Common Signs of Sports Concussions in Adolescents

As a parent of a child involved in one or more sports activities, would you know how to detect a possible concussion?

Understand the signs and symptoms of this potentially serious head injury to keep your kids safe and healthy.

After a forceful jolt, bump, or blow that causes trauma to his or her head, a child athlete may begin exhibiting changes in their thinking, behavior, or physical functions. Ignoring such signs and symptoms can exacerbate a concussion and put the athlete at risk for further injury.

How to Detect a Potential Athletic Concussion

Several signs may indicate a child has sustained a sports concussion. These symptoms include:

•    Sudden nausea or vomiting

•    Sluggishness or a sense of “haziness” or fogginess

•    Forgetfulness related to instructions or events before or after the trauma

•    Loss of consciousness

•    Clumsy movement

•    Slow, labored speech

Should one or more of these indicators manifest in a child after a head injury, immediately remove him or her from play and seek medical treatment.

How Treatment Guidelines Differ between Children and Adults


Quick and thorough examination following a head injury is the best way to prevent lasting damage. Furthermore, new treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics present differences in how adolescents heal from concussions compared to adults.

According to these guidelines, children under 18 years of age require an average of 7 to 10 days to recover fully from a concussion, a longer timeframe than that of the typical adult. As a result, adolescents with signs of concussion should stop engaging in activity immediately and not resume until whatever comes first – 24 hours without symptoms or a doctor’s permission.

Sports injuries may be common in young athletes, but with prompt and careful treatment, children can recover fully and return to their favorite activities.

Have the actions of another individual contributed to your child’s injury while playing sports? To learn whether you have a viable legal case, contact a Washington D.C. child safety lawyer.

Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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10 Tips Patients Can Do to Make Your Hospital Stay Safer

By Catherine Bertram

According to the Centers for Disease Control and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, these ten tips are actions patients and their families can do during hospital stays to try to make their hospital stay safer:

  1. "SPEAK UP"
    Talk to your doctor about any worries you have about your safety and ask them what they are doing to protect you.
  2. "KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN"
    If you do not see your healthcare providers wash their hands, please ask them to do so. Also remind your loved ones and visitors. Washing hands can prevent the spread of germs.
  3. Ask if you still need a central line Adobe PDF file [PDF - 191KB] catheter or urinary Adobe PDF file [PDF - 226KB] catheter. Leaving a catheter in place too long increases the chances of getting an infection. Let your doctor or nurse know if the area around the central line becomes sore or red, or if the bandage falls off or looks wet or dirty.
  4. ASK YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER "Will there be a new needle, new syringe, and a new vial for this procedure or injection?" Healthcare providers should never reuse a needle or syringe on more than one patient.
  5. BE CAREFUL WITH MEDICATIONS
    Avoid taking too much medicine by following package directions. Also, to avoid harmful drug interactions, tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking.
  6. Photo: A healthcare professional preparing to vaccinate a patient.GET SMART WITH ANTIBIOTICS
    Help prevent antibiotic resistance by taking all your antibiotics as prescribed, and not sharing your antibiotics with other people. Remember that antibiotics don't work against viruses like the ones that cause the common cold.
  7. Prepare for surgery Adobe PDF file [PDF - 207KB].
    There are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a surgical site infection. Talk to your doctor to learn what you should do to prepare for surgery. Let your doctor know about other medical problems you have.
  8. Watch out for C. diff. Adobe PDF file [PDF - 179KB] (aka Clostridium difficile)
    Tell your doctor if you have severe diarrhea, especially if you are also taking an antibiotic.
  9. Know the signs and symptoms of infection.
    Some skin infections, such as MRSA, appear as redness, pain, or drainage at an IV catheter site or surgical incision site. Often these symptoms come with a fever. Tell your doctor if you have these symptoms.
  10. GET YOUR FLU SHOT
    Protect yourself against the flu and other complications by getting vaccinated."

By following these 10 steps, you can help make healthcare safer and help prevent healthcare-associated infections.

Continue Reading Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Sedona Labs Recalls iFlora Children's Supplements

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and senior partner


Reuters (7/11, Simpson) reports that Atrium Innovations Inc.'s Sedona Labs unit is recalling its iFlora 4-Kids Powder, sold by healthcare professionals, and its iFlora Kids Multi-Probiotic, sold online and in US health food stores, due to possible contamination of a galactooligosaccharide component with salmonella. To date, no salmonella-related incidents have been reported. According to a company statement, the products involved have a distribution date range from March 16 through May 3. The recall affects the following lot numbers: 1074711, 1479611, 1640811 and 1734411.

Please do not consume this potentially contaminated product or provide it to your children.  I advise you to speak to a physician about what alternatives can be provided.

Be safe.

Do you have questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the " 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year".  He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2012 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2012)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com.  You may also reach him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medications , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Medical Malpractice Claims - From Investigation to Litigation

By Catherine Bertram, partner
     cbertram@reganfirm.com



Medical malpractice cases are often some of the most complex civil claims that trial attorneys handle.  In almost all states, and certainly in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, there are special statutes and regulations that apply to these types of cases.  Attorneys who practice in this area must be familiar with these rules in order to represent their clients and the families of their clients.  Experienced attorneys know how to efficiently review and investigate these cases.  At our firm, we have established working relationships with medical experts on a national basis in almost all specialties so we can obtain independent reviews of the events and obtain answers for our clients to determine if the care rendered met the applicable standards or not.  

Step One

In most cases after we conduct an initial interview we ask the patient, or the family member with legal power to sign for the patient, to sign a medical authorization that allows us to obtain the key medical records and images.   Our staff is very experienced in this part of the case and they know how to process these requests and get us the records and images we need in a timely fashion.  

Step Two

Once the records are obtained they are reviewed and organized in a coherent manner for the reviewing expert or experts.  In some cases the records need to be reviewed by several types of experts in order to determine if there is a case of medical malpractice.  In some cases have records reviewed by both physician and nursing experts, depending on the circumstances.

Step Three    

We will then speak with the reviewing expert in order to determine if the case has merit in their opinion and whether it is a case that can be pursued.   We also try to answer any questions the patient or family may have about the outcome.  During those calls we have to ask certain questions to determine whether the elements of a medical malpractice claim exist.  The first issue is generally whether the doctor or nurse’s care fell below the standard expected of that individual in the same or similar circumstances.  The second question, which is equally important and must be proven by the patient in a civil malpractice case, is whether the doctor or nurse’s failure was a proximate cause of the patient’s injuries and harms.  In other words, is there a direct link between the doctor or nurse’s wrongful act,  or failure to act, and the injury the patient sustained.  This is commonly referred to by attorneys and judges as “proximate cause”.   If the case has failures by the doctor or nurse but those failures are not a cause of the patient’s injury then there is no case.     Sometimes the questions the patient has can be answered and sometimes the expert has more question and needs additional records or images or other information before they can reach a conclusion.   We continue to work with the expert to obtain that information.  Sometimes, a final conclusion cannot be reached because the records are not clear, the information is missing or there is contradictory information in the records. These issues are all then discussed with the patient and/or the family.  Sometimes,  final answers to certain questions are not obtained until you take the sworn testimony of various doctors and nurses in the lawsuit.  

Step Four

The attorneys from our firm then have a conversation with the patient and/or the family about what the expert’s conclusions were and what the next steps will be. There is no cost associated with this meeting or phone call.   Sometimes this conversation is done by phone, especially in circumstances where the patient is too hurt to travel or lives out of town.   In other cases,  the meeting is held in person at the law firm.  If circumstances are such that the patient cannot travel, and we need to meet, then our attorneys travel to the patient’s home, rehabilitation center or the hospital.

Step Five

If the family and the law firm decide the case has merit, and we want to pursue it together,  then a legal document called a retainer is signed. This document explains how the fee will be paid and how expenses from the case will be handled.

Step Six

Depending on whether the case is in DC, Maryland or Virginia, we work with our experts to develop the case.  We have working relationships with many local hospitals and insurance companies who insure the local doctors and hospitals.  We can often contact those claims directors or the risk managers for the hospital or nursing home and talk to them directly about the claim before the lawsuit is filed.  They know we mean business and they know we have qualified experts who have thoroughly reviewed the case so they are often willing to explore early resolution of cases through private mediation with a retired local judge.  This works quite well for our clients.   

If early resolution is not possible, we have the resources and the experience to file the necessary paperwork and provide the required statutory notices in DC, Maryland and Virginia to pursue the claims.  

If you have any questions about a potential case, feel free to call. 

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a Top Lawyer for Washingtonian Magazine. Ms. Bertram has over 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes a majority of her practice to the representation of patients and families who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  Ms. Bertram lives in DC and lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

 

Posted In Birth Injury , Cancer Misdiagnosis , Legal Info , Legal Services , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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DECODING MEDICAL RECORDS IN MALPRACTICE CASES


By Catherine Bertram, partner (cbertram@reganfirm.com)


One of the key tasks we initially perform when investigating a case involving malpractice or abuse at a health care facility is a thorough review of the medical records.  At our firm we have two attorney who have both worked in hospital settings so we are quite familiar with medical records.  Catherine(“Katie”) Bertram is a partner at the firm and was previously the Director of Risk Management at Georgetown Hospital.  Jackie Colclough is a nurse-attorney with the firm who has a wealth of experience including work as labor and delivery nurse in a local hospital.

Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when looking at records:

COMPLETE  CHART

The first task is to review the records and try to make sure you have a complete set.  Often, the records are incomplete.  We check to make sure we have an initial History & Physical, Orders, Physician Progress Notes, Nursing Notes, Laboratory Data, Radiology Reports, Operative Notes, Operative Records/Consent Forms, Pathology, and a Discharge Summary.

Medical Records for pregnant patients are quite different.  We have extensive experience with these types of cases as well.  In childbirth cases you will also have to review the prenatal records from the mother’s office visits before the delivery. It is key to obtain the Fetal Monitor Strips (FMS) or Fetal Heartrate Strips (FHR) which demonstrate the baby’s heart rate relative to the mother’s contractions.  This is often critical in determining if the doctor acted promptly to deliver the child and avoid injury to the child.  You will also need the child’s chart and the operative delivery records.

INITIAL HISTORY & PHYSICAL


Doctors are required to write a detailed note within 24 hours of a patient’s admission. This note is often referred to as the “H&P.”  This is a good place to start in your review since it usually provides a history of the patient’s present condition and symptoms, past medical and surgical history and any significant labs or imaging results.  The note also usually includes a detailed plan for the patient.

ORDERS

Physicians have the responsibility and authority to order medication, labs, imaging and other services that the patient or nursing home residents need.  We check these orders to see what medication or services or consults have been ordered for the patient.  The orders should have a time and date and should be legible.  It should also have some indication that the R.N. acknowledged receipt and review of the order and that it has been carried out.  Some special order sheets may also be included like a patient controlled analgesia record (“PCA”) which is utilized if the patient has a pain pump which allows medication to be self-administered at regular intervals.

PROGRESS NOTES


There is another section of the medical record that includes entries by doctors and nurses, and sometimes others like consultants, physical therapists, pharmacists and medical residents.  This section often looks like a diary or a log.  Most doctors were trained to write their notes in a SOAP format. The first section should detail the “subjective” concerns of the patient.  The “objective” section follows and this  is where the physician performs a physical examination of the patient and records the findings.  The doctor usually goes through each system of the body and records the important findings or any changes.   The third section is “assessment” - which is the where the doctor records his or her thoughts about what is going on with the patient after considering the subjective complaints and the findings on physical examination along with any test results or images.  The final section is the “plan.”   Here, the doctor writes out the plan of action which should address the concerning findings and include a plan consultations by other specialists, medication changes, labs or imaging that is necessary and other follow up.

NURSING NOTES

In some facilities the nurses also write in the progress notes along with the doctors, but in many hospitals the nurses have their own checklists and flow sheets where they record their nursing assessments and interventions from their shift.  There may also be other specialized forms for medication administration (MAR) and for treatment (TAR).    

In long term care facilities (nursing homes) we check the skin sheet to verify if the patient is being turned and the skin integrity is being checked.  *Families are reminded that you must also check your loved one’s skin yourself.  It is key not to let any concerning new “hot spots” progress.  If you see a red spot or a pressure point that is concerning you need to ask questions and get the staff to act on it right away.

If a patient has a fall or any other abnormal event, the facts and circumstances should be clearly documented in the progress notes along with a plan.   In most cases, a fall requires prompt physician assessment.  

LABORATORY REPORTS

The laboratory report can also give you clues about what is happening with the patient and what needs to be addressed.  A high white blood cell count (WBC) can be a sign of an infection.  The lab usually provides the normal range for each value on the report so that you can compare the patient’s value to the normal population.   In most labs the patient’s value will be followed by an “H” or an “L” if the value is abnormally HIGH or LOW.   For lab values that are critical, or an emergency, the lab also usually includes documentation that the result was called into either the physician or the nurse assigned to the patient and the time of that conversation.   It is often the case that you can have the facility print out a laboratory summary report for the patient  that shows the results of the lab data over many days, an entire hospital stay or over the course of many hospital stays. This can be quite helpful in terms of tracking trends.  

RADIOLOGY REPORTS

Many patients also have x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, mammograms, sonograms or other diagnostic imaging performed as a part of their hospital stay. The written reports from these tests should also be included in the hospital chart.  You can often determine the date and time the image was obtained, which physician read the image and also if the image is very concerning, the radiologist often documents that the results were called into the patient’s doctor or nurse directly and the time of such a call.   The written reports may also suggest additional follow up testing or imaging that may be required for the patient given the clinical circumstances.  You also need to be careful because occasionally there are initial preliminary reports of the results and then final reports. If this is the case, you want to carefully compare the two for any significant differences.  

Sometimes imaging is obtained before, during or after surgery while the patient remains in the operating room so it is important to  make sure you obtain all of that imaging and those reports as well.  

OPERATIVE RECORDS

If the patient has had a surgical procedure, as an in-patient or in a same day setting, there are certain required records that will be present.  First, the pre-operative assessments, including anesthesia assessment and the consent form for the procedure. In some circumstances the patient will have had an x-ray, a cardiac clearance or certain blood work performed to make sure it is safe for the surgery.  The anesthesia provider will meet with the patient and obtain a history and assess the patient for anesthesia risks.   Also, the surgeon will talk to the patient about the surgery and obtain a written consent from the patient.

During the surgery, the healthcare team documents many things.  The nursing staff  document on records often called “perioperative” records that include safety checklists performed prior to surgery, including patient placement, verification of the surgery to be performed including which side and which surgery and other safety factors.  The nursing team keeps track of which surgical instruments are used during the surgery and must account for all instruments at the end of the surgery before the patient is closed to make sure no instruments or sponges are left in the patient.   The nurse also documents which nurses are in the operating room and when they leave. At some hospitals the doctor’s entrance and exit are also noted.

The anesthesia providers keep a very detailed log of the patient’s vital signs during surgery, the medication that are given and any response the patient has to medications.

The surgeon does not take notes during the surgery but is required to dictate a detailed operative note following the surgery.

The patient is moved to the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) following most surgeries. This used to be called the recovery room.  In most hospitals the patient is monitored by nurses and the anesthesia team in this area for a certain amount of time until the anesthetic wears off and the patient is either ready to leave based on certain discharge criteria or the patient is transferred to the hospital floor if it is a more involved surgery.   

PATHOLOGY

If a patient has cultures take, a biopsy or a surgery that involves removal of tissue, the patient should have a pathology report.   If the report involves growth results of a culture it can take a few days or several weeks for the final report to be issued.  Oftentimes we have to call and obtain those final reports as they may not make it to the final paper version of the hospital record.

DISCHARGE SUMMARY/AUTOPSY RESULTS

Once a patient leaves the hospital, the attending physician is required to dictate a discharge summary. Most hospitals require the discharge summary be completed and signed within 30 days of the date the patient leaves the hospital. This is also true if a patient dies in the hospital. In that case, you will also want to request any autopsy report or findings.   There are certain circumstances involving patient deaths where the facility is required to conduct an autopsy based on state law.  In other circumstances a physician may ask for an autopsy or a family may request one.  Again, certain testing may be done as part of an autopsy and the results may take a few days or have to be sent to a separate lab so make sure you obtain all of the results that accompany the autopsy.   In a medical case, we often request the entire autopsy file which may include photographs, tissue blocks and/or pathology slides with special staining.  


About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a Top Lawyer for Washingtonian Magazine. Ms. Bertram has over 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes a majority of her practice to the representation of patients and families who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  Ms. Bertram lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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$58.6 Million Awarded in Malpractice Suit

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and senior trial attorney.             

A Connecticut jury has awarded a local couple $58.6 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a record for a single incident of medical malpractice in the state of Connecticut. The lawsuit was against a physician and his practice, and it was shown that the doctor waited too long to perform a cesarean section during the wife's labor, which caused the child to be born with permanent brain damage. The boy suffers from cerebral palsy and is unable to eat, walk or talk. 

The recovery will allow the boy and his family to cover medical expenses and other losses the boy will endure for the rest of his life.

Do you have any questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the " 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year".  He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2011)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com.  You may also reach him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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100,000 Lives Lost Each Year Due to Dirty Hospitals and Nursing Homes

By Catherine Bertram

Each year 100,000 patients in hospitals and nursing homes in this country die from infection they acquired after being in a health care facility.  This is the most common complication of hospital care and also one of the deadliest risks for patients according to government officials.

In addition the loss of lives, the cost for our health care system is enormous. The estimated annual cost for hospital acquired infections is between $28 and $33 billion. 

What is even more shocking and tragic is that the consensus in the US medical community is that most of these infections are preventable.  How you ask?  This is really where it should make us all angry - by washing your hands in between patients.  It is not expensive or dangerous to implement.  What will it take to make hospitals and nursing homes clean up their act? Unfortunately, it has to hit them where it hurts - in their pocket book.   In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) began denying payments to hospitals for the costs of patient's care and patient days related to these infections.   

If you want more information about hospital acquired infections you can look at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  website which provides  links to infection prevention materials, statistics on infection rates and other materials.

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Nurses Union States Understaffing At DC Hospital Jeopardizes Patient Care

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and senior attorney     

The nation's largest nurses union has asked the D.C. Health Department on Monday to investigate nurse under-staffing at Washington Hospital Center.  According to the union, under-staffing is jeopardizing patient care.

The National Nurses United union filed a 19-page report with the D.C. Health Department, which documents 50 separate instances of what it describes as unsafe patient care across all departments in the hospital this year.

As the Washington Post reported, the union filing describes "instances of patients not receiving medication on time, newborn infants not being fed promptly and a patient who was rushed back to the operating room after the patient had stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest. The union did not know whether the patient survived."  The full Post article can be read by clicking here.

Under-staffing is a major issue that plagued hospitals across the country.  It is important for hospitals to put safety above profits and staff their facilities appropriately.  If they don't, patients will be seriously injured and killed.  I represent victims of medical malpractice and their families every day.  All too often the harms caused to patients could have been easily avoided if sufficient competent staff was in place to monitor and treat patients. 

I hope the union report spurs positive change.

Do you have any questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)--national publications that honor the top lawyers in the country.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Follow-Up Treatment for Children's Concussions Frequently Lacking

As summarized in a recent Reuters Health article, over 100,000 children are treated each year in emergency rooms for concussions, many returning home afterwards without instructions for follow-up care. This new study (originally published in the Journal of Pediatrics) of ER records and outpatient visits from 2002-2006 by Dr. William P. Meehan III, director of the sports concussion clinic at Children’s Hospital Boston, and colleague Dr. Rebekah Mannix, revealed that 28 percent of patients younger than 19 are discharged from the emergency room with no further instructions for follow-up treatment. Their research highlighted that ER treatment is not sufficient to determine how serious an injury is. According to Dr. Meehan, “It’s only in the days following the concussion that the course of the injury can be assessed, and parents can be advised on when their kids can safely return to sports or other activities. None of that can be done in the ER.” He emphasized the message for parents, “Go to the ER, make sure there is no emergency, then follow up with your pediatrician.”

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Lab Errors: These Mistakes Can Be Deadly

By Catherine Bertram

An article in the Boston Globe last week, by Jonathan Salzman,  reports that a lawsuit has been filed by a patient who had surgery to remove his prostate after being told that he had prostate cancer.   Our blog mentioned this case last week.  The surgery left him incontinent.  Tragically, he did not have prostate cancer. It was a lab error.  The lab technician mistakenly mixed up his results with that of another patient.  As a result, this patient had a surgery he did not need and must now wear adult diapers and live with the consequences.  Another patient reportedly had an eight month delay in the treatment of his prostate cancer due to a lab mix up. He was told he was cancer free but that was incorrect.  He actually had cancer and was not treated for eight month.  The article reports that by the time he was informed of the mix up the cancer had spread to his lymph node.

Lab errors can be devastating to patients and can negatively impact the patient's chances of survival and require additional treatment.  We have this type of cases pending right now and we have the experience to understand how hospitals should label and track these types of results and what safety measures should be put in place to avoid these tragic occurrences.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital.  Ms. Bertram is a member of the bar for the U.S. Supreme Court.  She is a partner with the firm and lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally, regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a surgical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Studies Prove Poor Supervision of Resident Doctors Leads To Medical Errors

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The Dallas Morning News (8/1, Dunklin, Ambrose) reported that "national medical research increasingly supports the long-held concern that poor supervision of doctors-in-training at teaching hospitals contributes to patient harm, even death." Two months ago, a study led by University of California-San Diego researchers "reported a 10 percent increase nationally in medication errors that killed patients during the month of July, the traditional start date for new residents." A 2008 report by the Institute of Medicine "urged that residency programs have 'measurable standards,' such as when and how residents consult faculty doctors." This summer, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education proposed "updated guidelines that are to be refined before adoption next year."

I hope meaningful changes are made soon regarding the manner in which residents are supervised.  I recognize the importance of training residents, but giving them too much independence too soon threatens patient safety, leading to terrible medical problems.  I represent many people who were severely injured as a result of unsupervised medical care.  Proper supervision would likely have lead to appropriate medical care.  Instead, the people I represent will have to endure a lifetime of physical and emotional anguish.

 

Do you have any questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Exposure To Evamist Dangerous For Children And Pets

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The FDA has warned that "inadvertent exposure to Evamist through skin contact with patients using this product has the potential for adverse effects in children and pets. Evamist contains estradiol, an estrogen hormone, and is used in women to reduce hot flashes during menopause. The drug is sprayed on the skin between the elbow and wrist, on the inside of the forearm. The FDA currently is reviewing reports of adverse events in children and pets who were inadvertently exposed to this topical estrogen product."

