Boy killed in Raleigh auto accident
September 30th, 2010
A teen was killed in a Raleigh auto accident.
According to News 11, a school bus hit a car, killing a 14-year-old boy in the Raleigh auto accident.
Other passengers in the car were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries following the Raleigh auto accident.
No one on the bus was injured after the Raleigh auto accident, and no charges have been filed so far.
Do you trust public transportation to take your children to school? What concerns do you have about public transportation?
If you or someone you know has been involved in a Raleigh auto accident, the Raleigh auto accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst Attorneys can help.
A Little Exercise Prevents Falls and Hip Fractures
September 29th, 2010
Older women with low bone density have a greater risk of breaking a hip if they fall. Unfortunately, fall-related fractures are terribly debilitating, resulting in long-term pain, trouble walking, and difficulty doing even simple daily chores. All too often, a simple broken hip leads to life in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
A new study published in the latest issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine (September 27, 2010) shows that women may be able to prevent falls if they follow a simple program of home-based exercises.
The researchers followed women over age 70, all of whom had osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) for an average of about 7 years. Even though bone density did not improve, women who exercised had fewer overall fractures and no hip fractures. They also had better balance, faster walking speed, and improved ability to do daily chores.
The women in the study learned the exercise routine from a physiotherapist, but then were asked to continue to train 20 minutes a day at home. Just 20 minutes a day could make the difference between independence and a life in a nursing home.
Anyone who wants to start an exercise program should talk with a doctor first. Once you are cleared, the types of exercises used in this study are the kind most people can do at home. (If you do any of these on your own, be sure to do them at your own pace, and on a stable surface. Hold onto chairs, walls, railings, or anything else to keep your balance.) The exercises include:
- Rapid walking
- Walking with arm movements
- Knee bends
- Leg lifts
- Heel rises and drops
- Stepping sideways, forward, backward
- Stair climbing
The overall goal is to start slowly, but keep a regular routine of balancing and strengthening exercises. Better yet, find a partner to exercise with you—there is strength in numbers. You can encourage each other, and even provide balance for each other if necessary.
But remember…talk with your doctor, and stay safe. Then, get strong!
“Long-term Outcomes of Exercise: Follow-up of a Randomized Trial in Older Women with Osteopenia.” Archive of Internal Medicine; Sept 27, 2010; pages1548-1556.
“Effect of Exercise on Extraskeletal Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in Elderly Women with Low BMD: A Population-Based Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research; Jan 23, 2006; pages 772-779. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/jbmr.060116/pdf)
Deaths Prompt Warning About Infant Sleep Positioners
September 29th, 2010
For years, new parents have been advised about how to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): keep cribs free of quilts, comforters, pillows, and stuffed toys…and always place an infant on his or her back at night or during nap time.
Some companies have been selling “infant sleep positioners,” which they claim hold a baby in a safe sleeping position. Unfortunately, they were wrong.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)www. and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning that consumers should not purchase any infant sleep positioners. At least 12 babies have died due to use of the positioners–the infants died when they rolled from their backs and suffocated on the pillowy positioners.
This seems to be a case of concerned parents being tricked by false claims into purchasing a dangerous product. A product marketed as helping to prevent SIDS shouldn’t be an actual cause of crib death.
What should parents do? First, stop using infant positioners immediately!
“We urge parents and caregivers to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners so children can be assured of a safe sleep,” says Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
FDA pediatric expert Susan Cummins, M.D., M.P.H, says parents and caregivers can create a safe sleep environment for babies if they leave the crib free of pillows, comforters, quilts, toys, and other items.
“The safest crib is a bare crib,” she says. “Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep. An easy way to remember this is to follow the ABC’s of safe sleep—Alone on the Back in a bare Crib.”
