she hit the ground after the horse she was riding tripped. Thomas was pronounced dead at the U.C. Davis Medical Center at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Teen Killed in Car Crash

A 15-year-old girl in Grant County, Kentucky was killed after two cars collided early on Sunday morning (15OCT06). The girl was sitting in the passenger seat when the 17-year-old Owen County driver lost control of his vehicle trying to avoid a deer. As he crossed the center line on Taft Highway, Ky. 22, an 18-year-old driver crashed into the passenger side, killing the 15-year-old and seriously injuring both drivers. The accident is still under investigation.

Worker's Compensation Curtailed

The Governor of Tennessee and Tennessee Legislature has severely curtailed workers' rights to claim compensation for injuries suffered through negligence. The Workers Compensation Act puts limits on how much can be recovered for the loss of a loved one - therefore it is crucial to determine who is responsible in the cause of injury or death. If an injury or death is caused by a third party (for example, in a car crash when the employee is driving a company car), damages can be recovered from the third party, in addition to compensation gained through workers compensation laws. All possible avenues should be explored in order to gain sufficient redress for injury or death.

Chemical Fire Displaces Thousands

Thousands of people may be eligible for compensation after being forced to abandon their homes following a massive chemical fire in Apex, North Carolina. The explosion happened on Thursday (12OCT06) at the EQ Industrial Services plant, sparking off fires and further explosions. EQ Industrial Services, who handle a variety of industrial waste as well as chemicals such as chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, sulfur and fertilizer, were fined $32,000 by the state Department of Natural Resources in March (06) for violations such as failing to "maintain and operate the facility to minimize the possibility of a sudden or non-sudden release of hazardous waste ... which could threaten human health or the environment." There have been no deaths so far, but 25 workers were taken to the emergency room and dozens more are suffering from respirator distress and pulmonary problems.

Tylenol Causes Liver Damage?

A recent study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has highlighted serious risks associated with painkiller Tylenol. The study shows that people who took the maximum recommended dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) developed worrying blood abnormalities that could mean damage has been caused to the liver. Consumers are advised to be careful with their use of Tylenol and to look for "hidden" acetaminophen in other drug products. Tylenol with codeine is often prescribed as a painkiller for patients after auto accidents.

Moose Lodge Sued in Slip and Fall Suit

A woman is filing a $150,000 suit against the Loyal Order of Moose, Inc. after she slipped and fell in one of their lodges. Pearl Rusteberg was attending a funeral at the Belleville/Swansea Lodge 1221, North Illinois two years ago (04NOV06) when she fell, injuring her right foot, right toes, right arm and right shoulders. She claims the injuries have resulted in weakness in her right shoulder and arm as well as a permanent loss of range of motion. Rusteberg claims the lodge "negligently created and maintained a tripping hazard or slick surface in a location of the hall or lodge where it knew or should have known that visitors, such as Plaintiff, would be distracted and/or fail to see or remember the existence of the tripping hazard or slick surface." The suit was filed last week (11OCT06) in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Catholic Church Abuse Trial Set

The first in a series of sexual abuse lawsuits against the Southern California Roman Catholic Church are scheduled to go to trial in early 2007. The majority of the lawsuits have not been filed against the priests themselves but against the priests' employers - the Diocese of San Diego and a few of its member parishes, who face the serious accusation of allowing known sexual abusers to molest children. The Dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino will face over 150 individually-filed abuse cases, while the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is facing more than 550 individually-filed cases. Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School Professor and church-abuse case expert Marci Hamilton says, "Nobody expects these hundreds of cases lumped together in San Diego and Los Angeles to all go to trial. No judge would ever permit that - the system simply could not handle it. These initial cases are designed to permit a window into the question of liability and damage amounts, so the rest can be settled."

