Archive for August 2011

Doctor’s Negligence Causes Severe Brain Damage

August 25, 2011

Nebraska —  Lisa Gourley was 36 weeks pregnant with twin boys when she noticed a lack in movement in her belly which she felt was weird but since she had an appointment the following day with her doctor, she waited.  After the obstetrician listened to the heartbeats he told her that everything “looked good” and reassured her.  The following day she noticed less movement and the following day after that, even less movement.  She called her doctor’s office and was seen by his partner who performed an ultrasound and a fetal stress test.  He noted that the heartbeat was indeed slow and there was not a lot of fluid around one baby and showed twin to twin transfusion syndrome, where one fetus gets it all and the other gets nothing.  The standard of care in this situation is to have immediate cesarean surgery performed.  She waited two hours for a doctor to arrive at the hospital.  During that time one baby (Colin) was not getting enough oxygen.  That delay was critical.  Had the doctor delivered Colin right away, there would have been no brain damage.  The entire disability was preventable.  Colin was born with severe brain damage to all areas of his brain and the other twin was perfectly normal.

In 1987 and 1989 the same doctor who delivered the Gourley twins had two botched pelvic operations, both of which were settled secretly out of court.   It was so critical that these babies be born right away.  The nurses testified that the doctor called over to the hospital and Operating Room was prepared and ready but doctors weren’t there.  Colin had lack of oxygen from placenta through cord and lack of blood flow and oxygen depletion for 5-8 minutes.

Why was the ultrasound not done on Monday when Lisa Gourley first complained that there was lack of movement in her belly? Why were the twins not delivered for two hours after determining this to be urgent?  How could one doctor recognize that there was only once placenta feeding both babies and one not diagnose this?  If the ultrasound would have been performed on that Monday when Lisa first complained of lack of movement, perhaps the outcome would be very different.

Colin Gourley will require approximately $6 million in order to have enough money for the rest of his life which will include money to care for him when his parents are gone.  There was a three-week trial in which the Nebraska jury awarded $5.6 million in damage.  The jury did not know that award would not be delivered because there is a cap in Nebraska.  The trial judge reduced the verdict due to the cap.  The effect of a cap on economic awards effectively takes away the power of the jury (the ability to be judged by peers).  The Bill of Rights says jury determines question of fact and appropriate damage due to the fault of another.  The cap is argued to be unconstitutional as the use of a jury is a constitutional right .  It violates the right to a jury trial.  The doctors and insurance companies appealed.  Nebraska Supreme Court ruled the cap to be constitutional.   The hard cap is $250,000 for non-economical damages (pain/suffering, non-enjoyment of life and harm).

Colin needed surgery after his first year of life for optical nerve injuries, he still does not see well.  Since age 2 he has been requiring therapy.  He had to learn to hold his head up, to sit up.  He is severely mentally delayed.  The jury heard the evidence and awarded his family $5.6 million which would cover the cost of people to care for him for the rest of his life but since there is a cap in Nebraska, this will never happen.  He will end up with only a portion of the $250,000 award as the lawyers, court costs and unpaid medical bills were paid out of that.  The result being that the family had no choice but to apply for Medicaid benefits which is funded by taxpayers.  You and I will pay for Colin’s care for his lifetime instead of the responsible party.

How can the civil judicial system which purpose is to protect the innocent be so blinded by the obvious moral issue evident by this decision?  Why aren’t the wrong doers paying for the damage they caused?  The catalyst for implementing the caps was that it was supposed to reduce medical malpractice premiums and other health care costs.  However, with all the information that has been gathered in those states that have caps, no such benefits have been acknowledged.    Colin will never be able to earn a living, he will never have a family, he will never attend college.  He needs care for the rest of his life; his future is unknown.    What we do know is that because of the cap, he will now be cared for with money that comes from the taxpayer’s instead of the person responsible for the damage.

