About Super Bowl Suffering…and Stress Attacks
January 31st, 2011
Who’s your team? Packers? Steelers?
No matter where your allegiance lies, you may want to prepare for Sunday’s big game. Your life may depend on it. And no, that’s not hyperbole.
According to an article in The New York Times, watching the Super Bowl can be hazardous to your health, especially if your team loses. Research published in the medical journal Clinical Cardiology shows that for people over age 65, experiencing a vicarious Super Bowl loss increases the risk of death from all causes on Super Bowl day. (The good news is that if your team wins, the risk of death actually decreases on Super Bowl day.)
There is also an increased incidence of general stress, panic, and anxiety attacks.
“Many patients, it needs to be said, will be self-medicating,” said Ursula Bertrand, a psychologist in private practice in Green Bay, Wis. “This can be helpful, but in excess it can also make anxiety attacks more likely.” [from the New York Times article]
To reduce Super Bowl-related stress and reduce the potential effects of Football Attention Neurosis (or F.A.N.), the article recommends these mostly tongue-in-cheek tactics to deal with the F.A.N. in your life:
- PREGAME: Establish a Therapeutic Alliance. Establish trust by sitting with the sufferer and his or her feelings. This may involve asking the F.A.N. to do things that may be frightening or profoundly uncomfortable, like sitting quietly with eyes open as an erratic kicker attempts a late field goal.
- FIRST HALF: Evaluate the Severity of Impairment. The severity of the disorder will usually reveal itself early in the first half of the football contest. Some patients will exhibit physical symptoms, including flushing, heart palpitations, chest pain, even a choking sensation, when their team chokes. Others may show psychological signs, like disorientation, a numbed trancelike state. Caution: Do not approach patients in these moments. They are fragile and prone to hurling nearby objects, including mini-bagels, plastic cups, pigs in a blanket — even themselves, in extreme cases, to the floor.
- HALFTIME: Formulate Treatment Plan. Patients ritually leap to their feet and disappear at halftime. This break allows the therapist time to develop an intervention for the second half, when symptoms are most severe and disabling. The goals of treatment are the same for all patients: to reduce anxiety, to eliminate avoidance behaviors, to soothe physical symptoms like sleep loss, chronic groaning and cursing at the TV and the pets.
- SECOND HALF: Administer Therapy. The notion that world will end if the patient’s team loses — catastrophizing, as this sort of thinking is known — does not stand up to the evidence. Remind the patient: Life resumed after each previous loss that the team suffered. And, in time, taste returned to food, colors became visible, feeling returned to extremities. Breathing exercises are highly recommended and become increasingly important as the football contest nears the fourth quarter, when events on the field are likely to prompt strong physiological reactions, like a pounding heart, hyperventilation, even dizziness.
Of course, if everyone in the household has a case of F.A.N., all bets are off.
But seriously, be aware of the potential for symptoms of heart attack. As the researchers of the death-and-Super Bowl study say, no one knows exactly why the extra deaths occur. It could be due in part to the usually high-fat, high-sodium, high-alcohol diet on game day. Or, it could be that the stress of watching your team lose (and perhaps losing money through gambling) is enough to push people with fragile health over the edge. The results were the same for men and women, which shows either that both sexes are equally invested in the Super Bowl, or that an uninvolved spouse reacts emotionally to the general high psychic pain that comes with a major loss.
It would be futile to ask you to keep the lid on your emotions this coming Sunday. But if you experience symptoms of heart attack, play it safe and call 911.
To read the full article from The New York Times, click here: A Home Treatment Kit for Super Bowl Suffering
To read the full article from Clinical Cardiology, click here: Role of Age, Sex, and Race on Cardiac and Total Mortality Associated with Super Bowl Wins and Losses
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
January 31st, 2011
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection.
“Abuse” is defined as any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver (or anyone else) that causes harm or risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial.
While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some tell-tale signs that there could be a problem are:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns .
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area.
- Sudden changes in financial situation.
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss.
- Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses.
- Strained or tense relationships, or frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person.
