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Jury verdict abortion malpractice

Juries have not been impressed with Johnson & Johnson’s Arguments

Out of nowhere, talcum powder ovarian cancer cases became the hottest mass tort case.  What happened and where are we now in these lawsuits?

The Product and the Big Question

For many decades, talcum powder has enjoyed great success as a consumer product. While young mothers often eagerly sprinkle it on their infants during diaper changes to help absorb wetness and prevent diaper rash, other women used the powdery substance as a regular part of their feminine hygiene practices.

Also, both male and female athletes routinely use talcum powder products to try and lower their chances of developing athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. Only limited complaints have been lodged for many years about the possibility that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer. However, many women are now challenging their earlier beliefs about this product’s safety. In fact, the first successful lawsuit against talcum powder product giant, Johnson & Johnson, have now been filed and won.
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Cauda Equina Syndrome is a neurological disorder that stems from an injury to the bundle of nerve roots that exit the spinal cord. Cauda equina frequently leads to medical malpractice lawsuits.

cauda equina settlements

The treatment for Cauda Equina Syndrome is generally immediate surgical decompression. The sooner this can be achieved the better. You usually have a 48-hour window of opportunity with which you can reverse the symptoms. The malpractice lawsuits in these cases occur when the symptoms were there to be seen during that window but were missed, usually in the ER or by a primary care doctor or by the surgical staff after spinal surgery.

Symptoms

Doctors frequently miss the clear symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome which include:

  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica (particularly at L5/S1)
  • Loss of sensation in the butt or genital sensory disturbance
  • Bowel, bladder or sexual dysfunction (bladder complications are a particular hallmark of cauda equina).

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NexiumPatients who experience acid indigestion, heartburn or other stomach ailments often seek relief from their symptoms by taking one or more drugs like Nexium.  Many patients have gotten great relief from heartburn and related symptoms which experience little if any side effects.

Those are the happy ending stories. But new research studies indicate that serious Nexium side effects (including kidney disease) can develop when prescribed or OTC (over-the-counter) heartburn medications are taken in higher doses — or for extended time periods.

Back in the 1980s when drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid were first marketed in the United States, many physicians believed they could benefit their patients because the risk of using the was outweighed by the benefits.  Growing scientific literature, including new studies published in 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, question that assumption. Continue reading

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 Prilosecinhibitor (PPI) used in the treatment of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nexium is a big competitor with Prilosec

How popular is it?

Following its introduction in 1989. Prilosec rocketed to widespread popularity. In 2013, Prilosec sales were $358.8 million – making the drug the second-highest-selling over-the-counter digestive remedy. Prilosec belongs to a class of acid-reducing medicines on which the public spends over $14 billion a year.

The active ingredient in Prilosec, Omeprazole, is a racemic mixture containing S- and R-enantiomers. Enantiomers are molecules that have two Non-superimposable mirror image forms Racemic mixtures, such as omeprazole, contain equal proportions of the two enantiomers. Continue reading

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 shutterstock_130064462-229x300perforating 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. Continue reading

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

headache-300x199However, 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] sickwomanFDA-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 Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?federal court claims the infection was allegedly caused by a 3M Bair Hugger warming blanket.

What These Bair Hugger Cases Are About

A Bair Hugger device is a temperature management system that is used during surgery.  The purpose of the invention is to help the body regulate the appropriate temperature. The Bair Hugger pushed hot air through a hose into a blanket specially made to work with the device.

Keeping a patient warm is particularly useful during knee and hip replacement surgery because the procedures tend to be long.   The body loses heat increasingly over the course of surgery.

Another thing about metal hip and knee replacement surgery is that your body is particularly prone to infection. Why?  The metal helps spread the infection.

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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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