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Are Our Rights Preserved? Hot Coffee Review

August 24, 2011

(August 24, 2011) Have you heard about the woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico who sued McDonald’s after she spilled hot coffee on her legs?   Many people have their own opinion about whether or not Stella Liebeck should have sued McDonald’s or not.  Until you know the facts, you should not judge or point a finger.  Stella Liebeck was a passenger in her nephew’s car when they stopped at a McDonald’s drive-through to purchase a hot coffee.  When she opened the lid to add cream, the scalding, 180-degree coffee spilled on her upper thighs, causing third degree burns. She screamed so loud and thought she would die.

This was a relatively healthy, 71-year-old woman who held a job before this horrible accident.   Her medical bills totaled approximately $10,000 and McDonald’s offered her only $800.  She needed several surgeries and many skin grafts and will never be the same as she was prior to her visit to the drive through at McDonald’s.   Manuals for McDonald’s franchises state that the water temperature must be maintained at 180 degrees.   Medical physicians in burn units stated that hot liquids in excess of 180 degrees can cause very serious 2nd degree burns when making contact with skin or 3rd degree burns, requiring surgery, as in Stella’s case. There were 700 burn cases prior to this incident, documented by McDonald’s own records, indicating that other consumers had burned themselves from their hot coffee. When the jurors questioned McDonald’s regarding the prior cases, they “were totally indifferent and ignored consumer’s safety.”  The jury awarded Ms. Leibach 2.7 million dollars, which was only two days worth of McDonald’s coffee sales.  The judge reduced this to $480,000.  The jury wanted to send a message.

Many say we need tort reform and we need to limit lawsuits, because if the big companies fail to pay damages, the public ends up paying.  The ATRA (American Tort Reform Association) wants a fair legal system in the USA, to limit liability.  This was formed in 1986 by several hundred businesses, colleges, oil and gas companies, and pharmaceutical companies.  They want a cap placed on damages.  The tobacco industry was funding these groups.  They worried that without these caps, many doctors would be put out of practice.

Is it fair that Stella Liebeck, a hard working, honest citizen who stops to get a cup of coffee from McDonalds and scalds herself due to their neglect is required to undergo many painful surgeries and skin grafts and not be reimbursed for her medical bills? This is not justice.  The big companies turn their backs on the very people that keep them in business.

If you are interested in this case and would like more information, you can currently watch the documentary Hot Coffee on HBO On Demand for free. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, feel free to stop by our website contact us at 1-800-246-4878. Feel free to leave some comments on our Facebook page, as well.

Here is an image of Stella's third degree burns. Still believe she was just looking to make some money by suing a big corporation?

Hormone Replacement Drugs Linked to Cancer

August 23, 2011

(August 23, 2011) A West Virginia federal judge recently denied Wyeth Inc., and Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. (drug makers of Premarin, Prempro and Provera) summary judgment on their claims of merchantability and design defect in a case of developing breast cancer after ingesting hormone replacement treatment drugs.

Leah Royce Hines of W.Virginia sued Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Pharmacia & Upjohn Company in a pharmaceutical products liability action suit.   Ms. Hines alleges that she developed breast cancer after ingesting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs.  HRT is composed of estrogen and progestin used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Studies from the late 1970s and early 1980s suggested that prolonged use could lead to increased risks of uterine cancer.  Later studies suggested the combination of progestin with estrogen could significantly lower this risk, however, many publications found that it also could increase the risk of breast cancer.

In the late 1980s Ms. Hines’doctors prescribed HRT drugs to treat her menopausal symptoms, which she stated gave her significant relief.   Although the HRT drugs contained warnings regarding breast cancer risk, Ms. Hines stated they were “inadequate” and she relied  on her doctor to weigh the risks and benefits prior to prescribing HRT.

Ms. Hines was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999.  In July, 2004 she filed an action against defendants for their negligence, liability (design defect and failure to warn about risks) and breach of implied warranties.

Plaintiff identified a safer alternative in oral micronized progesterone (“OMP”), which is non-synthetic or “natural” progestin drug as opposed to the synthetic HRT drugs she claims caused her breast cancer.   OMP is not known to increase breast cancer risks when used in combination with estrogen.  Since OMP has been widely available since the 1980s, Ms. Hines should have been offered this as a safer alternative in treating her menopausal symptoms.  Why would these drug companies choose to use synthetic progestin when they were completely aware of the increased risks of breast cancer versus the safer, natural OMP makes no sense.    They are dealing with human life and should be held accountable for their greed.   The pharmaceutical company’s motions were denied.

