July 30, 2015

Back to the Basics - Litigating a Surgical Mesh Injury

by Levin & Perconti

Surgical mesh is a medical device that is used to treat a number of health complications in female patients. The material is inserted into the pelvis for the purpose of strengthening its walls. This prevents the bladder and reproductive organs from slipping down into the vaginal area. Though this material is commonly used, it's come under extensive scrutiny. According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the surgical mesh has been a safety concern for more than three years. Thousands of women report painful side effects and complications with the device, resulting in numerous lawsuits.

Adverse Reactions to Surgical Mesh

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July 27, 2015

Doctors and Hospitals Still Wary of Power Morcellator

by Levin & Perconti

Power morcellators are essentially small power tools that can be used to remove fibroids in the uterus by cutting uterine tissue during surgery. They are manufactured by several companies, including Olympus, Karl Storz, Blue Endo, and Ethicon (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson).

However, there is a concern that, in the process of cutting the tissue, they could end up spreading tumor parts to other areas of the body if that tissue contains cancerous cells, resulting in leiomyosarcoma, myelosarcoma, and uterine sarcoma.

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July 23, 2015

Type 2 Diabetes Medications Could Lead to Pancreatic Cancer

by Levin & Perconti

The latest multidistrict litigation (MDL) over products liability lawsuits alleging pancreatic cancer from taking incretin mimetics makes it clear that these medications – namely Januvia, Janumet, Byetta, and VIctoza – were marketed to patients suffering from type 2 diabetes too soon. Januvia, Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved in 2006, is one of the more popular, top-selling Type 2 diabetes drugs.

What are Incretin Mimetics?

Incretin mimetics work by prompting your pancreas to release insulin when blood sugar levels are rising, and prevents it from giving out too much glucagon. This problem is… not only can they cause pancreatitis, but evidence is emerging that they could cause pancreatic cancer (as pancreatitis can be a precursor to pancreatic cancer). Some medical journals are publishing articles stating that, while these incretin mimetics are fine for the short-term use of lowering or stabilizing glucose levels, their chemical properties prohibit long-term use for the treatment of a chronic condition like type 2 diabetes.

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July 21, 2015

New Benicar Lawsuits Filed for 2015; Litigation Moves Forward

by Levin & Perconti

With the New Year came another lawsuit filed over Benicar (generic “olmersartan”). As the 2012 Mayo Clinic’s case study linking Benicar to severe sprue-like enteropathy continues to be discussed, patients are coming forward to report the negative side effects they have suffered from taking the drug. A lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California in January 2015 alleges that the makers of Benicar did not properly warn patients about the risks associated with the drug. See Verduzco v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., Case No. 3:15-cv-159, in US District Court, Northern District of California.

Plaintiffs are specifically concerned about the link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy. According to the complaint, two plaintiffs, Louis Verduzco and Michael Ewald, developed personal injuries including “sprue-like enteropathy, villous atrophy, lymphocytic colitis, microscopic colitis, collagenous colitis, and/or intestinal malabsorption.” Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include severe, chronic diarrhea, intestinal problems and substantial weight loss. These symptoms mimic that of Celiac disease, but they are not the same thing.

For these plaintiffs, exposure to the drug resulted in chronic diarrhea, rapid weight loss, dehydration and/or acute renal failure. The plaintiffs allege they had to be hospitalized for their conditions and now require ongoing medical monitoring. They also allege that they were unaware of any adverse side effects associated with Benicar, and that the maker of the drug, Daiichi Sankyo, did not properly test it to prove that it was actually effective for treating hypertension.

Litigation Moves Forward

Back in June 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication regarding Benicar, and requested that the drug company go through a label change to reflect this. There has been a plethora of lawsuits filed since then, most originally arising from the Mayo Clinic Study. In fact, a motion to consolidate lawsuits was filed with the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in late 2014. These 2014 lawsuits alleged that Benicar was defective and dangerous, and that clinical trials for the drug lasted only three months (while the drug is typically prescribed for six months to a year). See e.g., Dirksen v. Daiichi Sankyo.

It is important to note that the individuals represented in these lawsuits took Benicar and were severely injured. Their claims are that the manufacturer of Benicar, Daiichi Sankyo, knew of the link between Benicar and the rare gastro disease caused by their drug, but did not properly warn the public of the associated risks. Instead, the manufacturer put profits ahead of the public safety, resulting in a slew of mass tort litigation.

See Related Posts:

Serious Dental Malpractice Allegations in Florida

Two Dental Malpractice Cases Proceeding in Illinois

July 17, 2015

Is Robotic Assisted Surgery More Expensive and Dangerous?

by Levin & Perconti

Robotic assisted surgery is becoming more and more popular to remedy certain conditions, such as pelvic prolapse, endometriosis, and others. However, there have been reports of serious complications and malpractice resulting from the use of these instruments during surgery, including organs being torn.

What are Robotic Surgical Systems?