If you believe your baby was harmed by an infant sleep positioner and want to understand your legal options, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-4LAW-MED. You can also visit our website at http://www.lawmed.com. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
(To see the full FDA Consumer Update, click here: Infant Sleep Positioners Pose Suffocation Risk)
Injuries from Computer Use Becoming More Common
September 28th, 2010
The average employee spends significant amounts of time using a computer at work and at home [I should know since I’m typing this blog entry, for work, while sitting at home!] As a consequence people are actually becoming injured due to overuse. Strains, carpel tunnel syndrome, and other repetitive use injuries are becoming more common. For this reason, it is important to take simple steps while using your computer, to minimize these problems. Safecomputingtips.com is a website that offers simple and cost effective ways of reducing injury while using your computer. Check it out! http://www.i-newswire.com/workplace-ergonomics-101-essentials/62475
Sale of Dangerous Drug Avandia to Continue in United States
September 27th, 2010
Some doctors and many unlucky diabetes patients are wondering what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was thinking when it decided to allow the drug Avandia (generic name rosiglitazone) to continue to be sold in the United States. According to an article in the British newspaper The Independent, last week the European Medicines Agency recommended that Avandia be banned from sale in Europe because scientific research confirmed that the drug is linked to an increased risk of heart attacks.
In the United States, however, the FDA acknowledged the link between heart attacks and Avandia, but decided to allow the drug to continue to be prescribed…but only for people whose diabetes cannot be controlled by other medications. In addition, the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), must provide greater details about the potential risks, in language that is unequivocal.
Avandia was created to help people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood glucose levels by increasing sensitivity to their own natural insulin levels. It was a very successful drug…if you measure success in financial terms. In 2006, global sales of medicines containing Avandia reached $3.2 billion, making it the world’s best-selling diabetes drug.
But in 2007, The New England Journal of Medicine published research showing that people who took Avandia had an increased risk of heart attacks. Since then, additional studies confirmed that Avandia works as intended, but that its side effects can be deadly. According to an article published in February in the New York Times (“Research Ties Diabetes Drug to Heart Woes”), government reports estimated that:
…if every diabetic now taking Avandia were instead given a similar pill named Actos, about 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure would be averted every month because Avandia can hurt the heart.
That’s an astonishing 6,000 heart attacks every year that could have been prevented if the patients had simply taken a different diabetes medication.
But pharmaceutical companies can be persistent and persuasive. Sometimes frighteningly so. A bipartisan Senate investigation published earlier this year said that GSK failed to warn patients that Avandia might kill them.
“Instead, G.S.K. executives attempted to intimidate independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that a competing drug might reduce cardiovascular risk,” concludes the report, which was overseen by Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican.
Mr. Baucus said of the report, “Patients trust drug companies with their health and their lives, and GlaxoSmithKline abused that trust.” [from The New York TImes, February 19, 2010 article]
In June 2010, an article from the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that Avandia increased the risk of stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality. The conclusion of the study’s lead researcher, Dr. David Graham, was that the drug should be removed from the market. (Oh, and by the way, Dr. Graham works for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which is part of the FDA.)
Where We Are Today
So…banned in Europe, restricted (but not banned) in the United States, and thousands of innocent people hurt or even killed by Avandia side effects. And what does GSK have to say?
All medicines have risks as well as benefits which need to be evaluated in the context of the diseases that they aim to treat. It’s the regulators’ responsibility to review these risks and benefits and to come to a decision as to which medicines should be available for physicians to prescribe for their patients. We recognise that this is an important and at times, difficult job. [from a video transcript of GSK’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ellen Strahlman]
Well, that’s true. But the job drug regulation becomes increasing difficult if a pharmaceutical company attempts to hide or downplay known risks. And who among us would willingly take a medication if we knew that it could potentially kill us? I wouldn’t.
We all weigh risks and benefits daily, but it is a tragedy to be harmed by a medication known to be dangerous, especially if those dangers aren’t clearly, completely, and loudly disclosed. The drug injury lawyers of HensonFuerst continue to look into all research about Avandia. We will use this and other scientific information to protect our clients, and to help them get compensation for their damages.
I’ve asked the question before, but I’ll ask it again: What will it take for the FDA to value public protection over “big pharma” influence?
