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Just a quick addition to my two previous posts regarding the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision declaring that caps on medical malpractice damages are unconstitutional: see the Post Dispatch’s editorial here.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN’s senior medical correspondent, has posted Medical Mistakes: Patient’s Stores: 10 Shocking Medical Mistakes.

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In a well-written piece, citing real examples of patient victims, Cohen outlines 10 common medical mistakes that represent easily prevented, easily corrected medical malpractice. These mistakes are estimated to cause more than 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S., and injuries to millions more.

1. Treating the wrong patient–failing to identify the patient;

2. Surgical “souvenirs”–surgical instruments and sponges left in patients;

3. Lost patients–dementia patients being lost or wandering off;

4. Fake doctors–people posing as doctors or doctors who have had their licenses revoked continuing to practice;

5. ER waiting game–failure to properly triage patients;

6. Air bubbles in blood–a deadly and preventable complication of chest tubes and IV lines;

7. Operating on the wrong patient–failing to identify the correct patient and the correct procedure;

8. Infection infestation–bad hygiene by doctors and nurses;

9. Lookalike tubes–medication vials that look deceptively similar with terrible consequences;

10. Waking up during surgery–insufficient anesthesia, causing injuries when patients awake

These 10 mistakes seem so obvious, that many people think they simply can’t occur that often. But they do, with alarming frequency.

If you or a loved one were injured or killed as a result of medical negligence, please call for a consult. 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 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.

Almost 100,000 patients have received the DePuy ASR, metal-on-metal hip implant system. Those implants are failing at an alarming rate, at least 13% in the first few years. That is far beyond any “normal” failure rate. As a result, DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has recalled these hips.

The problem is, you can’t easily “recall” medical devices that have been implanted. That means they have to be explanted, or surgically removed and replaced. In the case of hip implants, this is called a revision, and it can be an expensive and painful operation.

If you have a DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant, and you talk to your doctor about a hip revision, please talk to an attorney before you have the surgery. Reports are appearing around the country of hospitals treating these explanted hip components as medical waste and discarding them. Don’t let them do this to you! The removed implant is vital evidence. Just because the hip has been recalled doesn’t mean that you will automatically win a case against DePuy. You will still have to prove that the implant was defective in some way and the implant itself is the best evidence.

Please contact our office you have had a DePuy hip implant and need to discuss your legal rights.

Pfizer, Inc., the pharmaceutical giant, has agreed to settle a wrongful death suit alleging that the drug Neurontin caused a suicide. Neurontin is an anti-seizure drug approved for use to combat epilepsy. However, Pfizer has promoted the drug to treat chronic pain–a so-called “off label” use.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an off-label use of Neurontin, contact medical malpractice attorney Todd N. Hendrickson to protect your legal rights.

For more information on the settlement, see the story on bloomberg.com.