Wells Fargo Settles Overtime Lawsuit

Financial services provider Wells Fargo Co. has reached a $12.8 million settlement in a class action lawsuit regarding overtime pay. The suit was filed last year (FEB06) by former employee Jasmin Gerlach, on behalf of 4,500 current and former Wells Fargo workers. The employees accused the company of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying overtime to certain members of staff. The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California gave the settlement preliminary approval on Friday (13OCT06), under terms of which a fund has been set up for current and former employees who are entitled to monetary compensation.

German Court Dismisses Vioxx Suit

A court in Berlin, Germany has rejected two claims against a German distributor of controversial anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, deciding that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a sufficient causal link between the drug and symptoms. The court stated that "expressing a vague suspicion is not enough" and dismissed both a €80,000 damages suit as well as a separate request for information from pharmaceutical firm Merck about potential side-effects. Merck are currently facing a multitude of lawsuits in the US regarding Vioxx, which was pulled from the market in 2004 after research showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke if used for over 18 months.

"At Will" Employment

The California Supreme Court has recently ruled that there is no wrongful termination claim when a letter confirming the terms of employment state that the employment is "at will," defining that term as meaning that the employee could be terminated at any time. Despite assurances and statements made to the employee before hire that he would be "long term" and that he could only be terminated for cause, the Court held that a clear and unambiguous "at will" provision in a written employment contract, signed by the employee, will not be affected by a prior or simultaneous unwritten or implied contract requiring cause for termination.

Invasion of Privacy

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that all businesses, whether located in California or in another state, must comply with California’s laws regarding privacy and obtain the consent of all parties before recording a telephone call. This relates to all communications where someone has a reasonable, objective expectation that the conversation is not being recorded or overheard. The purpose of the recording is irrelevant, whether it be for quality control or some other purpose. Victims of illegal recording can seek recovery for civil damages, and there are also severe criminal consequences, including a fine up to $10,000 and jail time.

Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

An California appellate court has ruled that an employer may be liable for "same sex" sexual harassment based upon offensive comments made by male co-workers challenging another male’s heterosexual identity.

Study Proves DHEA is Ineffective

A joint study carried out by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the University of Padua in Italy has revealed that contrary to popular belief, widely-used steroid DHEA does not have anti-aging benefits. In the study carried out over two years, researchers observed 57 women and 87 men aged 60 and over. The women were given daily doses of DHEA and identical fake pills, while the men were given real or fake DHEA, in addition to a testosterone skin patch or a placebo patch. Researchers did not see any improvement in the participants' strength, physical performance, or other measures of health as a result of taking DHEA. Research head Dr. K. Sreekumaran Nair of the Mayo Clinic says, "I don't think there's any case for administering these." The findings are corroborated by past research: A French study in 2000 concluded that the only benefit in taking DHEA supplements was an increase in female libido, while a Dutch study this year (06) stated there was no benefit at all in taking DHEA for men over 70. DHEA supplement sales hit $50 million last year in the US. Dr. Paul Stewart of England's University of Birmingham says, "Without a reversal of the current US legislation, DHEA is likely to continue to be used inappropriately, and quackery will prevail."

Proposition 64 Held Retroactive

Proposition 64, passed by votes in 2004, was held by the California Supreme Court to be retroactive to cases that were pending when the legislation was passed. Proposition 64 severely limited California’s unfair competition law, requiring that only individuals who had actually suffered a loss from an unfair act and that anyone filing on behalf of a group must satisfy class action certification requirements. Proposition 64 was designed to severely curtail frivolous unfair competition claims. It was considered to be a huge win for employers.

Employer Liability

A California appellate court has recently ruled that an employer was liable for damages resulting from an employee’s personal use of a company vehicle. Despite company policy that employees were not to use company-owned vehicles, the court held that the employer gave implied permission to use the vehicle due to the custom and practice of allowing such use or if the use of vehicles was not adequately monitored or supervised.