Many older people who are abused are at the mercy of their caregivers, and therefore may be afraid to speak about their pain or fear. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s important to remain alert, watch for changes in personality or behavior, and ask questions privately.
To learn more about elder abuse, the NCEA offers wonderful information. Visit their website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/.
At HensonFuerst Attorneys, we take our role as advocates for nursing home residents very seriously, and we will work daily to protect their rights. If you suspect that someone you know has been the victim of any mistreatment, please feel free to contact the compassionate attorneys of HensonFuerst. We’re available 24/7 at 1-800-4LAW-MED.
If you have questions, we have answers.
Concussion Has Long-Term Effects For Teen Athletes
January 31st, 2011
New research published in the February 2011 issue of the medical journal Neurosurgery revealed that high school athletes who had two or more concussions were more likely to report physical, emotional, and cognitive problems than those who had never had a concussion.
“It appears that youth athletes who sustain multiple concussions experience a variety of subtle effects, which may be possible precursors to the future onset of concussion-related difficulties,” the researchers write.
The study looked at 2,500 high school athletes in three states. The researchers found that the athletes with two or more concussions had symptom “clusters,” that affected the way they could think, their sense of physical well-being, and their sleep. For example, young athletes with multiple concussions were more likely to have memory problems, “foggy” thinking, headaches, dizziness, balance problems, and sleeping more or less than usual.
According to the press release for the journal:
Recent reports have highlighted the cognitive and psychological aftereffects of repeated concussions, including cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and degenerative brain disease in retired football players and other athletes.
“As a result of these findings, there is concern that repeated concussions can result in brain pathology that leads not only to cognitive difficulties, but to serious emotional sequelae in later life,” wrote lead researcher Philip Schatz, Ph.D., of Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, and the International Brain Research Foundation.
This is another link in the chain that relates even mild traumatic brain injury to long-term problems. At HensonFuerst, we take all cases of head trauma seriously. With teen sports, it is clear that we all need to be more vigilant about safety.
- Teens should be encouraged to report all instances of head injury, and should not return to play until cleared by a physician.
- Proper safety equipment should be mandatory for all sports.
- Trainers and parents should watch for signs of concussion, and make sure that teen athletes receive medical care.
When it comes to any head injury, the rule of thumb is: Better safe than sorry. Let’s all take care of growing brains. If you have any legal questions about head injuries, please feel free to visit our website at www.lawmed.com, or call one of the lawyers of HensonFuerst at 1-800-4LAW-MED.
Americans Eating Too Much of the "Spice of Life"?
January 31st, 2011
The human body requires salt to live. It helps nerves conduct messages throughout the body, allows muscles to move us, and generally regulates fluids so we don’t become either bloated or dehydrated. In cooking, moderate amounts of salt helps to bring out flavors in food.
But we can definitely get too much of this good thing.
An Associated Press article on WRAL.com today reports that the U.S. government is advising half the population to drastically cut the amount of salt in their diets. The recommendation comes as part of the regular 5-year dietary guideline review by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services–the same folks who gave us the Food Pyramid.
Groups targeted for salt reform are those who are most at risk of having or developing salt-related high blood pressure. This includes:
- All people age 51 and older
- All African-Americans
- All people with hypertension (high blood pressure)
- All people with diabetes
- All people with chronic kidney disease
The old recommendation was for everyone to limit salt—also called sodium-–intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, or about a teaspoon of table salt. That may sound like a lot, but consider that most people eat 3 times that much salt every day! It comes not only from the salt shaker, but most significantly from the salt already added to prepared and processed foods that we buy in grocery stores or from restaurants.
The new guidelines recommend that people in those high-risk groups limit their sodium intake to about HALF the current guidelines, or about half of a teaspoon of salt per day.
What’s Wrong With Salt?
According to an article posted by the prestigious Mayo Clinic:
Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health. When your sodium levels are low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium. When sodium levels are high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine.
But if for some reason your kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, your blood volume increases. Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced.
