Articles Posted in Product Liability

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Most medical malpractice lawsuits fall under a few categories, like diagnosis errors and medication problems. But the total form that these matters can take are far more varied than that. Take a unique case discussed by Medscape Today News. The lawsuit is rooted in issues with a penile implant.

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem among men, with older men at a higher risk of facing the issue. A few options are available to help. The most common is use of medication; erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra are quite popular. Another option is a penile implant. The implant process is a surgical procedure. As discussed by the Mayo Clinic, it involves a device being inserted into the penis to aid in erections. Advances in the process in recent years have allowed the devices to be more effective than in the past.

In this case, the plaintiff is a 44-year old man who have the surgery performed in 2009. During the operation an inflatable implant was inserted in three pieces. Unfortunately, after the operation the man’s “scrotum swelled abnormally.” The plaintiff assumed that this swelling was a normal part of the operation. He also expected the swelling to eventually go down. But, it didn’t. In fact, he went back to the hospital four months later with an infection and complaints about an erection that would not go down.

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The attorneys at our firm care are about justice. This is obviously a cliche statement, particularly coming from a group of professionals working on the side of plaintiffs in the civil justice system. However, it is important to re-iterate that principle, because so often arguments about medical malpractice attorneys, the civil law generally ,and patient’s rights advocates are based on generic claims that seem to paint a very different picture.

This is most evident when it comes to tort reform discussions. Considering it is a hot-button political isssue, most community members have heard about it and most would come up with an opinion on the issue if pressed. Unfortuantely, the arguments made in favor of it are usually very general and with little recognition of the underlying principle in which all attorneys are drilled: justice.

In the most generic arguments, tort reform pits businesses struggling to survive against greedy community members seeking to unfairly make a quick buck at the expense of job creators. In fact, some of the nation’s largest advocacy groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, seem to present this image often–convincing many community members to give up their own legal rights for some vague idea of communal “benefits” that never actually come.

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In order to avoid harmful drug interactions, it is a good idea to keep an updated list of medicines that you are taking in your wallet and next to the phone. Give a copy to a family member or caregiver. Be sure to describe your medications at your medical appointments. Include any herbal treatments and dietary supplements. Before you add any new drugs to your regimen, consult a physician. Do NOT take any medications that have been prescribed to someone else. Make a new year’s resolution to do your best to avoid harmful drug interactions.

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Kids are taking herbal supplements in a sign of how mainstream alternative medicine has become. More than one in nine children and teens try these remedies and other nontraditional options. It could be dangerous for children because lack of rigorous testing could be harmful for kids.

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A recent Newsweek article addressed that 42.8 percent of American women use some sort of complementary or alternative medicine. Women should be wary of these medicines and claims for medical cures. The FDA regulates herbal and dietary supplements as food rather than as drugs, so they do not have to meet the same stringent standards as pharmaceuticals.

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Hospira, a global medication delivery company, is voluntarily recalling a plastic product used to administer injections. A small number of products may be incorrectly labeled. Adverse effects from error may result in electrolyte imbalance, cardiac dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbances, paresthesia and mental confusion.

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An elderly woman had been taking the Digitek heart drug in belief that it would protect her against future heart attacks. She then died while taking the drug just 5 days before the drug maker, Actavis Totowa, issued a Class I Digitek recall. The elderly woman’s caretaker noticed that after she started taking the medication she was becoming weak, having breathing problems and shortness of breath. The woman would go to the emergency room and stay overnight, but nobody ever told them what the problem was. The elderly woman would complain of nausea and began to suffer incontinence. She was also retaining fluid and getting weaker and weaker. The woman died of a heart attack on April 20th, 2008 and Actavis Totowa issued their recall on April 25, 2008. The company issued a nationwide recall for oral use because some tablets were double their normal strength, a manufacturing error, and a potentially life-threatening one. Now the woman’s family is looking into her medical records because they feel certain that Digitek had something to do with her untimely death. To read the full story, click here.

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A Chicago surgeon is being sued after implanting a device which he invented in a patient, allegedly without consent. The device, a Myxo ETlogix annuloplasty ring, was implanted in the patient in April 2006 by Dr. Patrick McCarthy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to fix the patient’s leaky heart valve. Dr. McCarthy developed the heart device and receives royalties for its sale, which are donated to a charity. In July, a research paper by Dr. McCarthy was published in a medical journal. The article was based on a study that included the patient and focused on the initial experience with the device. Dr. McCarthy stated that the patient had consented to participate in the study. The patient said that she would not have consented to the use of an experimental device. The doctor denies that the device was experimental but failed to inform the patient that he had invented the ring before proceeding with the implantation. According to medical ethics experts, a patient should be informed if a surgeon will receive royalties on a device that he or she may use in surgery and a patient must agree to take part in medical research, by signing an informed consent form his or her to their involvement in the study.

The patient experienced inflammation following the implantation, was required to undergo a second surgery to remove the device, and is now confronted with the possibility of needing a heart transplant. She filed a lawsuit in Cook County this April against McCarthy, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Edwards Lifesciences, the device’s manufacturer.

The FDA has received 10 reports on adverse events related to the Myxo ETlogix ring and an investigation is currently underway to determine whether the agency received proper notice about the device.

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In November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether a woman whose arm was amputated may keep more than $6 million from a jury award. The award was against a pharmaceutical company who failed to warn her adequately about the risks of one of its drugs. The woman went to a clinic suffering from a migraine and was given the drug Phenergan for nausea. When Phenergan is exposed to arterial blood it causes swift gangrene, which caused the woman to lose her arm. The Supreme Court will decide whether the doctrine of “pre-emption” can be applied which would bar injured consumers from suing in state court when the products that hurt them had met federal standards. Business groups have vigorously pursued pre-emption arguments in a hope to build a barrier against many kinds of injury suits. By leaving the case to the state, the jury is allowed to view the safety of the drug through the lens of a single patient who has already been catastrophically injured. To read the full story, click here.