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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Hip Implants Withdrawn From Market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 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.

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 Missouri Board of Healing Arts, the entity that disciplines doctors in Missouri, has been given new powers by the legislature, and those changes to the law have now gone into effect, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch. That’s a good thing. Among other things, the new law makes it easier for the Missouri Board of Healing Arts to suspend a doctors license on an emergency basis. Probably of most use to the average patient, the new law provides a way for patients to learn more about their doctors, including licenses, board certification, discipline and whether the doctor has been disciplined by another state. Previously this information was literally a state secret. The Missouri Board of Healing Arts didn’t disclose that information.

These changes should make the Missouri Board of Healing Arts more adept at disciplining dangerous doctors. You would think so. But the Board’s first action since the law took effect belies that thought.

You may recall the series of articles the Post Dispatch ran in late 2010 exposing the dismal record of the Board in disciplining doctors in Missouri. One of the featured “doctors” was Krishnarao V. Rednam, who was convicted of overcharging patients and their insurance companies more than $600,000 and destroying patient records. He would bill Medicare for expensive drugs but inject his patients at the St. Louis Eye Clinic with watered down doses or substitute experimental drugs. Rednam was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 4 months of home confinement and ordered to pay more than $400,000 in restitution and fines.

In one of the few cases where the Board of Healing Arts actually acted, it revoked his license until at least 2015. Mind you, this action came only after he had been convicted. But in a stunning reversal, Rednam appealed to the Board to allow him to regain his license. And, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Board granted that request.

Rednam’s excuse for his actions that led to his conviction? Irrational insanity! Irrational insanity–and you give him back his license to practice medicine? Are you kidding? Know what I call that?

Irrational Insanity.

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported here the the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a $29,000,000 verdict against doctors and nurses at a federal government-funded clinic that left a common neonatal blood infection untreated for twelve hours, resulting in irreversible brain damage.

Christian Arroyo’s life would have been perfectly normal, had a timely diagnosis been made. Antibiotics would have cleared the infection. Instead, Christian suffers from spastic quadraplegia with cerebral palsy who will require a life-time of care.

Have you or a family member contracted a serious infection following a procedure at a hospital or doctor’s office that involved prepping the site with an alcohol wipe? If so, you may have a legal case against the manufacturer of the wipe.

A truly massive recakk of Triad Alcohol Prep Pads has been issued. The original recall in January 2011 was rather limited, however, as months have gone by, the recall has grown. Triad Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs can be identified by the manufacturer Triad Group. They have also manufactured these products for sale by companies such as Walgreens, CVS, Smith & Nephew, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and others. These products may be contained in various “kits” used by nurses and doctors, such as IV prep, blood draw and procedure kits.

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The Triad products were contaminated with Bacilus cereus, a bacteria that is normally soil dwelling. Normal symptoms of Bacilus cereus infection would include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. At least one death has been linked to these contaminated products.

If you suspect that you or a family member was infected with Bacilus cereuas and you suspect it was caused by use of a contaminated alcohol prep, please contact the Law Offices of Todd N. Hendrickson, P.C. at www.hendricksonlaw.com.

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Early this year, the American Association for Justice, the nation’s premier trial law organization, put out it’s report Medical Negligence: The Role of America’s Civil Justice System in Protecting Patients’ Rights. This report relies upon published data from unbiased sources, such as the Institute of Medicine, the Congressional Budget Office, the New England Journal of Medicine, Archives of Surgery, the Office of the Inspector General and many other organization, to clearly show that there is no crisis in the U.S. of too many lawsuits. The crisis is too much medical negligence.

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A few facts:

Medical Negligence kills 98,000 patients per year. That is more than diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, Influenza and Pneumonia. Only heart disease, cancer stroke and pulmonary conditions kill more people than malpractice. Hundreds of thousands more suffer injuries.

The cost of medical malpractice suits amounts to less than 1% of the money spent on medicine in this country. In fact, only 0.3%. Government administration amounts to 10.5% of the cost. Hospitals and physicians invest 200 times more into their facilities than they pay out in medical malpractice.

Between 2004 and 2006, it is estimated that 238,337 people died as the result of medical malpractice. In that same period, only 38,363 payouts were made to victims of medical malpractice.

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80% of the victims of medical malpractice suffer death, or major or substantial injuries as a result of medical negligence. 3% suffer no injury at all and 17% suffer minor injuries.

Caps on payouts in lawsuits DO NOT make doctors flee those states that do not have caps, as many would have you believe. In fact, states without medical malpractice lawsuit limits have an average of 349 doctors per 100,000 citizens. In states with caps, that number drops to 288.

Doctors are not benefitting from limits and restrictions on lawsuits, malpractice insurance companies are. From 2000 to 2006 the amount that malpractice insurance carriers have collected from doctors has gone up 121%. In that same period, the amount they have paid out on claims has gone down by 15%. As always, the insurance companies are profiting, not anyone else.

Our civil justice system protects patients. Fight to keep this vital check on medical errors.

This is the first in an occasional series of posts that I’m calling “How to Lose Your Accident Case.” With this series I intend to outline for you many of the things that accident claimants regularly do that seriously negatively impact their case, either causing them to get no recovery, or a substantially reduced recovery.

Lie to your lawyer. That’s it, the number one thing you can do wrong. Lie to your lawyer and you will negatively impact your case. What are some of the common lies that some clients tell, or things that they conveniently forget to tell their lawyer?
1. Lying about how an accident happened. If it is an auto accident, there will be a police report and witnesses. Insurance companies can and will hire private investigators. The truth will come out. You are much better off to tell your attorney the truth, right from the beginning. The problem may not be that big. Or it may not be a problem at all, but you won’t know unless your attorney has the ability to evaluate all the facts.
2. Lying about prior accidents, claims and injuries. This one is a no-brainer. Insurance companies have access to vast databases. If you’ve been injured and made a claim for benefits, they’ll probably have access to it. If not, there will be accident reports and medical records that they will find. Tell your attorney everything about other accidents, claims and injuries.