According to the announcement, the FDA has received several post-marketing cases of unintended exposure to Evamist in children ages 3 years to 5 years during the period July 2007 through June 2010. "Adverse events reported in unintentionally exposed children include premature puberty, nipple swelling and breast development in females, and breast enlargement in males. Since 2007, two reports of secondary exposure to Evamist in dogs also have been received by FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. Pets exposed to Evamist may exhibit signs such as mammary/nipple enlargement and vulvar swelling."

Please keep your children and pets away from the drug. If you have experienced any adverse side effects from the use of Evamist, please contact the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program at www.fda.gov/MedWatch or by calling 800-332-1088.

Do you have any questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Shoulder Pain Pumps Destroy Shoulder Joints

Posted by Catherine Bertram   

   
Recognized medical studies show that pain pumps that inject pain medicine right into shoulder joints after surgical procedures are a very likely cause of severe cartilage damage.  The FDA, in November 2009 and again in February 2010 issued a warning about this device.  At the heart of the shoulder pain pump litigation is the fact that continuous infusion pumps were not approved by the FDA for this use.   The pain medication essentially eats away the cartilage in the shoulder joint which is critical to allowing the shoulder to move smoothly without pain and grinding.   The research shows that this permanent injury occurs when an intra-articular pain pump catheter is inserted into the shoulder joint by the surgeon in an effort to reduce the patient's pain, usually after a shoulder surgery.  The catheter then pumps pain medication right into that key joint for several days.    The medical studies show the damage can be inflicted in 2-3 days.  This is a permanent injury and is extremely painful and limiting for the patient. Symptoms include increased pain and stiffness, a clicking or popping or grinding in the shoulder and less motion and loss of strength.  The condition is known as Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chrondrolysis (PAGCL).

If you or a family member has this condition and a pain pump was used you may want to consider having the records reviewed and the matter investigated. 
                                                                                       

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Our tax dollars to study "tort reform" - What about patient safety?

                                                                                      

                                                                                                 By Catherine D. Bertram

Massachusetts obtained a $3 million grant to study "alternatives" to a consumer's 7th Amendment right to a jury trial when it comes medical malpractice claims.  The grant is part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program to investigate ways to improve compensation for people injured by medical errors and has a secondarily identified goal of  lowering malpractice insurance premiums.

One of the grant's goals is to "ensure that patients are compensated in a fair and timely manner for medical injuries, while also reducing the incidence of frivolous lawsuits."    We can save significant tax payer funds and save many lives by doing what the Institute of Medicine suggested more than 10 years ago, in the 1999 report called "To Err Is Human" -- focus on patient safety and preventing patient injuries during the delivery of health care.   Please leave consumers' constitutional rights alone.  For  more than 10 years it has been common knowledge that 98,000 patients die year year from preventable errors during the delivery of health care.  This study does nothing to reduce that shocking statistic.   That is the correct goal and the only goal that will result in less harm and less need to compensate consumers who have been injured due to the fault of others. 

It sounds great to talk about reducing frivolous lawsuits, but as tax payers and patients what we need to ask is where is the data that demonstrates there are "frivolous" medical malpractice claims being filed and more importantly, where is the evidence that such meritless cases result in significant awards that are paid?  

There are procedural requirements in place that safeguard against consumers filing cases without expert support.   In Maryland and Virginia, consumers and their lawyers have to have written reports from qualified medical experts in hand before pursuing a medical malpractice claim.  In the District of Columbia, the injured consumer is required by law to send a detailed notice letter to the heath care provider outlining the claim before the lawsuit can even be filed.  

Putting laws in place to limit damages simply shifts the burden of paying for a lifetime of care away from the wrongdoer and back onto the U.S. tax payer.  It does nothing to try to make health care safer.  What it does is protect insurance companies from paying out legitimate claims after a jury has determined that the patient was entitled to compensation to balance the harms done.   That patient is still permanently injured and in most circumstances cannot work.  That patient still needs a lifetime of care.  Who pays for that care?  We do and we have still done nothing to reduce these claims and make health care safer.   How tragic.

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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Are Hospitals Safe?

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

Carol Diemert, a nursing practice specialist, and Carrie Mortrud, a governmental affairs and public policy specialist with the Minnesota Nurses Association, write in a Minneapolis Star Tribune (7/27) commentary, "Inside the walls of Twin Cities acute care hospitals, all is not as healthy as the public relations flacks would have you believe," and "their own consultants have issued a report that substantiates the internal turmoil nurses describe." They argue that "hospitals aren't as safe as they claim because they collect incomplete data, allowing them to be opaque about the realities nurses witness." Diemert and Mortrud say that "hospitals...need to be regulated regarding appropriate staffing," and conclude that the current system "operates on the backs of nurses' professional ethics, valuing profit over care, seriously challenging every nurse's core value of caring for patients in a safe environment."

These sentiments are shared by nurses and health-care providers throughout the country.  Until our medical system puts patients over profits, medical errors will continue to kill and severely injure hundreds of thousands of people each year.  The deaths, alone, caused by medical errors amount to nearly 100,000, according to the Institute of Medicine.  This trend must end.

 

Do you have any questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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Zinc nasal gels could cause some patients to lose sense of smell.

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The New York Times (7/26, D6, Rabin) reports "a new analysis has concluded that controversial zinc nasal gel products can cause some patients to lose their sense of smell," according to a study in the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. There is no danger "from taking zinc gluconate orally" but that "when sniffed through the nose it can burn olfactory tissue." The FDA "last year warned consumers to stop using Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs," popular "homeopathic remedies that contain zinc." Arizona-based Matrixx Initiatives, which markets them, "has denied the zinc gels cause anosmia and called the conclusions 'scientifically unfounded and misleading.'"

It seems to me that we all should heed the FDA warning.  As with any drug, do not take the zinc gels without first speaking with your doctor.

Do you have any questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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5 simple steps hospitals could, but often do not, use to prevent bloodstream infections

By Catherine D. Bertram

Catheter-related bloodstream infections kill 30,000 hospital patients and infect a total of 80,00 patients in the U.S. each year.  So why aren't more hospitals adopting the simple five-step approach to prevent these infections?

The protocol:

1. Health care provider washes hands

2. Patient's skin cleaned with antiseptic

3. Patient's body covered with sterile drape

4. Health care provider wears sterile hat, mask, gloves, and gown

5. Sterile dressing over the catheter site

When Michigan hospitals implemented these steps, their infection rate dropped by two-thirds.  Over 18 months, the hospitals not only saved lives, but saved $200 million, or about $30,000 per infection.

So why not take those steps? A survey by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology indicates that the hospitals contend they don't have enough time to train or they blame it on unwieldy paper-based records systems. It is reported that many hospital CEO's aren't even aware of their own hospital's bloodstream-infection rates.

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Advice to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The current heat wave that has blanketed much of the nation for the past several weeks brings with it more than sweltering temperatures.  Excessive heat is extremely dangerous, often  causing illness and occasional deaths.  Understanding the dangers and preventive actions help prevent illness or death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some simple, common sense advice for how to stay cool and well in hot weather:

"Here are some facts about which people are at greatest risk for heat-related illness and what protective actions to take to prevent illness or death:

  • People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases
  • But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
  • Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.

You can take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:

  •  Stay cool indoors.
  •  Drink plenty of fluids.
  •  Replace salt and minerals.
  •  Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
  •  Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  •  Pace yourself.
  •  Use a buddy system.
  •  Monitor people at high risk.
  •  Adjust to the environment.
  •  Do not leave children in cars.
  •  Use common sense."
     
Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused By Medical Errors

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.” - Helen Keller

Cerebral palsy is a condition that can involve brain and nervous system functions, limiting a person's ability to move, learn, hear, see, and think.  Palsies develop due to damage to the developing brain.  Cerebral palsy usually develops by age two or three, and it is a non-progressive brain disorder, which means that the brain damage does not continue to worsen throughout life. However, the symptoms due to the brain damage often do change over time; sometimes getting better and sometimes getting worse. Cerebral palsy affects between two and four children out of every 1,000 live births. The United Cerebral Palsy Association estimates that more than 500,000 Americans have cerebral palsy. 

It is estimated that between 35% and 50% of all children with cerebral palsy will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental retardation.  Affected children also have a tendency to develop learning disabilities, along with vision, speech, hearing, or language problems. 

Symptoms are usually seen before a child is 2 years old, and sometimes begin as early as 3 months. Parents may notice that their child is delayed reaching certain developmental stages such as sitting, rolling, crawling, or walking.  There are several different types of cerebral palsy. Some people have a mixture of symptoms.

Symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy, the most common type, include:

  • Muscles that are very tight and do not stretch, which may tighten up even more over time;
  • Abnormal gait with arms tucked in toward the sides, knees crossed or touching, legs make "scissors" movements, walk on the toes;
  • Joints are tight and do not open up all the way (called joint contracture); and
  • Muscle weakness or loss of movement in a group of muscles (paralysis).
     

Although there is a wide spectrum of symptoms, some other common symptoms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Abnormal movements (twisting, jerking, or writhing) of the hands, feet, arms, or legs while awake, which gets worse during periods of stress;
  • Tremors; and
  • Loss of coordination.

Decreased intelligence or learning disabilities are common, but intelligence can be normal.  Many people with cerebral palsy have speech problems, hearing or vision deficits, seizures, and suffer pain and discomfort.

Cerebral palsy is caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain. Most of these problems occur as the baby grows in the womb or during the delivery process, but they can happen at any time during the first 2 years of life, while the baby's brain is still developing.  Sometimes, these injuries are preventable, yet brought about by medical errors.

Examples of cerebral palsy caused by the failure of medical providers to meet applicable standards of care, include:

  • Undiagnosed or untreated infections during pregnancy that may damage a fetus' developing nervous system;
  • Undiagnosed or treated jaundice in the infant;
  • Bleeding in the brain that goes untreated;
  • Severe oxygen deprivation to the brain or significant trauma to the head during labor and delivery;
  • Leaving the child in the birth canal too long causing a lack of oxygen to the brain;
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed cord (the umbilical cord can wrap around the child's neck, cutting off oxygen to the brain);
  • Failure to perform a cesarean section in the presence of fetal distress;
  • Improper use of forceps during delivery;
  • Excessive use of vacuum extraction;
  • Failure to recognize and treat seizures following delivery;
  • Not responding to changes in the fetal heart rate; and
  • Failure to plan a cesarean with a high birth weight infant.

Although life can be extremely challenging for  those with cerebral palsy, as well as the parents, siblings, and other family members, there are many organizations and support groups that can help people face and overcome those challenges.

The following is a list of readings, organizations, and special agencies whose purpose is to provide education about cerebral palsy and other disabilities and information to assist families with their needs, which I hope you find useful:

United Cerebral Palsy
http://www.ucp.org/
1660 L Street, N.W., Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
(800) 872 – 5827/(202) 776-0406
E-mail: info@ucp.org


UCP is a national organization for people with cerebral palsy and their families. Through its local chapters, it provides a variety of services, including information and referral, parent support, advocacy, and educational and work programs for people with cerebral palsy. Fact sheets on selected issues related to cerebral palsy are available, as well as publications from a variety of publishers and organizations. Many publications can be downloaded from the website at no charge.

Association of University Centers on Disabilities
http://www.aucd.org/
1010 Wayne Avenue
Suite 920
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 588-8252


The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs.  Through its members, AUCD is a resource for local, state, national, and international agencies, organizations, and policy makers concerned about people living with developmental and other disabilities and their families. Members engage in a range of interdisciplinary activities including: exemplary services for children, adults, and families; academic training; basic and applied research; training and technical assistance to schools, communities, and all levels of government; policy advocacy; program evaluation; and dissemination of best practices and new information.  AUCD programs also train the next generation of leaders in disability-related research, training, service delivery, and policy advocacy to insure that this essential work continues.

American Physical Therapy Association
http://www.apta.org/
1111 N.  Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 999-2782/(703) 684 - 2782


The APTA has a free list of publications, "Publications of Interest to Parent and Educators of Handicapped Children." They can also direct you to the APTA chapter in your area.

ABLEDATA
http://www.abledata.com/
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 935
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(800) 227 - 0216


ABLEDATA is a national database covering information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment. Those interested can search the database free of charge from the ABLEDATA web site, or can have an information specialist perform a search for a small fee.  ABLEDATA publishes an assistive technology fact sheet and consumer guides.

Brian Injury Association of America
http://www.biausa.org/
1608 Spring Hill Road
Suite 110
Vienna, VA 22182
(703) 761-0750


The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the leading national organization serving and representing individuals, families and professionals who are touched by a life-altering, often devastating, traumatic brain injury (TBI). Together with its network of more than 40 chartered state affiliates, as well as hundreds of local chapters and support groups across the country, the BIAA provides information, education and support to assist the 3.17 million Americans currently living with traumatic brain injury and their families. 

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the " 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year".  He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2011)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

 

 

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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FDA Recalls and Medicine Safety

Over the weekend, four PediaCare brands of children's medicines became the most recent additions to a string of recalls stemming from Johnson & Johnson's McNeil plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. Four PediaCare products joined the long list of child and infant liquid formulations of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl that had previously been recalled.

According to WebMD, the newly recalled PediaCare brands are as follows:
    * PediaCare Multi-Symptom Cold 4oz. UPC # 3 0045-0556-05 9
    * PediaCare Long Acting Cough 4oz. UPC# 3 0045-0465-04 7
    * PediaCare Decongestant 4oz. UPC# 3 0045-0554-04 8
    * PediaCare Allergy and Cold 4oz. UPC# 3 0045-0552-04 4

To see the complete list of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl products involved in the original recall, or to request a refund online, see McNeil’s recall page. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) explanation of the recall can be found here, or in a helpful PDF brochure.

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Nurse Interruptions, Distractions Lead To Medical Errors

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner 

As reported recently by a HealthDay report, Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare article and Archives of Internal Medicine abstract, distractions and interruptions for nurses during medication preparation and administration lead to a higher rate of procedural failures and clinical errors.  Although patient safety experts have warned about these dangers for a number of years, this is the first research to actually confirm that relationship. Common distractions include staff inquiries, stopping to search for missing drugs or supplies, and responding to phone calls or pages.  According to Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare Reports, nurses view these types of interruptions as part of the daily work and don't seek to control them--a scary thing.

Following are significant observations from the study:

  • "Errors were classified as either "procedural failures," such as failing to read the medication label, or "clinical errors," such as giving the wrong drug or wrong dose.
  • Only one in five drug administrations (19.8 percent) was completely error-free, the study found.
  • Interruptions occurred during more than half (53.1 percent) of all administrations, and each interruption was associated with a 12.1 percent increase, on average, in procedural failures and a 12.7 percent increase in clinical errors.
  • Most errors (79.3 percent) were minor, having little or no impact on patients, according to the study. However, 115 errors (2.7 percent) were considered major errors, and all of them were clinical errors.
  • Failing to check a patient's identification against his or her medication chart and administering medication at the wrong time were the most common procedural and clinical glitches, respectively, the study reported."

"Nurses reported that study observations were made during a comparatively non-chaotic days when they had not been working extremely busy shifts. Investigators felt that if the nurses had been observed during a more intensely busy shift, more errors would have been seen."  The value of this new study "lends important evidence to identifying the contributing factors and circumstances that can lead to a medication error," said Carol Keohane, Program Director for the Center of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Several hospitals have recommended possible means to avoid excessive interruptions, such as "no interruption zones," "do not disturb vests," "medication pass time-out," or "protected hour" for medication administration.  This issue must be taken seriously by hospitals and other medical facilities otherwise serious medical errors will continue to occur.  According to the reputed Institutes of Medicine, approximately 98,000 Americans are killed every year as a result of medical errors.  Patient safety needs to be a priority.

Do you have any questions about this post?  

 

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also acknowledges him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Sedative Vials Too Large, Doctor Testifies

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner               

                                                                                                        

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that an anesthesiologist testified that "the 50-milliliter vials of anesthetic linked to a hepatitis C outbreak would have been enough to knock out a 600 pound gorilla during a colonoscopy," in the trial of Henry Chanin who was infected with hepatitis C during a 2006 colonoscopy in a Southern Nevada clinic. Chanin is suing Teva Parenteral Medicine and Baxter Healthcare Services on product liability issues claiming that "the companies made and sold vials of propofol that were much larger than needed for colonoscopies, which tempted medical workers to reuse vials among patients instead of throwing away unused anesthetic."

Hospitals and doctors should never reuse vials.  Doing so clearly and seriously threatens the health of patients.  We hope a lesson is learned here, although for many Americans it is too late, as they have suffered terrible health problems from the apparent misuse of the vials.

 

Do you have any questions or comments about this post?  

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also acknowledges him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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FDA Warns Pfizer About Insufficient Oversight During Clinical Trial Involving Children

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner               

                                                                                                        

The AP reports that in a warning letter dated April 9 and posted online April 20, the Food and Drug Administration said that Pfizer "has failed to correct problems with its testing procedures that resulted in overdoses of several children during a company trial" of "an experimental medication, which the agency did not name." However, a company spokeswoman said that medicine "is Geodon [ziprasidone], which the company was studying for children with bipolar disorder."

Bloomberg News reports that the letter posted to the agency's website outlined "'significant violations' discovered during an inspection of a Pfizer clinical trial site from May 4 to June 3." In 2005, the FDA warned Pfizer about the "lack of study monitoring that led to widespread overdoses," and "follow-up inspections in 2006 and 2007 also found dosing errors, the FDA said." The FDA has ordered Pfizer "to respond within 15 days with a plan to ensure that its studies comply with federal regulations."

The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswire reports that Pfizer is currently seeking agency approval of Geodon to treat bipolar disorder in patients ranging in age from 10 to 17 years old, which the FDA declined to do six months ago, citing a need for more information. The medication is currently approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adult patients, however. Meanwhile, the Journal quotes Pfizer as stating that it "recognizes the seriousness of the issues cited by the FDA and is committed to fully addressing FDA's concerns."

Reuters reports that even though 13 children suffered from overdosing during the clinical trial, none was injured or subjected to ongoing side effects, and only two youngsters had to be taken out of the clinical trial. Since the overdosing incidents, seven found by the FDA and six documented in the pharmaceutical company's own internal memoranda, Pfizer said it "has instituted several new measures designed to improve monitoring and execution of clinical trials, including our oversight of clinical investigators."

Medications for children are necessary.  But so is safety.  In an effort to create effectove drugs, companies should never risk the health of those utilized in a clinical trial.  Safety over profit must be the goal.

Do you have any questions about this post?  

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also acknowledges him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Antidepressants May Similarly Affect Suicide Risk In Children, Adolescents

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner               

                                                                                                        

HealthDay reported that, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, "there appears to be no difference among antidepressants in raising a kid's risk of suicidal thoughts." Harvard School of Public Health researchers "collected data on 20,906 children aged 10 to 18 who had been diagnosed with depression in British Columbia," after following the children for nine years. The young participants "were on a variety of commonly prescribed antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft)."

Medscape reported, "During the first 12 months of treatment, the researchers identified 266 attempted and three completed suicides -- an event rate of 27.04 suicidal acts per 1000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 23.9 – 30.5 suicidal acts per 1,000 person-years)." However, "they failed to see any significant differences in rate ratios (RRs) in analyses comparing fluoxetine with citalopram (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.54 – 1.76), fluvoxamine (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.46 – 2.43), paroxetine (RR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.47 – 1.37), and sertraline (RR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.56 – 1.84)."

Reuters interviewed Thomas Laughren, MD, director of the FDA's Division of Psychiatry Products, who pointed out that clinicians need to closely follow young people on antidepressants due to the increased risk for suicide.

These reports underscore the importance of carefully monitoring people, especially young people, who are prescribed antidepressants.  Doctors must be aware of all risks and benefits attendant to the drugs they prescribe, and must explain those risks and benefits to patients and, when appropriate, parents and guardians, so that the best medical decisions can be made.

do you have any questions about this post?  

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also acknowledges him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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There Are Various Types of Cerebral Palsy

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner

CONTACT US      

                                                                                                        

Cerebral Palsy is a medical condition that often confuses both parents and doctors.  With thorough testing, however, a physician can determine the exact type of  cerebral palsy your child has.  The proper classification depends on the severity of the child's symptoms, as well as the parts of the brain and body affected by the condition.

Here is a list of the fundamental categories of cerebral palsy:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

This is the most common form of CP.  A child with spastic CP has muscles that are rigid, making it very difficult to move about.  There are three forms of spastic CP:

  • Spastic diplegia — Legs typically cross at the knees ("scissoring"), and leg and hip muscles are tight.
  • Spastic hemiplegia — One side of body affected only.  Affected side may have rigid limbs  and limbs that fail to develop fully.  
  • Spastic quadriplegia — The severest type of CP.  Child likely to have mental deficits along with rigidity and difficulty moving legs and arms.  Often difficult for child to walk and talk.  Seizures common, too.

Athetoid Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

This is the second most frequently diagnosed type of cerebral palsy.  This type of CP does not affect the brain.  Although intelligence may be normal, muscle movement throughout the body may be severely limited. Muscles tone may be either tight or weak, making it challenging to walk, talk, or move about.  Drooling is common, as it is often difficult for a child with this type of CP to control facial muscles.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

This is the least diagnosed type of Cerebral Palsy.  ACP affects a child's fine motor skills, making it difficult for the child to perform tasks such as tying shoes, using a scissors, manipulating parts of toys, etc.  Problems with coordination and balance are typical.  You may notice your child walking with his or her legs further apart than other children at the same age.  And when a child engages in an act, "intention tremors” may occur.  For example, if a child reaches for a toy, the child's arm may begin to tremor, and the tremors may get more prono8unced as the child approaches the toy.

Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy

This type of CP is diagnosed early in a child's life. Symptoms include a "floppy" head when the infant attempts to sit up, and delayed motor development. Experts believe that this type of CP results from brain damage.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

It is common for doctors to determine that a child's CP does not "fit" into one of the above categories.  As a result, the physician may consider the child to have "mixed" CP.

 

Cerebral palsy can be inherited or the result of a lack of development.  Sometime, it is caused by medical errors.  For instance, if a child is in distress in utero (before birth), but no appropriate action is taken by the hospital staff to alleviate the distress, the child may suffer CP.  This is just one example of the many ways medical errors lead to CP.  Fetal monitoring strips and other diagnostic tools are used to monitor an unborn child's health.  They must be used and monitored effectively.

