Latest News

Botox is now FDA approved for Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are one of those medical conditions that afflict people of all ages where there is not a definitive effective treatment.  Every now and then a new drug is developed, but few have had a material effect on ameliorating the condition.  Now there is additional hope for sufferers.  In longitudinal multi-center studies, Botox, the famous anti-wrinkle treatment, has been found to reliably alleviate migraine headaches. 

The reason I am mentioning this on my website is because headaches are not alway due to migraines.  The differential diagnosis for chronic headaches is long, and many of the causes are serious, some quite catastrophic.  These include blood clots, aneurysms, malformations, tumors, vascular insufficiencies and others.  Patients should not simply assume that their headaches are due to migraines, nor should physicians.  A significant percentage of filed medical malpractice claims have misdiagnosis of headaches as their core complaint.

To read the NY Times news article:  Click Here

A new standard for the prevention of blood clots originating in the legs

In the Clots in Legs Or Stockings after Stroke 2 (CLOTS-2) trial, proximal deep venous thrombosis (DVT) occurred more often in immobilized stroke patients who wore below-knee compression stockings than their peers who wore thigh-length stockings, according to the study results published online September 20 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Although whether the CLOTS Trial 2 results should be extrapolated to other patient groups is debatable, but it would seem sensible that thigh-length stockings should be the preferred option and the new standard of care for prevention of deep blood clots.

The longer stockings "should be used as first-line treatment, and below-knee stockings should only be used where the thigh-length ones turn out to be impractical," chief investigator Martin Dennis, MD, of the Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, in Scotland, was quoted in Medscape Medical News.

Read more ...

Diabetes Drug, Avandia, is Pulled Off the Market!

In a highly unusual coordinated announcement, drug regulators in Europe and the United States said Thursday that Avandia, the controversial diabetes medicine, will no longer be widely available.

The drug’s sales will be suspended entirely in Europe, while patients in the United States will be allowed access to the medicine only if they and their doctors attest that they have tried every other diabetes medicine and that patients have been made aware of the drug’s substantial risks to the heart.

Read more by clicking here

Medical-Legal Nightmare: The FDA allows Opiates Free Reign!

An FDA panel has voted against the current version of the opioid risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS) plan. Such a plan is critical to curb the misuse, abuse, and accidental overdoses related to these agents and to ensure opioids are used appropriately. However, experts feel the proposed approach does not go far enough to protect patients.  It is unclear if the FDA agrees with this.

 

Drug overdose death rates in the United States are at an all-time high. According to some reports, there are more deaths from oral opioid overdoses than from heroin and cocaine overdoses combined. In some states, these rates are higher than deaths from automobile accidents. In addition to the clear human costs, an estimated 60% of hospital costs related to opioid overdoses are paid for with public funds.

 

This is clearly a risk management problem that needs urgent attention.  Over the past year I have seen a dramatic increase in medical malpractice and toxicology litigation in this area.

 

To read the entire report, please CLICK HERE.

Malfunctioning Infusion Pumps Prompt an Increase in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Recently the FDA finally agreed to step into the foray regarding infusion pumps because of increasing reports of preventable death, leading to more and more medical malpractice actions.  Infusion pumps have been increasingly involved in adverse patient outcomes that lead to medical malpractice suits and very large settlements or verdicts.  Infusion pumps pump medications and solutions, and when they don't function properly, patients can be overdosed, leading to death or disability.  In fact, in the past 5 years the FDA has received reports of 710 patient deaths associated with malfunctioning infusion pumps.

 

To read the entire NY Times article, CLICK HERE.

FDA Advised to Block Avastin for Breast Cancer-Malpractice Cases May Result

A special advisory panel recently concluded that the drug Avastin, the world's best selling cancer drug, is useless for breast cancer.  This panel has now recommended that the Food and Drug Administration revoke its approval for this indication.  This expensive drug has been a go-to drug for breast cancer patients for the past few years. 

 

Unfortunately, studies now show that there has been no benefit, only false hope. This announcement may inevitably lead to an increase in product liability or medical malpractice lawsuits.  Attorneys practicing in this area of law should educate themselves according.

 

To read the full NY Times article, CLICK HERE.

Lead Poisoning: Still a Big Toxicology and Medical-Legal Issue

Lead poisoning among young children, which can cause learning and behavior problems, has decreased so sharply in recent decades that it is tempting to consider it a toxicology problem of the past. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was so confident about the decline in childhood lead poisoning that it set a goal of 2010 for eliminating it. Personal injury cases have decreased in recent years.

 

But federal health officials now say eradication may still be years away because hazards remain in often poor urban pockets — mostly from old, badly maintained housing with lead-based paint.

If the remaining cases are to be tackled effectively, local laws must be strengthened and enforcement increased, experts say.  To read the entire NY Times article:  Click Here.

Medical Expert Bias and "Hired Guns" in Product Safety Medical-Legal Cases

A new analysis of reviews and articles about the controversial diabetes drug Avandia has found substantial unfounded and unsupported bias in the testifying medical experts who were hired by GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Avandia, to analyze and discuss the drug's safety and efficacy.  Often, medical expert witnesses with favorable opinions about the drug were paid not only by GlaxoSmithKline, but also by its competitors.  Of those who offered favorable views, 87% had potential conflicts with Glaxo.  Among those who had unfavorable opinions about the drug, only 20% had received money from Glaxo.

Click here to read the entire NY Times article.

Who Should Be Blamed When a Medical Device Fails? Product Liability Issues

When medical devices or equipment fail, product liability lawsuits are often filed in order to recover from the victims or victims in class action.  Medical and technical expert witnesses have always disputed who is to blame:  negligent product formulation, negligent product manufacture, negligent labeling, negligent dispensing, or negligent usage.  But a cardiology product liability case has galvanized healthcare providers into raising the fundamental question about medical safety and the law: who should be held accountable when a company sells a flawed product that can injure or kill patients?  Is it the company or the people who run it?

The legal case that grew from the cardiologist's revelations involves heart defibrillators once made by the Guidant Corporation, which is now a division of Boston Scientific. Guidant continues to sell the devices even after it discovered that some might short-circuit and fail.  The defibrillators, which are known to life saving devices, have been associated with at least six deaths, including that of a 21 year old patient.

A federal judge will soon consider an agreement with Guidant in which the company would plead guilty to two criminal misdemeanors and pay a $296 million fine.  While the Justice Department is hailing this outcome, the cardiologists aren't, because nobody is being held accountable.  Read about the actions these cardiologists are taking to bring the people who run Guidant to justice.

Click here to see the entire NY Times article.

 

 

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