Some people’s bodies are more sensitive to the effects of sodium than are others. If you’re sodium sensitive, you retain sodium more easily, leading to fluid retention and increased blood pressure. The extra sodium can even lead to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. [Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit Now, by Mayo Clinic staff]
What Should You Do Now?
Most of us eat too much salt, and even if you are not currently a member of one of the target groups, you will be someday (yes, with luck we will all eventually be over age 51). Unless you are one of those rare individuals who has been told by your doctor that you should eat more salt (such as some people who have difficulty regulating their low blood pressure), you should plan to moderate the way you shop, cook, and eat.
According to the WRAL.com article, to reduce the risk of disease from high sodium intake, the guidelines say people should:
- Read nutrition labels closely and buy items labeled low in sodium.
- Use little or no salt when cooking or eating.
- Consume more fresh or home-prepared foods and fewer processed foods, so they know exactly what they are eating.
- Ask that salt not be added to foods at restaurants.
- Gradually reduce sodium intake over time to get used to the taste.
It’s been said that our taste buds take about 3 weeks to get used to less salt. Stick it out that long, and food will start to taste “normal” again. Less sodium will feel like a chore initially, but before long, you won’t even miss the salt shaker at the table!
2011 Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Tour Arrives in NC
January 28th, 2011
When Sarah Jane Donohue was five days old, she was shaken violently by her baby nurse. The result was four broken ribs, 2 broken collarbones, and severe, permanent brain injury. As a response to this devastation, her father, Patrick Donohue, Esq., founded The Sarah Jane Brain Project. Its mission is to create a model system of care for children and young adults suffering from Pediatric Acquired Brain Injuries (PABI).
Patrick Donohue and a team of brain injury experts, advocates, and victims are taking their message of prevention and treatment across the country in a series of events called the 2011 National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Tour. The tour arrives in North Carolina today, Friday, January 28.
Sponsors of the North Carolina events are The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina (BIANC), and a North Carolina Host Committee, including HensonFuerst Attorneys partner Thomas Henson, Jr.
There are four events planned (three are free of charge):
- Friday, January 28, 2011 (2:00-3:30 p.m.) Town Hall Meeting: “How Do We Reintegrate The Family After A Brain Injury In Youth?” Room 1503 Carol Belk Building, East Carolina University, Curry Ct. & S. Charles Blvd, Greenville, NC. RSVP: Ted Molloy (212) 576-1180, or email@example.com. Details: this event is free and open to the public including media.
- Saturday, January 29, 2011 (10:00-12:00 p.m.) Town Hall Meeting: “How Do We Prevent, Identify and Treat Concussions In Youth?” Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center, UNC at Chapel Hill. 2207 Stallings-Evans Sports Medicine Center, Chapel Hill, NC. RSVP: Dr. Johna Register-Mihalik (919) 962-2702 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Details: this event is free and open to the public including media.
- Sunday, January 30, 2011 (1:00-3:00 p.m.) Pre-game NHL All-Star Game Reception, with a special presentation of the 2010 SJBF Cynthia Gibbs Angel Award to Lisa and Robert Gfeller, Founders, The Matthew Gfeller Foundation and The Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. At The Backyard Bistro Sports Bar & Grill (across the street from the RBC Center), 1235 Hurricane Alley Way, Raleigh, North Carolina. RSVP: Sandra Farmer (919) 833-9634 or email@example.com. Details: Individual Tickets are $50 per person (families: $75 per family). Sponsorship levels also available: Platinum Level $10,000, Gold Level $5,000 or Silver Level $1,000.
- Monday, January 31, 2011 (1:00-3:00 p.m.) Town Hall Meeting: “How Do We Improve Identification and Treatment Of A Brain Injury In Youth?” Levine Children’s Hospital, 1000 Blythe Boulevard, Charlotte, NC. RSVP: Ted Molloy (212) 576-1180 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Details: this event is free and open to the public including media
The proceeds from the fundraiser will equally benefit The Brain Injury Association of North Carolina and The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation (both 501c3 organizations; please make checks payable to “The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation” or go online at www.TheBrainProject.org and 100% is tax-deductible since the event has been generously underwritten).