Defective Drugs

The most profitable industry in the world is the pharmaceutical industry. For decades, these companies have reaped huge profits. Seizing the opportunity from the aids epidemic, major pharmaceutical companies lobbied for legislation to allow drugs to be "fast tracked." The Prescription Drug User Fee Act has provisions which allow drug companies to speed up the approval of a given drug. It was a surprise to no one when many "fast tracked" drugs had to be withdrawn from the marketplace or have severe warnings attached. Patients using these drugs are being injured by the drugs that are supposed to improve the quality of their lives. The attorneys in our mass torts department specialize in aggressively and compassionately representing clients who have suffered injury from defective drugs. Owen, Patterson & Owen currently represents several thousand plaintiffs who have been injured by the following medications: * * Vioxx * Bextra * Celebrex * Hormone replacement therapy * Crestor Our mass torts attorneys constantly scan the latest news and developments in this fast- paced industry. It seems each day a new pharmaceutical company withdraws its product or is required to place yet another warning on their label.
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Recent Defective Drug News

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents account for more than 2,200 deaths and 55,000 injuries each year. Motorcyclists’ fatalities occur 16 times more frequently than those of automobile accident related deaths. A motorcycle can be an inherently dangerous instrument especially without proper warning to purchasers. Manufacturers sometimes fail to offer appropriate instruction and safety training for first time riders. Many motorcycle fatalities also could be avoided with proper use of a quality motorcycle helmet. It is unusual to find a skilled trial lawyer who also rides and races motorcycles. Greg Owen has been racing motorcycles since age 12. He has earned 9 A.H.R.M.A. number one plates. He holds an expert motocross license. Additionally, Mr. Owen has two Harleys, a Honda Rune, and a Ducati. He will understand you when you explain exactly what happened in your accident. It is not necessary that your attorney be a motorcycle enthusiast… but it sure helps.
People who sustain injuries in motorcycle accidents should visit with an Owen, Patterson & Owen attorney to ensure their legal rights are protected. Our attorneys will investigate the facts of your accident to assist in determining if your injuries were due to the negligence of others.
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Recent Motorcycle Accident News

Defective Drugs: Vioxx

Vioxx is used as a treatment for signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, acute pain in adults, and painful menstrual cycles. Serious problems from stomach ulcers, such as bleeding, are well known complications in people treated with NSAIDs. Similar problems have occurred in people treated with Vioxx. Other adverse reactions can include liver damage. Some of the warning signs of liver damage can be nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, itching, yellow coloring of skin or eyes, "flu like" symptoms and dark urine. The Vioxx Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research (VIGOR) conducted a prospective randomized double blind one year study evaluating approximately 4000 patients on Vioxx 50 mg a day and approximately 4000 patients on the standard dose of naproxen (1000 mg a day), a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID). The study found that there was a higher cumulative rate of serious cardiovascular thromboembolic adverse events (such as heart attacks, angina pectoris and peripheral vascular events) in the Vioxx group (1.8%) compared to the naproxen group (0.6%). Adjudicated serious cardiovascular events (confirmed by a blinded adjudication committee) included: sudden death; myocardial infarction; unstable angina; ischemic stroke; transient ischemic attack; peripheral venous; and arterial thromboses. After carefully reviewing the results of the VIGOR Study, the FDA agreed with the Arthritis Advisory Committee recommendations of February 8, 2001 that the label for Vioxx should include the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular information. The committee advised that the NSAID class warning regarding gastrointestinal adverse events should be modified, but not removed from the Vioxx label. This warning advises patients and their doctors about the risks of gastrointestinal ulcers, bleeding and perforation.
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SUV Rollovers

