Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Report on Nursing Home Negligence

A new report released today by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) illustrates how the civil justice system is the most effective force in uncovering abuses by corporate nursing homes and insurance companies that target elderly Americans.

There are 1.5 million elderly Americans currently residing in nursing homes – facilities that are now operated by mostly large corporate chains banking on the upcoming influx of baby boomers. Many of these vulnerable residents have suffered abuse by staff members and even died from dehydration or infection caused by inadequate care. The report explains how litigation has revealed this neglect and abuse and allowed residents and their families to hold offending corporations accountable.

“Corporate nursing homes and insurance companies have continually chosen to put profits ahead of the well-being of our most vulnerable population,” said AAJ President Gibson Vance. “Where regulatory and legislative bodies have been unable to cope with this distressing rise of neglect and abuse of our elderly, the civil justice system has stepped into the breach.”

A common theme in the report is abuse by insurance companies taking advantage of senior citizens. It highlights the story of a South Dakota farmer named Rudy, who was one of a flood of patients that companies signed up for long-term care insurance in the 1990s. Rudy moved into a nursing home at his doctor’s suggestion, only to have his benefits cut after three years when the company declared his care was no longer “medically necessary,” despite faithfully paying his monthly premium.

Thousands of seniors met similar fates as insurance companies miscalculated mortality rates and searched for ways to deny claims and cut off benefits, figuring few of their terminated policyholders would fight back. Trial attorneys across the country eventually found evidence of corporate programs aimed at terminating seniors’ benefits, and helped stop these deplorable practices.

Unfortunately, while litigation has revealed incidences of abuse and neglect, many other offenses never see the light of day due to nursing homes inserting forced arbitration clauses in the fine print of lengthy admission contracts. Residents and their families often sign these contracts while under considerable stress and anxiety without realizing they are being stripped of their access to court. Congress has introduced legislation to ban forced arbitration in nursing home and other consumer contracts.

The report, titled “Standing up For Seniors: How the Civil Justice System Protects Elderly Americans,” can be found at www.justice.org/seniors.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Graco Stroller Recall

As if you didn't have enough to worry about as a new parent:

Four deaths have been blamed on the older model versions of the Quattro Tour and MetroLite strollers made by Graco Children’s Products Inc. of Atlanta. For this reason, the company is now recalling about two million of those models. The four infant deaths referenced occurred between 2003 and 2005.

In addition to those four deaths, six other infants suffered either cuts, bruises, entrapment or breathing difficulties after being placed in those strollers. The potentially dangerous Quattro Tour strollers were made before November 2006 and the MetroLite strollers were manufactured prior to July 2007. The full Consumer Product Safety Commission detail on the recall is here.

Call us at 713-529-1177 if your child or someone you know has been hurt by these products, and we can provide you with your legal options.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Weight Loss Drug Meridia Pulled from Market

Today, the obesity drug Meridia has been withdrawn from the U.S. market because of an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories voluntarily agreed to pull the drug after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration review of data that showed a 16 percent increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death among people taking Meridia (sibutramine), compared with those taking a placebo.

Currently, about 100,000 people in the United States take Meridia, Dr. Gerald Dal Pan, director of FDA's Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, noted at the news briefing.

The FDA approved Meridia in November 1997 for weight loss and maintenance of weight loss in obese people, and in overweight people with other risks for heart disease.

In a recent editorial, the New England Journal of Medicine called Meridia “another flawed diet pill.” They note that in return for offering a weight loss of under 9 pounds — less than 5% of the body weight of the overweight participants in the study — the drug had a one-in-70 chance of causing a heart attack or stroke.

If you have taken Meridia and have suffered a heart attack or stroke, contact us today to discuss your legal options.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Hip Implant Recall

DePuy Othopedics Inc has announced the recall of their ASR Hip Resurfacing and Replacement Systems due to an abnormally high rate of failure associated with the devices. In total about 93,000 DePuy hip resurfacing and replacement devices are covered under the recall. The recalled components include the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The resurfacing system was not approved for use in the U.S. and therefore should not be of concern to most Americans; however, thousands of Americans have had the DePuy XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System implanted.

The data shows that five years after implantation, about 12% of patients who had received the ASR resurfacing device and 13% of patients who had received the ASR total hip replacement needed to have a revision surgery.

We are providing free consultations and claim evaluations for individuals who received the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System or DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System who have experienced:

  • Unexplained hip pain
  • Loosening of their hip implant
  • Failure of the hip replacement
  • Additional hip surgery to revise their implant

For a free consultation with us, please go to our website and fill out the contact form or call us at 713-529-1177.