Header image

Hot Coffee, The Movie is a documentary entry in this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Hot Coffee is the story everyone thinks they know about crazy “runaway” juries awarding huge sums of money when people do stupid things and hurt themselves.

Well, that version of events was bought and paid for by a massive public relations campaign just like the one the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is currently running to try to get the public to buy into “reforming” our justice system. The problem is, this version of events, like all great lies, is founded on only a grain of truth. Stella Lieback, a 79 year old woman who, in 1992, spilled a cup of McDonald’s scalding coffee in her lap causing severe third degree burns. What isn’t usually talked about is the years of surgery and medical treatment Stella endured. What’s never discussed is the fact that the size of the jury’s verdict reflected their outrage when they learned that McDonald’s had been sued numerous times over severe burns caused by their coffee and that despite the known danger, they continued to serve their coffee at a temperature that could not be consumed by most individuals because by keeping it scalding hot, they could sell it longer without having to brew fresh pots of coffee. The temperature of the coffee was mandated by McDonald’s corporate offices in order to save a few cents.

Hot Coffee is an important piece of documentary film, telling not only the story of Stella Lieback, but others who have been destroyed by the public relations campaigns to limit your access to the Courts.

Today the 112th Congress was sworn in and the new Republican Majority ceremoniously conducted a reading of the U.S. Constitution. Hopefully, they listened when they read the 7th Amendment right to trial by jury. If they hold the Constitution as dear as they claim they do, then they will oppose any attempts to limit your right to trial by jury, whether it is imposing caps on lawsuits or punitive damages. A jury of your neighbors will know what is right. That’s what our founding father’s wrote into the Constitution.

Missouri’s doctors are policed by the Board of Healing Arts. And Missouri’s Board is among the most lax in disciplining physicians, according to a recent St. Louis Post Dispatch article, Missouri Secretive, Lax on Doctor Discipline. The Post recounts a story all too familiar to those of us who spend our professional lives prosecuting medical negligence actions: doctors who perform the wrong surgery, who falsify records to cover it up and do so again and again, simply aren’t subject to any meaningful discipline. Suspension of a doctor’s license in Missouri is almost never done, and then usually only when another state’s board has suspended the doctor’s license to practice.

In another article, “Deviant Doctor got OK to Work in Bootheel” the Post describes a truly horrendous situation in which a physician, already on probation for improperly dispensing prescriptions, merely had his probation lengthened after he admitted to the board that he was having improper sexual contact with his patients. It was not until the physician, Martin McDonald, was charged with sexual abuse by Dunklin County prosecutors did the Board take action to suspend his license.

Missouri patients deserve real governmental oversight of all professions, but particularly those whose actions can cause grave harm and death. The process of “disciplining” doctors is long and complicated and allows physicians with known problems to continue to put their patients at risk, with no warning to the patients or the community.

The FDA has recalled Bard Surgical mesh distributed by RAM Medical, Inc., a medical product distributor in Wayne, New Jersey.

Surgical mesh is used in hernia and other abdominal surgeries to strengthen or repair defects in the abdominal wall or peritoneum. For example, in repairing an abdominal hernia, a surgeon may use surgical mesh to create a “backing” that will reinforce the repair.

The counterfeit Bard surgical mesh ranges in size from 2″x4″ to 10″x14″. It is not properly sterilized, the edges are not properly finished and the weave is larger. This mesh can cause infection and failures of the repair, necessitating additional surgeries and other complications. The counterfeit mesh was distributed beginning October 21, 2008. You can review the recall notice here.

If you or a loved one had a surgery using mesh after October 21, 2008, and have experienced any infection, pain or other complications, you may have received the recalled mesh. If so, you have legal rights that need to be protected. Please call the Law Office of Todd N. Hendrickson at 314-721-8833, or click here to submit an inquiry.

This article by CNN in their series, the Empowered Patient makes what I believe is an extremely important point if you do not want to be the victim of medical negligence: don’t be a good patient. Don’t simply go along passively with whatever your doctor recommends. Ask questions. Be proactive. If something doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t. If you don’t get answers to your questions, go somewhere else for answers. Research your condition. Know what the treatment options are.

This goes for those whom you care for as well. Parents, children, sibling. Get involved. I once heard a nurse derisively refer to the mother of a sick child as a “scribbler.” By that, she meant a family member who constantly took notes on what was going on. Nurses generally don’t like scribblers. But you can bet that, if it is their child or their parent who is sick, that nurse will become a scribbler too.