Lisa and Robert Gfeller founded the Matthew Alan Gfeller Foundation after their son, Matthew, suffered a severe helmet to helmet collision during his first varsity football game causing a fatal traumatic brain injury. They helped found the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, with the mission of providing the highest level of care for athletes of all ages suffering from sport-related brain injuries, and to assist parents, coaches and medical professionals in managing these student athletes. For more information please visit http://TBIcenter.unc.edu/.
HensonFuerst is a North Carolina law firm committed to representing people with traumatic brain injuries. The firm is a strong advocate for brain injury education and research, participates in several annual fundraising events, and maintains its own brain injury information webpage. For more information, or to query about the services of HensonFuerst, call direct at 1-800-4LAW-MED, or visit http://www.lawmed.com/.
Nursing Home Tragedies
January 26th, 2011
I am constantly amazed and disturbed by the level of abuse and neglect happening in nursing homes across the country. I talk to people everyday who say they can’t believe that any care facility could actually put residents at risk of harm or death.
To give credence to my pessimism, here are some very frightening stories gathered from recent news articles. (The titles provide links to full articles.) WARNING: Some of the following stories are highly disturbing and could be upsetting to many readers. Please read only if you have a strong stomach.
1. Pigeon Forge Nursing Home Aides Get Prison (Knoxnews.com): Two women who worked at Pigeon Forge Care and Rehabilitation Center in Tennessee were sentenced to two years in prison for taking nude and degrading photos and videos of patients.
‘The nature of these offenses were so shocking, reprehensible and offensive,’ said [Sevier County Circuit Court Judge Richard] Vance prior to handing down their respective punishments.
Some examples: An elderly man lying naked on the floor…an elderly topless woman lying in bed wearing a diaper…a naked elderly man sitting on the toilet with beads around his neck. The women who took the photos were responsible for dressing, changing, cleaning, and feeding severely disabled adults. They claimed they didn’t know what they had done was wrong. Thank heavens the judge gave them the maximum allowable punishment allowed by law.
2. Nursing Home Resident Left On Toilet (StarTribune.com): Workers at Good Samaritan Society nursing home in southern Minnesota forgot about a patient and went home for the day…leaving the patient on the toilet for 90 minutes. The patient had dementia, and was unable to call out for help. “She was found by chance and was still strapped into the mechanical lift used to transport her. She had dark red marks on her buttocks that eventually faded, the report said.”
3. Willmar Nursing Home Blamed for Resident Choking to Death on Raw Cukes (StarTribune.com): A resident of Bethesda Heritage Center in Willmar, Minnesota, choked to death on raw cucumbers that should not have been served to her.
The resident, who was not identified in the report, was admitted to the center more than two years earlier for chronic breathing trouble and anxiety. She was on a restrictive diet, which banned raw vegetables and anything else that was not “well cooked,” because of difficulty swallowing.
4. Nurse Charged with Neglect (The Times Herald): A nurse has been charged with neglecting a patient at AristCare at Meadow Springs in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
When the patient’s ventilator became detached on Aug. 13, 2009, an alarm sounded and continued until the respiratory therapist walked into the room about 90 seconds later and allegedly found Oke standing with his arms crossed behind the door.
When the therapist asked Oke about the woman being disconnected from the breathing apparatus, he reportedly said, “I connected her twice, now I want to see her suffer,” according to the prosecution. The respiratory specialist then reconnected the breathing tube while the nurse looked on without assisting.
The nurse was subsequently fired.
This next one is the worst, quite horrifying–consider yourself warned…
5. Everett Nursing Home Owner Settles Case for $3.5 Million (Herald.Net): A man died as the result of gross neglect and shoddy care at Everett Rehabilitation and Care Center in Washington. I’ll just quote from the article; it speaks for itself:
A nurse on Nov. 7, 2007, reported to the home’s residential care manager that the man had a wound on his penis, records show. The manager went on a three-week vacation, and when she returned she forgot about the nurse’s report, according to an investigation conducted by the state Department of Social and Health Services.