If you have any questions about your child's health, please consult with your child's physician immediately. 

If you want to learn more about CP, please read an earlier blog I wrote about the condition.  Also, if you are wondering whether your child's condition was caused by a medical error, feel free to contact me at 202-822-1899 or email me at szambri@reganfirm.com.  Our medical and legal professionals are here for you, and our investigation is done at no charge.

CONTACT ME  

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also acknowledges him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Resources for Cerebral Palsy, Including Information in Spanish

By Catherine Bertram                                                  

Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. 

A recent CDC study shows that the average prevalence of CP is 3.3 per 1,000 8-year-old children or 1 in 303 children.   Click here to listen to a podcast on Cerebral Palsy.

What Are Some of the Signs of Cerebral Palsy?

According to the CDC, "the signs of cerebral palsy vary greatly.  The main sign is a delay reaching the motor or movement milestones. Click here for a milestone checklist and here for the spanish version.

A child over 2 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Have difficulty controlling head when picked up
  • Have stiff legs that cross or "scissor" when picked up

A child over 6 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Continue to have a hard time controlling head when picked up
  • Reach with only one hand while keeping the other in a fist

A child over 10 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Crawl by pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
  • Not sit by himself or herself

A child over 12 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Not crawl
  • Not be able to stand with support

A child over 24 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Not be able to walk
  • Not be able to push a toy with wheels"

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the brain. There are multiple possible causes including problems with the blood supply to the brain before or during child birth, bleeding in the brain, lack of oxygen, and head injury.  

If you think your child has cerebral palsy talk to your pediatrician right away to get a thorough evaluation.  If you think the cause may be a result of child birth you can contact us for a free confidential medical-legal evaluation.

 

Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Obstetrics , Pediatrics
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Medical Malpractice and the Healthcare Debate

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

As you know, President Obama has called a summit to address the issue of healthcare reform.  The insurance industry, Big Business, the pharmaceutical industry, the American Medical Association (the doctor lobbying group), and other corporate industries have been shouting for limits on patients' rights.  The inescapable truth, however, is that capping damages and otherwise limiting the ability victims of medical errors have to obtain justice will have no appreciable impact on overall health costs.  Medical Malpractice litigation accounts for merely 1/2% to 1% of overall healthcare costs according to the Congressional Budget Office.

During the summit, Senator Dick Durbin (IL) delivered an impassioned defense of the civil justice system.

The president of the American Association for Justice recently appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss this issue.

Nearly 100,000 people die every year in America due to preventable medical errors--that's like two 747 airplanes fully loaded crashing to the ground every single day.  The last thing the government anyone should ever seek to do is limit these innocent victims' ability to seek justice.  What the medical and business industries should be focusing on is improving medical care to avoid the medical errors that are seriously injuring and killing Americans.

I represent people who have been devastatingly injured due to preventable medical errors, as well as families of those who have been killed due to medical negligence.  If you have any questions about our civil justice system and its impact on overall healthcare costs, please feel free to give me a call.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.  

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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Congress Deals With Radiation Safety, Doctor Kick-Backs

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The New York Times, in a front-page report, announced, "To help ensure that medical radiation is safe, Medicare insists that certain highly technical cancer treatments be administered only when a patient's radiation oncologist is present or nearby." Federal officials say physicians who fail to adequately supervise technicians during radiotherapy risk patient safety. But, the issue also "raises questions about financial incentives and the overuse of high-tech, and highly reimbursed, treatments" when "less advanced and cheaper ones would have served just as well."

As a result, "Congress passed an antikickback law designed to stop doctors from" unnecessarily ordering "tests or procedures in which they have a financial interest," according to the report.  In addition, "radiation safety will be the subject of a Congressional hearing Friday." For its part, "the American College of Radiology has said that self-referral endangers patients because doctors tend to order more tests."

Before undergoing any diagnostic test or invasive procedure, your doctor should describe all benefits and  risks of the procedure and he or she should explain all alternative options as well.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Avandia Linked to Heart Attacks, Death Per Senate Report

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The front page of the New York Times reported that "Hundreds of people taking Avandia [rosiglitazone], a controversial diabetes medicine, needlessly suffer heart attacks and heart failure each month, according to confidential government reports." A Senate Finance Committee review cites internal FDA documents that highlight a dispute among regulators that "has been brewing for years but has been brought to a head by disagreement over a new clinical trial."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate committee concluded that Glaxo was aware of the risks, but minimized the issue and attempted to suppress concerned physicians. The FDA's documents also indicate that agency scientists said the drug should be pulled from the market in 2008, but FDA chiefs rejected the recommendations. Now, agency commissioner Margaret Hamburg is expected to meet "with FDA scientists and outside experts to gain a full understanding...of all of the data and issues involved," a spokeswoman said.

The AP reported that the Senate committee is asking the FDA "why it allowed a clinical trial of Avandia to continue even after the agency estimated that the drug caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007." Glaxo agreed to an FDA request for "a six-year study between its drug and" the Pfizer diabetes drug Actos [pioglitazone] "to give a definitive picture of Avandia's safety."

If the senate report proves to be accurate, this once again smacks of a company putting profits over patient safety, leading to serious injuries and death.

If prescribed Avandia, please contcat your doctor immediately.  Your doctor should not prescribe any medication without first warning you of all known risks, and only if the benefits of teh medication outweigh the risks.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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New Wand Detects Surgical Instruments Left In Patients

By Catherine D. Bertram                                                     

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, a company called RF Surgical Systems of Bellevue, Wash., created the RF Surgical Detection System which is essentially a scanning wand that can be used by surgeons to find any tagged items remaining in a patient. Tags (or seeds) about the size of a rice grain are imbedded in gauze, sponges and the like. One wave of the wand over the patient will reveal if the coast is clear.

According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, retained objects were reported "1 in 8,801 to 1 in 18,760 inpatient operations" which essentially is the equivalent of one case or more each year for a large hospital.  Unfortunately, this study was based on malpractice claims not just reported events,  so some experts say those numbers are most likely an underestimate. 

Does it work?  According to the article, more than 100 hospitals are using the system at a cost of about $15 per surgery.

Our firm has extensive experience with local cases involving surgical errors, including local hospitals where retained objects caused patient death. If you have any questions about this type of case feel free to email me at cbertram@reganfirm.com or call me at 202-822-1875.

Posted In Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Two Million Defective Huber Needles Recalled by Nipro

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


The AP (1/27, Perrone) reports, "Federal health officials announced the recall of two million medical needles Tuesday because of a risk they can push bits of silicone into patients' bodies." The FDA "said Japanese manufacturer Nipro Medical Corp. has voluntarily recalled its Exel/Exelint Huber needles manufactured between January 2007 and August 2009."   Doctors, nurses, and patients should not be using these needles under any circumstances.

Bloomberg News (1/27, Peterson) reports that the "defect...might lead to fatal blockages of the main artery of the lung, the [FDA] said." The needles, which are intended "to give food and medicine to chronically ill patients," can "dislodge 'cores,' or slivers of silicon, from 'ports' under the skin and release the material into the bloodstream, FDA officials said." Jon Casamento, deputy director of the Solid and Fluid Mechanics Division at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said the "defective needles...may cause tissue damage and inadequate drug delivery."

Regulators have not received reports that the needles released silicon or other foreign chemicals into patients, but the defect is difficult for doctors to detect, Dow Jones Newswire (1/27, Favole) reports.

CNN (1/27, Young) reports that the FDA "said anyone using the products should stop immediately and return any unused needles to Exelint." The agency indicated that it is conducting investigations "of needles from 20 companies," of which 10 have already been completed. "The FDA said it has sent letters to all Huber manufacturers asking them to address any design or manufacturing problems."

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.  

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Trailblazer Support Catheter Recalled, Dangerous

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

ev3 Endovascular, Inc. and FDA notified healthcare professionals of a Class I Recall of the Trailblazer Support Catheter. According to the recall, "This device may crack near the radiopaque marker band. This may result in serious patient injury, including insufficient oxygen supply to the tissues, damage to blood vessels, heart attack, limb amputation, unplanned surgery, and/or death."

If using a catheter, please contact your doctor immediately to be sure it is not part of the recall.  If you know you are using a Trailblazer Support Catheter, please stop using it right away, and obtain an alternative product.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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States Without Damage Caps Have More Doctors

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

In a blog at the California Progress Report (1/6), J.G. Preston wrote, "One of the arguments the 'tort reform' crowd uses to justify putting a cap on the amount of money a jury can award to a victim of medical negligence is their assertion that increases in the cost of malpractice insurance are driving doctors out of the business." But "there are more doctors per capita in states that don't limit the amount that can be awarded to victims of negligence than there are in states that have implemented caps. The American Association for Justice broke down the numbers and found there are 21% more doctors per capita in states that don't restrict compensation that there are in states with caps." 

And there are more doctors than ever in America.   Take a look at the most recent data published by the American Medical Association, which confirms this fact.  The publication considers data through 2008.  There were 309 doctors for every 100,000 people that year.   Compared to the 1960s, that's twice as many.  So, not only are there more doctors per capita in states without damages caps, there are also more doctors everywhere in this nation.

The lesson:  Don't let the corporate greed of certain special interest groups convince you that you need to abandon your constitutional rights to pad their pockets.  Victims of the carelessness of others need their rights. 

Be safe, and don't be fooled by well-worn rhetoric.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice, product liability, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding civil litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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FDA Issues Warning For Hypertension Drug

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


The AP reports that officials with the Food and Drug Administration warned doctors recently that "about 11 recalled lots of an intravenous hypertension drug made by the Medicines Co. are contaminated with bits of steel." According to the agency, the particles "could potentially disrupt blood flow to the brain, kidney, liver heart and lungs." Medicines Co. recalled the affected lots of Cleviprex (clevidipine butyrate).

If you believe you have been prescribed this drug, contact your doctor immediately.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Pfizer Wants Prempro Internet Video Removed

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


Bloomberg News (12/16, O'Reilly, Feeley) reports, "Pfizer Inc. asked a judge to order the removal of an Internet video about its menopause medicines that the company says is misleading and aimed at swaying potential jurors in future trials over the pills." The video, called "Prempro News Segment," was posted on YouTube.com by "plaintiffs' lawyers who recently won more than $78 million in damages in a Pennsylvania trial over Pfizer's Prempro hormone-replacement drug."

At issue in that case was whether the "menopause drugs helped cause" the plaintiff's breast cancer. In the video, "breast-cancer victims discuss their cases," while the attorneys "accuse Wyeth of minimizing the risks of Prempro." According to Pfizer's lawyers, "Pennsylvania rules governing lawyer ethics prohibit lawyers from making pre-trial statements to the press that could 'prejudice' an upcoming case."

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   
 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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800,000 Swine Flu Vaccine Doses Recalled

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


A massive recall of swine flu vaccine doses drew national attention recently when it was announced by the Center for Disease Control.  ABC World News (12/15, story 6, 0:20, Gibson) reports that federal health officials "are recalling 800,000 children doses of swine flu vaccine...made by Sanofi Pasteur." NBC Nightly News (12/15, story 2, 0:35, Williams) reported that the doses "are less potent than they should have been."

The Los Angeles Times (12/16, Maugh) reports that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Anne Schuchat said the recall was "non-safety-related," and was "part of a routine quality assurance program." Schuchat emphasized that "children who received the vaccine do not need to be re-immunized," but the agency "wanted to make sure that doses that weren't already given won't be." The Washington Post (12/16, Stein, Laris) reports that "most of the vaccine, which was distributed nationwide in November, has probably already been used."

Bloomberg News (12/16, Randall) reports that Sanofi "began delivering swine flu vaccine in the US in September, with the bulk of deliveries expected in the fourth quarter." The United States "has ordered 75 million doses from the Paris- based company." CQ HealthBeat (12/16, Norman) reports that the problem was identified during "ongoing quality assessments" made by the drugmaker. The New York Times (12/16, A28, Mcneil) reports that Dr. Schuchat "said the vaccine was fully potent at release but dropped by about 12 percent in follow-up tests." In a story appearing in some form on over 320 news websites, the AP (12/16, Stobbe) reports that Jesse Goodman, the FDA's deputy commissioner for science and public health, said the problem may be related to the antigen sticking to the walls of children's pre-filled syringes.

USA Today (12/16, Sternberg) reports that the affected vaccine, "packaged in half-dose amounts meant for children 6 months to nearly 3 years old, represents about 1% of the nation's H1N1 vaccine supply." Sanofi spokesman Len Lavenda said the doses comprise roughly "18% of the 4.5 million doses in prefilled syringes made by Sanofi for children in that age group." Lavenda commented that officials were "baffled" by the weakened vaccine, adding "we can't remember a time when flu vaccine lost potency." The Wall Street Journal (12/16, Dooren) reports that Sanofi will be notifying providers to return any unused doses.

Reuters (12/16, Fox) also reported on this story, while Time (12/16, O'Callaghan) mentioned the recall in their "Wellness" blog.

Please be careful when taking a vaccine or allowing a loved one to be injected.  We urge you to speak with your doctor about all pros and cons of any drug before ingesting it.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Radiation Exposure from CT Scans Worse Than Previously Estimated

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The CBS Evening News reported, "The problem of too much radiation during CT scans may be more widespread than anyone thought." CBS further confirmed that "new research...found a wide variation in radiation dose for the most common CT scan like abdomen, pelvis, and chest. A survey of four hospitals found some patients received 13 times more radiation than others for the same type of scan."   Over-radiation can be very dangerous.

NBC Nightly News, referring to a study, stated that "researchers calculated that 72 million CT scans are performed in this country a year and concluded that could lead to 29,000 excess cancers and 15,000 excess deaths a year in the future."  The study NBC cited was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. 

A second study, in the same journal, of over 1,000 patients at four hospitals, showed that 1 out of 270 women and 1 out of 600 men suffer from cancer as a result of undergoing a single heart scan at age 40, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the report, researchers who performed the study noted that the differences in radiation doses may be a result of the difference in technology from one medical provider to another as well as a lack of standardized settings.

Bloomberg News reports that in the National Cancer Institute study, "the authors predicted that lung cancer will be the most common radiation-related cancer followed by colon cancer and leukemia." In response to these study, the FDA has "issued interim regulations Dec. 7 requiring closer monitoring of CT scans after more than 250 cases of exposure to excess radiation were reported since October."

Before undergoing a CT scan, you should get sound medical advice from an experienced physician who is familiar with the risks and benefits of the procedure.  If undergoing a scan, be sure the facility has technologically advanced equipment, so your exposure to radiation is minimized to the extent possible.  Your doctors should be advising you of all risks associated with the procedure, as well as all options available to you, so you can make the best health decision you can.  Your doctors should also be using equipment that is safe and in excellent working condition.

I wish you good health and happiness.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 


 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by Improper Care Before, During and After Childbirth

Posted by Catherine Bertram, Partner                                                

"Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same." -Franz Peter Schubert

The medical staff at the Mayo Clinic define "Cerebral palsy" (CP) is a general term for a group of disorders that appear during the first few years of life and affect a child's ability to coordinate body movements. Cerebral palsy can cause muscles to be weak and floppy, or rigid and stiff.

In the United States, cerebral palsy occurs in about two to four out of every 1,000 births. The disorder is usually caused by brain injuries, including lack of oxygen, also called hypoxia or anoxia. Cerebral palsy isn't curable.  Medical evidence supports theories that infections, birth injuries, and poor oxygen supply to the brain before, during, and immediately after birth result in up to 15% of cases.

Between 35% and 50% of all children with CP will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental retardation. They also may have learning disabilities and vision, speech, hearing, or language problems.  Often parents are overwhelmed when their child is given this diagnosis and rightly so.  There are many questions and no clear answers.  As a parent of a child with special needs, you may be asking:

  • Why did this happen to my child?
  • How am I going to pay for what my child needs now and in the future?

Every circumstance is unique, just like very child and every family.   If you have questions about that care you received or the birth experience or the care your child received after birth and you think it may be a factor in your child's condition, you can get answers.   We have significant experience handling these types of cases and have many nationally known experts who are willing to review your child's case and determine what happened.  I was Director of Risk Management at a major teaching hospital in DC and have experience reviewing these cases from both the patient's side and the hospital's side.   We also have a nurse-attorney on staff at my firm who worked in a local hospital on the labor and delivery unit so she has special expertise in reviewing the records and determining what happened. 

As a parent and as a patient advocate I urge you to get answers if you have these questions.  You owe it to yourself and your child.  Click here for some great quotes for families with special needs children and pass this on to other parents you know who have children with special challenges for those days when a few words may lighten our hearts.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes her practice to the representation of patients and families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  Ms. Bertram lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

 

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Cartons of Berries & Balsamic Salad Recalled

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The FDA has announced that a California-based company--organicgirl produce--has recalled 120 cartons of its 5.75 oz Berries & Balsamic Salad "because it may contain an incorrect condiment packet with an unlabeled allergen for walnuts."

"The product is packaged in plastic trays in a 6-count carton, UPC 895203-001332, product lot number 31B073830, with Use-By Date of December 16, 2009."  If you have an allergy to walnuts, do not eat this product.  Doing so would "run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction," says the FDA.

If you purchased the recalled product, you are urged to return it to the place you bought it from for a full refund. If you have any questions, you may also contact organicgirl produce at 1-831-758-7810.

It is common for people to have allergic reactions to all kinds of foods.  That is why it is critically important for all food suppliers to carefully label what the product contains.  Without appropriate warnings, public health is compromised. 

Many people die every year as a result of food allergies.  If you have an allergy to a food product, read labels carefully.  If eating at a restaurant, ask your server to confirm the absence of the product you are allergic to when ordering.

Enjoy your meals, but please be careful to ingest only what you know is safe.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and business professionals concerning product defects, product liability litigation, and safety improvements.

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.  

 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Stop Hurting Patients and There Will Be No Lawsuits

Posted by Catherine Bertram, Partner                                     

In a recent opinion piece in Salon, Dr. Rahul Parikh summarized the tort "reformers" arguments which have been in the news lately. These argument about the so called lawsuit crisis are being put forth by insurance companies and the American Medical Association.  Dr. Parikh carefully refutes each one by using the real facts.   He then challenges physicians to focus on the real priority, patient safety. Instead of attacking lawyers who advocate for patients harmed by preventable errors, the resources should be focused on preventing the patient injuries in the first place.   Here is the bottom line directly from his piece:

"Tort reformers neglect the fact that malpractice reform won't save one extra life. To make that difference, insurers, doctors and their lobbyists like the AMA need to find ways to improve patient safety. So for those who push tort reform as a panacea for a sick health care system, working to prevent injuries is a much more noble pursuit than writing up baseless arguments for the back pages of a newspaper."

Instead of focusing on limiting the rights of citizens who have valid claims for harm as a result of preventable errors in health care, we need to focus on how to stop the patients from being injured in the first place.  This involves daily focus by doctors, nurses and most of all the support and resources from hospital leadership.  

I would love nothing more than to come to my office and have no calls from patients or their families after devastating medical errors.   However, that is not the case.  We are seeing more errors and more obvious preventable errors because the system is broken and there is often not accountability.

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."  Helen Keller

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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State Tort "Reforms" Don't Lower Insurance Premiums

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The American Association for Justice has published an article that establishes what we have known now for some time--that state tort "reforms" have provided a boon to insurance companies, while physician and patient premiums continue to skyrocket.  The winner:  insurnace companies, whose profits have hit record levels.  The losers:  doctors and, especially, patients, whose fundamental rights have been taken from them.

"An analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and company annual statements shows malpractice insurer profits are 24 percent higher in states with caps.  In these cap states, insurers took in 3.5 times more in premiums than they paid out in 2008.  In contrast, insurers in states without caps took in just over twice what they paid in claims."

98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, yet the insurnace industry and the chamber of commerce want o place nonsensical limits on patients' rights simply to pad insurance companies' profits.  This profits-over-people model is anti-American and unethical.

The report establishes that the "medical malpractice insurance industry has seen a 47 percent increase in profitability in the last 10 years. Overblown 'reported' losses were used by the insurance industry to justify new measures restricting the rights of those injured by medical negligence."

Americans need to fight back against the myths spread by special interest group.  Over 30 states have been fooled into thinking caps on daages will help pemiums.  They haven't. In the meantime, though, "the average profit of the 10 largest medical malpractice insurers was higher than 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 35 times higher than the Fortune 500 average."

To view a copy of Insurance Company Handout: How the Industry Used Tort Reform to Increase Profits While Americans' Premiums Soared, visit http://www.justice.org/clips/Insurance_Company_Handout.pdf.

As I mentioned, It is widely accepted that approximately 98,000 Americans die every year as a result of medical errors.  That's like two 747 airplanes full of passengers crashing to the ground every day for a year.  Yet, some legislators want to strip innocent victims of their constitutional rights, including limiting their recoveries, instead of focusing on preventing future errors. 

Our leaders should be fighting for safer drugs, safer hospitals, better medical practices, and a safer American health system.  We must put people over profits.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

 

 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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98,000 Preventable Patient Deaths: 9 Patient Safety Solutions

By Catherine D. Bertram, Partner                                           

"No adverse event should ever occur anywhere in the world if the knowledge exists to prevent it from happening."   That is a direct quote from the Joint Commission, a national organization that accredits more than 16,000 health care organizations around the country.  In fact it  is the first sentence in their introduction to what they have dubbed "9 key patient safety solutions" for health care providers in order to prevent inevitable human errors from actually reaching patients and thus prevent patient injuries and death from preventable errors.  

Having worked as Director of Risk Management in a major teaching hospital and having studied patient safety, I can verify that harm to patients and "near miss'' incidents often involve the issues listed by the Joint Commission below.  Those 9 solutions were developed from the data the Joint Commission has regarding patient injuries, deaths and near misses.  

Unfortunately, in the recent past I have represented families and patients in the DC area who have been harmed or lost their lives at local hospitals as a result of medical errors from situations that would fall into the categories listed below. (Also, see the links for translations of the 9 patient safety solutions for many other languages at the end of the article.)

"1.  Look-alike, Sound-alike medication names
Confusing drug names is one of the most common reasons for medication errors. With tens of thousands of drugs currently on the market, the potential for error created by confusing brand and generic drug names is a recognized risk that has not been solved.