Various computer-assisted instruments or systems can be used to assist doctors with pre-operative procedures and in performing actual surgery. These devices enable surgeons to use computer technology to move surgical instruments through the patient’s body, although they cannot operate independently of the surgeon.

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July 14, 2015

New York Assembly Passes Much Needed Medical Malpractice Rights Expansion

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice can cause life altering or even life ending injuries. Usually healthcare provider errors are noticed relatively quickly. Sometimes, however, the true cause or true extent of a patient’s suffering goes unknown for weeks, months, or even years. In some of these more delayed cases it can be difficult for malpractice victims to obtain the financial compensation they deserve because of statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations are laws that set somewhat arbitrary time limits on how long someone has to file a lawsuit. However, lawmakers in New York have taken steps to help expand the rights of medical malpractice victims so that fewer truly injured people will be denied their day in court.

New York Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Later Medical Malpractice Claims

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July 10, 2015

Certain Antibiotics Linked to Peripheral Neuropathy

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice caused by a doctor or nurse’s mistake accounts for many avoidable patient injuries. However, some patients are not injured so much by the individuals who administer treatments as they are injured by the treatments themselves. Sometimes the drugs that doctors prescribe turn out to be the culprit behind a patient’s suffering. In these situations the patient may not be best served by a medical malpractice claim, but instead may have a product liability claim against the drug manufacturer. Of course, if the doctor was aware of the problems with the drug and prescribed it anyway, he or she may have committed malpractice on top of the product liability issue. This is why it is so important to speak with an attorney whenever you have been injured by the medical treatment you have received. Any type of drug can turn out to be dangerous. Currently it appears that certain antibacterials may actually be harming patients.

Some Antibacterials Linked to Peripheral Neuropathy

Antibacterials called Levaquin and Avelox have been linked to peripheral neuropathy according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA started requiring labels for all “fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs” back in 2013 to inform patients that the drugs can cause peripheral neuropathy and explain in more detail what that condition is. Peripheral neuropathy is serious nerve damage that can be permanent. In can result in pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or change in sensation to light touch, pain, or temperature. This class of drugs includes Levaquin and Avelox. These drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat or prevent certain types of bacterial infections.

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July 7, 2015

Serious Mistakes Still Happen During Surgeries

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice is often a fairly scientifically complicated area of law. Determining whether a doctor has acted appropriately in a situation requires understanding not just the law but the medicine as well. However, there are some cases of malpractice, particularly some involving surgical error, that are so glaring and obvious that no specialized training or knowledge is required to understand something went horribly wrong that never should have happened. Unfortunately these cases are all too common, and they are often caused by human error.

Study Identifies Human Error as Cause of Surgical Errors

According to a report by Renal and Urology News, so called surgical “never events” can often be attributed to human error. Never events are exactly what they sound like--the sort of events that should never happen. A classic example of a never event is a surgeon operating on the wrong body part in a pre-planned non-emergency surgery. There is simply no reasonable excuse for these events. According to the report a study published online in Surgery details an analysis done at the Mayo Clinic. The study looked at surgical never events including retained foreign objects, wrong site and wrong side procedures, wrong implant procedures, and procedures where the surgeon actually performs entirely the wrong procedure. The researchers found that human error played a significant role in these cases.

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July 4, 2015

Man Records Doctors Misdeeds

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice can sometimes be hard to catch. Unless a patient suffers serious and immediate consequences from the malpractice he or she may not know for days, weeks, or even years that he or she has been a victim. However, for some inpatient procedures at least, there is a way to catch healthcare provider errors almost immediately. You can audio or video record your procedure. That is what one Virginia man did, and as a result he caught his healthcare providers’ bad behavior on tape.

Man Recorded His Own Colonoscopy

The Washington Post reported on a man who recorded his own colonoscopy and as a result caught his healthcare providers’ misconduct on tape. The man underwent the procedure in a medical suite in Virginia. Before the colonoscopy began the man pressed “record” on his smart phone so he would be sure to get any directions his doctor gave him about what to do after the procedure. On his way home he pressed play to listen to what had recorded. He realized that he had accidentally recorded the whole procedure, and that the surgical team had begun to make fun of and insult him as soon as the anesthesia put him to sleep. But the mocking was not the worst of it. He also heard the doctors plotting to avoid him after the procedure, the doctors telling an assistant to lie to him, and that the doctors put a false diagnosis in his medical chart. Outraged, the man sued the anesthesiologist for both medical malpractice and defamation, and a jury ultimately awarded him half a million dollars. The award broke down into $100,000 for defamation, $200,000 for medical malpractice, and $200,000 in punitive damages.

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July 1, 2015

Benicar Linked to Gastrointestinal Problems

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice lawsuits provide a remedy when a patient is hurt by the negligence of a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare provider. Sometimes the problem is not the person providing the care, however. Sometime the treatment itself is the problem. This can be particularly true when it comes to problems with prescription drugs. While many drugs have save countless lives, other drugs are dangerous and have caused real injuries to the patients who take them. One potentially dangerous drug is called Benicar.

FDA Issued Warning About Benicar

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