If you believe you or someone you love have been harmed by the drug Avandia and have questions about your legal options, please contact the attorneys of HensonFuerst. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year at 1-800-4LAW-MED. If you prefer to submit an online request for an immediate evaluation of your case, visit our website at http://www.lawmed.com. There, you’ll also find additional information about your legal options for injuries from taking medications.
Remember, you’re not alone. We’re here for you. If you have questions, HensonFuerst Attorneys have answers.
RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
The New England Journal of Medicine article. “Effect of Rosiglitazone on the Risk of Myocardial Infarction and Death from Cardiovascular Causes,” June 14, 2007.
New York Times article. “Research Ties Diabetes Drug to Heart Woes,” by Gardiner Harris. February 19, 2010.
Journal of the American Medical Association. Early release article, posted June 28, 2010. JAMA. 2010;304(4):(doi:10.1001/jama.2010.920).
New Study Slams Avandia. HensonFuerst blog from June 28, 2010
The Independent. “GSK’s Avandia Banned in Europe on Heart Worries,” by Alistair Dawber, September 24, 2010.
DePuy Hip Replacement Recall Raises More Questions
September 23rd, 2010
On August 24, DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, sent a letter to doctors announcing a recall of two of their hip replacement systems, the ASR XL Acetabular System, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. Why? Because they have a higher-than-usual failure rates, causing people to have to have second surgeries to replace the replacement.
Second “revision” surgeries because of a defective device? If you or someone you know has had hip replacement surgery, then this recall has to make you want to cry. Hip replacement surgery is difficult, with a long, painful recovery.
The two hip replacement products DePuy recalled are the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System. Compared with other hip replacements, the recalled DePuy ASR products are more likely to fail, and fail early—about 1 in 8 percent of the replacements will fail within 5 years. What’s worse, the faulty hip replacement causes serious pain and difficulty walking, and recovery from the second hip replacement is often more difficult than after the first. There is also the possibility of metallic particles, potentially toxic cobalt-chromium particles, which, in high levels, may cause heart and/or nervous system problems.
Some experts feel that this recall was long overdue, and wonder why it took so long. In fact, the same devices were withdrawn from the market in Australia in December 2009. In an interview with The Health Report (Australia), Dr. Stephen Graves, director of the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s National Joint Replacement Registry, said that the registry had known for many years that the ASR device had a higher rate of failure. He said:
In our 2007 annual report we identified the resurfacing part of this device as having at least twice the risk of revision compared to other resurfacing devices….after three years [there] was four to five times the risk of being revised compared to other devices.
In the same interview, he very tactfully said that DePuy was lying when they claimed that international joint registries showed that the ASR devices were performing in line with other devices. In the words of Dr. Graves:
I’ve noticed that comment in the press release and I couldn’t quite understand that because that’s simply not correct because DePuy were fully aware of the Australian registry data. So I’m not quite sure why they’ve said that because it’s simply not true.
Signs of early failure in 2007…withdrawn from Australia in 2009: Why did DePuy allow them to be implanted into people in the United States until August 2010?
What Happens Now?
Orthopedic surgeons who used these particular devices have been sending letters out to their patients to advise them of the recall by the manufacturer, so check your mailbox. If you have moved since your surgery, please contact your surgeon and they will be able to advise you on whether you were given one of the problem hip replacement units. If your surgeon has retired or left the practice, you can request a copy of your actual operative report of that surgery from the hospital. Those records will contain the implant name, type, serial or other identification number.
If you already know that you received one of the recalled DePuy hip replacement systems, we recommend two things:
1. Schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon, even if you’re not currently having symptoms. It is possible that you could have early signs of failure before you recognize the pain. Your doctor will be able to evaluate how your hip is functioning and whether the recalled implant is in need of replacement.
In that visit, your orthopaedic surgeon may also want do a blood test that looks at the level of microscopic metal particles around your hip. Metal particles are a sign that recalled implant has failed. If the blood test indicates a high level of these particles, your surgeon may want to do a second blood test three months later. These levels may be high even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, so this blood testing is very important.