2. Patient Identification (PDF)
The widespread and continuing failures to correctly identify patients often leads to medication, transfusion and testing errors; wrong person procedures; and the discharge of infants to the wrong families.

3. Communication During Patient Hand-Overs (PDF)
Gaps in hand-over (or hand-off) communication between patient care units, and between and among care teams, can cause serious breakdowns in the continuity of care, inappropriate treatment, and potential harm for the patient.

4. Performance of Correct Procedure at Correct Body Site (PDF)
Considered totally preventable, cases of wrong procedure or wrong site surgery are largely the result of miscommunication and unavailable, or incorrect, information. A major contributing factor to these types of errors is the lack of a standardized preoperative process.
 
5. Control of Concentrated Electrolyte Solutions (PDF)
While all drugs, biologics, vaccines and contrast media have a defined risk profile, concentrated electrolyte solutions that are used for injection are especially dangerous.

6. Assuring Medication Accuracy at Transitions in Care (PDF)
Medication errors occur most commonly at transitions. Medication reconciliation is a process designed to prevent medication errors at patient transition points.

7. Avoiding Catheter and Tubing Mis-Connections (PDF)
The design of tubing, catheters, and syringes currently in use is such that it is possible to inadvertently cause patient harm through connecting the wrong syringes and tubing and then delivering medication or fluids through an unintended wrong route.
 
8. Single Use of Injection Devices (PDF)
One of the biggest global concerns is the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) because of the reuse of injection needles.
 
9. Improved Hand Hygiene to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infection (HAI) (PDF)
It is estimated that at any point in time more than 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from infections acquired in hospitals. Effective hand hygiene is the primary preventive measure for avoiding this problem."

 Nine Solutions-Arabic Translation (PDF)
 Nine Solutions-Chinese Translation (PDF)
 Nine Solutions-German Translation (PDF)
 Nine Solutions-Spanish Translation (PDF)

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Medical Malpractice Accounts for Far less than 1% of Overall Healthcare Costs

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

According to a study from Public Citizen,  medical malpractice payments to patients who have been injured due to medical errors declined for the third year in a row.  The study further shows that the payouts total between merely 0.18% and 0.6% of the overall medical costs in this country. 

Is this decline the result of better medical care?  Unfortunately, no, according to the study.   Instead, fewer injured patients are being compensated.  Approximately 98,000 people are killed every year in this country due to medical mistakes, but payouts only go to about 11,000 of them.  If there is a medical malpractice crisis in this country, the core of the crisis is sloppy medicine, not frivolous lawsuits, notes the study:

More than 80 percent of the money paid out for medical malpractice in 2008 was for cases involving "significant permanent injuries"; "major permanent injuries"; injuries resulting in quadriplegia, brain damage or the need for permanent care; or death, according to NPDB [National Practitioner Data Bank] reporting.

Despite the hysteria surrounding debates over medical malpractice litigation, experts have repeatedly concluded that several times as many patients suffer avoidable injuries as those who sue. The best known such finding was included in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal 1999 study, "To Err Is Human," which concluded that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die every year because of avoidable medical errors. Fewer than 15,000 people (including those with non-fatal outcomes) received compensation for medical malpractice that year, and in 2008, the number receiving compensation fell to just over 11,000.

Patient safety needs to become a priority in this country.  Unless it does, thousands upon thousands of Americans will be needlessly killed or seriously injured each year. 

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2009-2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America. 

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Medical Errors Should Be Reported to Improve Safety

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


The AP (12/11, Tanner) reports that "in 2005, Illinois legislators...passed a measure requiring hospitals to report the deadliest kind" of medical errors, but "the law has yet to be implemented -- and it likely won't be for at least another year." Illinois "budget woes and foot-dragging by special interests are among reasons cited for the long delay." However, "there are finally glimmers of progress. That includes the recent launch of a related state website that tracks hospital infection rates and staff levels, and the imminent start of a search for a vendor to help put the law in place."

Ten years ago, a landmark report proved that medical mistakes kill up to 98,000 Americans yearly. Only a handful of states have decided to do something about it, Minnesota being the first in 2003.  In 2005, Illinois modeled a law after Minnesota's.  Four years later, the law has still not been implemented.  Why?  Foot-dragging by special interest groups.  Finally, though, some progress is being made, including " the recent launch of a related state Web site that tracks hospital infection rates and staff levels, and the imminent start of a search for a vendor to help put the law in place."

According to the AP report, "The law will require hospitals to publicly report so-called "never" mistakes. These are mostly preventable errors with potentially life-threatening consequences -- like the wrong-knee surgery Krzysztof Kordes says Chicago-area doctors performed on him last year or the forgotten sponge left inside a Plainfield woman during breast tumor surgery."

A few things the law requires:

  • hospitals required to report major medical errors within 30 days to the state's public health department
  • list of hospitals and mistakes will be posted online
  • hospitals required to determine cause of errors and to develop corrective plan

These kinds of laws should be in every state in our country.  Medical providers should not bow to special interest groups.  Sharing more, not less, following an adverse event is the only way to truly minimize future medical errors. 

Encourage your legislators to work hard to implement strong laws that clearly work to open communication and spur better, safer health practices.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2009-2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America. 

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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Evaluating a Medical Malpractice Case

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

As a consumer justice attorney, I have the privilege of representing and helping people through difficult times every day. Oftentimes, my clients are horrifically and permanently injured due to no fault of their own. Other times, I represent families of those who have died as a result of someone else's carelessness.

This may surprise you, but it is widely accepted that approximately 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical negligence, more than deaths caused by guns and automobile collisions.  The yearly death toll from medical errors equates to the number of deaths that would result from two 747 airplanes crashing to the ground every day.  This alarming statistic does not even include those who have not died, but have nevertheless suffered serious permanent injuries due to a lack of appropriate medical care.

I have published a paper that addresses some fundamental, but extraordinarily important, steps necessary to properly and thoroughly evaluate a potential medical malpractice claim. By no means does the article include all investigative efforts required to analyze a case, as every claim is different and deserves special attention. 

To read my article, entitled "Evaluating a Medical Malpractice Case", please click here.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America. 

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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American Associate for Justice Publishes Primer on Medical Negligence Debate: A Must Read

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The American Association for Justice has published a primer on the medical malpractice debate.  It comprehensively shows how special interest groups have perpetuated myths in an effort to strip Americans of their rights in order to pad their profits.  Here are some of the findings:

  • Myth #1: There are too many “frivolous” malpractice lawsuits
  • Myth #2: Malpractice claims drive up health care costs.
  • Myth #3: Doctors are fleeing.
  • Myth #4: Malpractice claims drive up doctors’ premiums.
  • Myth #5: Tort reform will lower insurance rates.

It is widely accepted that approximately 98,000 Americans die every year as a result of medical errors.  That's like two 747 airplanes full of passengers crashing to the ground every day for a year.  Yet, some legislators want to strip innocent victims of their constitutional rights, including limiting their recoveries, instead of focusing on preventing future errors. 

Our leaders should be fighting for safer drugs, safer hospitals, better medical practices, and a safer American health system.  We must put people over profits.

To read the publication, please click here.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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GAO Says FDA Lacking in Developing Drug Surveillance Office

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

 

The Associated Press has reported today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "still hasn't restructured its staff to better monitor drug safety, more than three years after experts recommended key changes in the wake of the Vioxx scandal."  According to the report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will release a report today indicating that FDA officials "have made some changes to drug oversight," although the agency "continues to give the bulk of its decision-making power to scientists who approve new drugs, rather than those who monitor the side effects of drugs on the market."  Consequently, the GAO "calls on the FDA to set a timetable for transferring new responsibilities to the surveillance office."

In response, the FDA "said major decisions about drug safety are delegated to the new drugs division because that is 'where staff with the broadest expertise and experience' on product safety issues reside," according to the AP report.

We urge the FDA to ramp up its surveillance of drugs, and we implore pharmaceutical companies to be sure their products are safe before placing them into the marketplace.  Drugs are obviously important, but manufacturers need to put people over profits.  No drug should enter the marketplace until it has been thoroughly tested and until its side-effects are fully understood.

Before taking any medication, please confer with your doctor.  Know all risks and benefits of a drug before taking it.

We wish you good health.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who dedicates his practice to catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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New Paper Debunks Medical Malpractice Myths


 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The American Association for Justice has published a paper that concisely and clearly debunked the myths about medical malpractice which has been spread by business interest groups aimed at putting profits over people.  In the first of a series of papers, Public Citizen debunks the following "five myths: 

  • Myth #1: There are too many “frivolous” malpractice lawsuits.

Fact: There’s an epidemic of medical negligence, not lawsuits.  Only one in eight people injured by medical negligence ever file suit.  Civil filings have declined eight percent over the last decade, and are less than one percent of the whole civil docket.  A 2006 Harvard study found that 97 percent of claims were meritorious, stating, “portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are overblown.”

  • Myth #2: Malpractice claims drive up health care costs.

Fact: According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the total spent defending claims and compensating victims of medical negligence was just 0.3% of health care costs, and the Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office have made similar findings.

  • Myth #3: Doctors are fleeing.

Fact: Then where are they going?  According to the American Medical Association’s own data, the number of practicing physicians in the United States has been growing steadily for decades. Not only are there more doctors, but the number of doctors is increasing faster than population growth.  Despite the cries of physicians fleeing multiple states, the number of physicians increased in every state, and only four states saw growth slower than population growth; these four states all have medical malpractice caps.

  • Myth #4: Malpractice claims drive up doctors’ premiums.

Fact: Empirical research has found that there is little correlation between malpractice payouts and malpractice premiums paid by doctors. A study of the leading medical malpractice insurance companies’ financial statements by former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff found that these insurers artificially raised doctors’ premiums and misled the public about the nature of medical negligence claims.  A previous AAJ report on malpractice insurers found they had earnings higher than 99% of Fortune 500 companies.

  • Myth #5: Tort reform will lower insurance rates.

Fact:  Tort reforms are passed under the guise that they will lower physicians’ liability premiums. This does not happen. While insurers do pay out less money when damages awards are capped, they do not pass the savings along to doctors by lowering premiums. Even the most ardent tort reformers have been caught stating that tort reform will have no effect on insurance rates."

It is widely accepted that approximately 98,000 Americans die every year as a result of medical errors.  That's like two 747 airplanes full of passengers crashing to the ground every day for a year.  Yet, some legislators want to strip innocent victims of their constitutional rights, including limitibg their recoveries, instead of focusing on preventing future errors. 

Don't let your legislative representatives takes your rights away just so some special interest groups can pad their profits.  Fight for safer hospitals, better medical practices, and a safer American health system.  We must put people over profits.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Drug Warning: Vials of Genzyme Drugs Potentially Contaminated

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

The New York Times reported that according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "Vials of five different Genzyme drugs for rare diseases may be contaminated with tiny particles of steel, rubber or fiber that could potentially harm patients."  However, "the FDA and Genzyme said that there had been no reports of patients being harmed by particles and that the problem affected less than one percent of the vials."  Although Dr. Jason Woo, an FDA official, stated, "We do not believe this is a wide-scale problem, but we do not have information that fully defines the scope," patients and doctors are concerned.

According to the report, the FDA has confirmed that "the products would remain on the market, because there are few alternative treatments," the AP (11/14, Perrone) reported. The agency has strongly advised physicians to "closely inspect vials for particles before injecting them into patients."  If exposed to contaminated vials, patients may experience "potential allergic reactions, blood clots, and other problems," states the report. 

 About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.


 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Medical Malpractice Victims' Right to Sue in Court Only Nominally Impacts Overall Healthcare Costs

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

According to the AP (9/18), the Obama Administration "announced $25 million in grants for states and health care systems to experiment with alternatives to costly medical malpractice lawsuits." The report states that the grants will amount to "up to $3 million each for three years," and can be allocated for "a range of ideas, including programs in which doctors and hospitals quickly acknowledge a mistake, offer an apology and restitution, and pledge to take corrective action."        

NPR (9/17, James), on its  "Two-Way" blog, reports that although "a lot of people believe . . . [that] medical malpractice is a major contributor to healthcare inflation. . . the available evidence is with the president"--that it has little impact on healthcare costs.  NPR noted what others, including the Congressional Budget Office (under the direction of former President George W. Bush), have determined, which is that "perhaps one percent or less of healthcare's high costs has been attributed in many studies to malpractice lawsuits."

I think it is good that the American people are starting to learn the truth about medical malpractice litigation and victims' rights to obtain justice.  For far too long, special interest groups, like the insurance and medical industries, have spread myths about "frivolous" lawsuits and the impact malpractice claims have on overall healthcare costs.  These special interest groups have relied on rhetoric and anecdotes in an effort to fool the American people into giving up their rights--specifically their right to obtain justice through a civil justice systemaccess to justice.  There is no place for scare-tactics and myth-dissemination in American politics.  Hopefully, the present discourse about medical malpractice litigation will reveal the truth so that Americans can see that certain industries are willing to put profits over people at almost any cost. 

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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FDA Mandates "Black Box" Warning for Promethazine

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

The AP (9/17, Johnson) reports that the FDA has determined that "[m]akers of injected promethazine, a sedative also used to treat nausea and vomiting, are being required to put the strongest warning possible on the product because it can cause tissue damage leading to amputation." FDA regulators said that "makers of generic promethazine will have to put a 'black box' warning at the top of the detailed package insert explaining that when the drug is administered incorrectly, it can damage skin severely, including causing gangrene."

We urge our readers to be very careful when taking this drug.  It is vitally important that you refrain from using it unless directed by a doctor, who is responsible for understanding all of the risks and benefits of the drug.  The risks should be communicated to you by your doctor before the physician prescribes the medication.
 

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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American Association of Justice Rightly Defends Access to Justice

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire


In a segment on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" (9/15), the immediate past-president of the American Association of Justice, Les Weisbrod, and another past-president, Todd Smith, addressed the notion of placing artificial caps on medical malpractice claims.  Weisbrod declared such a cap to be unconstitutional and made the well-known point that there is no evidence to show that such a cap would lower health-care spending.  Smith countered the notion that frivolous cases are brought by trial attorneys by stating the obvious--that lawyers have no logical reason whatsoever to take a case with no chance of winning.

Medical malpractice cases are extraordinarily expenses to litigate.  As a medical malpractice lawyer, I routinely advance hundreds of thousands of dollars on my clients' behalf, knowing that if the case fails, I lose all of that money since I never allow my clients to pay me back my advanced expenses in the absence of a favorable resolution.  To bring a frivolous suit would not only lead to financial ruin, but it exposes a lawyer to serious sanctions that can be imposed by the presiding judge and the Office of Bar Counsel that oversees attorney conduct.  Simply put, the idea that doctors face a barrage of frivolous suits is a myth.

Those with special interests need to recognize that too many Americans are killed or severely and permanently injured as a result of medical errors every year.  We need to focus on reducing medical mistakes.  The rights of victims of wrongdoing, often the most vulnerable in our nation, should never be stripped or capped.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.


 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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Pfizer Subsidiary Pleads Guilty to Illegally Promoting Pain Killer

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

According to an AP (9/16) report, Pharmacia and Upjohn, a subsidiary of Pfizer, "has pleaded guilty to illegally promoting the pain killer Bextra [valdecoxib]" as part of "a settlement agreement announced earlier this month, when prosecutors slapped" Pfizer "with a record-breaking $2.3 billion in fines for illegal drug promotions."  In addition, Bloomberg News (9/16, O'Reilly) reports that, according to the United States Department of Justice, "US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock in Boston took the plea...but deferred a decision on formally accepting it until a sentencing hearing on Oct. 16."

All too often we hear about drug companies, insurers, and other entities that put profits over people.  Innovation is essential, but no company should ever seek money at the expense of public health and well-being.  Such conduct is reprehensible and dangerous.  Access to justice through the civil jury system is what allows for proper checks and balances.  If gives people a fair voice to speak out against corporate corruption, and it allows the innocent victims of corporate greed to obtain fair and just compensation for all of their harms and losses.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve dangerous medical products.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Bayer Sued Over Its Oral Contraceptive--Yaz

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

Bayer reached an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008, forcing the company to pay for a $20 million ad campaign to correct the company's history of overstating the benefits of its oral contraceptive--Yaz--and downplaying its risks.  The FDA determined that Yaz carries additional risks as compared to other contraceptives because the drug contains drospirenone, a progestin, which can increase a woman's potassium to dangerous levels.  Increased levels of potassium can lead to many adverse side-effects including blot clots, which can then lead to stroke, heart attack, or other serious condition. 

Before taking any drug, please be sure to consult with your doctor and pharmacist.  Physicians must take affirmative steps to be aware of all side-effects of the medications they prescribe so their patients do not suffer adverse, otherwise avoidable, consequences.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve dangerous medical products.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Surgery Technician Exposes Thousands of Patients to Hep-C

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

According to a Colorado Springs Gazette report, and other reports, a surgery technician, who worked at Rose Medical Center in Denver and Audubon Ambulatory Surgery Center in Colorado Springs, gave patients dirty syringes filled with saline solution and stole clean ones filled with Fentanyl to feed her drug addiction.  Fentanyl is a morphine-based drug that is used as a surgical anesthetic.  Since the technician stole the drugs, the patients were left to suffer.  The technician has been recently charged in a federal criminal complaint.

4,700 patients at Rose and 1,000 patients at Audubon are receiving letters from the medical facilities, advising them of the horrific conduct of the technician and further urging them to get tested for Hepatitis-C. The testing is necessary because the technician was later tested positive for the virus.  Unfortunately, according to reports, several patients have tested positive.

Hepatitis-C is terrible virus that can lead to serious liver problems and even liver cancer. There is no known cure for Hep-C.

Not very long ago, a rogue technician did the same sort of thing at a local, reputable hospital here in the District of Columbia.  Several patients who contracted Hep-C retained me to represent them in an action against the hospital, which I proudly advanced for them.  The technician in the case I pursued should never have been hired, was improperly trained and supervised, and was able to swap syringes for a protracted period of time.  Regrettably, lives were greatly impacted by the technician's wrongful conduct and the hospital's carelessness.

 About the author:

Mr. Zambri has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, inlcusing medical malpractice actions.   He has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009).  Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medical errors.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Chiropractic Malpractice Can Result in Strokes

By Catherine Bertram, partner

Each year in the U.S., 22 million patients are treated by Doctors of Chiropractic,more commonly called chiropractors, or "chiropractic physicians" in some states. It is estimated that there are 52,000 chiropractors currently performing such treatment.  The average chiropractor in private practice performs as many as 50-100 manual vertebral manipulations a day, at a cost of $25 to $40 each.

The goal of chiropractic is the diagnosis and correction by manual spinal manipulation or adjustment of a chiropractic condition called "vertebral subluxation."  Although most chiropractors claim they perform thousands of manipulations annually without any serious complications, malpractice suits have been successfully brought against chiropractors for injuries sustained as a result of improper manipulative technique and/or performance of spinal manipulation where it is contraindicated.  Patient injuries can range from headaches and post-treatment soreness to permanent complications of stroke, including left or right side paralysis, loss of bowel and bladder function,  vertebral fracture; disc herniation; rib fracture; and other serious neurologic syndromes.

According to chiropractic experts, neurologists and emergency medicine experts  I have spoken with, inexperienced, or poorly trained chiropractors have performed the spinal manipulation in a disproportionate number of cases where serious injuries have occurred.  As an experienced malpractice attorney, and Co Chair of the AAJ National Chiropractic Litigation Group, I have experience with these tragic cases and have access to national experts for review of these cases.  If you would like to talk to me about your situation you can call me (202) 822-1875 or email me directly.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials, she is a 2012 Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has over 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes a majority of her practice to the representation of patients and families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  She lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Doctors Fail to Report Abnormal Test Results At Alarming Rate

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

Doctors fail to report clinically significant findings to their patients in more than seven percent (7%) of the cases, according to the Associated Press, relying on a new study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  Physicians' use of electronic medical records tended to lower instances of failures to inform.  The frequency of errors is higher in practices that used a combination of electronic and paper records, as opposed to practices that relied on only paper or only electronic records, reports Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times.    

We encourage doctors to utilize the electronic technology now available to better communicate with patients and other physicians regarding a patient's symptoms and conditions.  Reckless record-keeping leads to needless deaths and injuries.  There is a crisis in this country--too many Americans die each year as a result of hospital and doctor errors.  Nearly 100,000 people die every year as a result of hospital mistakes alone.  Safety needs to be a priority as we move forward.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters.  He has successfully litigated multiple cases against Metro and other automobile owners.  He has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine.  Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medical errors, including the failure to properly inform patients of abnormal test results.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Matrixx Withheld Consumer Complaints

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

Shannon Pettypiece reports for Bloomberg that Matrixx Initiatives Inc. announced that it failed to turn over to U.S. regulators about 800 consumer complaints concerning serious side-effects linked to its Zicam nasal spray and swabs, which have been withdrawn.

According to the report, "Matrixx, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, stopped selling the cold remedies on June 16 after the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers the treatments may cause a loss of smell. Matrixx today defended its products and called the FDA warning 'a surprise,' during a conference call with analysts."

The 800 complaints were unearthed only after the FDA performed a routine inspection found 800 reports of consumer concerns this past May.  William Hemelt, acting president and chief operating officer of Matrixx, said that he was informed that  his compnay did not need to report the complaints despite a 2007 regulation requiring companies to turn over reports of serious side effects, arguing that the regulation didn't apply. 

“We have complaints but we weren’t required to send them,” Hemelt said. “At least we didn’t believe we were required to send them and we based that on an opinion of counsel who looked at the FDA regulation and said no, it doesn’t fit.”

The FDA reported that doctors and consumers have linked a permanent loss of smell to the us of the medications.

When companies withhold critically important information it smacks of putting profits over people.  Safety and public health should always be the paramount concern of drug companies. 

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please contact Mr. Zambri at 202-822-1899 or email him at szambri@reganfirm.com.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Medical Device Oversight Required

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire 

According to a Reuters article, reported by James Pethkoukis, experts have determined that the FDA's approval process needs to be improved to better protect patients from dangerous risks.

At a congressional hearing, Representative Frank Pallone, who chairs a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, stated, "There is evidence of an approval system that is broken -- that its standards, its procedures and its rules don't meet modern needs of getting medical devices to those in need with confidence in their safety." The article further comments that "Marcia Crosse, healthcare director for the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, said various shortcomings 'raise concerns' about the FDA's pre-approval reviews and post-approval monitoring 'that are necessary for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of medical devices.'"

