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Things That Could Hurt You: Prilosec

What is it?

Made by AstraZeneca, Prilosec is the brand name for a generic drug, omeprazole, used in combating acid reflux by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. It is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) used in the treatment of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nexium is a big competitor with Prilosec

In 2000, Bayer Healthcare introduced the Mirena IUD, which is a small implant that is placed in the uterus for up to five years as a form of birth control. Mirena IUD’s have been linked to perforating uteri, and the IUD’s have been known to move out of position on occasion, causing internal injuries, with over 4,000 lawsuits pending from women. Recently, however, a new type of lawsuit has started to arise regarding Mirena IUD’s and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.

Pseudotumor Cerebri(PTC)

Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) is a very serious condition stemming from a buildup of fluid pressure on the brain. This fluid buildup results in severe headaches, vision loss, and possibly other problems. The Mirena IUD implant releases progestin levonorgestrel, which has already been linked to a risk of PTC in other birth control products. Sometimes the pressure buildup can be resolved when the product is not in use anymore, but often it causes permanent damage, specifically to the optic nerve.

The antibiotic family of fluoroquinolones goes by many brand names, including Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox. Every year, millions of Americans take fluoroquinolones to treat bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Since the antibiotics work on a number of different conditions, they are popular among doctors.

Surprisingly Diverse Dangers

However, new studies indicate that these medications can also have serious side effects. These studies have linked fluoroquinolone use to risks like peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a form of permanent nerve damage.  It can result in constant pain and often, limited mobility. In many cases, peripheral neuropathy is irreversible, which means that patients who develop it must live with pain and impairment for the rest of their lives.

Currently, several pharmaceutical companies are facing lawsuits filed by patients who have suffered irreversible peripheral neuropathy after taking fluoroquinolone. Evidence in court documents indicates that drug companies may have known about the nerve damage risks as early as 1996, but they did not remove these medications from the market or alert patients and doctors to the risks.

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The Essure Permanent Birth Control System was to provide women a safer, less involved (and painful) tubal ligation alternative. This medical device was triumphantly marketed as the “[only] FDA-approved permanent form of birth control with a procedure that can be performed in an office setting without general anesthesia.” Unfortunately for the 750,000 women who have used this system since the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 2002, both new scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggest that Essure has caused substantial injuries to thousands of patients, motivating calls among consumer advocates for the drug’s recall and spurring legal action.

How Essure Works and Why the System Appeals to Women

The Essure system consists of two flexible coils that are inserted into the Fallopian tubes in order to produce permanent sterilization. Both patients and doctors have liked Essure, at least conceptually, because the system offers a less-invasive solution than tubal ligation and other birth control surgeries, ostensibly with shorter healing time and fewer side effects. Premarket studies tracked women’s pregnancies before and after Essure implantation, leading Bayer to assert that the device is 99.83 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and that “mild to moderate pain” and “spotting” are the most common side effects.

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Today, a U.S. Judicial on Multidistrict Litigation panel of federal judges will hear arguments on Plaintiffs’ request to consolidate all of the knee and hip infection lawsuits that have been filed in federal court claims the infection was allegedly caused by a 3M Bair Hugger warming blanket.

What These Bair Hugger Cases Are About

Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?

Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?

A South Dakota judge ruled this week that health care providers are subject to negligent credentialing lawsuits when they fail to properly malletjusticecredential doctors.

Judge Bruce Anderson made another important ruling: that even people on the credentialing committee may be subject to suit.   This has not real practical implications because a hospitals is going to stand behind the committee.  But it is never fun to be sued personally even if you have no real exposure.

The judge also found that hospitals cannot claim peer review privileges, as an absolute defense against discovery requests.  This is very pro patient safety and could be a ruling that could start to erode the absolute defense from discovery; that has long been the case in Maryland and in most states. The judge’s logic: hospitals may have an obligation, in some cases, to the public that outweighs peer review confidentiality.  Makes a lot of sense to me.

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Legal writingThis is a sample demand letter in a relatively small case with approximately $8,000 in medical bills.  But this case settled for a lot more than any kind of simple multiplier of medical bills.   This times special damages math is dangerous when it causes plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers (and victims) to substantially undervalue a claim.

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Bad news for Plaintiffs’ in the first liver damage lawsuit involving Tylenol.  A ten juror panel in New Jersey found for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on all counts on Friday.  This is the first Tylenol liver damage lawsuit to go to trial.  It will not be the last.

RisperdalclaimsThe lawsuit alleged that a 55 year old woman suffered liver damage as the result of the use of Extra Strength Tylenol.  But the jury seemed to find that the injuries occurred before she took Tylenol.

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Big update in the pelvic mesh lawsuits and it is not a good one.  A Texas jury yesterday found for Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Ethicon division in a Gravel and Moneypelvic mesh claim.  Twelve Dallas jurors found that the Prosima pelvic mesh, given to women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, was not defective in its design, and that J&J did not fail to properly inform doctors of the risks and problems associated with this product.   It was no slam dunk.  Unlike a lot of states, Texas does not require an unanimous verdict in civil cases.  So a 10-2 vote was good enough for J&J to eke out a win.

It is just one case, but I’m not going to lie, this was one the Plaintiffs’ wanted to win.  I’ll be honest about something else.  I’m surprised J&J let this case go to trial.  They have been picking off cases to avoid a bellwether effect on settlement value that is going to wildly increase the expectations of Plaintiffs and make these cases that much harder to settle.  On this one, they gambled and won.

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A recent study of jury verdicts found that the average personal injury jury verdict in Pennsylvania is $903,705.00.Pennsylvania Sign

Now let’s turn the kaleidoscope and look at the median.  If you remember from the 9th grade, the median is found by ranking the data from biggest to smallest, and then identifying the middle of the data so that there is an equal number that are larger and smaller on each side.  If you had 1001 data points, the 500th biggest number would be in the middle.

For many groups of data, the gap between the average and the median is the same or very close to it.  With personal injury verdicts, they are usually light years apart.  This is reflected in this new study that just came out in Pennsylvania.  The median compensatory award in Pennsylvania in the study was was $45,000.00

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