A rollover happens when a vehicle tumbles over from its usual upright position. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) rollover more frequently than other types of vehicles and account for 51% of all automobile accident deaths. Pickup trucks rollover frequently, accounting for 36% of deaths; while the standard car accounts for only 19% of automobile related deaths. The higher than normal center of gravity and sometimes narrow wheelbase found frequently in designs for SUVs, pickup trucks an 15-passenger vans increase their propensity to rollover. Certain actions in these vehicles, such as quick swerves, erratic movements, taking turns at too great of a speed, tire blowouts, certain road conditions and some collisions increase the likelihood of a rollover. Most rollovers do not involve a second vehicle but do involve equipment failure. Types of injuries and their severity suffered by occupants in a rollover accident depend on the use of restraints and the number of rolls the vehicle incurs. Without appropriate restraints, occupants frequently are ejected from the vehicle to suffer yet another impact. If you believe the design of you vehicle may have either caused an accident in which you sustained injury or may have added to the injuries you sustained, contact an Owen, Patterson & Owen attorney to ensure your legal rights are fully represented and protected.
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Overview of the Vioxx (Rofecoxib) Cardio-Renal Related Adverse Medical Events

Vioxx Background Vioxx was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 1999. It is marketed as 12.5 mg, 25 mg and 50 mg tablets and as an oral suspension. It is also available in 73 other countries. Merck estimates that 13 and 24 million patients have been prescribed the drug in the U.S. and worldwide, respectively. U.S. Vioxx sales exceeded $2.5 billion in 2001. Vioxx is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID or NANSAID) with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties. As such, it is indicated for pain, dysmenorrhea, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The earlier marketed NSAID products (i.e., ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) are approved for similar indications, but are associated with greater (in frequency and severity) gastrointestinal-related adverse medical events. Next>> The Cyclooxygenase Enzymes If you think you may be suffering from side effects caused by a defective drug call an attorney at Owen, Patterson & Owen for assistance. We are an experienced law firm that can help you in protecting your legal rights and holding negligent parties responsible.
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Wrongful Death Case Settled

The family of a woman who died after being misdiagnosed by doctors has reached a settlement in a medical malpractice case alleging her wrongful death. Johanna L. Rice, 36, died in 2002 (23FEB02) two weeks after seeing physicians at Cherry Tree Urgent Care about pain in her chest and abdomen. According to a statement of facts filed by the plaintiffs, Rice was diagnosed as having anxiety attacks and a peptic ulcer and was instructed to treat the conditions with Pepcid AC and Xanax. An echocardiogram showed evidence of an aortic dissection when Rice complained of sharp pains and burning in her abdomen and chest five days later. The doctors failed to diagnose her condition, and Rice was advised to keep taking the Pepcid AC and Xanax. Rice subsequently suffered heavy bleeding in the tissue surrounding her heart after a rupture of the aortic wall associated with a dissecting aneurysm. The lawsuit was filed against Cherry Tree Urgent Care, a Cherry Tree general partner, Dr. Kishor Joshi, and Mountainview Medical Associates by Rice's daughter, Maranda Rice, and Rice's mother Pamela Sokol.

California Highway Cause of Deaths

A stretch of highway in California has been the scene of scene of 28 crashes in the last four months. The Monterey County section of Highway 156 has become known for the multitude of auto accidents that occur there - according to the California Highway Patrol, 28 traffic accidents occurred along the highway since June (01JUN06). CHP officer Gil Peirsol reports that six injury accidents occurred in August and four in September. In the past eight days, a Pacific Grove couple and a Hollister man died in head-on collisions on Highway 156. CHP officer Larry Starkey says, "Inattention and driving too closely behind other drivers is usually the primary cause of these kinds of accidents." California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has touted Proposition 1B on November's ballot as a source of funds to widen the highway. If the bond is approved, $65 million in state grants for Highway 156 improvement projects could be applied for by Monterey County.

Injury Delays Ferrari Trial

A Swedish businessman who crashed a $1.5 Ferrari on a Malibu Highway had the start of his trial postponed because a key prosecution witness from Great Britain was involved in a serious accident. Former video game company executive Bo Stefan Eriksson, 44 was allegedly drunk when he crashed a red Enzo Ferrari at 162 mph into a utility pole in February (21FEB06). Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Schnegg stated on Wednesday that the witness ''was in a horrible accident and was unable to travel right now.'' She went on to indicate that the witness had head injuries and that prosecutors were waiting to see whether or not the witness would have to be replaced.