If you or a loved one developed breast cancer following hormone replacement therapy, please stop by our website and feel free to leave us comments on our Facebook page. You can also contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-4878.

DePuy ASR Hip Replacement on Recall

August 21, 2011

(August 21, 2011) Many individuals have received a hip replacement device known as the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System or DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System, which are now being recalled.  These metal on metal hip implants led to many problems and complications.

In August 2010, DePuy recalled 93,000 of these metal hip implants following studies that showed that one out of every eight device might fail within five years.  This surgery should provide relief for approximately 15 years.

 

Imagine undergoing surgery to improve your quality of life and ending up with metal particles shed into your body.  These particles can damage soft tissues, cause inflammatory reactions and lead to permanent bone loss.  As if that wasn’t horrible enough, imagine needing additional surgeries after the defective device needs replacement.

 

These recalled hip replacements did not become defective overnight.  Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson/DePuy Orthopaedics, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System was introduced in the US in 2005.  By 2008, more than 400 complaints were filed from failed ASR devices, which required a second invasive procedure to correct the first one.

 

It wasn’t until 2009 that DePuy started withdrawing these faulty devices.  Johnson & Johnson said that “slow sales” were the reason they phased out these devices, despite the fact that faulty mechanics was the real reason, “especially in smaller patients or those with weak bones.”

 

On August 26, 2010 Johnson & Johnson/DePuy issued a worldwide recall of both the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System after determining that the failure rate for both was greater than 12%.

 

Is this justice? To have a manufacturer knowingly conceal detrimental information about their product to thicken their wallets, yet harm the hundreds of thousands who trusted them?

 

If you or a loved one have experienced any side effects from your DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System, you may be entitled to compensation. Please stop by our website or call one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-4878 for more information. Feel free to leave us comments on our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.

Prozac Attributed to Suicides

August 20, 2011

(August 18, 2011) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently imposed a Black Box Label on all anti-depressant drugs (including Prozac), which is the strongest warning label a drug can receive. This warning discusses the increase in suicidal behavior in children and young adults. In addition, these drugs increase the users’ aggression and mania in all who take this drug.

Prozac was the first SSRI antidepressant introduced in America.   An SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, controls depression by preventing the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, a chemical which is produced naturally to control mood, sleep and appetite. The so-called “miracle anti-depressant” has a darker side which is being hidden by the pharmaceutical makers from the general public, many times with fatal consequences.

 

Since the dramatic victory in the Paxil case, drug companies are more willing to settle cases and will face a tougher road when they take cases to court. In this case, a jury awarded $8 million to the plaintiff who went berserk killing his wife, daughter and granddaughter after only taking two days worth of SSRIs.   This verdict has paved the way for future cases of Prozac related suicide cases.

 

Eli Lilly (Prozac manufacturer) has been sued for Prozac related deaths in numerous state and federal courts, most cases being settled or dismissed.  Prozac users have shown increases in murder/suicide, domestic violence, mothers (parents) killing children, road rage, school shootings, etc. since these serotonergic drugs have become so popular, which is directly related to the effects of Prozac.

 

Suicidal rates of Prozac users have been demonstrated to be two to three times higher than any other antidepressant.  These manufacturers fail to put warnings on their labels informing the public of these very real, sometimes fatal risks.

 

Although these drugs were viewed as relatively harmless when they were first produced in the ’80s, it is clear that this is no longer the case. Should the FDA force the discontinuation of these drugs, or do you think the risks outweigh the benefits in some people that use them? Either way, people who already have suicidal tendencies are advised to closely monitor their situation with a physician, and use is discouraged in most cases.

 

Please stop by our website for more information, and feel free to leave comments on our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.

Actos Linked To Bladder Cancer

August 19, 2011

On June 15, 2011, the FDA released a safety announcement concerning the use of Actos (pioglitazone) and bladder cancer.  This warning is following a review of data from a ten-year study of the drug by the manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals.  The study revealed that the patients taking Actos for more than a year had a 40% higher risk of developing bladder cancer.