She said she didn’t hear anything more about the man’s wound until a doctor at the hospital called on March 14, 2008 — four months later — to report that the man’s penis was gone and instead he had a gaping wound, records show.
“They knew his penis and scrotum were disintegrating and it’s outrageous that no one in his family or his primary care physician were ever notified,” said [lawyer] Matthew Boller. [The man died of cancer of the penis.]
At HensonFuerst, we hear stories of nursing home abuse and neglect everyday. We believe that nursing home residents should receive better care than they do–these are our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Every episode of human indignity diminishes us all. HensonFuerst fights to make sure nursing homes are held accountable for the care they give, and we fight for the basic human rights of residents.
If you believe someone you know is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call one of the caring lawyers of HensonFuerst. We’re available 24/7. Just call 1-800-4LAW-Med, or visit our website at http://www.lawmed.com/. We’ll work to get your loved one the care he or she deserves. If you have a problem, HensonFuerst has a solution.
FDA Has New Health Advice for Women with Breast Implants
January 26th, 2011
New information today from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of special interest to women with breast implants, and the family who love them.
The FDA announced a possible association between saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a very rare type of cancer. ACLC is not a form of breast cancer–it is lymphoma, a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system. Data reviewed by the FDA suggest that patients with breast implants may have a very small but significant risk of ALCL in the scar capsule adjacent to the implant.
This illustration shows the typical location of the ALCL that was diagnosed in patients with breast implants. ALCL is lymphoma, a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system. It is not cancer of the breast tissue. (From the FDA)
In an effort to gather more information, FDA and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are establishing a registry of ALCL patients who have breast implants. FDA scientists hope the registry yields enough information to better understand what the risks for developing ALCL are for women with breast implants.
The message from Binita Ashar, M.D., a physician and FDA scientist evaluating ALCL cases is this:
Although the risk is quite small, we want women to be aware that there have been reports of ALCL occurring around saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants. In the cases reported, ALCL was typically diagnosed years after the implant surgery. In most of these cases, the women were diagnosed after they observed changes in the look or feel of the area surrounding the implant.
What does this mean for women who have or are considering breast implants? The FDA has some specific information:
- If a woman with breast implants has no symptoms, FDA does not recommend doing anything additional. Women should continue monitoring their implants and obtaining regular breast screening evaluations. FDA does not recommend removing the implants.
- Women who see changes in the way the area around the implant looks or feels—including swelling or pain around the implant—should see a physician for evaluation.
- Women considering breast implants should be aware of the very small, but increased risk of developing ALCL and discuss it with a physician.
The risk of anyone developing ALCL is very small–each year, only about 1 of every 500,000 women in the United States is diagnosed with this particular cancer. However, this new information suggests that women with implants have a higher risk than women without implants. This means that women who are highly cautious may choose not to receive implants…and that women with implants need to be more aware of breast changes, and to seek medical advice if changes are noticed.
In particular, women should watch for pain, swelling, lumps, or asymmetry. In addition, talk with your doctor if you have any of the more general symptoms of swollen lymph nodes…a lump in your armpit, neck, or groin…extreme fatigue…night sweats…chronic fever…unusual, unexplained weight loss.
In an effort to ensure that patients receiving breast implants are informed of the possible link between ALCL and breast implants, the FDA will be working with breast implant manufacturers in the coming months to update their product labeling materials for patients and providers.
To read more about this issue from the FDA, click here: FDA Advises Women with Breast Implants
We’ll continue posting information about this issue as it becomes available. If you have been diagnosed with ALCL and would like to talk with someone about your legal options, please don’t hesitate to call the attorneys of HensonFuerst at 1-800-4LAW-MED. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
Arizona Centers to Test Brain Injury Drug
January 25th, 2011
According to an article in The Arizona Republic, 17 medical institutions in 15 states are about to begin testing the hormone progesterone in the treatment of blunt head and brain trauma, the types of injuries caused by car accidents, sports injuries, falls, and assaults. (Penetrating injuries, such as from a bullet, cannot be treated with progesterone.)
“This is the most promising drug we’ve seen, and there’s no evidence of side effects,” said Dr. Joseph Zabramski, a neurosurgeon and the study’s principal investigator at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.