Arrest Warrant Issued for Hit a Driver nd Run

A driver suspected of being involved in a hit-and-run incident yesterday (18OCT06) that left two girls hospitalized may have a warrant issued for his arrest. According to Officer Jason Lee, the driver allegedly hit the Fremont High School students, aged 15 and 16, as they crossed Avalon Boulevard at 78th Street. The girls were in a crosswalk and had the right of way. Witnesses saw the suspect flee from the scene of the accident on foot after parking his car in an alley five blocks away. LAPD Detective Dana Wheeler says police have positively identified the suspect and know where he lives. Victims Judith Mendoza and Brenda Chavez are both expected to survive.

Pipeline Victims Get $6 Million

Victims of the disastrous November 2004 Walnut Creek pipeline explosion will receive a $6 million wrongful death and personal injury settlement from the East Bay Municipal Utility District and one of its contractors. The explosion happened when Livermore company Mountain Cascade Inc., who were installing a new water main, struck a high-pressure gasoline line. The settlement will be paid out of Mountain Cascade's $26 million insurance policy. State investigators determined that Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (the Houston-based pipeline owners who are also being sued) is responsible for the largest share of blame for the disaster. 17 wrongful death, personal injury and property damage lawsuits relating to the pipeline explosion are scheduled for trial next spring (07).

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Police

A man whose mother was killed when police stormed her apartment is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers responsible. Police stormed 48-year-old Cheri Lyn Moore's apartment after she brandished a flare gun and threw objects out of her second-story apartment in a standoff that lasted over two hours, and resulted in her death. David Moore filed the suit against the police chief, the incident commander, the negotiation team leader, two police observers and several SWAT team members. His claim includes wrongful death, battery, assault, false imprisonment, illegal search and seizure and deliberate indifference to medical needs and negligence. Moore states, "On April 14, 2006, the above named defendants caused the death of Cheri Lyn Holt-Moore, when they wrongfully and without lawful justification, entered her apartment and shot her to death with multiple rounds of ammunition. At the hands of these defendants, Ms. Moore herself suffered fear and terror, assault and battery, invasion of privacy and loss of life and the enjoyment of life." The claim also states that David Moore and his daughter suffered damages in excess of $25,000.

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Bisphosphonates Cause Tissue Death

A recent study in the September (06) Harvard Women's Health Watch reports that there is a link between women taking bone strengthening drugs known as bisphosphonates and the deterioration of their bone tissue. The drugs include Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Skelid, Didronel, Zometa, Aredia and Bonefos, and are largely used to treat bone cancer patients as well as osteoporosis sufferers. The study shows that the drugs prevent new bone formation in the long term.

Ortho Evra Settle Suits in Exchange For Silence

The makers of birth control patch Ortho Evra are allegedly settling lawsuits in exchange for confidentiality agreements preventing any further discussion of the controversial patch. Pharmaceutical company Ortho-McNeil have been accused of gross negligence in failing to disclose the risks associated with Ortho Evra, and are expected to face a high number of lawsuits from women who have obtained serious injury through use of the patch. The confidentiality agreements will protect Ortho-McNeil from further scrutiny and is intended to contain information about the illness and injury suffered by the plaintiffs. Blood clots, heart attacks and strokes are extremely unusual in both teenagers and women of childbearing years - the only factor all the women have in common is use of the Ortho Evra birth control patch.

Doctor Responsible for Injury to Third Party

A doctor who failed to properly advise his patient may be liable to pay damages to someone injured by the patient, in a new ruling by a Massachusetts Superior Court judge. The defendant doctor's motion for summary judgment was denied by Judge Peter W. Agnes, Jr. in the case of a motorcyclist who was seriously injured by a driver (the patient) whose diabetes medication caused him to lose consciousness in the car. Because the doctor did not warn his patient about the dangers of driving while on medication, Judge Agnes stated that based on principles of public policy, the doctor owed a care of duty to third parties injured as a result of his neglect.