2. Call HensonFuerst Attorneys for important information about your rights. If you or someone you care about received one of these defective joint replacement components, we would like to speak with you right away. You may have a legal case and be able to collect compensation for the injury caused by this faulty medical device.
What’s most important: DO NOT contact DePuy, or SIGN ANY RELEASES OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS TO DePuy or JOHNSON & JOHNSON before you talk with a lawyer. On DePuy’s website, they ask patients to register with them and receive a claim number. DO NOT DO THIS YOURSELF. Let a lawyer handle everything. Big corporations look out for their own financial interests, not the interests of people who may have been harmed. If DePuy was interested in helping patients, they would not have allowed the device to continue to be sold even after they knew it was causing serious problems.
We have a lot of questions for DePuy. We’ve searched, but we can’t find answers to these questions:
- Why are patients being asked to submit medical bills to their own insurance company? Why isn’t DePuy taking responsibility for all costs, without trying to push the costs off on private insurance or Medicare?
- If high levels of metal are found in the blood, why does DePuy recommend waiting and retesting in 3 months? Why isn’t this considered a health emergency?
- DePuy knows that the metal particles can cause necrosis (death) of the soft tissue around the hip implant…that’s what makes the revision more difficult than the original surgery. If a person wants to avoid the potential extra damage, can they replace their DePuy hip with a non-failing hip? What about people who had their hip replacement in the last couple months…do they have to wait years to see if their hip replacement fails?
- Why did U.S. surgeons continue to use DePuy hip replacements, even after the international medical community raised questions about their safety? Were there any financial incentives involved? Should surgeons who implanted these recalled products in 2010 (after they were withdrawn from Australia) be held responsible for their part in the recall?
If you think you have a DePuy hip replacement…
And if you want us to ask these and other questions on your behalf, call us.
If you are worried about your future health, call us.
If you can’t get straight answer from your surgeon or hospital, call us.
With HensonFuerst, your health is at the top of our priority list. We dedicate ourselves to protecting individuals from the greed and callousness of large corporations. Let us work for you. Our attorneys are available 24 hours/day, every day of the year at 1-800-4-LAW-MED (1-800-452-9633). Or, visit our website at www.lawmed.com for more information. You can also fill out a free online consultation form for an immediate evaluation of your case.
This law firm is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or associated with the Associated Press, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., or Johnson & Johnson
RECALL: Similac Powder Infant Formula
September 23rd, 2010
This one is not only dangerous, it’s just plain disgusting.
Abbott has issued a recall for certain Similac brand powder infant formulas due to contamination with—take a deep breath—beetles, beetle parts, and beetle larvae. Infants who consume the contaminated formula could experience gastrointestinal discomfort and may refuse to eat. Abbott recommends that if the stomach upset lasts more than a few days, you should take your child to the pediatrician.
The recall affects powdered formula made at a single manufacturing facility. The company says to visit the website to find out exactly which products are affected, but when I tried to log in to the site, I only got an error notice. Perhaps they are just flooded with concerned parents. The website for look up is www.similac.com/recall/lookup. Another option is to call Abbott’s consumer hotline at 1-800-986-8850, open 24/7.
In the meanwhile, we know that all the recalled products are either Similac powder products in plastic containers, OR Similac powder products offered in 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce, and 12.9-ounce cans. No liquid products are affected. If you cannot find out whether your Similac brand powdered product has been recalled, we recommend not using it until you can get through to the website or to someone on the phone line.
For more information about the recall, visit the dedicated web page at:
There have not yet been reports of serious injuries from this product. We’ll keep you posted if this becomes a serious health issue. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
Truck spills fish in Connecticut auto accident
September 23rd, 2010
Two neighbors, both grandmothers to the same 10-year-old, died in a Raleigh auto accident, according to thetimesnews.com.
The grandmothers’ 10-year-old grandson was riding in the car when it ran off the road and landed in a creek in the Raleigh auto accident.
What do you think contributes to most Raleigh auto accidents? What do you think can be done to avoid most Raleigh auto accidents?