Although Americans benefit greatly from new products, the FDA must do more to protect those who will be using the products in the end--the patients. Without serious oversight, great harm can result.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errors, pharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability  authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact Mr. Zambri at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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FDA Warns of Dangers of Sirolimus (Rapamune) for Liver Transplant Patients

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

Recently, MedPage Today reported that "The FDA issued an alert regarding the risk of increased mortality in stable liver transplant patients who switch from a calcineurin inhibitor-based (CNI) immunosuppressive regimen to sirolimus (Rapamune)."  It was noted, however, "that a causal relationship has not been established and that" the FDA "is not recommending discontinuation of the drug, which is indicated for prevention of organ rejection in kidney transplant recipients older than 12."

The label for the drug "already carries a boxed warning of excess mortality and graft loss associated with the use of" sirolimus "in combination with tacrolimus (Prograf) in de novo liver and lung transplant recipients."  And it also warns that it is not clear that the drug is safe for liver or lung transplant patients.  Doctors, therefore, should heed those warnings, comments the FDA.  Prescribing medication in a way that is contrary to the labeling may lead to serious permanent injury or death.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030. 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Cholesterol-type Not Usually Screened May Cause Heart Attack

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

Medical News Today recently reported that a certain kind of cholesterol--known as lipoprotein (a)--may increase the risk of heart attack (medically referred to as myocardial infarction, or MI).  This type of cholesterol, says the article, has been screened little.  Historically, doctors ahve been screening patients for low-denisty lipoproteins, commonly called "bad protein".  Nevertheless, MI has continued to be a leading cause of death.  As a result, scientists have been looking at other caused of heart disease.

The theory about lipoprotein (a) leading to heart disease stems from a study of people living in Denmark, who had higher levels of lipoprotein (a) due to genetic reasons, and who were at a higher risk of heart attack.  The article comments that the "researchers suggested that although their findings were strong enough to support the idea that higher levels of lipoprotein (a) due to genetic reasons very probably cause higher risk of heart attack, only randomized clinical trials that show fewer heart attacks occur when lipoprotein (a) is reduced through therapy can prove it."  So, expect more studies.

According to the report, representatives of "the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study commented that although Kamstrup and colleagues revealed some 'interesting mechanistic insights' into the biological link between lipoprotein (a) and MI, and put forward evidence that there might be potential benefit in reducing lipoprotein (a) early in life, the 'clinical implications are quite limited.'"

Before taking any medication, we encourage you to seek the advice of competent physicians. 

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involvee tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Swine Flu Threat Level: WHO Raises Alert to Phase Six

The World Health Organization today raised its alert level for swine flu (Influenza A - H1N1)to Phase 6, announcing the first influenza pandemic since 1968 as the virus continued to spread around the globe. WHO considers the overall severity to be moderate, according to the announcement by WHO Director General Manager Margaret Chan.  "We have good reason to believe that this pandemic will be of moderate severity, and we know from experience that severity can vary on many factors from one country to another."

Although the current swine flu strain is not considered especially deadly, its ability to spread rapidly to different communities met WHO's criteria for a pandemic.  The alert is related to the geographic spread of the virus, not its severity.

Member countries received notice ahead of its formal announcement of the Phase 6 alert, recommending that nations not close borders or restrict travel and trade. The advance notice indicated the agency remains "in close dialogue with influenza vaccine manufacturers."

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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FDA Issues Warnings About Clarcon Skin Products

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

The AP recently reported that  "The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Monday not to use skin products made by Clarcon." This warning followed a recent inspection which revealed high levels of disease-causing bacteria in the products.  According to the report, the FDA has said that the findings are "particularly concerning because the products are promoted as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds and damaged skin and protect against various infectious diseases."  Yet, according to the report, some of the bacteria found in the products "can cause opportunistic infections of the skin and underlying tissues and could result in medical or surgical attention as well as permanent damage," the report comments.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.


 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Merck & Co., Schering-Plough Accused of Fraud

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

Bloomberg News reports that "Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. were sued by a Pennsylvania fund for active and retired state employees over claims they misled consumers into paying too much for prescriptions of Zetia [ezetimibe] and Vytorin cholesterol pills."  The Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund alleges in a complaint that "the companies have known for years -- and failed to make public -- that Zetia doesn't reduce fatty arterial plaques that can cause heart attacks and strokes."  The reports commenst that two studies last year showed that "the pills may work no better at unclogging arteries than does an older, cheaper medicine called simvastatin." Nevertheless, the companies allegedly withheld the the finding and "used false and deceptive marketing techniques claiming Vytorin was more efficacious than and just as safe as the much cheaper generic," according to the report.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Window for Clot-Busting Drug tPA Opened

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has established a new guideline, based on European studies,  concerning when a clot-busting drug known as tPA can be given intravenously to stroke victims. Previously, the guideline in America was to provide the drug only within three hours of the onset of symptoms,; otherwise, it could do more harm than good.  This posed a problem to patients who, for one reason or another, could not get to a hospital quickly enough following the start of stroke symptoms.  The new guideline extends the time in which the drug can be administered to four and one-half hours after symptoms begin.

It is important, however, to recognize that the widening of the window does not mean that doctors should act slowly when treating patients with stroke symptoms. The faster the clot in the brain is relieved, thereby restoring normal blood flow, the greater the likelihood of recovery.

The following is the American Stroke Association's list of "warning signs of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause"

If experiencing any of the warning signs of stroke, seek immediate medical attention, as time is of the essence.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication or other medical errors.   If you think your providers have ignored your symptoms, we encourage you to read an article regarding medical malpractice authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Atypical Antipsychotic Medications Effective But Risky for Children

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

According to the The Wall Street Journal, staff from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicate that three medications "currently approved to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in adults were effective at treating the disorders in children and adolescents, but carry significant risks." As a result, the FDA is now "considering applications for AstraZeneca PLC's Seroquel [quetiapine] and Eli Lilly and Co.'s Zyprexa [olanzapine] to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in children and adolescents, and Pfizer, Inc.'s Geodon [ziprasidone] to treat bipolar disorder in children 10 to 17," comments the report.  In fact, "an FDA panel of outside medical experts is scheduled to meet to discuss" these atypical antipsychotic medications, and will be "asked to vote on whether each product is safe and effective for children ages 10 to 17."  The report goes on the add that the FDA and the drug-makers announced that "studies showed the products were effective at treating the symptoms of bipolar and schizophrenia," but also warned that "all had side effects."  These sides effects include "sedation and weight gain."

We encourage our readers to speak with their doctors before taking any medication.  Mixing drugs can be particularly dangerous.  Some drugs pose greater health risks than others.  Relying, too, on what the FDA reports and what the drug-makers themselves state about their own medications may not be sufficient.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Propylthiouracil Poses Serious Liver Injury

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

An U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report confirms that, two days ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "warned health care professionals about the risk of serious liver injury associated with the use of the anti-thyroid drug propylthiouracil for the treatment of Graves' disease."  Citing the FDA, HHS reports that: "After analyzing adverse event reports, the FDA has identified an increased risk of liver injury with propylthiouracil when compared to an alternative treatment for Graves' disease, methimazole," said Amy Egan, M.D., deputy director for safety, Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products, in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Health care professionals should carefully consider which drug to initiate in a patient recently diagnosed with Graves' disease. If propylthiouracil therapy is chosen, the patient should be closely monitored for symptoms and signs of liver injury, especially during the first six months after initiating therapy."

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder which causes the thyroid gland to be overactive. The thyroid gland releases hormones that regulate the rate of the body’s metabolism.  These hormones "are critical for body temperature control, energy, weight, mood, and blood calcium levels."

Medications can have serious side-effects, especially if warnings and precautions are not taken seriously. Doctors should fully inform patients of all risks associated with prescribed medications and patients should never hesitate to ask their doctors for more information if they are confused about the risks of certian medications.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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FDA May Require More Warnings on Tamoxifen Label

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

We recently posted a blog informing our readers that a Bloomberg report announced that  researches have determined that certain antidepressants may increase the recurrence  of breast cancer among women who have already survived the disease.  The study reports that drugs including Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft "significantly decrease the effectiveness of a drug [tamoxifen] used to reduce the chances of breast cancer recurrence". 

A new Bloomberg report of yesterday confirms that "US regulators may warn patients taking tamoxifen, a breast cancer medicine...not to use certain types of antidepressants because they block the tumor-fighting drug's effectiveness." Karen Riley, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, commented that the agency is considering "'adding new information to the tamoxifen label to advise women taking the cancer drug against using some antidepressants."

Ms. Riley's comments are welcomed, but action is what is needed.  The public must be warned of the harmful effects of mixing these drugs.  It could be a matter of life and death.

Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication errorspharmacy mix ups and unsafe medications.  If you think you have been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Class 1 Recall: Respironics, Inc., SmartMonitor 2 Infant Apnea Monitor (Models 4002 and 4003)

"Respironics and FDA notified healthcare professionals of a Class I recall of SmartMonitor 2 Infant Apnea Monitor, Models 4002 and 4003, used for the continuous monitoring of respiration and heart rate of infant patients in the home or in the hospital. The monitors may fail to sound an alarm during periods of temporary interruption of breathing or low heart rates. The affected products were manufactured from January 16, 2008 through November 13, 2008 and distributed from January 17, 2008 through December 31, 2008."

Read the complete MedWatch 2009 Safety summary, including a link to the FDA recall notice.

We have reproduced the FDA Recall Notice in its entirety for our readers below:

"Date Recall Initiated: April 23, 2009
Product: Respironics, Inc., SmartMonitor 2 Infant Apnea Monitor (Models 4002 and 4003 with serial numbers 3000033364 through 3000038740)  This product was manufactured from January 16, 2008 through November 13, 2008 and distributed from January 17, 2008 through December 31, 2008.
Use: This device is used for the continuous monitoring of respiration and heart rate of infant patients in the home or in the hospital. The monitor detects and alarms for periods of temporary interruption of breathing (central apnea) or low heart rates.
Recalling Firm: 
Respironics, Inc.
1001 Murry Ridge Lane
Murrysville, Pennsylvania 15668-8517
Reason for Recall:  This device may fail to sound an alarm.
Public Contact: Customers may contact the company at 1-888-345-4630.
FDA District:
Philadelphia
FDA Comments: On April 23, 2009, the firm sent a letter to their medical supply companies informing them of the potential problem. The firm requested the companies take the following actions:

  • return all units in their inventory
  • retrieve and return all units already shipped to patients

Class 1 recalls are the most serious type of recall and involve situations in which there is a reasonable probability that use of these products will cause serious injury or death.

Health care professionals and consumers may report adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by FAX.

  • Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
  • Regular Mail: use postage-paid FDA form 3500 available at: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/getforms.htm
  • Mail to MedWatch 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787
  • FAX: 1-800-FDA-0178

Updated May 18, 2009"

 

Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Summer and Skin Cancer: Prevention and Early Detection Are Key

Posted by Jacqueline Colclough, Esquire

As the official beginning of summer approaches with Memorial Day Weekend, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and other health organizations are undertaking efforts to education the public about skin cancer risks and prevention.

According to the American Cancer Society, over one million people across the United States are currently affected by skin cancer. This year alone, more than 68,700 new cases of melanoma, the most serious of skin cancers, are expected nationally. Precautions such as avoiding sun exposure during midday hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, and avoiding tanning beds and sun lamps are all important measures in the prevention of skin cancer.

Continue Reading Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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New Test Provides Rapid Group B Strep Results

Posted by Jacqueline Colclough, Esquire

According to Medical News Today, AdvanDx, a leading provider of advanced molecular diagnostic products, announced that it has received FDA clearance for a diagnostic test to detect Streptococcus agalactiae, commonly known as Group B Strep. The 90 minute test enables rapid and highly sensitive detection of Group B Strep to help detect colonization in pregnant women.

Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Tainted Equipment at VA Hospitals Cause HIV Infections

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

Former patients at several Veterans Administration Hospitals have been tested positive for HIV or hepatitis following exposure to dirty medical equipment.  According to a recent report at Chron.com, "[f]ive patients have tested positive for HIV and 33 have tested positive for hepatitis since February, when the VA started notifying more than 11,000 people treated at three VA medical centers to get follow-up blood checks because they could have been exposed to infectious body fluids." The specific VA hospitals involved are located in Miami, Fla., Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga.

The VA determined last December that its equipment used for colonoscopies and ear, nose and throat procedures "was either not properly cleaned or set up", states the report.  Despite the medical errors, Dr. Jim Bagian, the VA's chief patient safety officer, boldly proclaimed that patients will never be able to prove that they were infected by the tainted equipment, the report comments. Congress is not satisfied with this statement and wants more information.

Senior partner Salvatore Zambri has handled many cases involving patients becoming infected with HIV as a result of medical errors.  There are clear standards that apply to hospitals governing the sterilization of medical devices and products.  If these procedures are not followed, the consequences can be severe.

If you think you have been injured by a defective or unclean device, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Women's Health Issues
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Hearing Tomorrow On Medical Device Safety Act of 2009

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

The Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing tomorrow regarding The Medical Device Safety Act of 2009.   This is an important piece of legislation that should become law.  We encourage our readers to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to vote in favor of the bill.

The Medical Device Safety Act of 2009 is important for two principal reasons.  First, it will allow every American patient to hold manufacturers of defective medical devices accountable for injuries and deaths caused by unsafe products.  It will also prevent the manufacturers of defective devices from receiving total immunity from any claims simply because the devices were previously approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

On March 19, 2009, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine endorsed the Medical Device Safety Act. They stated:

"Patients and physicians deserve to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of medical devices, and the companies making the devices should be held accountable if they fail to achieve this standard. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this legislation and to allow lawsuits by injured patients, which have been an important part of the regulatory framework and very effective in keeping medical devices safe, to proceed in the courts."

The New York Times has also endorsed the bill.

Medical devices can be extremely dangerous, and the FDA often does a poor job screening defective products from the public.  If your doctor wants to insert a medical device into your body, ask questions to be sure your physician has sufficiently investigated the device's safety and effectiveness.

If you think you have been injured by a defective device, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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FDA Too Lenient On Device Approval

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

An editorial from yesterday's New York Times challenges the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , suggesting that the agency has been too lenient in approving medical devices.  The article notes that a “vaginal sling,” used to control urinary leaks, that was previously sold by the Mentor Corporation,  a company that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson, has caused serious medical problems for many women throughout the country. In one instance, a woman's "surgeon inserted a strip of synthetic mesh — Mentor’s ObTape vaginal sling — under her urethra. It stopped the leakage but soon caused pain and bleeding as pieces of the sling worked their way through her vaginal wall. The woman has had five operations to remove bits of the sling, and another is scheduled."

Last year, the FDA received more than 1,000 reports directly from manufacturers about complications with "vaginal-sling"-like devices, according to the report.  About one-fourth of the complaints concerned "ObTape" specifically.  "The injuries may stem from the fact that far too many medical devices are cleared for sale without undergoing rigorous clinical trials for safety and efficacy."

To read the entire article, please click here.

Medical devices can be extremely dangerous, and the FDA often does a poor job screenign defective products from the public.  If your doctor wants to insert a medical device into your body, ask questions to be sure your physician has sufficiently investigated the device's safety and effectiveness.

If you think you have been injured by a defective device, we encourage you to read a portion of a book regarding products liability authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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FDA: Testerone Gel Products (AndroGel 1% and Testim 1%) to Receive Boxed Warning

FDA notified healthcare professionals that it will require two prescription topical testosterone gel products, AndroGel 1% and Testim 1%, to include a boxed warning on the products’ labels after receiving reports of adverse effects in children who were inadvertently exposed to testosterone through contact with another person being treated with these products. We have reproduced the FDA News Release below in its entirety.

Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics
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Weight-Loss Products Spiked With Illegal Drugs

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that more than 70 weight-loss products contain prescription drugs, including four illegal drugs that have not approved by the FDA for sale in the United States, according to Public Citizen, citing its Worst Pills, Best Pills News article released last week on WorstPills.org, the organization’s drug safety website.

The FDA has announced what is obvious--that adding active prescription drug ingredients to otherwise ineffective weight-loss supplements is not only illegal, but can be extremely dangerous.  "For instance, sibutramine (brand name Meridia, an appetite suppressant available by prescription only and a controlled substance) and fluoxetine (brand names Prozac and Serafem, an antidepressant available by prescription only) were among the drugs found in the supplements", states Public Citizen. 

Although the FDA is seeking a voluntary recall of the illegal products, some say the FDA is not acting strong enough.  "The FDA’s response has been inadequate,” said Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D., director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and acting Public Citizen president. “Some of the drugs found in these supplements are dangerous and are putting people at an unacceptable risk of injury. To protect citizens, the agency needs to go further and seize these products.”

To read the entire article, please click here.

We encourage our readers to be very careful about what medications they ingest.  All medications should be supervised by a physician.  Don't become a victim of others' greed.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Revelations on Genetic Risks of IVF

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

For nearly thirty years, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been consider relatively safe.  A recent report in the New York Times, however, reports that new epidemiological studies and scientific techniques have revealed findings that suggest that "there may be some abnormal patterns of gene expression associated with IVF and a possible increase in rare but devastating genetic disorders that appear to be directly linked to those unusual gene expression patterns."  The report also states that, with IVF, there "appears to be an increased risk of premature birth and of babies with low birth weight for their gestational age."

To read the entire article, please click here.

If you are considering an IVF procedure, we encourage you to speak with your doctors about all potential risks and benefits, so that you can make fully informed decisions.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Hospital Devices Infected by "Conficker" Worm Virus

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

According to MercuryNews.com, technologists monitoring the threat have determined that hundreds of medical devices used at hospitals throughout the country are infected by the computer worm known as "Conficker".  The infected devices include MRI machines and hundreds, if not thousands, of other medical devices.  Manufacturer of the devices told investigators that "none of the machines were supposed to be connected to the Internet — and yet they were. And because the machines were running an unpatched version of Microsoft's operating system used in embedded devices they were vulnerable," states the report.

The report explains that "Conficker spreads by copying itself onto machines running Microsoft's Windows operating system that lack the security patch from October. Conficker installs itself and periodically reaches out for directions from its maker that cause it to rewrite its code, increasing its capabilities for malicious action and decreasing its chance of detection."  Apparently, patients have not yet been harmed, but it is clear that these infected devices place patients at risk.

To read the entire article, please click here.

Many Americans are injured or killed each year due to defective products.  For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030. 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Pediatric Gastroenteritis: New Guidelines to Facilitate Effective Management

Posted by Jacqueline Colclough

Although often considered a benign disease, acute gastroenteritis remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children around the world, accounting for 1.8 million deaths annually in children younger than 5 years, or roughly 17% of all child deaths. Because the severity of the disease can widely vary depending on hydration status, which is greatly impacted by diarrhea and vomiting, accurately assessing and treating dehydration in children presenting with acute gastroenteritis remain a critical skill for every physician. Fortunately, most cases of dehydration in children can be accurately diagnosed by a careful clinical examination and treated with simple, non-invasive measures.


 

Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Recent Studies Show That Peanut Allergies Can Be Treated

Posted by Jacqueline Colclough, Esquire, R.N.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children's Hospital have recently reported that a carefully administered daily dose of peanuts has been found to be effective therapy for peanut allergies in children. In fact, the therapy has been so successful that a select group of children involved in the research study is now completely off treatment and eating peanuts daily. The studies were funded by the National Institutes of Health, The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, Food Allergy Project, Gerber Foundation and the Robins Family Foundation.

Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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April: National Autism Awareness Month

Posted by Jacqueline Colclough, Esquire, R.N.

Autism is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders and is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism.

April is National Autism Awareness Month in the United States, and it been celebrated by the Autism Society of America (ASA) since the 1970s in order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism. The month presents a unique opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community, and the ASA suggests eight ways you can celebrate National Autism Awareness Month this year. Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Attention-Deficit Drugs May be Harmful

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

Nearly forty million prescriptions were written in 2008 in an effort to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A recent study, however, warns that many of these widely prescribed drugs may cause more harm than good, especially if taken for more than two years. According to the study, prolonged use of ADHD medications can lead to significantly stunted growth.

To read the study, which was published in the Washington Post, please click here.

One lesson to take from the study is that it is critically important for parents to communicate well and often with their children's physicians and to question any prolonged prescription plan recommended by a physician. The more informed you are as parents, they better you are able to make decisions in your children's best interest.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

 

 


 

Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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FDA Reevaluates Standards and Rules for Children's Cold Medicine in Response to Mounting Evidence of Hazardous Effects

New FDA-regulated modifications to over the counter cold and cough medicines should be observed by parents of young children. The following is the FDA statement regarding the new regulations applied to over-the-counter cough and cold medicine. Links have been added to the original statement for the readers' convenience.

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) May Be Bacterial Infection In Many Cases: New Study

Infections of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus may be an overlooked cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to research published in a recent edition of the medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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Back-to-School Safety: Make Certain Your Children Are Fully Vaccinated

Making certain that young children receive their recommended vaccinations is particularly important for their long-term health ― as well as for the health of their friends and classmates. Vaccines protect children against common seasonal diseases like the flu, but they also help prevent much rarer, more serious diseases.

All parents can determine what vaccines their children need and when the doses should be administered by consulting the nationally recommended Childhood Immunization Schedules, available on the web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If a child falls behind schedule on his or her vaccinations, it can sometimes be difficult to determine the best way to catch up. To help, the CDC has developed a Catch-Up Immunization Scheduler -- an online tool that shows parents and healthcare providers the best options for getting children six years of age and younger back on schedule.

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Fewer Pediatric Rotavirus Cases Reported this Season

Rotavirus cases in the current 2007-2008 season showed up much later than usual and have been less severe, overall, than during any previous season on record, according to an interim report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine: It's Time to Talk

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) -- a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently launched an educational campaign to encourage patients (particularly those 50 years of age or older) to speak openly with their primary care providers about complementary and alternative medicines.  The campaign, known as Time to Talk, focuses on medical practices and products that aren't presently considered to be conventional medicine -- items such as herbal supplements, meditation and acupuncture.

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Public Health Tips to Prevent Summer Swimming Illness

In the hottest months of summer the shimmering of a clear, blue pool of water can seem like the best part of the season.  Unfortunately, swimming pools can harbor strains of bacteria that can ruin your summer vacation if you're not careful.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated the week of May 19 - 25, 2008 as Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week.  The event is designed to draw attention to the potential dangers posed by improperly maintained swimming pools and the importance of healthy swimming practices.  Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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CDC Posts Updated Immunization Recommendations for People 18 Years of Age and Younger

The 2008 edition of the schedule of recommended immunizations for people 18 years of age and younger has been posted by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) -- a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The advisory committee releases new recommendations annually to reflect changes in vaccine formulations and current recommendations for the use of licensed vaccines. 

