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Author Archives: Todd Hendrickson

At least one person has died and dozens were injured when a beer garden tent collapsed in a storm Saturday afternoon, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

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A line of strong storms passed through St. Louis just before 4pm. Kilroy’s bar, south of Busch Stadium at 720 South Seventh Avenue had set up the tent as a beer garden. Reports indicate that the tent was permitted and inspected, but the investigation continues.

If you or a loved one was injured in this incident, please call or contact us at hendricksonlaw.com to discuss possible claims.

“American hospitals are capable of great medical feats, but they are also plagued by daily errors that cost lives.” So begins a recent article by the AARP, titled Hospitals May Be the Worst Place to Stay When You’re Sick.

The AARP reports several statistics that may be shocking to those who don’t deal with these issues, day in and day out. For example:

? Each year as many as 100,000 American die in hospitals from preventable medical mistakes

? A report on Medicare patients released in January found that hospital staffs don’t report 86% of harms done to patients

? An HHS study found that 1 in 7 patients suffered serious or long term injuries, or died as a result of hospital care

? 44% of the problems are preventable

? The patients who die each year from preventable hospital errors equal four full jumbo jets crashing each week

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If you suspect that you or a loved one are the victim of this type of medical negligence, please call me to discuss. 314-721-8833 or 800-557-8176 or view my website STLMedicalMalpractice.com.

The New York Times has reported that a Johnson & Johnson/DePuy hip implant that was sold overseas, was rejected by the FDA in 2009.

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The implant was new hip resurfacing implant. Unlike traditional hip implants, in which the ball portion of thigh bone or femur is removed and a replacement stem and ball are implanted, this particular implant left the femur largely intact and placed a ball shaped cap over the existing femoral head. Most importantly for U.S. medical consumers, the same pelvic (or ace tabular) cup portion of the implants, was used in both the ASR resurfacing system and the ASR system which was approved and sold in the U.S. That ASR implant was eventually the subject of a recall in August 2010–a full year after the FDA had rejected the sister-product.

Both systems are so-called metal-on-metal hip implants because they involve a metal ball and a metal socket. The apparent problem with the implants is that the design of the metal sockets are such that the friction between the two components creates metal debris which reacts in many patients and causes infection-like responses, destroying bone, muscle, ligament and soft-tissues, leading to pain and dislocations of the hips. The metal can also seep into the blood and, in effect, cause a type of metal blood poisoning. The only way to stop the effects is to remove the metal cup and replace it with a traditional plastic lined cup.

The DePuy ASR implants are the subjects of thousands of lawsuits around the country. Most have been consolidated into a multi-district litigation based in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. However, many cases remaining pending in state courts throughout the U.S.

In related litigation, another DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant, the Pinnacle, has also seen cases consolidated in a multi-district litigation, this one in the Northern District of Texas. Generally, the same metal debris problems are occurring with the DePuy Pinnacle implants as occurred with the ASR implants.

For more information on the DePuy ASR Hip Implants, see my previous posts listed below. If you or a loved one have a DePuy ASR or DePuy Pinnacle implant, or suspect you have any metal-on-metal implant, call our offices immediately at 1-800-557-8176.

DePuy ASR Hip Implants Recalled

Hip Implants Withdrawn From Market

Metal on Metal Hip Components Linked to Early Failures

The St. Louis Post Dispatch has reported that Mercy Hospital (formerly St. John’s Mercy Medical Center) has settled a Justice Department investigation by agreeing to pay $365,000.

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The settlement resolves allegations that Mercy overcharged Medicare between 2000 and 2008 for performing kyphoplasty, a minimally-invasive procure to treat certain spinal fractures. The allegation was that the hospital’s unnecessarily extended the patient’s stays in order to increase the recovery from Medicare. The DOJ brought the charges under the False Claims Act.

Mercy was 1 of 14 hospitals around the nation that settled with DOJ over the practice.

Since Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius created an initiative to jointly pursue investigations to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid Fraud in May 2009, the U.S. Government has recovered $6.6 billion in cases involving Medicare and Medicaid Fraud, mostly from hospitals and large medical care providers.

You may not realize it, but our active duty military have virtually no recourse if they are the victim of medical malpractice by a U.S. military physician or health care provider. This is called the Feres Doctrine and has been the law since a 1950 U.S. Supreme Court case, Feres v. United States.

Well, now the U.S. is trying to expand the Feres Doctrine to include the spouses and family members of U.S. Military. That’s right, they are trying to get the Court’s to agree that, basically, U.S. Military physicians cannot be held responsible for any malpractice. You can read a detailed report in The Atlantic.