If you or someone you know has been involved in a Raleigh auto accident, the Raleigh auto accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst Attorneys can help.
Massage Therapists and Strippers Improperly Classified as Independent Contractors
September 21st, 2010
Lawsuits are being brought against strip clubs in Massachusetts for improperly classifying its workers as independent contractors. Employers only have to pay certain mandated benefits, including Worker’s Compensation coverage, to “employees”, but not to independent contractors. At least one such establishment in Massachusetts was found to have incorrectly classified its workers. Simply calling a worker an independent contractor does not make it so. If an employer does such things as controlling the manner/method of work, controlling the hours worked, controlling the location of the job to be performed, etc., a worker is an employee, regardless of the employers “classification” of that person as an independent contractor.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Is Not Fooling Anyone
September 20th, 2010
I had to read these articles several times before I figured out what gave me that queasy feeling, like I just ate something slimy. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is a master of spin. Maybe that’s what caused the queasy feeling–too much spin.
Without retracing too much history, I’d like to start less than a year ago, in October 2009, when BCBSNC (a “nonprofit” organization) actively fought against health care reform. They sent mailings and made 100,000 robo calls to North Carolina residents asking for help to defeat health care reform. The calls were in violation of state law, and BCBSNC paid a $95,000 fine. (Chump change for a company that large.) They issued a statement that said:
“We regret this mistake, and we apologize for the error made in how these calls were placed,” she [BCBS Executive Vice President and General Counsel Maureen O'Connor] said. “We continue to believe that it is important for BCBSNC to take an active role in the health reform debate.”
In July 2010, Consumer Reports publisher reported that BCBSNC is one of 10 Blue plans to post excessive surpluses, even while they continued to request rate hikes. While some surplus is necessary to cover potential losses, North Carolina’s Blue plan far, far exceeded state minimums. The report suggested that the insurance giant should not continue to raise rates while hoarding cash. How much cash? As of the end of the year, BCBSNC held $1.4 billion in surplus. Makes one wonder why rate hikes were requested at all. (And it puts that $95,000 fine into perspective, doesn’t it?)
Today, BCBSNC announced that it would be refunding $155.8 million to some of its customers. (In case you’re counting, that’s only about 11% of the 2009 surplus.) Why the refund? It’s a result of the Affordable Care Act–part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive health insurance reforms. Part of what BCBS fought against with its illegal robo calls. So you would think that BCBS would be pretty upset at having to make this refund, right? Not according to the spin!
According to multiple press releases, including WTVD-ABC, the CEO of BCBSNC, Brad Wilson, had this to say:
“Our customers are our top priority and we’ve created a real win for them,” Wilson said. “Our policyholders can expect to receive refund checks from us by the end of the year.”
The article went on to say that in August, BCBSNC requested a 6.97 percent increase for Blue Advantage policies. The Department of Insurance approved a 5.37 percent increase instead. While the spin says that this will “save policy holders $14.5 million,” that’s only if a rate increase is inevitable. It is also accurate to say that compared with no rate hike, this 5.37 percent increase will cost policy holders about $50 million. It’s like the old joke: Honey, I saved $250…it was on sale! Not so funny when the real cost is in the millions of dollars.
I hate to ask impertinent questions, but given BCBSNC’s history, how can their rate hikes continue to be approved? Why does BCBS announce a “refund” on the same day they announce a rate hike? How long does BCBSNC think we’ll continue to take everything they say at face value? Do they think they are fooling us by taking credit for the refund?
Let’s give credit where credit is due–the refunds are due to the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act. The same law BCBSNC asked its policy holders to fight against.
Despite the happy-face announcement today, consumers will still face higher-than-ever health care costs. I’m not smiling about that. Are you?
Blue Cross to pay fine, stop robo calls – Triangle Business Journal
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has ‘excessive’ surplus, says Consumer Reports publisher – Triangle Business Journal
Blue Cross to issue refunds, raise premiums
Understanding the Affordable Care Act