This summer, don't wait until the last few busy weeks before fall school registration begins to make your child's vaccination appointment -- schedule an appointment now, and enjoy a safer summer. 

Changes from the 2007 immunization schedule are as follows:

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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May is National Stroke Awareness Month: Recognition of Stroke Signs and Symptoms Lacking in U.S.

A recent survey conducted in 13 states and the District of Columbia has indicated that most people lack awareness of the 5 most common stroke symptoms.  According to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that lack of awareness could lead to critical delays in life-saving treatment.  Prompt treatment following the onset of a stroke is critical in saving brain tissue and improving functional outcomes for survivors. Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Indoor Allergens Associated with Asthma: New Study

Elevated levels of allergens in the home are associated with asthma symptoms in allergic individuals, and asthmatics who experience allergies may improve their health by reducing allergen exposures.  The findings are the result of new research published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and reported in a recent press release by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

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New State Rankings for Physician Discipline Highlight Significant Differences From State to State

A newly updated annual ranking of state medical boards by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has revealed widespread discrepancies in both the numbers of disciplinary actions taken against physicians' licenses, and the rates of those disciplinary actions from state to state.  Though the specific numbers have changed again this year, a pronounced trend of significant discrepancies between individual states has held constant for years.  Unless geography influences a physician's competence, these state-by-state discrepancies point to a dangerously inadequate national system of physician oversight -- one that could conceivably allow dangerous, incompetent physicians to continue to practice medicine by moving from state to state.

Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Allergy Management Tips for Summer Travel

Despite the rising costs of fuel this year, millions of Americans will be hitting the nation's roads and airports for a summer vacation -- and for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, summer traveling can pose some unique challenges.  The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), reminds travelers that the climate of your destination, rather than your home, determines the pollens and molds to which you'll be exposed on vacation, and that all seasonal allergy sufferers should take time to plan their clothing and needed medications appropriately. 

The academy offers the following additional allergy management tips for summer vacationers:

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Experimental Blood Substitutes Linked to Heart Attack, Death: New Study

New hemoglobin-based artificial blood -- still unapproved for use in the U.S., but heavily studied -- appears to raise a patient's risk of heart attack and death according to an exhaustive review of clinical research data.  This latest research was published in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  The findings have spurred critics to allege that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put clinical trial participants in imminent danger by failing to detect or act on research data illustrating significant increases in the rates of heart attack and death reported in trials of these blood substitutes.

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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FDA Website: LASIK Surgery Risks and Patient Education

Laser eye surgeries such as LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) are quickly becoming some of the most common and technologically sophisticated procedures available for correcting relatively minor vision problems.  Generally performed on an out-patient basis with the aid of only anesthetic eye drops, LASIK procedures are usually quick and easy, and the results are often remarkable.  Unfortunately, however, the results can be underwhelming, too -- and occasionally even catastrophic. 

To help clear up some misconceptions and misinformation regarding LASIK procedures, and to help consumers better understand the risks of laser eye surgeries, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a web page devoted specifically to patient education.  According to the agency, there are a few categories of people who should think twice before they attempt to resolve their vision problems with LASIK surgery.

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Cardiologists Recommend Heart Screening for Children Taking ADHD Stimulants

The American Heart Association has issued new pediatric recommendations that call for heart fitness screenings prior to stimulant treatment for all children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  The new patient safety guidelines were published in a recent issue of the journal Circulation -- official journal of the American Heart Association -- and they address growing fears that stimulant medications can cause serious heart complications in children with underlying, undiagnosed heart disease.

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Male Heart Disease Risk Begins in Teen Years: New Study

The first biological indication that a man will face a higher risk of heart disease than a woman of equivalent age appears as early as adolescence, according to new research published in the medical journal Circulation.   The finding is somewhat unexpected, as boys tend to lose body fat and gain muscle during adolescence, while girls tend to gain body fat. Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health
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CDC: Poor Vaccine to Blame for Worst Flu Season in Three Years

This year's flu season was worse that the previous three, partly because the flu vaccine didn't effectively defend people against the viruses that made them sick, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The flu season started slowly this year, peaked in February, and seems to finally be declining. Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Mumps: Childhood Disease Makes Comeback on College Campuses

A Mumps comeback in the U.S. in 2006 was alarming in its severity, and the disease may now take several years to completely eradicate, according to federal public health experts.  Interestingly, the viral outbreak occurred despite the routine administration of a second dose of a mumps vaccine throughout the early 1990s.  These findings were reported in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).  Among other data presented in the article is the fact that 84% of people between 18 and 24 years of age who contracted Mumps during the outbreak had already been given the second recommended dose of MMR vaccine -- a dose that should have protected them from Mumps.

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Heart Attack Symptoms for Young Patient? Physician Should Ask About Possible Cocaine Exposure: New Study

Physicians treating chest pain in patients who are young, or in those who have no obvious risk factors for heart disease, should ask those patients about their potential cocaine use.  The advice is a key recommendation by the American Heart Association (AHA), recently published in the medical journal Circulation

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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New CPR Guidelines Include Compression-Only Instructions for Heart Attack

If you see someone suffer a heart attack and go unconscious, immediately dial 9-1-1 and begin pushing on his or her chest as hard and as often as you can -- don't stop until someone else can take over, or until paramedics arrive.  Those are the latest instructions from the American Heart Association (AHA), which is now confident that hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be done in an emergency, even by people who have no CPR training.  Throat sweeping and mouth-to-mouth emergency breathing are still recommended, but not for bystanders -- those components are only encouraged for trained medical personnel.  The organization's new position appears in the March 29 issue of the medical journal Circulation.

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Pediatric Journal Details Medication Errors for Hospitalized Children: New Study

Adverse drug events affect about 7% of U.S. children in hospitals -- adverse events such as getting the wrong medication, the wrong doses of medication, and dangerous, preventable reactions.  The percentage is much higher than previous estimates, too, underscoring growing concerns about medical errors involving hospitalized children, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics.

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Endodontist Group Tells Kids to "Watch Your Mouth"

Now that the spring and summer sports season has arrived, the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) is urging all young athletes to "watch their mouths," and to wear a mouth guard for every sport this year, including even those spring sports typically thought of as "non-contact" sports -- like soccer, softball, baseball and gymnastics.

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West Nile Virus Infection Tied to Serious Long-Term Health Complications

West Nile virus infections can lead to significant long-term health problems, including mental and functional impairment and depression, according to data from an ongoing National Institutes of Health study recently presented at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, Georgia.  The research data collected thus far, as reported by Reuters Health, suggests that the most common long-term symptoms include fatigue, weakness, depression, personality changes, difficulty walking, memory loss and blurry vision.

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Most Americans Lack Critical Facts About Maintaining Eye Health: New Study

National survey findings released this month demonstrate that although most adults are aware of serious eye diseases commonly associated with visual impairment, they lack critical knowledge concerning how and when to seek timely detection and treatment of those diseases.  The Survey of Public Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Related to Eye Health and Disease, was jointly sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).  Conducted in 2005, the survey data was made available just this month. 

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New Test Predicts Life-Threatening Kidney Complications in Pediatric Heart Patients

A simple new lab test can reliably predict which patients will suffer acute kidney failure following surgery, giving physicians as many as three additional days in which to initiate treatment.  The development could lead to significantly improved patient outcomes, according to researchers whose findings appear in the latest edition of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Interventions to Restrict Kids' Television, Computer Time Result in Weight Loss: New Study

Reducing the television and computer time of obese children by half can subsequently reduce the amount of food they eat and help them lose weight -- even if those children don't increase their physical activity at all.  The finding is the result of a new study published in a recent edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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Breathing Dirty Air Lowers Children's IQ Scores: New Study

Children who grow up breathing traffic-polluted air have lower IQs and score lower on other types of intelligence and memory tests than kids who breathe higher quality air.  The finding is the result of research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Risky Pharmacy Practices Increase Medication Errors

An industry-wide culture of long hours, speedy service and staffing shortages contributes to millions of potentially serious medication errors in pharmacies across the United States, according to a recent investigative article by USA Today. Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health
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Scientists Recommend New Hospital Policies for Pediatric Flu Vaccination

A new study conducted at Seattle Children's Hospital indicates that many children hosptalized with influenza have had a recent prior hospitalization that would have provided an opportunity to receive the flu vaccine.  Complete results of the study appear in a recent issue of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Unreported Mouth Burns During Tonsillectomy: New Study

Though unintentional and accidental burns to the mouth occasionally occur during tonsillectomy, relatively few are ever reported as medical errors, according to new research published in the Archives of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery.  Researchers report that some injuries have been so severe as to require reconstructive surgery.

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February is National Prenatal Infection Prevention Month

Health complications during pregnancy can be scary and complicated, not to mention fatal.  Fortunately, there are a number of well-understood pregnancy-related health risks that can be eliminated through education and careful prevention measures.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following infection prevention tips to ensure prenatal health, in observance of National Prenatal Infection Prevention Month:

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OB-GYN Group Advises Physicians to Adopt Sleeping Guidelines of Highway Safety Organization

Although 8 hours of sleep is recommended for all adults, the average American receives only 7, and obstetricians and other physicians may receive much less, particularly during training.  As a result of increasing awareness of the danger of physician fatigue, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued an opinion related to OB-GYN working hours in the latest issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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February is National Children's Dental Health Month

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and a great time to stress the importance of oral hygiene to your children, and ensure that they're brushing correctly and routinely, and keeping regularly-scheduled dental check-up appointments.  To help foster good oral health among children, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offers the following information and advice regarding children's dental visits: Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Botox Linked to Respiratory Failure and Death: FDA Warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that three products:  Botox, Botox Cosmetic (Botulinum toxin Type A), and Myobloc (Botulinum toxin Type B) have been linked to fatal adverse reactions including respiratory failure.  The most severe adverse reactions have occurred in children with cerebral palsy, who rely on the drug for treatment of limb spasticity.  The FDA warns that it has not approved any Botulinum toxins for treatment of spasticity in either children or adults, though it is not advising healthcare professionals to stop prescribing the products at this time. 

Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Thousands of Pediatric ER Visits Linked to Cough and Cold Medications Each Year: New Study

Each year more than 7,000 children 11 years of age or younger visit hospital emergency rooms due to incidents involving over-the-counter cough and cold medications.  Two-thirds of those incidents involve kids taking the medications without adult supervision.  The findings are the result of recent research published in the journal Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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New Mothers Not Obtaining Enough Information Regarding CMV Prevention

Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection affects 1 in 150 live births in the U.S., and 1 in 750 newborns suffer lifelong, debilitating injuries such as hearing loss, vision loss or cognitive impairment as a result of those infections.  Preventing CMV infection in babies can be as simple as instructing new mothers to wash their hands thoroughly after diaper changes -- 90% of OB-GYNs report their knowledge of this fact, but only 60% routinely counsel patients regarding hand-washing.  Only 44% counsel their patients specifically about CMV prevention.  These findings are the result of research published recently in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Amalgam Tooth Fillings Containing Mercury Pose No Developmental Threat to Children: New Study

Silvery dental fillings containing mercury have no effect on children's brain development or neurological status, according to a team of international researchers whose report will appear in the February edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association, according to an American Dental Association press release. Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health
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Many Uninsured Asthmatic Children Receive No Medical Care: Physicians Concerned

Hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. face the prospect of a life-threatening asthma attack at a time when they have no health insurance, according to a new study recently published in the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics. Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health
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Parenting Tips For A Healthier and Safer New Year

The beginning of a new year is a time in which many people reflect on changes they need or want to make in their lives.  This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hopes you'll consider some creative ways to make this coming year -- and future years -- healthier for your children and your family.  The group offers the following general parenting tips for healthier families: Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics
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FDA Health Advisory: Don't Use ANY Over-the-Counter Cough and Cold Medicine for Children Under 2 Years of Age

The FDA recently announced that no OTC cough and cold products are safe for children under the age of two years.   Studies are on-going for children between the ages of two and eleven.   The FDA announcement is reproduced in its entirety below. 
Public Health Advisory
Nonprescription Cough and Cold Medicine Use in Children
FDA Recommends that Over-the-Counter (OTC) Cough and Cold Productsnot be used for Infants and Children under 2 Years of Age


"FDA has completed its review of information about the safety of over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines in infants and children under 2 years of age.  FDA is recommending that these drugs not be used to treat infants and children under 2 years of age because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur.

FDA’s recommendation is based on both the review of the information we received about serious side effects in children and the discussion and recommendations made at the October 18–19, 2007, public advisory committee meeting at which this issue was discussed.  FDA strongly supports the actions taken by many pharmaceutical manufacturers to voluntarily withdraw cough and cold medicines that were being sold for use in this age group. 

FDA has not completed its review of information about the safety of OTC cough and cold medicines in children 2 through 11 years of age.  We are aware of reports of serious side effects from cough and cold medicines in children 2 years of age and older.  FDA is committed to completing its comprehensive and thorough review of the safety of OTC cough and cold medicines in children 2 years of age and older as quickly as possible and expects to communicate our recommendations to the public in the near future. 

Pending completion of FDA’s ongoing review, if parents and caregivers use OTC cough and cold medicines in children 2 years of age and older, FDA recommends:

  • Checking the “active ingredients” section of the DRUG FACTS label.  This will help you understand what “active ingredients” are in the medicine and what symptoms each active ingredient is intended to treat. Cough and cold medicines often have more than one “active ingredient” (such as an antihistamine, a decongestant, a cough suppressant, an expectorant, or a pain reliever/fever reducer).

  • Being very careful if you are giving more than one OTC cough and cold medicine to a child.  Many OTC cough and cold medicines have more than one “active ingredient.”  If you use two medicines that have the same or similar “active ingredients” a child could get too much of an ingredient which may hurt your child. For example, do not give a child more than one medicine that has an antihistamine.

  • Carefully following the directions in the DRUG FACTS part of the label.  These directions tell you how much medicine to give and how often you can give it.
  • Only using the measuring spoons or cups that come with the medicine or those made specially for measuring drugs. Do not use common household spoons to measure medicines for children since household spoons come in different sizes and are not meant for measuring medicines.

  • Choosing OTC cough and cold medicines with childproof safety caps, when available, and store the medicines out of the reach of children.

  • Understanding that using OTC cough and cold medicines are intended only to treat your child’s symptom(s).  OTC cough and cold medicines do not treat the cause of the symptoms or shorten the length of time your child is sick.  They only relieve symptoms and make your child feel more comfortable.

  • Not using these products to sedate your child or make children sleepy.

  • Calling a physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional if you have any questions about using cough or cold medicines in children 2 years of age and older. "
Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Does Your Child Have Upper Respiratory Symptoms? Perhaps Honey Will Help: New Study

Buckwheat honey appears to give children more relief from the symptoms of upper respiratory infection than does the once-popular over-the-counter medication dextromethorphan (DM), or no treatment at all, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

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Eat Your Vegetables! Importance of Early Fruit and Vegetable Exposure for Infants: New Research

When infants are exposed to certain fruits and vegetables repeatedly, they're not only more likely to accept them, but to actually acquire a taste for them.  The finding is the result of new research recently published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics
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Hib Vaccine Recalled, Shortage Looming

Merck & Co., Inc. has announced a voluntary recall of two of its Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccines, PedvaxHIB® (monovalent Hib vaccine) and COMVAX® (Hib/hepatitis B vaccine), and won't resume distribution until the fourth quarter of 2008.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning that as a result, pharmaceutical manufacturers likely will not be able to provide adequate Hib vaccine to inoculate all children for whom the vaccine is recommended during the following year.

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Unnecessary Caesarean Deliveries Linked to Increased Risk of Breathing Problems: New Study

An elective caesarian delivery can quadruple the odds that the delivered baby will suffer breathing problems when compared against those babies delivered vaginally or via emergency caesarian section.  The finding is the result of research conducted in Denmark and recently published in the British Medical Journal. Continue Reading Posted In Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Death Risk for Pediatric Heart Surgery Patients Lower at Experienced Hospitals: New Study

Every year in the U.S., 3,000 - 5,000 children are born with major heart defects requiring complex open-heart surgery.  A new study from the University of Michigan, published in the journal Pediatric Cardiology, shows that where those surgeries are performed matters significantly to the outcome of the surgery. Continue Reading Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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A Missing Protein May Contribute to Autism: New Study

Lack of a protein that aids in the development of brain synapses may be partly responsible for autism, according to scientists at the Picower Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.).  This latest research was research recently published in the journal Neuron.

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Low Lead Levels In Blood Linked to ADHD: New Research

Levels of lead in childrens' blood which were previously thought to be safe could actually be contributing to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to researchers at Michigan State University.  Their research findings will appear in the March issue of Biological Psychiatry, the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry

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Younger Age Exposure to Peanuts for Children, Despite Recommendations: New Study

Despite public health recommendations that at-risk families avoid exposing children to peanuts during their first three years, the age at which allergic kids have their first reaction to peanuts has dropped significantly over the last decade.  The finding is the result of new research published in the latest issue of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Pediatric Group Issues Winter Safety Tips for Kids and Parents

Winter brings many season-specific opportunities for personal injury -- from hypothermia to snowmobiling injuries.  Kids are particularly at risk for winter injuries.  To help guard against injuries and illness this season, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued the following Winter Safety Tips: Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Tamiflu & Relenza: FDA Experts Recommend New Label Warnings for Children's Flu Medications

According to a safety review by FDA experts, the flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza should carry a package warning label about possible dangerous psychiatric side effects in children. Tamiflu was approved by the FDA for pediatric use for children under 12 in 2005.  

Safety concerns became evident two years ago after Japanese reports of 25 deaths and 32 incidents of psychiatric problems in children after taking Tamiflu.  Following reports of children experiencing "neuropsychiatric events," to include delirium, delusions, hallucinations, impulsive behavior and self-injury, new studies of the drug were initiated. Tamiflu is available in pill and syrup form, and is used to treat symptoms of seasonal influenza. 

On Tuesday, November 27, 2007, the FDA's Pediatric Advisory Panel will review the data and determine whether to issue new warning labels for Tamiflu and Relenza.  According to the FDA documents, the problems usually occur within 24 hours of first taking the medication, and usually among patients younger than 21.  FDA documents indicate, "In the remaining reports of delirium with impulsive behavior and self-injury, patients were attempting to flee or escape from windows or balconies and were unsuccessful in their efforts. In addition, there were a few patients who became aggressive or violent and/or performed acts that were injurious to themselves (e.g. banging head against wall) or others (e.g. child tried to strangle mother)."

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Nine Percent of U.S. Kids Fit ADHD Diagnosis Criteria

Almost 9% of all U.S. kids between the ages of 8 and 15 fit the diagnostic criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a study recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.  The study was designed, in part, to establish a national baseline for the incidence of ADHD, so that changes or fluctuations in the number of diagnoses would not go unnoticed. Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Pediatrics , Public Health
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Playing Evening Video Games Impairs Memory, Sleep Patterns: New Study

Adolescent boys who spend at least one evening hour playing video games or viewing exciting movies pay a price in reduced learning and sleep efficiency, according to a study recently published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The study involved 11 healthy boys between 12 and 14 years of age, who took no medications.  Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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New Parents' Guide to ADHD Presents Treatment Options Without Drug Company Bias

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association, 3% - 7% of school-age children suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) -- a disease that often leads to failure in school, difficulty in relationships and employment, and even to alcohol and drug abuse.  Still, finding unbiased, dependable literature regarding ADHD treatment options and medications can be difficult. 


The new ADHD Parents Medication Guide is a free, comprehensive reference and treatment guide published by a network of medical professionals and parent advocacy groups with no pharmaceutical funding or editorial support.  The guide can be downloaded at:  www.ParentsMedGuide.org, and is sponsored in part by each of the following organizations:

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Emergency Plans for Pandemic Flu Ignore Children: New Report

Children less than 19 years of age account for 46% of all HFN1 ("Bird Flu") deaths, but U.S. emergency preparedness planning focuses almost exclusively on adults, according to a new report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Trust for America's Health.  Four primary areas of concern identified in the report are the availability of child-appropriate doses of medications, the appropriate treatment of pediatric flu cases, education of children regarding disease containment protocol, and the care of children if daycares and schools are forced to close. Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Pleasurable First Exposure to Nicotine Predicts Addiction: New Study

Young smokers who feel relaxed after their first cigarette are most likely to become addicted, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  Their research findings, published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, indicate that nicotine addiction may be more attributable to brain chemistry than has been previously understood. Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Poor Judgment, Lack of Teamwork, Insufficient Skills Cause Most Trainee Medical Errors: New Study

Most medical errors made by young physicians can be blamed on poor judgment, teamwork breakdown, and / or inadequate technical skill, according to a new study recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  The study involved a comprehensive review of the closed medical malpractice claims of 5 major insurance companies, collected from 1984 to 2004.  Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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U.S. Hospitals Not Working to Prevent Infections: New Study

Eighty-seven percent of U.S. hospitals do not take recommended steps to reduce hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA and VRE, according to a new survey.  Conducted by The Leapfrog Group, a healthcare quality assurance consortium comprised of major U.S. corporations who provide employee health insurance benefits, the survey was based on an analysis of 1,256 U.S. hospitals.  It examined hospital practices related to the prevention of four common infections:  ventilator-associated pneumonia, central venous catheter-related bloodstream infection, surgical site infection, and influenza.  The survey also examined handwashing hygeine among hospital staff. Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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AHRQ Announces 10 Patient Safety Tips for Hospitals

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently issued a 10-item advisory for hospitals and healthcare facilities designed to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors.  Though AHRQ primarily supports research designed to assist health administrators and medical personnel, this knowledge of best practices in patient safety can also benefit the public by enabling patients and their families to advocate for safer medical care.  Following are the 10 recommendations, re-posted in their entirety:

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Infant Television Exposure Influences Behavior: New Study

Sustained TV exposure contributes to behavioral problems in children. However, gradually reducing exposure during early childhood can eliminate that risk.  The finding is a result of research at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, published recently in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  According to the study, children whose television exposure totals fewer than 2 hours per day by age 5 1/2 face little or no added risk of social or behavioral problems due to the exposure.