Take action, be proactive and be informed. You are a consumer of medical services. You’d do research about what kind of car or computer or TV to buy. You should do the same thing with your medical care.

For those interested, see the September 28, 2010, Wall Street Journal article titled Medical Malpractice Claims Data Being Used to Curb Medical Mistakes. Among those interviewed are malpractice insurers who admit that medical malpractice suits are “reflective of deeply rooted problems” in the medical industry.

The New York Times is reporting that Congress will investigate Johnson & Johnson makers of Tylenol and the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants.

Johnson and Johnson has been the subject of intensive scrutiny recently. Among the problems is the recall of its ASR hip implants. Initially, DePuy announced they were retiring the line because of low sales. However, the truth came out that the ASR hip implants were experiencing extremely high failure rates in short periods of time, as much as 10% in the first 2 or 3 years of use. These failures are leading to severe injuries and revision surgery.

If you or someone you know has a DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant, contact our office immediately for a free consultation. Todd N. Hendrickson is an experienced medical malpractice and medical product liability lawyer and can help you evaluate your case. Contact us now.

DePuy, a division of Johnson and Johnson, has issued a recall of its ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. There has been a tremendous push by attorneys across the country to attract patients with ASR hips to file cases on their behalf. Before you respond to one of these advertisements, understand that a goal of many of these attorneys is to gather as many of these cases as possible to prosecute them “in volume.” There may be patients for which this type of representation is appropriate, but it won’t be for everyone.

Patients who have DePuy ASR hip implants will basically fall into three categories: (1) those who have had serious and debilitating injuries as a result of receiving an ASR implant; (2) those who have had or will need a revision surgery but obtain a good result; (3) those who haven’t experienced any problems. If you fall into the first category, you should avoid the “mass tort” lawyers. You need individual attention to your case and an attorney who will focus on your unique injuries. If you fall into the last category, you may be an appropriate client for those who will prosecute these cases as part of a class action or multi-district litigation. If you fall into the second category, you should explore the case in more detail.

If you want personal attention to your case, contact our office for a personal consultation.

DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has issued a recall on its ASR hip replacement components, including the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System. You can read about the recall here.
The DePuy ASR components are known as metal-on-metal components. Rather than using a poly-vinyl, ceramic or other material pelvic cup surface, the DePuy, like many other manufacturers, designed the ASR system to utilize a metal ball head and metal pelvic cup. The result is apparently is a disaster.
By some reports, more than 13% of these implants are failing within five years. The average him implant lasts 15-20 years before it wears out and needs to be revised. The highest rate of failure is in the smaller ASR implant sizes, 50mm and less, the most common sizes implanted in women.
If you have an ASR hip implant that has been revised due to early loosening or other problems, please contact the office of Todd N. Hendrickson immediately. Our office is aggressively investigating these cases and can help you. It is important that you be represented by an experienced medical malpractice and medical product liability lawyer, as DePuy will attempt to defend these cases by claiming that surgeon error in implantation. Don’t trust your case to a so-called “mass tort” law firm that doesn’t prosecute medical malpractice cases.
Contact our office today, by clicking on this link.

The John Cochran VA Medical Center appears to have exposed at least 1800 veterans to heapatitis and HIV. It appears that the problems stems from improperly cleaning and sterilizing dental instruments. Numerous news outlets, including CNN have reported that technicians at the John Cochran dental clinic hand-washed dental instruments. The practice of hand-washing dental instruments is reported to have begun in February 2009 and continued up until the initial news reports at the end of June.

Hand-washing instruments is a clear breach of sterilization protocols. If a patient has contracted HIV, Heapatitis or any other blood-born infection after receiving dental treatment at John Cochran VA Medical Center dental clinic, there is a good chance that the infection was a direct result of these negligent practices.

HIV and Hepatitis C are serious illnesses that can lead to death. HIV is the precursor to AIDS. Both HIV and Hepatitis are highly infectious. If you or a family member have received dental treatment at the John Cochran VA in the last two years, please contact The Law Offices of Todd N. Hendrickson, P.C. for a free consultation. You should immediately seek legal advice. If you have contracted a blood-born infection you may be entitled to significant compensation.

Click on these links to learn more aboutmedical malpractice and infection. To send a confidential e-mail message to attorney Todd N. Hendrickson, click this link: CONTACT. Please remember to give your name, e-mail address, telephone number and a brief description of when you treated at John Cochran VA Medical Center and the type of procedure.

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.