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H.R. 1063 known as the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2011 has done what seemingly nothing else has ever done–it has gotten wide spread support from groups as diverse as the American Association for Justice (the preeminent trial lawyers organization in the United States), the Chamber of Commerce (usually opposed to anything and everything supported by the AAJ), and companies like Walmart, Best Buy and Disney. Its being co-sponsored by Republicans Ron Paul, Tim Murphy, Don Young and Howard Cable, along with Democrats Ron Kind, Diana DeGette, Linda Sanchez and Tammy Baldwin.

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So what brings this diverse group of backers together? Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2011 will reform the way people deal with Medicare when they have a claim for personal injury. Medicare requires that when a person is injured due to someone else’s negligence, whether it is by medical malpractice, an auto accident, a fall, or any other incident where someone else is at fault, and they are receiving Medicare benefits, then Medicare is entitled to be reimbursed for the money it has spent providing medical care. That’s certainly fair. However, the Medicare bureaucracy now does not allow the Medicare recipient to find out how much Medicare is claiming they have paid for that medical care until after a settlement has been reached. This ridiculous rule puts claimants, their attorneys, defendants and their insurers, in the ridiculous position of trying to guess how much Medicare will want to be repaid.

Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2011 simply requires Medicare to provide that information before a settlement is reached. Simple and fair. The result will be that Medicare (meaning the taxpayers) will receive reimbursement faster. And why wouldn’t that be a good thing?

Call or write your congresman and ask them to please support H.R. 1063 known as the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2011.

The New York Times is reporting, what we already know–the number of complaints about metal-on-metal hip implants is surging. And there is no end in sight.

“All-metal replacement hips are on a trajectory to become the biggest and most costly medical implant problem since Medtronic recalled a widely used heart device” in 2007. At the present time, the major problems appear to exist be with the Zimmer Durom and DePuy (Johnson & Johnson) ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. But complaints are surfacing with many brands.

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Patients are experiencing reactions, believed to be linked to the shedding of metal debris. Unlike traditional hip implants that use a ceramic or metal ball and a poly-vinyl pelvic cup liner, the metal-on-metal components have metal balls and metal cups. Reactions to the metal debris mimmick severe infections and can attack and destroy bone and soft tissue. In the simplest cases, the metalosis causes the components to loosen and after surgical revision, the patients are recovering normal function after revision. However, in some cases, the metalosis has destroyed so much muscle bone and ligament, that normal revision is not possible. These patients can suffer debilitating pain and loss of function.

If you or a loved one has had a metal-on-metal hip implant, you should immediately consult with an attorney. Please contact Todd N. Hendrickson at stlmedicalmalpractice.com.

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The St. Louis personal injury defense firm, Sandberg, Phoenix and von Gontard, was at the center of a case in St. Clair County (Belleveille), Illinois that resulted in imposition of drastic sanctions.

SPvG represented Safariland, the manufacture of a ballistic shield used by a Belleville police officer. Sgt. Jon Brough was shot in the face by a shotgun five years ago and claimed that the ballistic shield he was using at the time was defectively designed. Sft. Brough lost his eyesight, sense of smell and was disfigured.

After a lawsuit is filed, the attorneys engage in what is known as discovery. This discovery is conducted under oath, and can consist of requests for documents, written questions, called interrogatories, and recorded question sessions, called depositions. The entire discovery process is based upon each party providing truthful answers and admissions to proper questions and requests. That is where the process went astray in Sgt. Brough’s suit.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Safariland’s attorneys, SPvG, engaged in “deliberate or intentional, systematic, dishonest conduct.” When Judge Lloyd Cueto learned of the misconduct, he took the drastic step of striking Safariland’s pleadings. When a defendant’s pleadings are stricken, the result is that the allegations of the plaintiff would then be submitted to a jury as true. In effect, a jury would be left with little choice but to find for the plaintiff. It can’t be emphasized enough that this is a drastic remedy that is only used in the most egregious instances of misconduct.

Immediately after the sanction was imposed, rather than seeking to appeal the judge’s decision, Safariland settled for a “substantial amount of money.” Our congratulations goes out to our colleague Bruce Cook who represented Sgt. Brough for a well-won battle.

Dr. Richard Berger, a Chicago surgeon who was a long time user of Zimmer implants, has urged the manufacturer to recall some of its artificial knee implants, reports the New York Times.

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Dr. Berger was a long-time consultant to Zimmer on its products. He began experiencing premature failure of the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral knee replacement. A 2010 study indicates that the failure rate after only a few years may be as high as 9%. The study reveals that 36% of patients implanted with the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous show signs of implant loosening after only 2 years.

Zimmer has responded by criticizing Dr. Berger’s surgical technique, which is interesting, because over the years Zimmer has paid Dr. Berger almost $8 million to lecture and train surgeons in how to use and implant this and other Zimmer products.

To date, Zimmer has refused to order a recall. However, litigation is underway against Zimmer for these high failure rates. If you have a Zimmer knee implant and have experienced knee stiffness, knee pain, diminished motion in the joint, difficulty with weight bearing, have been told that your implant is loose or that you need a revision, you may have a claim against Zimmer for this defective product.

Contact Todd N. Hendrickson at HendricksonLaw.com or 314-721-8833 or toll free at 1-800-557-8176 for a free consultation.

Target has issued a recall on certain models of its Circo and Do Your Room brand step stools. These step stools with built in storage were sold for $25 to $30 between 2007 and 2010.

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Bloomberg News reports that there have been 27 reports of the stools breaking or collapsing and 14 reports of injuries.

If you have been injured as a result of the Target Circo and Do Your Room brand step stools or any other defective product, call or contact Todd N. Hendrickson and Hendrickson Law for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

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.

There is a great resource for the most current information on medical statistics, including information on medical malpractice claims. It is statehealthfacts.org a Kaiser Family site.

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For any given state, you can access statistics on how many persons are without health insurance, health costs and budges, mortality rate, Medicaid and Medicare enrollment and much more.

Also of interest is information on medical malpractice claims. Statistics on the number of claims paid in 2010, as well as the total amount paid in claims, and the average amount paid per claim, all broken down by state.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch has reported that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law an amendment to the Workers Compensation Law that bars those who are injured while committing a crime from collecting benefits.

The law was spurred by the case of Matt Mitchell, an Illinois State trooper who was convicted of reckless homicide for the deaths of sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl in 2007. Mitchell was driving his patrol car at speeds in excess of 100 mph responding to a call while texting and operating the patrol car’s computer.

The Chicago Tribune has reported that Des Moines, Iowa attorney Guy Cook has reached confidential settlements on behalf of 3 persons injured by a defective lounge chair sold by K-Mart under the Martha Stewart brand. The full story can be found here.

The chairs were defectively designed. The design allows the legs to snap forward and creates a guillotine effect. Numerous persons have experienced complete or partial amputations of fingers or fingertips. K-mart and Martha Stewart continued to sell the chairs for a period of time even after the first lawsuits were filed.

If you’ve been injured by a defective product, please contact the offices of HendricksonLaw.com to discuss your rights.