Actos is prescribed for adults with Type-2 diabetes and is used to maintain proper sugar levels.  It also prevents the liver from producing more sugar than is necessary, increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

The FDA advised Actos users to be aware of signs which may indicate bladder cancer such as:

Blood in urine or red color in the urine

Back pain

Urgent need to urinate (new or worsening)

Painful urination

After being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) the use of Actos has been banned in France and Germany.   There have been complaints of heart problems, congestive heart failure, fragile bones, fluid retention and serious eyesight conditions made by patients taking Actos.

To this day, the FDA has not included warnings of these side effects on the labels.  As a result of Takeda Pharmaceutical’s failure to adequately research the side effects and potential risks of bladder cancer from the use of Actos, thousands of consumers may have been afflicted with this life threatening disease.

Actos users who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer may be able to take legal action if the manufacturer failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the Actos bladder cancer risk.  If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos, you may be eligible for a dangerous drug claim.  Please stop by our website or call us at 1-800-246-4878 to speak to one of our attorneys.

Washington, D.C. Woman Develops ONJ From Taking Zometa

August 18, 2011

(August 18, 2011) The U.S. Supreme Court denied a drug companies appeal of a $3.2 million jury verdict. A Washington, D.C. cancer patient was given the drug Zometa by her doctor after finding lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes, in October 2000 in her patient’s spine, pelvis and ribs.  Many doctors prescribe a class of drugs called bisphosphonates – one such brand name drug Zometa – to balance the loss of bone density caused by disease. Although there were no serious negative side effects reported at that time, three years later, the plaintiff in the court case originally brought in Montana State Court was diagnosed with osteonecrosis of the jaw.

ONJ or “dead jaw” is a rare bone disease in which the jawbone deteriorates and dies. To repair jawbone damage, which is not always successful, painful surgery(s) is required to remove dying bone tissue. The effects of ONJ include jaw pain, numbness, exposed oral bones, loss of teeth, and infection. Although she discontinued use after her diagnosis, traces of the drug were still found in her body, as Zometa can be found in the body up to ten years later.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corps – manufacturers of Zometa – claims in it’s original defense that chemotherapy and the plaintiff’s smoking habits were more likely causes of her dead jaw.   Novartis changed the Zometa label in June 2004 indicating that the majority of the reported cases of ONJ were “in cancer patients attendant to a dental procedure.”

The label advised, “Although causality cannot be determined, it is prudent to avoid dental surgery as recovery may be prolonged.”  If you have advanced breast cancer or a type of cancer called multiple myeloma, or if you have had dental extractions, periodontal disease, local trauma, including poorly fitting dentures, you may be at greater risk of getting ONJ.  You should maintain good oral hygiene and have a dental exam prior to beginning ZOMETA.

Since 2001, over 2,400 patients have reported bone death in their jaws after taking bisphosphonates such as Zometa. Most of these patients were taking potent, intravenously delivered forms of the drugs. However, ONJ has developed in patients taking the pill form as well.

This woman is given chemo and not even told that she can be left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and potentially a ruined smile, and these pharmaceutical companies have the nerve to try and blame it on her smoking habits. ONJ wasn’t around 10 years ago, why is that? Because these bisphosphonates weren’t around longer than that; yet smoking has been around for over 100 years. How is this  justice? She could get her jaw replaced in the hospital, but do you think about what goes into that: a wired jaw for weeks, drinking through a straw, stuck in a hospital bed. Think about the term “dead jaw”: there is no one-time fix; you don’t just sit down in a dentists office and get it fixed. Not only that, but if she loses her teeth – which could certainly happen – there goes thousands more on medical bills for replacement teeth. ONJ could also cause puss which could potentially leak into the stomach and cause even more damage. Yet the pharmaceutical company Novartis has the audacity to try and blame the plaintiff’s smoking habits?!? This can’t be justice!

If you or a loved one have taken Zometa and have developed ONJ, you may be eligible for a dangerous drug claim. Please stop by our website or call us at 1-800-246-4878 to speak with one of our attorneys.

here is a photo of ONJ, or "dead jaw"