Articles Posted in In The News

wood-flooring“60 Minutes” aired an expose about some Lumber Liquidators flooring products having illegal and dangerously high levels of formaldehyde.

It’s important to note that only some products have been implicated as potentially harmful. They were manufactured in China, and lab tests found levels of formaldehyde that exceeded (in some cases up to 20 times) acceptable limits. The “60 Minutes” report sampled laminate flooring sold in California, Virginia, Florida, Texas and Illinois.

So far there have been three class-action lawsuits filed, two in California and one in Florida. They allege violations of federal and state laws, false and deceptive advertising and labeling, and violations of expressed and implied warranties.

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prescriptions-fdaAccording to its own website, the FDA “is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, quality, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products, and medical devices.”

But does the FDA protect the public? As recently reported by Slate magazine:

“When the FDA finds scientific fraud or misconduct, the agency doesn’t notify the public, the medical establishment, or even the scientific community that the results of a medical experiment are not to be trusted. On the contrary. For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn’t get forthright answers. For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.”

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jeep-suv-fireWe hope to see continuing news reports on what consumer activist Ralph Nader called “a modern day Pinto for soccer moms.” He was referring, of course, to the notorious Ford Pinto exploding gas tanks.

In October of 2009, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a defect investigation into and recall of all 1993 – 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees, designed with the fuel tank located behind the rear axle. They cited research showing that between 1992 and 2008, there were car accidents that included 172 fatal fire crashes, causing 254 fatalities, in these vehicles.

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Columbia, SC MalpracticeWhen comedienne Joan Rivers died last August during what was described as a routine outpatient procedure, some people began to wonder what went wrong. Now Rivers’ daughter has filed a multimillion-dollar medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinic and the two doctors and three anesthesiologists who treated her mother, alleging that their negligence triggered a coma and her mother’s death from brain damage caused by a loss of oxygen.

Just as parents have discovered that kids can and will access the Internet for more than the Encyclopedia Britannica, hospitals and patients are discovering that medical staff use their electronic devices for researching things unrelated to patient care — things like shopping on eBay, posting on Facebook, personal calls and texting — all while they are supposed to be giving direct and undivided attention to the patient.

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As a longtime cycling enthusiast and a bass-playing wannabe, not to mention a personal injury lawyer, I had several reasons to read with interest and concern about the terrible bicycle accident involving U2 frontman Bono.

Bono was enjoying a Sunday afternoon ride in New York’s Central Park on November 16, 2014, when he swerved to avoid hitting another cyclist. Variously referred to as a “high energy bicycle accident,” a “cycling spill” and a “bike fall,” the crash caused serious injuries which have led to Bono’s recent statement that he fears he may never play the guitar again.

If you’re one who thinks a bicycle wreck is likely to result only in scrapes and bruises, especially if a car is not involved and the rider was wearing a helmet, consider this: Bono’s eye socket was broken; his shoulder blade was fractured in three places; his left arm was shattered in six different places, with the bone tearing through his skin and leather jacket; and a finger was broken.

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On November 2, 2014, a Minnesota patient detached a metal bar from his hospital bed and used it to attack four nurses; one nurse suffered a collapsed lung, another broke her wrist, and the others had cuts and bruises . . . as well as bad memories of the night.

While some people might view the frightening event as an oddity, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that healthcare workers are some of the most likely workers to be attacked while on the job. According to OSHA, two out of three (on-the-job) physical assaults happen in the medical care and social service industries, and the numbers are going up. A survey underwritten by the Foundation of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) found that the number of crimes increased by nearly 37 percent in just two years, from just under 15,000 in 2010 to more than 20,500 in 2012. Reported crimes included simple assault, larceny and theft, vandalism, rape, sexual assault and homicide. Even more disturbing than this increased number of violent crimes in healthcare settings is the likelihood that many incidents are not reported – at least one half, according to U.S. Department of Justice estimates.

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dentist-teeth

I know some members of the Big Blue Nation (i.e., U.K. basketball devotees) who are such rabid fans that they are probably maniacally brushing with Crest in hopes that their gums will turn blue before the start of basketball season – and before Procter & Gamble removes the little blue microbeads from all of their products in the wake of scrutiny by environmentalists and concerned dental practitioners.

Many cosmetic products contain microbeads, tiny pellets of high-density plastic, either as abrasive additives or just for looks. The same plastic used in manufacturing garbage cans, grocery bags and knee replacements is also used in facial cleansers and exfoliant washes, chewing gum, and, yes, toothpaste.

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SC Remington Recall

Whether you’re a deer hunter looking forward to this autumn’s harvest or someone who enjoys indoor target shooting, if you own a Remington rifle you’ll want to check out whether it is included in the recent recall.

On April 11, the Remington Arms Company issued a voluntary nationwide recall of their Model 700 and Model Seven rifles equipped with the X-Mark Pro trigger that was manufactured between May 2006 and April 9, 2014. Their website gives detailed instructions for determining whether your gun is one of those recalled because it can accidentally discharge.

If you have one of the recalled Remington rifles, you’re certainly not alone. The Model 700 bolt-action rifles have been popular because of their accuracy and “smooth trigger,” with more than 5 million of them sold since 1962. The X-Mark Pro trigger on the recalled rifles can discharge when small amounts of rust, debris, or even a small jolt can cause the trigger connector to become misaligned. In some cases, rifles have discharged as the safety was moved to the off position to unload the gun or when the bolt was opened, closed or even just touched.