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Adolescent Workers More Likely to Start Smoking

Adolescents are more likely to start smoking if they're employed 10 or more hours per week, according to a recent study.  Published in the latest American Journal of Public Health, the research, conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, highlights the strategic importance of smoking cessation and prevention programs in the workplace.  Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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CDC Reports More U.S. Deaths From MRSA Than AIDS

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it appears that more people in the United State now die from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). MRSA, which is typically hospital acquired, or nosocomial, was responsible for an estimated 94,000 life-threatening infections and 18,650 deaths in 2005, while, in that same year, approximately 16,000 deaths were attributable to AIDS. The report is set forth in the October 17, 2007 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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New Ear Infection "Superbug" Resists All Pediatric Antibiotics

A strain of bacteria responsible for ear infections in children has been discovered to be resistant to all eighteen antibiotics approved for pediatric use, according to a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Pediatricians discovered the strain by performing a procedure known as tympanocentesis (or an "ear tap"), and analyzing the fluid.  The strain, known by scientists as 19A, can be eradicated only with levofloxacin, an antibiotic approved for use in adults, but which specifically carries a warning against use in children. Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Breast-Feeding Not Associated with Cavities: New Study

The risk of tooth decay in toddlers is not compounded by breast-feeding, despite unfounded claims often made by breast-feeding critics, according to new research published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of PediatricsContinue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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National Study Shows Huge Problems With Children's Care

A national study by the Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute and Rand Corporation, found that children treated by their pediatricians received the correct care only 47% of the time.  The shocking results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week.  The study was based on detailed medical record reviews of more than 1500 children between 1998-2000.  All of the children had some form of health insurance.  In fact,  80% had private insurance.  All of the children lived in or a near a large or mid-sized city and 75% of the children in the study were Caucasian.

"They got an 'F'," said Dr. Joseph F. Hagan, pediatrician from Vermont who co-edited an article in the American Academy of Pediatrics'"I was really taken aback by the results for preventive care," said Dr. Rita Mangione-Smith, an associate professor at the University of Washington and lead investigator of the study. "It was really kind of distressing to me that there was some really basic stuff that we should be doing that's just not happening."

Unfortunately, the families and children we represent have experienced these problems firsthand. The consequences of the pediatricians' errors can result in devastating outcomes for children.
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Pediatric Cold Remedies Removed From Market Over Safety Concerns

More than a dozen children's cough and cold medications have been voluntarily recalled by their manufacturers this week in response to mounting safety concerns, according to a Washington Post report.  Fourteen branded, over-the-counter (OTC) cold remedies marketed for use in children under 2 years of age have been pulled from store shelves so far.  The popular drugs have never been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children. Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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FDA to Scrutinize Children's Cold Medicine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that children's cold medicines can be deadly if over-used.  According to a recent Public Health Advisory,  serious adverse events recently reported in conjunction with the use of many common, over-the-counter cold remedies appear to be the result of over-medication.  The agency has announced that its Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee will meet to discuss the safety and effectiveness of these drugs in October.  In the interim, the agency recommends that parents who administer over-the-counter cold remedies to their children adhere to the following safety guidelines:

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Girls Are Often Neglected Victims of Concussions

According to a study soon to be published in the Journal of Athletic Training, girls sustained concussions 68 percent more often than boys while playing high school soccer, and, in high school basketball, concussion rates among girls were nearly three times higher than among boys. In addition, girls also consistently recovered from symptoms more slowly and experienced delays in their return to play.

The study, conducted by researchers at Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, examined data submitted by 425 certified athletic trainers across the United States during the 2005/2006 academic year. It has been reported that a million youngsters play high school basketball and 700,000 play high school soccer each year, with male participation only slightly higher than female participation. According to the study, football has the highest rate of concussions in high school sports, with 47 injuries per 100,000 player games or practices. Girls soccer was second highest with 36 per 100,000, followed by boys soccer (22 per 100,000) and girls basketball (21 per 100,000).

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Nursing Mothers Should Use Codeine with Caution: FDA Warning

Women who are ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine may inadvertently expose their babies to lethal levels of morphine if they take the drug while breastfeeding.  At least one infant has recently died from a morphine overdose linked to contaminated breast milk -- the mother had been taking codeine for episiotomy pain.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning related to the potential dangers of the drug for nursing mothers and babies. Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Doctors Frequently Miss High Blood Pressure in Kids: New Study

One-and-a-half million U.S. children have undiagnosed high blood pressure, according to researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Harvard University -- and doctors accurately diagnose the condition in kids only 25% of the time.  The findings are part of a recent study involving 14,000 kids from 3 to 18 years of age and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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Many New Mothers Unprepared for Hospital Discharge: New Study

Approximately 17% of new mothers and their babies are prematurely discharged from the hospital, according to a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics.  Researchers polled 4,300 new mothers, their obstetricians and pediatricians to determine whether hospital discharges were occurring at appropriate times.  Eleven percent of new mothers said their discharge came before they were prepared to leave, 5% of pediatricians said babies in their care were discharged too early, and 1% of obstetricians said discharges of their patients had run afoul of good medical judgment.  Continue Reading Posted In Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Language Development DVDs Are Not Beneficial to Infants or Toddlers: New Study

Language development DVDs like Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby can actually stunt the development of vocabulary in infants between 8 and 16 months of age, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics

Researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute studied the language acquisition of just over 1,000 infants and toddlers and found that for every hour per day that infants spent watching these DVDs, they understood an average of 6 to 8 fewer words than infants who did not view them.  The effects also appeared to be cumulative, indicating that the amount of viewing time made a difference.  For toddlers 17 to 24 months of age, the videos appeared to have no effect, positive or negative, on language development.  Whether or not a parent watched the DVDs with the children did not significantly affect the language acquisition scores of either age group.
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Physicians Disregard Ear Ache Treatment Guidelines: New Study

Most physicians don't follow professional standards for treating ear aches in children, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.  New treatment guidelines were jointly established by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2004, endorsing a non-antibiotic "observation option" for all children older than two who lack severe infection symptoms.

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Complementary and Alternative Medicing: Tips for Choosing Safer Treatments

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) interventions have become popular among U.S. patients; sometimes as a final treatment effort when medical interventions fail, and sometimes as an outright substitute for standard medicine.  Accepted by some medical professionals, and hotly criticized by others, the most universally-shared concern about CAM interventions is that in most cases, they haven't been subjected to the rigorous scientific scrutiny common of standard medicine.  A benign but ineffective therapy can become dangerous if it keeps a patient from seeking medical attention for a worsening condition, and some alternative therapies are even dangerous in and of themselves.  If you've considered trying an alternative or non-medical therapy for a health problem, the AARP offers the following advice to help ensure you're not jeopardizing your safety:
Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Children Receive Insomnia Drugs at High Rates: New Study

Although no sleeping pills are currently approved for use in children, 80% of children who visit their doctor for help with insomnia wind up with a prescription for sleeping pills, according to a new study published in the journal SLEEP.  The findings dovetail with a 2004 poll by the National Sleep Foundation suggesting that sleeping problems are a common problem among U.S. children.  Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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Many Americans Taking Medications Incorrectly, or Not at All: New Study

Millions of Americans do not take the drugs they are prescribed, or do not take them correctly, according to a new report by the National Council on Patient Information and Education.  The report sheds light on a lesser-acknowledged aspect of the nation's health care conundrum:  even when Americans have access health care services, they may not get the treatment they need to actually improve their health. Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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FDA: Antipsychotic Drug Approved for Children, But Critics Disagree

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced its approval of the antipsychotic drug Risperidone (marketed as Risperdal) for the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age, and for the treatment of bipolar I disorder in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17.  It is the first atypical psychiatric drug ever approved to treat these disorders in children, and at least one human interest organization is concerned that the drug's approval came too easily.

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Kids More Susceptible to Nicotine Addiction than Previously Understood: New Study

Young smokers can begin to feel powerfully attracted to smoking within two days of starting, and half report symptoms of physical dependence by the time they are smoking seven cigarettes a month, according to a study recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  It has generally been held by medical professionals that people had to smoke at least five cigarettes per day over an extended period of time to risk becoming addicted.
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Skincare Tips for Preventing, Treating Acne

Stress has been shown to worsen acne in teenagers, and what could be more stressful than starting a new year of school following a summer vacation?  According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health, there are several standard treatments for acne that your family physician or dermatologist might employ to help resolve an acne flare-up.  These treatments may include: Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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D.C. Students Will Be Allowed to Carry Asthma Inhalers for School Year 2007-2008

Students in D.C. public schools will be allowed to carry and use asthma inhalers throughout the school day and at school-sponsored events following the recent passage of the Student Access to Treatment Emergency Act of 2007 by the D.C. City Council.   According to a press release hosted on the website of Council Member David A. Catania, the act passed unanimously and will be in effect for the 2007-2008 school year. 

As a group, the release notes, D.C. students have one of the highest rates of asthma in the nation.  Previously, they had not been allowed to self-administer their asthma medication.  Of 8,400 asthma-related visits to school health departments last year, almost 900 resulted in trips to the hospital.  Forty-seven other states allow school children to carry and administer their own inhalers.  To learn more about the new rule, contact the office of Council Member David Catania at (202) 724-7772.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.
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Back-to-School: Check Up Time for Eyes, Ears and Teeth

Getting your child ready for school involves a never-ending checklist of things to do.  The school physical, the immunization requirements, the school supply list, the after-school care arrangements,  the emergency number list, the new clothes, the bus schedule, the list goes on and on.  Important parts of your child's back-to-school preparedness checklist also should include routine eye exams, ear exams and dental exams.  Preventive care and healthy habits contribute to a more successful school year for your child.
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Oral Health Improving for Most, Though Worsening Among Toddlers

Though the oral health of most Americans -- particularly seniors -- has steadily improved, the incidence of cavities among toddlers is on the rise.  According to a press release by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the incidence of tooth decay among children 2 to 5 years of age rose from 24% to 28% between 1988 and 1994.  The report also noted that dental health disparities often followed socio-economic stratifications.  For instance, children between the ages of 6 and 12 whose families lived below the federal poverty line exhibited an incidence of tooth decay of 12%, while those above the poverty level experienced an incidence of only a 4%.  Researchers noted that while dental interventions such as plastic sealants have proven effective at reducing decay, efforts to provide those services to under-served populations should be improved.
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Back-to-School: Immunization Requirements

They're less popular than designer clothes or backpacks, but immunizations are still among the more important things your child should acquire before returning to school this fall.  Laws and guidelines regarding immunizations vary by jurisdiction.

Following are the 2007-2008 metro area student immunization requirements by state:

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Back-to-School: Addressing Bullying in Schools -- New Research and Tips

Kids who bully others and kids who are victimized by bullies each face an increased risk of psychiatric disorders by early adulthood, according to a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics.  According to comprehensive study data, frequent bullying behavior in childhood reliably predicted antisocial personality, substance abuse, and depressive and anxiety disorders.  Frequent episodes of victimization predicted future anxiety disorders in adolescence.

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Mattel, Inc. Expands Toy Recall Over Lead Paint, Magnet Concerns

Mattel, Inc. has announced an expanded recall of 9 million toys due to health threats posed by powerful magnets and toxic lead paint.  Approximately 1.5 million toys were recalled on August 1st, all of which had been manufactured in China.  These latest additions were also manufactured in China.  Among those magnetic toys most recently recalled are Polly Pocket toys, Barbie and Tanner sets, Doggie Daycare sets and Batman figurinesSarge characters from the movie Cars are being recalled due to toxic surface paint.

Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Product Liability
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Infants Taking Antibiotics Face Greater Risk of Asthma: New Study

Children who take antibiotics in their first year of life are significantly more likely to develop asthma by age 7, according to a new study published in Chest, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.  The study, which controlled for well-known asthma risk factors, detected the association between antibiotics and asthma in cases of non-respiratory tract infections.  The children at the highest risk of developing asthma were those who had completed more than four courses of antibiotics.  The association was particularly pronounced in populations of children who were likely to be prescribed broad-spectrum (BS) cephalosporins -- a category of antibiotics that clinicians typically differentiate from narrow-spectrum varieties.  Researchers advise that the risk of asthma can be reduced by avoiding BS cephalosporins in infancy. 

For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.
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Pre-Pregnancy Obesity Increases Birth Defect Risk: New Study

The individual health consequences of obesity are well-established, but a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests that a pregnant woman's obesity can jeopardize the health of her fetus, as well.  Researchers in the study found that pre-pregnancy obesity was associated with an increased incidence of birth defects -- a finding with significant public health implications, as 51% of non-pregnant American women of childbearing age are classified as overweight.  Continue Reading Posted In Obstetrics , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Prescription Drug Use Among Teens Rising: New Study

Prescription drug abuse by teens is on the rise, according to a recent report from the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  According to the report, among adolescents age 12-17, prescription drugs are the second most frequently abused drugs, ranking just behind marijuana.  The drugs are popular, in part, because they are perceived to be safe.  OxyContin and Vicodin, both potent painkillers, are the most frequently abused.   In addition to using the drugs  to get high, teens report that they also use various prescription drugs illegally to relieve anxiety, regulate their sleeping patterns, and also to increase their alertness.  Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Pediatrics
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Riverside Psychiatric Hospital Faces Weekly Inspections Following Reports of Abuse

Mental health officials in D.C. have initiated weekly visits to Riverside Hospital in Northwest Washington, following a report by the legal advocacy group University Legal Services, Inc., charging them with "serious and persistent abuse and neglect."  According to a news report in the Washington Post, the psychiatric hospital for children under 21 years of age, has a troubling history of abuse and neglect accusations, including one recent case involving the death of a 14-year old girl who died after ventilator assistance and emergency cardiac surgery eventually failed to save her life.  Riverside is accused of negligence in ignoring the symptoms of her impending cardiac emergency and contributing to her death.  Though the D.C. Department of Mental Health has not de-certified the hospital, the Post report notes that the agency has not referred any patients to the facility since last week, when the facility voluntarily stopped accepting long-term patients.  The hospital's lawyers maintain that the temporary halt in accepting patients was unrelated to these latest accusations of abuse -- accusations which include instances of punching, choking, slapping, pushing, threats, and chemical and physical restraint. 

For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.
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Some Medications Increase the Risk of Heat Illness

Summer heat can jeopardize anyone's health, but according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, taking certain medications can actually increase your risk of heat-related illness. The agency advises that the following types of drugs can make you more vulnerable to the heat: 
  • "Psychotropic drugs which affect behavior, experience, or psychic function (i.e., anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers, etc.). 
  • Medications for Parkinson's Disease, as they can keep you from sweating.
  • Tranquilizers (i.e., Haldol, etc.)
  • Diuretics (or "water pills") that affect your body's fluid balance"
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Antibiotics Ineffective, Problematic in Kids with Urinary Tract Infections: New Study

Antibiotic treatment for kids with urinary tract infections (UTIs) appears not only to be ineffective, but potentially harmful, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  Though recurrent UTIs can lead to potentially dangerous kidney problems in children, the most popular current treatment -- daily antibiotics -- appears to be ineffective.  Worse, the regular dose of antibiotics can give rise to antibiotic-resistant infections, which pose more difficult medical challenges in later years.  The ineffectiveness of the drug treatment was observed even in kids with bladder reflux (a condition in which urine occasionally flows backwards to the kidneys).  In a second finding, researchers determined that kids with bladder reflux were no more prone to UTIs than other children; a finding that contradicts longstanding medical belief.  Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health
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Petting Zoos Associated With Infectious Disease Outbreaks

A new study concerning petting zoos and germs recently appeared in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.  The study finds that health guidelines are frequently ignored in petting zoos -- particularly hand washing guidelines -- and that a number of serious intestinal diseases can be attributed to the fact.  Between 1991 and 2005, according to the study, 55 reported outbreaks of intestinal disease were ultimately traced back to the presence of animals in public events.  E. coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, and Campylobacter were found to be typical contaminates.  These bacteria occur naturally in the digestive tracts of many animals, and are eventually spread to the hair and holding pens of those animals through their feces.  When petting zoo patrons were infected, it was almost always by inadvertently touching the bacteria, then spreading it to their mouths.  The report notes that almost all petting zoos observed in the study provided hand washing facilities nearby, but only about 30% of visitors ever used them.       

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Summer Sun Protection and Skin Cancer Prevention Guidelines

Reducing sun exposure and wearing sun-protective clothes is better than using sunscreen, according to a recent article in the medical journal The Lancet.  According to the authors, though the benefits of sunscreen are proven, most people use so little, or apply it so infrequently, it's ineffective.  Experts advise that to be effective, a shot glass quantity of sunscreen should be applied every few hours; most consumers use nowhere near that amount. Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Pediatricians Lack Certification, Training: Recent Study

A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics has found that some metro area pediatricians may lack certification by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). Though the study looked at eight states in different geographic areas of the nation, the highest incidence of non-certified practitioners was found to be in Maryland, where nearly 17% of pediatricians claim a professional title inconsistent with records at the ABP. Nationwide, the average percentage of self-titled pediatric practitioners not matched with board records was found to be 11%.

The study, conducted by the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan, highlights a problematic situation in which many states allow physicians to claim a specialty area, but never verify the credential. Certification is important, according to researchers, because it reflects a physician’s expertise, and because actively maintaining the credential keeps practitioners informed of the latest trends and developments in their field of specialization.

Parents or other interested parties can always verify the certification of any pediatrician via a "Verification of Certification" tool on the homepage of the ABP website.         

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Dangerous "Heelys" and "Street Gliders": Physicians Groups Report Increased Injuries to Children

A recent article in the journal Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, highlights the orthopedic dangers of "Heelys" -- popular kids' shoes that feature a partially-embedded, removable wheel in the heel.  Authors of the study recommend that protective gear be worn at all times while using the products, and that children learning to use the shoes be closely supervised. 

"Heelers" -- those using the devices -- can alternate between walking and rolling by shifting their weight to various parts of their feet while wearing the popular shoes.  "Street Gliders," another type of product, operate similarly, but are designed to temporarily attach to regular sneakers.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has also reported an increased incidence of injuries related to the sneakers.  Those injuries predominately affect the wrists, hands and elbows, but the group also notes a potential for head injury among users.  They recommend the following guidelines for those who may decide to use the new products:
  • "Learn the basic skills of the sport; particularly how to stop properly, before venturing out.
  • Wear a helmet, wrist protectors and knee and elbow pads.
  • Avoid rolling in crowded walkways.
  • Avoid rolling in traffic. If you come to a cross walk, obey traffic signals, stay to the right side of the sidewalk and don’t weave in and out of crowds.
  • Heel on smooth surfaces, away from traffic.
  • Do not let a young child heel unsupervised."
We urge parents to exercise good judgment in buying safe and age-appropriate toys and sporting goods for their children, and always encourage the use of protective equipment.  If you have any questions at all about the products you or your children are using this summer, please feel free to contact us.            Posted In Pediatrics
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Similac Special Care Premature Infant Formula Recall: Insufficient Iron Contents

According to MedWatch - The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program, Similac Special Care 24 Cal/fl.oz Ready to Feed Premature Infant Formula With Iron has been recalled because the product contains less iron than is stated on the label.  The following alert was distributed by MedWatch on May 29, 2007. 

"Abbott informed consumers and healthcare professionals of a nationwide recall of three lots of two-ounce bottles of Similac Special Care 24 Cal/fl. oz. Ready-to-Feed Premature Infant Formula with Iron, a highly specialized liquid ready-to-feed formula used only for premature infants after discharge from the hospital.  The three lots of formula were recalled because they do not contain as much iron as indicated on the label.  The formula was distributed in the United States between November 2006 and May 2007.  Premature infants fed this formula for more than a month after discharge could have an increased risk of developing anemia due to insufficient iron intake.  If parents have concerns about their baby's health, they should contact their baby's doctor or healthcare professional.  No other liquid or powdered Similac Infant formulas were affected. See the attached manufacturer's news release for a list of stock code and lot numbers for formula affected by this recall. "

The complete news release by the manufacturer of Similac products, Abbot's Ross Products Division, is also available at the FDA website.  Ross will replace the recalled product  free of charge to consumers who contact the company at 1-888-899-9182.

Parents with concerns about their baby's health should contact their healthcare professional immediately for alternatives. 




Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Pediatric Study: 80% of Hospitalized Children Receive Medications Approved Only for Adults

According to a recent study by the Pediatric Health Information Systems Research Group, almost 80% of hospitalized children receive drugs that have been tested and approved only for adults.  The study revealed that the drugs most frequently used off-label for children were painkillers, nutrients and gastrointestinal agents. Children were more likely to receive off-label drugs if they underwent surgery, were older than 28 days and had more severe illnesses.  Least likely drugs to be used in this manner were anti-cancer drugs.

 "Using drugs that have been insufficiently studied in children has contributed to adverse outcomes, which have been documented in the medical literature," said Samir Shah of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "We hope that by better defining the magnitude of off-label drug use, our study may help encourage greater cooperation among industry, academia, and government in carrying out studies to better protect children."

The study focused on patient records from 31 major U.S. children's hospitals for the year 2004 and involved 90 drugs that were either frequently administered to children or had been recommended for further pediatric study by the Food and Drug Administration.

Researchers in the Pediatric Health Information Systems Research Group, representing various medical centers, analyzed patient records from 31 major U.S. children's hospitals for the entire year of 2004. At least one drug was used off-label in 79 percent of the more than 355,000 children requiring hospitalization. Off-label use accounted for $270 million, some 40 percent, of the total dollars spent on children's medication in the study, which appears in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Although off-label prescribing is relatively common among adult patients, it has long been recognized that many of the drugs used in pediatrics have never been tested in children. In recent years, federal regulations providing financial incentives to pharmaceutical companies have helped increase the number of drugs tested and approved for children. However, said Dr. Shah, "there was little information on the extent of off-label use among children, the types of drugs used off-label, and the characteristics of hospitalized children receiving those drugs."

All previous studies of off-label drug use in hospitalized children were performed outside the United States and were often limited to specific conditions or other restrictions. The current study focused on 90 drugs that were either administered frequently to children or were recommended for further pediatric study by the FDA.

Senior study author Anthony Slonim noted that, once the FDA approves a drug for use, physicians may legally prescribe it for different conditions and patients in other age groups. The practice is called prescribing "off-label."