Adverse Drug Reactions a Danger to the Elderly

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that over 700,000 Americans are sent to emergency rooms each year as a result of adverse drug reactions. The study also shows that people over the age of 65 have a far greater risk of requiring emergency room treatment than younger people. Two of the main drugs that cause adverse reactions are Insulin for diabetes sufferers and the anticoagulant warfarin. The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and the Consumer Product Safety Commission were all involved in development of this research project.

New Suit Filed Against Ortho-McNeil

A 25-year-old woman has filed suit against pharmaceutical company Ortho-McNeil after injuries caused as a result of using birth control patch Ortho Evra. This is the latest in a series of suits filed against Ortho-McNeil after users of Ortho Evra reported increased levels of strokes, heart attacks, blood clots and pulmonary embolism. The woman, who had been using Ortho Evra for six months, was admitted to St. Mary's Medical Center in Wisconsin (24AUG04) after complaining of lightheadedness, shortness of breath and chest pain. After diagnostic tests were taken at the hospital, it was discovered that the patient had bilateral pulmonary emboli. The woman was forced to stay in hospital and undergo Heparin and Coumadin anticoagulant therapy - it is likely that the patient will require anticoagulant medication for the remainder of her life. The suit was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County earlier this month (OCT06).

Fake Diabetic Strips Could Cause Death

The FDA has issued a warning for diabetics on fake blood sugar test strips that have been distributed nationwide. The fake strips were sold under the brand One Touch Basic Profile and One Touch Ultra, with lots numbers 272894A, 2619932, 2606340 or 2691191. The strips are highly likely to produce inaccurate results, leading to a patient taking either too much insulin or not enough. This could lead to serious injury or death. The FDA is warning diabetics not to use counterfeit blood sugar test strips that were distributed nationwide. They could produce inaccurate results that could mean a patient could take either too much or not enough insulin and could lead to death or serious injury. According to the FDA, the fake test strips were sold in 50-count packages.

Unique Medical Malpractice File Revealed

A recently-unsealed court file has revealed a settlement from 2001 where $1.6 million was awarded in a medical malpractice suit involving hereditary cancer. The case involves a University of Washington nurse who died of ovarian cancer. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, doctors failed to warn the nurse that she had a high risk of getting hereditary cancer and should have her ovaries removed as a precaution. It may be one of the first cases where doctors are held responsible for attempting to prevent hereditary diseases.

Renu Moistureloc Solution Causes Blindness?

Bausch & Lomb have issued a voluntary request to retailers carrying the Renu with Moistureloc solution to remove the product from shelves while a safety investigation is underway. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning soft contact lens users of the growing number of reports concerning rare but serious fungal eye infections that can lead to permanent blindness. Consumers have been advised to switch to another brand of solution until the investigation is complete.

Gross Negligence Trial Continues

An 89-year-old man who killed ten people and injured 63 more after losing control of his car is still on trial in a Los Angeles court. The jury failed to reach a verdict after ending their eighth day of deliberations yesterday (18OCT06). George Russell Weller is accused of 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, after the incident where when he mistook his car accelerator for the brake pedal and drove through a Santa Monica farmers market (13JUL06). The jurors asked Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson to clarify the charges against Weller, as they "have not been able to reach common ground". Johnson stated that gross negligence involves "more than ordinary carelessness, inattention or mistake in judgment. In other words, a person acts with gross negligence when the way he acts is so different from how an ordinarily careful person would act in the same situation that his act amounts to a disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences of that act." Jury deliberations will resume on Friday (20OCT06).