More than 75 lawsuits have been filed alleging the Model 700 is susceptible to firing without the trigger being pulled. At least two dozen deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to accidental discharges involving the 700’s trigger mechanism.

Earlier this month, a class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Missouri was settled, at least preliminarily. The parties must file a formal settlement agreement by October 30, which will be submitted to the judge for approval. In that case, a man alleged his rifle had fired accidentally three times, twice when the safety was released and once when the bolt was opened.

Other suits have been filed by plaintiffs who experienced an actual injury or death due to the faulty trigger mechanism. A Texas jury awarded $17 million to a man who lost his foot when the rifle accidentally discharged. A settlement ended a tragic Montana case filed after a nine-year-old boy was killed when his mother’s Remington 700 went off as she was unloading it.

We were all shocked when it came to light that GM had long been aware of the faulty ignition switches that caused the loss of many lives and that the company had chosen not to make design improvements because they wanted to protect their bottom line. Guess what? Remington did the same thing.

Investigative reports, as well as documents filed in Remington lawsuits, show that the manufacturer knew back in 1948 that the trigger’s design could result in a misalignment and accidental discharge, yet they rejected the proposed design change because of the cost, said to be pennies per gun.

Not only that, Remington considered a nationwide recall of the 700 series in 1979 and again in 1994 but instead decided to offer to retrofit existing rifles — for a $20 fee.

For purposes of this discussion, it doesn’t matter what side of the gun control issue you come down on. The question is not who should be allowed to have guns or where. The point is that gun manufacturers who deliberately put a defective weapon on the market should be held accountable for the deaths and injuries those weapons cause. Some say they should also have to compensate owners of the recalled rifles for the loss in resale value, similar to the damages sought by owners of Chevy Cobalts.

If you own a Remington rifle, please take the time to determine whether it is subject to the recent recall. The South Carolina gun accident lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm can advise you of your rights if you or your loved one has been injured by a negligent gun manufacturer or gun user. Call us in Columbia at 888-440-3211 for a free consultation.

Columbia’s newspaper, The State, has reported that seven – and maybe more – people suffered serious infections after they were treated at University Specialty Clinics for orthopedic problems. University Specialty Clinics is staffed by doctors from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia and has nearly 200 doctors in 35 specialties.

Although the infected patients were treated in 2012 or 2013, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has stonewalled, refusing to release information about the problem.

The problem was mycobacteria, some forms of which cause tuberculosis and leprosy. But the particular form in question at the University Specialty Clinics is mycobacterium abscessus, in a group of environmental mycobacteria found in water, soil, and dust. It can also contaminate medications and products such as medical devices and syringes. According to the National Institutes of Health, the prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacteria has increased, and so it is no surprise that we are hearing increasingly about instances of infections acquired in a healthcare setting.

How did the USC infections occur? The State tells us that one woman’s infection developed after she had a cortisone shot for a knee problem. It was so severe that she wound up being hospitalized 10 times and having seven surgeries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people “who receive injections without appropriate skin disinfection may be at risk for infection by M. abscessus.” As this victim’s experience illustrates, the mycobacterium abscessus organism is resistant to commonly used antibiotics. For patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions, a mycobacterial infection can lead to chronic lung diseases.

Some mycobacterium abscessus infections have been associated with the use of alternative therapies. In the mid ‘90s, an injectable product claiming to contain adrenal cortex extract (ACE) infected 87 people because one distributor’s medication had been contaminated when manufactured under non-sterile conditions in a Florida lab. Some patients required drainage of the infected site, surgical excision and plastic surgery.

A study done after the ACE outbreak reported mycobacterium infections resulting from cardiac surgery, cosmetic surgery, podiatric procedures, invasive procedures to improve hearing, and dialysis. It also cited a large outbreak in Colombia (not Columbia) when 350 patients were infected by injections of lidocaine from multi-dose vials. A cluster of infections also occurred in a Texas clinic when nurses giving allergy shots did not properly prepare the skin before injection.

Patients who develop any of the following symptoms after receiving an injection should see their doctor immediately:

  • Site of injection becomes red, warm, and tender to the touch
  • Tissue is swollen and/or painful
  • Area develops boils or pus-filled blisters
  • Patient has fever, chills, muscle aches, and a general feeling of illness.

To make a definite diagnosis, the doctor must take a sample of the discharge or biopsy the infected area and send it to a lab for analysis.

Because many bacterial abscesses occur as a result of improper procedures in healthcare settings, a patient who has been the victim of a medical provider’s negligence may wish to file a lawsuit to recover damages which can help pay for the pain they suffer and lengthy treatment they may require. As Columbia medical malpractice lawyers, we at The Louthian Law Firm know where to start and how to proceed in order to arrive at a just conclusion for patients who were harmed by those they trusted to help them become well. Call us at 1-888-440-3211.

Columbia Zip line Accident

Is a zip line ride on your bucket list? Are you planning to include an aerial adventure in your summer vacation plans, maybe on one of the lines in Myrtle Beach or crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina? Spend a little time inquiring about the company’s safety and inspection policies. The Redwoods Group Foundation provides risk analysis and insurance for camps, community centers and playgrounds. They encourage scrutiny of zip lines from the standpoint of design, installation, maintenance and supervision.

“They are spreading like fast-food hamburger joints.” That’s what Mike Teske told the Los Angeles Times, and he wasn’t talking about nail salons. Teske is the technical director for a zip line company, and he also heads a panel drafting national safety standards for zip lines. Zip lines are the latest commercial adventure craze, offering thrills to at least 18 million people each year, according to the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT).

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