I’m sorry, this is just wrong. I’ve always thought the Feres Doctrine was wrong, but at least the argument existed that, as a member of the military, you were giving up certain rights in exchange for certain benefits. The families of U.S. Military don’t make those decisions. And to treat the military members, let alone their families, as if they are undeserving of the best medical care and a means to hold someone accountable if they don’t get it, its just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Bloomberg and other sources are reporting that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay the U.S. $1 billion to settle the U.S. Attorney’s marketing probe. Read the full report here. Criminal please still may come in this case.

Risperdal was once J&J’s biggest selling drug. It was an anti-psychotic drug approved for use in psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. J&J began marketing it for off-label uses, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, mood and anxiety disorders and other unapproved uses.

The New York Times has a recent article on The High Cost of Failing Artificial Hips that does a good job of outlining the the cost related to the seemingly epidemic failure of the metal-on-metal hip implants from DePuy and others. If you’ve had a hip replacement in the last 10 years, I would recommend that you read it here.

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If you have a DePuy ASR or Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant, I would strongly urge you to contact me to discuss your rights. Even if you are not currently experiencing problems with your hip replacement, you should be aware of the pending litigation and what you should do.

To be clear, there is no class action currently pending for these implants and I don’t anticipate that there will be. What is in place is called a Multi-District Litigation that has some of the characteristics of a class action, but differs in many ways. The most important difference is this: If you don’t file a lawsuit, your interests will not be protected and you will not receive a settlement. In the typical class-action anyone who can be identified as having received the defective product will receive notice of a settlement. That is not true in a Multi-District Litigation.

If you have had a DePuy ASR or Pinnicle, a Zimmer Duron or any other metal-on-metal implant, please contact me immediately at 1-800-557-8176 or see my website at www.stlmedicalmalpractice.com.

If your lovely Aunt Shelby give you a ShoulderFlex massager for Christmas … well, you don’t even want to re-gift this thing. And whatever you do, don’t use it!

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The ShoulderFlex massager by now bankrupt King International was recalled in August. NPR reports that the FDA recalled the device because clothing, hair and jewelry can get tangled in the device’s rotating parts. There were reports of one person being strangled by the massager and at least one other near-death by strangulation.

Before the recall process could be completed, King International went into bankruptcy. The toll-free recall number has been disconnected. Many consumers who purchased the product may not have been advised of the recall.

If you own one, take it back to the store where you purchased it. After all, you don’t want to end up on one of those “news of the weird” shows.

Happy Holidays!

The Kansas City Star is reporting on the changes in recent Federal regulations that prohibit journalists and others from using information contained in public databases to identify physicians with dozens of instances of medical malpractice and violations of drug regulations. You can read the full story here.

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The Star describes a physician, known only as “Practitioner 222117″ who may be the most frequently disciplined doctor in America. I’m jaded. Doing what I do, I’ve seen many instances of hospitals and practices covering up bad doctors. I thought I couldn’t be shocked anymore. This shocked me:

According to the Star’s review of the Federal database, Practitioner 222117, in just a 4 year span from 2002 through 2006, had his (or her) license suspended or revoked in 20 states and the District of Columbia! Two professional societies took away his memberships. The Department of Health and Human Services banned the doctor from billing Medicare and Medicaid. And the Drug Enforcement Administration revoked the doctor’s permit to prescribe controlled drugs. For most of that time, his home base was Missouri.

And yet, federal regulations prohibit the Star from cross-checking records and identifying this “doctor.”

Other physicians which reporters are no longer allowed to identify:

A surgeon who lost or settled 247 malpractice cases in California in the 1990s.

A doctor who had drug or alcohol problems and has been in and out of trouble since 1991 with hospitals and licensing boards in at least 5 states.

A Missouri doctor whose staff privileges were suspended or reduced by hospitals 7 times and voluntarily surrendered hospital privileges on 4 other occasions.

And HHS is publishing rules to prohibit anyone from using their database to identify and out these people? Are you kidding me?

This is why I do what I do. At least on a case by case basis, I can help someone get justice.

/STLMedical Malpractice.com

HendricksonLaw.com

The New York Times is reporting on a phenomenon they are calling distracted doctoring: concentrating on a computer or smartphone rather than the patient. And the risks to patients are tremendous.

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The article notes instances such as doctors making personal phone calls during operations, technicians monitoring bypass procedures texting and operating room nurses checking their phones for air fares. Obviously, if they aren’t concentrating on the patient, the patient is at risk. One physician quoted in the story refers to the smartphone or tablet computer as “iPatient.” The iPatient is getting all the attention instead of the real patient.

Smartphones and tablet computers are wonderful technology devices that give doctors and nurses access to a patient’s extensive medical records and virtually unlimited reference materials. However, the fact that the same devices can be used to surf the web, text and access Facebook, puts an area of distraction readily available, when the health care giver should be concentrating on the patient.

Like electronic medical records, smart devices are tools. Unfortunately, they can, and will, be abused.

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