The study was published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Posted In Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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Chest Compressions Without Mouth-To-Mouth Better For Out-Of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

A recent study published in The Lancet, one of the world's foremost medical journals, reveals that the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting are twice as high if bystanders perform chest-compression-only resuscitation (CCR) instead of traditional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with mouth-to-mouth breathing.  The study analyzed the outcomes of resuscitation attempts performed by laypeople present at the scene after witnessing a collapse due to cardiac arrest.

"The report confirms that what we have learned in animal experiments applies to humans as well," says Gordon A. Ewy, MD, director of the Sarver Heart Center at The University of Arizona in Tucson where chest-compression-only resuscitation was developed. "Bystander-initiated continuous chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth breathing are the preferable approach for witnessed unexpected collapse, which is usually due to cardiac arrest."

Please see the Sarver Heart Center news release for more information about this study as well as CCR.  For information about CPR training and certification and other available health and safety services in your area, please see the American Red Cross website.

Posted In Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Winter Colds and Over-Wrapping Raise The Risk Of SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of death in infants under 1 year of age, can happen at any time.  Parents and caregivers, however, should be particularly careful during the cold winter months, when the flu, other infections and the urge to bundle up babies extra warmly increase the risk of SIDS, say experts from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

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Exemptions Rise, Whooping Cough Spreads

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that whooping cough is spreading due to the rise of vaccine exemptions that school aged children are allowed to obtain.

The study examined non-medical exemptions and found that in states that allowed personal-belief exemptions, the exemption rate increased by 6% per year from 1991 to 2004, while states that granted exemptions “easily” the rate rose by 5% per year for the same time period. No statistically significant change was seen for states that offered only the religious belief exemption or had a medium to difficult exemption process. All results were associated with an increase of the whooping cough.

DC, MD, and VA all grant only medical exemptions and religious exemptions.

Resource: Journal of American Medical Association Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Institute for Healthcare Improvement Issues Guidelines To Prevent Five Million Injuries in Hospitals

On December 12, 2006, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) announced a national campaign intended to dramatically reduce the incidents of medical harm in healthcare institutions in the United States.  The 5 Million Lives Campaign, if successful, would be "the biggest improvement in patient safety in the history of modern health care" according to Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, President and CEO of IHI.  The campaign will focus on matters such as the adoption of various improvements in care that can save lives and prevent injuries, such as decubitus ulcers (bed sores), surgical complications and infections. Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health
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Child Suffers Permanent Brain Damage After Surgery: Hospital Admits Errors

In a tragic recent case, as reported in the Morning Call, a family sued a hospital for failure to prevent permanent brain damage to Jahmir Bates, an 8 year old boy during tonsil surgery.  The lawsuit alleged that three months before the surgery, the child underwent a study to evaluate his sleep apnea. The study revealed that the child suffered from ''severe obstructive sleep apnea with significant oxygen desaturation.'' According to court documents, doctors failed to note the diagnosis before prepping Jahmir for surgery. In the operating room, after anesthesia was applied, Jahmir experienced breathing difficulties and soon suffered respiratory failure.  

The Hospital in this case was willing to admit their mistake and settle with the family. In a prepared statement Sacred Heart Hospital said it ''regrets this terrible tragedy that occurred during the care of Jahmir Bates.''  The attorney for the child's family praised the Hospital for not attempting to keep the settlement private. Confidentiality clauses are common for such cases.  ''The hospital was willing to publicly recognize the core problem which contributed to this boy's injury: … Its pediatric and anesthesia care was not sufficient,'' the child's attorney said.
Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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Pregnant Women With Placental Infection Have Doubled Risk Of Recurrence

As reported by Medical News Today, pregnant women who develop chorioamnionitis, an infection of the placenta or nearby membranes, in their first pregnancy have twice the risk of getting it in their second pregnancy, researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas (UT Southwestern) have found. Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Obstetrics , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Magnetic Toys Need Effective Warning Labels

In a November 21, 2006 release, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) has called for warning labels on toys with magnets after more than 4 million Mattel, Inc. play sets were recalled due to injuries to several children who swallowed magnets that fell off.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which announced the recall of magnetic Polly Pocket sets as the holiday gift-buying season begins, urged shoppers to avoid buying toy sets with small magnets for children under 6. The recall does not include Polly Pocket play sets now on store shelves, which were redesigned to make them safer, according to CPSC spokesperson, Scott Wolfson.  The CPSC received nearly 200 reports of the small magnets falling from Polly Pocket dolls and accessories. Three children swallowed more than one magnet and suffered intestinal perforation that required surgery.  U.S. PIRG said the CPSC should require labels on all magnetic toys warning parents to seek immediate medical help if their child has swallowed a magnet. Continue Reading Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability
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Doctors' Group Recommends Against Pediatric Cold Medicine

Children’s over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to children, according to Dr. David Levy of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Parents should never give cold medicine to children under age 3, according to the AAP. Coughing is the body’s way of clearing excess mucus from the respiratory tract.  As a result, cough suppressants in particular should be avoided.  Instead, doctors recommend that parents put a cool-mist humidifier in the child’s room to alleviate cold symptoms.

Finally, while ibuprofen (trade name "Motrin")  is acceptable in the right dose for children 6 months and older, parents should call their pediatrician before administering other cold medicines because of the risk of overdose.

If you believe that you or a family member have a case involving improper prescribing of medication, please contact us on-line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at 202-463-3030 for a free consultation.  If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.

Posted In Pediatrics
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Mumps Outbreak

A Reuters article reports that a recent Mumps outbreak that has affected 45 states and the District of Columbia has produced nearly 6,000 cases of the disease.

The vaccine for Mumps is known as MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) and is generally required for children before they can attend school. The vaccine is typically administered to children between 12 and 15 months of age, and again between the ages of 4 to 6 years.   However a rise in the disease has been seen particularly among those between the ages of 18 to 24, a vulnerable group more apt to spread the disease in the college setting.  

Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics
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Influenza Vaccine: For your baby?

The Journal of the American Medical Association  recently reported a study that analyzed the effect of the influenza vaccine on children from 6 to 23 months old. The vaccine has been recommended for this age group since the 2004-2005 winter season, but its effects on children of that age were never fully studied.

Continue Reading Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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Pediatric ER Services Recommended

A Wall Street Journal article, reprinted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reports that some hospitals are investing in special pediatric emergency room units. While children represent almost a third of all ER visits, fewer than 6 percent of hospitals have the recommended special medical equipment for treating children on hand, and only 25 percent have access to a board-certified doctor of pediatric emergency medicine.

In a recent opinion column, the Washington Post urges that hospitals have more and better-trained staff on hand to care for children in their emergency rooms. The article also recommends pediatric-specific disaster plans and increased funding for the Emergency Medical Services for Children program.

Posted In Pediatrics
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FDA Recall: Triaminic Vapor Patch Possibly Dangerous for Children

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Public Health Advisory, consumers should not use the Triaminic Vapor Patch, a children's cough suppressant.  Novartis Consumer Health, the manufacturer of the Triaminic Vapor Patch, is voluntarily reacalling the patch because it may cause serious harm to children who accidentally ingest it.

The Triaminic Vapor Patch is advertised as a cough suppressant for children over the age of two. The package label instructs consumers to apply the patch to the throat or chest. However, once applied, a child who may be enticed by the patch’s cherry or menthol scent can easily remove and swallow the product.

The patch contains camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol, ingredients that can cause symptoms that range from minor to life-threatening, including a burning sensation in the mouth, headache, nausea and vomiting, and seizures. The FDA is aware of one report in Canada associated with the identical version of the Triaminic Vapor Patch where a two year old child was reported to have had a seizure after chewing the medicated patch.

 

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Pediatrics , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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ACOG Position on First-Trimester Screening Methods

According to a Committee Opinion issued by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), first-trimester screening for genetic defects is a real option for pregnant women, but only if certain criteria are met. New technologies, such as measuring nuchal translucency (NT), have allowed for earlier, noninvasive screening for chromosomal abnormalities. When combined with screening blood work in the first trimester, these methods have detection rates that are comparable to current standard second-trimester screening.

There are many advantages offered by screening in the first-trimester. When test results are negative, maternal anxiety may be reduced at an earlier point in the pregnancy. If positive, it allows women to take advantage of first-trimester prenatal diagnosis by chorionic villus sampling (CVS) at 10-12 weeks or second-trimester amniocentesis (15 weeks), as well as allow women to prepare for a child with health problems.

Continue Reading Posted In Obstetrics , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Guidelines Updated for Mumps Immunization

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently updated recommendations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations. Medscape's Medical news site provides a summary at Guidelines Updated for Mumps Immunization. "According to the 1998 ACIP recommendations for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, for routine vaccination, a first dose of MMR vaccine is recommended at ages 12 - 15 months and a second dose at ages 4 - 6 years," the guidelines state. "Two doses of MMR vaccine also are recommended for students attending colleges and other post-high school institutions. However, documentation of mumps immunity through vaccination has consisted of only 1 dose of mumps-containing vaccine for all designated groups, including health-care workers." "Key changes to the 1998 guidelines involve acceptable presumptive evidence of immunity to mumps, routine vaccination for healthcare workers, and mumps outbreak control." State and school requirements vary. For a general summary of the mumps disease, vaccination schedules for children and adults, listing of people who should not be vaccinated, immunity, and statistics, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Posted In Pediatrics
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Maryland Updates Immunization Requirements for 2006-2007 School Year

The State of Maryland recently updated its immunization requirements for school age children and college students.   The new requirements can be found at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website.   Vaccine requirement charts are also available on the site.   In addition, a new exclusion date table was issued by the Department on July 14, 2006, extending the exclusion deadline for compliance from September 1, 2006, to January 1, 2007, in an attempt to allow extra time to review student records and education parents on the new school immunization requirements.  

Other requirements and details about immunization are available at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Center for Immunization.

Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Doctors Frequently Miss Flu Diagnosis in Young Children

According to a recently-released survey by the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors frequently miss flu diagnosis in young children, greatly underestimating the problem among children younger than age five.  Researchers concluded that in four out of five preschoolers brought to a doctor's office or emergency room,  influenza infections were not recognized.  Lead author Dr. Kathernine A. Poehling, of Vanderbilt University, further noted,  "Although the universal recommendation that all children 6 to 23 months of age be vaccinated was driven primarily by high hospitalization rates, our findings demonstrate that the outpatient burden of influenza is substantial."   In a related editorial, Dr. W. Paul Glezen of Baylor College of Medicine, commented that, "This lack of recognition represents a missed opportunity to intervene to reduce both the risk of complications and the spread of the virus to contacts." 

Researchers indicated that more cases could be detected with wider use of a rapid flu test.  Many children are not even given flu tests in the doctor's office.   The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website provides additional information about rapid flu testing.  

Posted In Pediatrics
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The Future of Emergency Care: Key Findings and Recommendations

As published in the June 2006 Fact Sheet from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, emergency medical care in the United States is at a crisis point. Please see the press release of June 14, 2006, for the detailed report. "Despite the lifesaving feats performed every day by emergency departments and ambulance services, the nation's emergency medical system as a whole is overburdened, underfunded, and highly fragmented, says a new series of three reports from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. As a result, ambulances are turned away from emergency departments once every minute on average, and patients in many areas may wait hours or even days for a hospital bed. Moreover, the system is ill-prepared to handle surges from disasters such as hurricanes, bombings, or disease outbreaks."

Following are the key findings and recommendations drawn from the three reports in the series, Hospital-Based Emergency Care: At the Breaking Point, Emergency Medical Services At the Crossroads, and Emergency Care for Children: Growing Pains. To view the summary report, see Emergency Care Findings and Recommendations.

Key Findings:
1) Many emergency departments and trauma centers are overcrowded.
2) Emergency care is highly fragmented.
3) Critical specialists are often unavailable to provide emergency and trauma care.
4) The emergency care system is ill-prepared to handle a major disaster.
5) Emergency medical services and emergency departments are not well equipped to handle pediatric care.

Recommendations:
1) Create a coordinated, regionalized, accountable system.
2) Create a lead agency.
3) End emergency department boarding and diversion.
4) Increase funding for emergency care.
5) Enhance emergency care research.
6) Promote emergency medical services workforce standards.
7) Enhance pediatric presence throughout emergency care.

Posted In Patient Safety , Pediatrics
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First West Nile Virus Cases Reported in Fairfax County: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Health officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, recently reported capturing the first mosquitoes of the season with positive test results for West Nile virus.  The Virginia Health Department cautions residents to be vigilant.  The area has recently experienced excessive rainfall, creating more sites with standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs.   West Nile virus spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Although most people don't get sick, those that do usually experience flu-like symptoms. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website provides details for mosquito control and using insect repellents safely.  More safety tips are provided at the Centers for Disease Control site, including special guidelines for using insect repellents on and around children.  Certain ingredients for some repellent products, such as DEET or oil of eucalyptus, are not recommended for use by children under three years of age.  If you are concerned about using repellent products on children, contact the National Pesticide Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378 or consult your child's pediatrician.  The American Academy of Pediatrics offers additional advice regarding use of DEET products around children.  Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Fireworks Safety Guidelines

June is National Fireworks Safety Month.   As July 4th approaches, family and neighborhood events often include fireworks as the centerpiece of their celebrations.  Although it is generally acknowledged that fireworks are extremely dangerous, many safety measures are ignored, frequently turning a celebration into a tragic event.   According to The US Consumer Product Safety Commission 2005 Annual Report, an estimated 10,800 patients treated in hospital emergency rooms involved fireworks.  Approximately 60% of those injuries occurred between June 18, 2005 and July 18, 2005.  Injuries to children under 15 accounted for 45% of the estimated injuries.  Sparklers were responsible for almost half of the injuries to children under the age of 5.  The most common injuries were burns, followed by various eye injuries.  

By far, the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the professionals.  Fireworks are not legal in all states.  Check your state laws to determine what types of fireworks are allowed or prohibited and the regulations governing their use.   Included below are the US Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines:
1) Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
2) Read and follow all instructions and warnings.
3) Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
4) Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
5) Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
6) Keep a bucket of water in case of a malfunction or fire.

Numerous sites provide more safety tips for fireworks.  Links to other organizations are listed below:
Adults Who Care
Pediatrics Guide
National Council on Fireworks Safety
National Fire Protection Agency
Keep Kids Healthy
National Safety Council
Prevent Blindness America






Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the rates for potential adverse drug events in children are three times higher than in adults and substantially higher still for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital.

A 1999 report by the National Institute of Medicine estimated that as many as 44,000 to 98,000 patients die in U.S. Hospitals each year as a result of medical errors.

*Medical errors can occur in hospitals, doctor's offices, pharmacies and even in a patient's home. Errors can involve surgeries, diagnosis, medical equipment, lab reports and medication.

*Research by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO and the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) indicate that most medical errors result from a failure in communication within the complex healthcare system. One study also found that doctors often do not do enough to help their patients make informed decisions about important healthcare decisions.

What Can You Do?
Patients and their families need to take an active role in their healthcare.

Below you will find the top 20 tips published by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that may help you and your loved ones avoid a medication error.

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Safety at Petting Zoos: Avoiding E. coli Infections

Recent cases of E. coli infection among children who visited a petting zoo have raised awareness of the dangers and safety measures to reduce the risk for transmission. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people usually get E. coli infections from "eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef." Other means of infection include "person to person contact in families and child care centers," drinking raw milk, swimming in or drinking contaminated water, or having contact with infected farm animals.

To reduce the risk in locations where the public may come in contact with farm animals, the CDC recommends the following safety measures:
- inform visitors about the risks for tranmission of enteric pathogens from farm animals to humans;
- design the layout of venues to minimize risk;
- include adequate handwashing facilities;
- do not permit hand-mouth activities (eating, drinking, smoking, carrying toys and pacifiers) in interaction areas;
- observe heightened precaution for high risk individuals (children under five years, elderly, pregnant women, HIV/AIDS victims;
- do not serve raw milk.

These precautions don't mean that you cannot take your child to a petting zoo, but you should take steps to be informed and do so safely.

Posted In Pediatrics , Public Health
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Could Your Child Have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder?

Pervasive developmental (or development) disorder (PDD) is an umbrella term that refers to a group of conditions involving delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. Children with PDDs frequently are confused in their thinking and generally have problems understanding the world around them. Because these conditions typically are identified in children around 3 years of age, a critical period in a child's development, they are called development disorders. It is not uncommon for a parent to wonder whether his or her child is developing normally during this period. In these instances, parents often have no sense of the nature or magnitude of a potential problem, and pediatricians are often unable to make a diagnosis given their limited and sporadic contact with the child. Delays in diagnosis of children with PDDs are widespread for that very reason. The constellation of symptoms of PDD vary in severity and frequency, making it critical that parents observe their child's behavior in a variety of settings and present that information to their pediatrician as soon as possible.

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Internal Documents Reveal Deception by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Regarding the Role of Vaccines in Autism

All too often, we find that clients have not been provided with complete information and, as a result, have not been given the opportunity to make informed decisions with regard to their own care or the care of a loved one. According to Generation Rescue, a nonprofit organization formed by parents of children diagnosed with autism and other developmental disorders, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has minimized or attempted to conceal the association between childhood vaccines and autism. On April 6, 2006, Generation Rescue launched a website, www.PutChildrenFirst.org, and placed a full page advertisement in USA Today with regard to its allegations and the basis for them. Many parents and scientists believe that autism and other neurological disorders, including Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) and sensory integration disorder, are caused by the toxic metal mercury, a key ingredient in a vaccine preservative called thimerosal. Through the Freedom of Information Act, parents of autistic children obtained numerous internal documents from CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, and the U.S. Congress regarding this connection between vaccines and autism. According to Generation Rescue, one such document is an email and spreadsheet from a CDC epidemiologist showing an extremely high correlation between mercury received through vaccines and autism, with the researcher writing that the correlation "just won't go away." Another is a transcript from a meeting held by CDC during which health officials reported that "the number of dose-related relationships [between thimerosal and autism] are linear and statistically significant" and that CDC's data should be kept out of "less responsible hands."

During the last decade, CDC, as the agency responsible for the National Immunization Program, dramatically increased the number of recommended immunizations for children, nearly tripling the amount of mercury injected into children and grossly exceeding federal safety standards. During this period, rates of autism also dramatically increased, and Generation Rescue reports that more than 1 in 150 children are currently diagnosed with autism, as compared to 1 in 10,000 in the 1970s.

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Recall of Gentlease Baby Formula - Found to Contain Metal Particles

"Mead Johnson and FDA notified the public of a recall of one lot, lot # BMJ19, of GENTLEASE powdered infant formula, found to contain metal particles up to 2.7 millimeter in size. If an infant were to inhale the infant formula into the lungs, the presence of these particles could present a serious risk to the infant's respiratory system and throat.

There were approximately 41,464 24-ounce cans of this lot of recalled product distributed, beginning on December 16, 2005, through many major retail stores across the country, so the consumer should concentrate on the code on the can rather than on the place of purchase. The affected products can be identified by the lot number and expiration/use by date embossed on the bottom of the can of BMJ19, use by 1 Jul 07. Consumers who have a can of this batch of GENTLEASE powdered infant formula should not use the product and should contact Mead Johnson at 888-587-7275 immediately."

To read the complete recall notice please go to:

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2006/safety06.htm#gentlease

Posted In Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Infant Teether Recall

On January, 27, 2006, the FDA and The First Years announced a voluntary recall of liquid-filled teethers. The fluid inside the teethers may possibly contain bacterial contamination, which could cause serious illness in children if the teether is punctured.

Consumers should immediately stop using the following products:
* Disney Days of Hunny Soft Cool Ring Teether--Style# Y1447
* Disney Soft Cool Ring Teether--Style# Y1470
* Disney Soft Cool Ring Teether--Style# Y1490
* The First Years® Cool Animal Teether/Fish, Zebra and Dinosaur designs--Style# Y1473
* The First Years® Floating Friends Teether-- Style# Y1474
* Sesame Beginnings™ Chill & Chew Teether-- Style# Y3095

Continue Reading Posted In Pediatrics , Product Liability , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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Foodborne Illness: Prevention through Education

Foodborne illness, an underreported and preventable disease, is a public health and economic challenge affecting both general and at-risk populations. More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food, the causes of which include organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites, as well as toxins and other substances. The signs and symptoms of foodborne illness range from mild gastrointestinal problems to serious life-threatening conditions affecting the liver, kidneys, and neurological system. In the United States alone, foodborne diseases have historically been estimated to cause illness in millions of Americans and thousands of deaths each year.

In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's National Retail Food Team launched a long-term study investigating food preparation handling and practices most commonly reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as contributing factors in foodborne illness outbreaks. Specifically, this study involves inspection of foodservice and retail food establishments in order to observe and document the occurrence "foodborne illness risk factors," such as food from unsafe sources, inadequate cooking, poor personal hygiene, and equipment contamination. The study is intended to continue through the year 2008.

Posted In Men's Health Issues , Pediatrics , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Healthy Children Among Seasonal Flu Deaths

As reported in a December 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that one-third of the 153 children killed by the seasonal flu in the United States during the 2003-2004 flu season were dead within three days of becoming ill, many of whom were perfectly healthy before they were stricken. Nearly two-thirds of the deaths were in children under 5 years of age, and 12 percent were younger than 6 months. The published report is the first detailed report on flu deaths among children from this flu season.

While not particularly severe, the 2003-2004 flu season began earlier than anticipated. Epidemiologist Niranjan Bhat, the CDC's lead researcher, stated that two findings surprised him: how fast the illnesses developed and the number of children who were otherwise perfectly healthy. Bhat further stated that the findings led the CDC's immunization advisory committee to urge that all children 6 to 23 months old get flu shots, which is consistent with the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For information regarding the flu, including signs and symptoms as well as vaccination information, please visit the websites of the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Posted In Pediatrics
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Pemoline Withdrawn as Approved Drug for ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become a prevalent diagnosis among children in recent years. Consequently, numerous drugs have been developed and prescribed to children to treat this disorder. In October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration withdrew approval for pemoline, a drug used to treat ADHD, because it has been associated with liver problems, including death. The drug was sold under the name Cylert and originally developed by Abbott Laboratories. Earlier this year, Abbott discontinued production of Cylert, but generic versions continued to be produced and remain available. Even though pemoline or Cylert has been associated with liver problems and death, the FDA did not recall the drug. Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, criticized the FDA's failure to issue a recall of the drug calling it "reckless and insensitive to the health and lives of children and adults using this drug . . .." For an additional story about Cyclert, also see the October 24, 2005 online edition of MSN Health & Fitness - Health Highlights .

Posted In Medications , Pediatrics , Product Liability , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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