As a treatment, the hormone progesterone must be given to the patient intravenously within four hours of the injury, and administered over four days. Progesterone is thought to prevent cell death (including brain cells), as well as tissue swelling and inflammation.
According to ScienceDaily:
Progesterone is naturally present in small but measurable amounts in the brains of males and females. Human brain tissue is loaded with progesterone receptors. Laboratory studies suggest that progesterone is critical for the normal development of neurons in the brain and exerts protective effects on damaged brain tissue.
Researchers have found that giving progesterone to trauma victims shortly following brain injury appears to be safe and may reduce the risk of death and long-term disability. That’s great news for the approximately 2 million in the United States who suffer from a TBI every year.
At HensonFuerst, we know how much of a difference even small improvements can make for people with brain injury. We look forward to hearing the results of this trial, and you know we’ll share them with you as soon as they’re in. It may be more than three years from now, but we’ll be on it.
To read the press release from the lead center at Emory University, click here: http://www.em.emory.edu/current_safetynet_03.html
To read the full ScienceDaily article, click here: Progesterone for TBI tested
To read the full article in The Arizona Republic, click here: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2011/01/25/20110125arizona-test-centers-brain-injury-drug.html#ixzz1C52heyER
Fewer Workers Producing More
January 25th, 2011
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has remained steady while productivity is increasing. If you are a business owner, this initially sounds like fantastic news: same overhead + more productivity = higher profits. What is missing from the equation is the cost of injury. Overworked employees are far more likely to become injured, and with injury comes cost. However, there are simple and inexpensive approaches that employers can take to reduce the risk and severity of work place injury. It all goes back to maintenance: maintain those components of your business that make money. There is no more vital component than an employee. http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/24/2030570/how-businesses-can-minimize-workplace.html
What Are Clinical Trials?
January 24th, 2011
Duke University is no stranger to controversy. The latest problem involves cancer patients who participated in clinical trials based on flawed research by a discredited associate professor named Anil Potti.
(For more details about this story, you can read our previous blog here: Another “Oops” for Duke; Or, you can watch our YouTube video here: Duke Clinical Trials Investigation.)
A lot of people find the topic of clinical trials confusing, so we’ve put together this brief explanation.
About Clinical Trials
When you go to the doctor to get medication, surgery, or other treatment for an illness, medical science has already demonstrated that the treatments or procedures work because they have passed extensive, pre-designed research “tests” known as clinical trials.
To explain how this works, imagine that there’s a brand-new, fictional medication called MEMOR-ALL, which was developed to help improve memory. Before MEMOR-ALL can be given to patients, it has to pass research tests to show that MEMOR-ALL:
- Is safe, without serious side effects.
- Does what it was designed to do. Put simply, does it really work? (In this example, does MEMOR-ALL actually improve memory?)
- Works better than current standard treatments.
These questions are answered by a series studies collectively known as “clinical trials.” Each individual question is called a “Phase.” All Phase I clinical trials address the question of safety…Phase II trials address the question of whether the medication works…and Phase III trials address the question of whether the new treatment works better than old treatments.
People volunteer to participate in clinical trials for a number of really good reasons. Clinical trials can give people access to new research treatment before they become widely available… allow them to get treatment at a leading health care facility… and make a contribution to medical science. Of course, there are some major risks, depending on which Phase is being tested. For example, patients in Phase I run the risk of side effects, and patients in Phase II or Phase III may be placed in a research group that does not received the new treatment (receiving, instead, either an ineffective placebo or a different treatment, depending on the type of testing being conducted).
Before signing on for clinical trials, people are supposed to be fully informed about the potential risks and benefits of the research–a process called “informed consent.” This is an important part of research protocol to prevent people from being used as unwitting guinea pigs in a scientist’s risky research.
If you participated in these clinical trials (or underwent testing for them) and have questions about what your legal options might be, contact the compassionate lawyers of HensonFuerst. We’re available 24/7 to anyone in the United States at 1-800-4LAW-MED.
If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.