Thursday, August 20, 2009

Study Finds Alarming Rate of Medication Overdoses Among Kids

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine reports that more than 70,000 children are poisoned each year by prescription or over-the-counter medicines. This figure is more than twice as many children as are poisoned by other products.

According to the study, most children are poisoned by acetaminophen, which is used in Tylenol, or opioid painkillers and benzodiazepine antianxiety drugs.

Tragically about 75 % of overdoses occur in children under 5, the study found.

See, Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times 08/13/2009 Read Article: The New York Times

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

MDs peddling BS: Shedding Light on Doctors’ Conflict of Interest

The Washington Post reports that determining doctors’ ties with pharmaceutical companies and any related conflict of interest are often hard, if not impossible, tasks for patients.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Herb Kohl, seeks to relieve some of that burden by requiring all payments more than $100 made by a drug or medical device company to a doctor be reported.

Doctors justify the “pharmaceutical pay-off” saying that the "doctor/industry partnership" is often needed to help develop beneficial new drugs.

But, the “doctor/industry partnership" is circular reasoning. Here’s the effect: Doctors argue that, with the help of doctors, the pharmaceutical companies develop so-called "new drugs," which the doctors then prescribes to patients, who then pay "big bucks" for the "new-drugs," so that the pharmaceutical company can make "big bucks" to “pay-off” the doctors.

It appears that the “MDs” are peddling “BS.” See, Ibby Caputo, The Washington Post 08/18/2009 Read Article: The Washington Post

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CPSC Recalls Toy Workshops and Trucks

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of five “Little Tikes” toys, after an infant choked on a plastic nail included in the sets.

The affected toys sets are the Electronic Project Workshop, the Little Handiworker Workhorse, the Home Improvements Two-sided Workshop, the Swirlin' Sawdust Workshop and the Black Pickup Truck with Tools.

Although the toys are intended for toddlers and not infants, the company said it is aware other children in a household may have access to the toys.

See, Ronald D. White, LA Times 08/14/2009 Read Article: LA Times

Monday, August 17, 2009

Medial Malpractice: Doctor Operated on Wrong Leg

It was a patient’s worst nightmare.

In a sense, it added insult to injury.

Here’s the injury: An Oklahoma man has sued a surgeon of operating on the wrong knee. The patient even “marked” the correct knee with a “black marker.” Yet, the surgeon operated on the unmarked knee!

Now the insult: The suit claims that staff at the Bailey Medical Center in Tulsa tried to get him to consent to surgery to correct the error while he was still under the effects of anesthesia!

As a consequence, the patient may have to undergo a knee replacement surgery to correct damage caused by the botched surgery.

Next time you here “frivolous lawsuit” ask, which leg was marked, and which leg was cut off?

See: Matt Barnard, Tulsa World 08/14/2009 Read Article: Tulsa World($)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bank of America Announced It Will Halt Forced Arbitration

Finally, working families get some justice!

On August 13, the Bank of America Corp. (BOA) announced that it would no longer force arbitration of consumer debt. Recently, BOA settled a lawsuit brought by the Minnesota Attorney General to halt the unfair system that amounts to little more than "rigged justice," rigged in favor of credit card companies. In the past, BOA teamed-up with the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) in what amounted to "rigged justice" in debt collection cases. NAF and the American Arbitration Association (AAA) also agreed to stop forcing consumers to arbitrate in debt collection cases, a process that consumers rarely won.

The American Association for Justice Associate Director of Federal Relations, Julia Duncan said:

“While the decision by Bank of America to no longer rely on forced arbitration in consumer disputes is a positive step, it’s clear that Congress must intervene to protect consumers. Forced arbitration clauses are buried in the fine print of everything from credit card and cell phone contracts to employee handbooks and nursing home agreements. These clauses eliminate Americans’ access to the courts, forcing them instead into a private system set up by corporations to favor corporations. That is why Congress must pass the Arbitration Fairness Act and prohibit this abusive practice.”

To learn more about abusive forced arbitration clauses, see The Devil is In the Details - Forced Arbitration

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Louisiana Seat Belt Law in Effect Today, August 15, 2009

Get ready! Today, August 15, 2009, a new Louisiana law goes into effect requiring "everyone" in a motor vehicle to wear a seat belt.

Louisiana State Police say they'll issue warnings until Oct. 1 to give the public time to get used to the new law.

Baton Rouge police say they'll give warnings for about two weeks before they start issuing tickets. Other new traffic laws go into effect on Saturday, too.

I'm for personal freedom, but it makes no sense for anyone to be in a moving vehicle without wearing a seat belt. So, although there's a "grace-period," everyone should "buckle-up."

Marsha Shuler, The Advocate 08/14/2009 Read Article: The Advocate

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Judge OKs Testimony by State Farm Whistleblowers

Two sisters, Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby, claim that State Farm defrauded the government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled that the Rigsbt sisters will be allowed to testify in their lawsuit against State Farm.

Monday, U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled that Cori and Kerri Rigsby’s work as insurance adjusters gave them "relevant knowledge of the allegations at hand" and that the two should be permitted to testify.

The Rigsby sisters allege that State Farm wrongly denied claims arising from Katrina, shifting costs onto the National Flood Insurance Program.

Michael Newsom, Biloxi Sun Herald 08/10/2009 Read Article: Biloxi Sun Herald

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Study Finds Hospital Medical Errors Go Unreported

In a series of articles, the Hearst Newspapers reports that many hospitals still don't report medical errors, even after a 1999 report called for reform! The report, authored by 22 doctors, demanded improvements in patient safety and a nationwide system to track hospital errors. But hospitals have been non-responsive.

The Hearst Newspapers found that, ten years after the report, many hospitals have been slow to institute change. Why the delay?

Lobbyist are one cause of the the problem. Lobbyist have fought against a national registry for hospital errors.

Cathleen F. Crowley and Eric Nalder, San Francisco Chronicle 08/09/2009 Read Article: San Francisco Chronicle