Elderly Couple Killed in Auto Accident

An elderly couple were killed last night (18OCT06) after being hit by a wrecker driver. According to the police, the driver was going at approximately 90 miles per hour - twice the legal limit - when he impacted with the couple. The wrecker driver was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where a test for alcohol consumption would be carried out. There is a possibility he will face criminal charges.

Paris Hilton Auto Accident Case Moved

A judge has ruled that a couple who are suing socialite Paris Hilton must take their personal injury lawsuit to another court. The suit was filed after an accident in May (04), when the car being driven by Hilton's cousin Brooke Ashley Brinson rear-ended another car on the San Bernardino highway, which hit the car carrying Ivan Alvarez and Monica Deldago. Alvarez and Delgado wanted $250,000 each in damages for personal injury, negligence and property damage. But Pomona Superior Court Judge Robert A. Dukes decided that Alvarez and Delgado suffered less than $25,000 in damages, therefore the case should go to West Covina Superior Court. Hilton was not in the car during the crash, and was not present in court for the hearing.

Stents in Clogged Arteries Cause Strokes

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed a high risk of strokes from implanting stents to clogged arteries. According to the study, the old method of simply cleaning out the arteries surgically is safer. A team in Paris, France found that 9.6 per cent of 247 stent recipients had died or suffered strokes while only 3.9 percent of 257 recipients died in surgery. 71 percent of strokes in those where stents were implanted happened on the actual day of the procedure. For those who had surgery, only 33 percent of the strokes happened on the day. The team concluded that continued implantation of stents in patients whose arteries were at least 60 percent blocked was unethical. Nearly 700,000 Americans suffer from strokes as a result of clogged arteries each year.

Wrongful Death Settlement Disclosed

A family in Bloomington, Illinois has been awarded $750,000.00 in wrongful death damages after 20-year-old Nathan Ruch was shot to death by a police officer. Ruch was killed by officer James Merica following an attempted traffic stop in 2002. After the family and the insurance company that paid the settlement agreed to release the amount, a judge unsealed the records after The (Bloomington) Pantagraph filed a petition seeking the amount awarded to the family. The family initially feared the amount would overshadow details of the shooting that they hope will prevent similar tragedies. The family, who initially kept the settlement amount hidden for fear of overshadowing details of the shooting, agreed to allow the settlement to be public following the newspaper's request.

Two Injured in Car Crash

A single-vehicle crash in Sacramento caused two people to be injured on Thursday (19OCT06). According to police, a car was speeding when the driver lost control of the vehicle and hit the center divide near the intersection of Del Paso and El Centro roads. Both the driver and passenger were injured.

Rapper Critical After Crash

Rapper Cassidy is in critical condition after a car crash caused him to suffer a fractured skull and several fractured facial bones. Cassidy, real name Barry Reese, was reportedly on his way to New York to continue work on his third album, due to be released later this year. J Records publicist Theola Borden says, "We don't know whether he is in an induced coma or heavily sedated. The results of a CAT scan were okay."

Teen Charged With Felony Murder

A 16-year-old girl was charged yesterday (19OCT06) with felony murder after she killed a mother of three in an attempt to commit suicide. Louise Egan Brunstad counted down her suicide attempt (04OCT06) through text messages to a female classmate who had rejected Brunstad's sexual advances. She then crashed her Mercedes-Benz into a smaller Daewoo driven by 30-year-old Nancy Salado-Mayo, killing her and injuring her six-year-old child Lesly. Brunstad, who will be tried as an adult, faces an automatic life sentence if convicted. Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard says, "She was actually counting down her imminent threat: 'Nine, eight, seven, six ... I'm going to do it.' "She was traveling at a high rate of speed. This is an intentional action."

Gleevec Causes Heart Failure

An article in Nature Medicine has revealed that cancer drug Gleevec can cause severe congestive heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction after a study carried out on ten Gleevec users. Pharmaceutical company Novartis has changed the Precautions Section of the Gleevec label to include a statement that there have been reports of Gleevec patients developing the heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction.