Header image

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.

hip-replacement-220.jpg

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!

shoulderflex_custom.jpg

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.

5E9B47B4-40B1-4F24-92B4-FC1C7CC5E940.jpg

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.

0330CCAE-EA91-4DE8-93D6-3567683E6639.jpg

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.

6F659A19-CD33-46FB-8BA3-8191BF590BF1.jpg

If you are interested at all in our justice system, I highly recommend the American Association for Justice’s blog Fighting For Justice.

Today, more than ever, American’s right to access the justice system is under attack. Everyone should stand for strengthening our justice system, not weakening by imposing laws which limit individuals access to the system in order to protect the interests of multi-billion dollar corporations and insurance companies.

Don’t be fooled by rhetoric that tries to say that “tort reform” will protect doctors and small businesses. The statistics show that simply isn’t true. The only ones to benefit from these reforms are the insurance companies, who see their profits rise every time new restrictions are put in to place, and then do nothing to pass on their savings to their insureds.

Doctors and small businesses should band together with those of us who spend our lives protecting the individual and fight for insurance reform, not tort deform.

The innocuous “instant soup” cups. You know what I’m talking about. The dry soup mixes that come in a cup and you simply add boiling water, let stand for a minute or two and “voila”–instant soup. This seemingly simple product is masking a very real danger.

Physicians and nurses manning burn centers throughout the country know all too well the dangers, as reported by NPR in its story “Why Burn Doctors Hate Instant Soup.”

09F0D748-7472-4CD1-AE0B-29ADE3FD6936.jpg

Multiple times each week, burn centers across the country receive patients suffering burns caused by instant soup. And the doctors agree–the packaging of the product is simply defective. The cups are lightweight and tapered to a smaller bottom and thus are easily tipped over, sending scalding contents spilling onto people, causing severe burns on the arms, chests and laps. And because noodles retain the heat longer, they can actually cause worse burns.

The answer is simple, say the doctors: redesign the package into a bowl like configuration that is not as susceptible to tipping over.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a defective product, please contact Todd N. Hendrickson at HendricksonLaw.com. for a free consultation.

There has been a lot of discussions in recent months on abolishing the Missouri Court Plan, which provides that, in all appellate courts, including the Missouri Supreme Court, and some county courts, judges will be appointed by the governor from an approved and vetted panel. Those judges will then stand for retention in an election. This has been how Missouri selects and retains its judges for many years. The plan is so successful, that it is hailed around the country as a model to be followed.

But, since Democrat Governor Jay Nixon was elected in 2008, conservatives and business political groups have called for an end to the Missouri Court Plan. (Never mind that they had no problem with the plan when a Republican was doing the appointing …) It has become a main attack point in these highly partisan political times.

Dismantling the Missouri Court Plan is a bad idea. A very bad idea. And you have to look no further than our neighbor Illinois to know why. Illinois elects its judges, including Supreme Court justices. And tens of millions of dollars have been spent in those campaigns in recent years. And what do contributors get for their money? Anything they want.

This article from the Chicago Tribune tells the story in all its sordid detail. Basically, Justice Lloyd Karmeier, a southern Illinois Republican, was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2004 in a race that cost over $9,000,000.

A $1.18 billion dollar judgment had been entered against State Farm if a class action case for breach of contract in providing non-original manufacturer parts in its collision repairs and hiding that fact from its insureds. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judgment and then it mades its way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

In filings with the Illinois Supreme Court this week, attorneys for the plaintiffs have alleged and provided supporting documents to demonstrate that Justice Karmeier was actually recruited by State Farm to run for the seat on the Illinois Supreme Court in anticipation of the case being heard. These Court filings indicate that directly and through other entities, State Farm donated between $2.5 million and $4 million dollars to Karemeier’s campaign.

Obviously, I don’t know whether these allegations are true or not. If they are true, it is an eerie parallel to supposed fiction, like John Grisham’s “The Appeal”. If it is true, it is a one of the greatest acts of fraud ever perpetrated.

And even if its not true, it just goes to show you that, inherently, electing judges is fraught with danger. Compare it to the recent Republican debate, in which Governor Perry of Texas said “I’m offended that you think I could be bought with $5,000.” Left unsaid was that he could be bought for $350,000 in campaign contributions. If these allegations are true, State Farm made a damn good investment in Justice Karmeier. $4,000,000 to overturn a $1+ billion dollar judgment? Sounds like a hell of a return on their investment to me.

Medtronic medication pumps are widely used to deliver pain medication, anti-spasm medication and other prescriptions directly into the spinal cord. And the FDA has determined that these pumps can cause serious harm. The FDA has issued a Class 1 recall.

The SynchroMed II implantable pumps, models 8637-20 and 8637-40 are the subject of the recall which has been reported here. A Class 1 recall means that these pumps have a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death. The pumps are failing, apparently due to a defective design relating to the battery.

These pumps are surgically implanted under the skin with delivery tubes placed to the point of delivery. Medtronic is not recommending that the pumps be removed and replaced at this point, says MedPage Today.

If you or a loved one has experienced a failure related to one of these pain pumps, or if you have one of these pumps implanted, you should contact our office to discuss your legal rights. Contact us at 314-721-8833 or at www.stlmedicalmalpractice.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.