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We’ve been writing about the toxic lead levels found in the soil around East Chicago and, most particularly, near the West Calumet Housing Complex.   If you believe your child has been exposed to these toxic lead levels, we want to hear from you.

Evidence of toxic levels of dangerous chemicals is really not that uncommon.   We have all heard of many incidents or mesothelioma, as close to us as Chicago and Gary. Decades later, people who were exposed to asbestos in places such as factories and other settings are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of lung cancer with a poor prognosis.

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Gary factory

Across the country there have been other examples of toxicity in the news lately.

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We’ve certainly had our share of hot and humid days here in Northwest Indiana and all across the country, for that matter.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported that “June marked the fourteenth consecutive month of record heat around the globe. In 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported 2,630 workers suffered heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke while on the job.”

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According to OSHA:

As the outdoor temperature exceeds a worker’s normal body temperature, it becomes harder to cool down. The agency notes that sweating is only effective if the humidity is low enough to allow the evaporation of perspiration. In addition, the fluid and salt lost during sweating has to be replenished.

If a worker can’t cool down, heat is stored and the body core temperature rises. In addition, the agency warns the worker’s heart rate will increase, concentration and focus will become increasingly difficult and the worker may become irritable or feel ill. Fainting and death as a result of heat stroke is a possibility if the worker isn’t cooled down. Continue reading →

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There is a looming health crisis for the past and current residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex in East Chicago, Indiana.

The newspapers and local media have recently reported that the East Chicago Housing authority intends to demolish 346 housing units at the West Calumet Housing Complex due to toxic levels of lead found in the soil.

This is indeed a housing and health crisis for the 1200 residents, more than half of whom are children.

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One of the missions of the lawyers at Theodoros & Rooth is to warn people about consumer products that have shown to be defective or faulty.  These defective products can lead to serious injury or even death.

There are product recalls every day.  Most of the time these recalls originate from honest companies that sincerely care about their customers and they voluntarily make the recall.

Lately, there were two major recalls that have been in the national spotlight.

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The first comes from Ikea.   Since July of 2015 Ikea has been recalling millions of dressers that can tip over and are being blamed for the deaths of three children.  The dressers have been known to fall over if they are not fastened to the wall.

 

Ikea has been working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which helps carry out recalls.  The problem has been associated with several styles of dressers, though it was Malm chests and dressers that have been linked to at least two of the deaths over the past two years.

The company did not alter the product’s design or take it off the market following the launch of the repair program in 2015. The repair program provided new kits to attach the dressers to the wall for customers who hadn’t used the original hardware to secure the dressers.

“Consumers need to act immediately because it’s a very present hazard, especially if you have kids in your home,” CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said in an interview.  Kaye said consumers “need to either get their anchor kit from Ikea for free and install it on their furniture, take it back to the store for a full refund or have Ikea come and pick it up from their homes for free.”

An additional recall of an additional 1.7 million dressers in China was also announced recently.

 Hoverboards  tr hoverboards

Then there are the hoverboards. They have become enormously popular around the world.  However, because of new safety risks, many airlines, railroads, and college campuses have now banned the boards.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has said that it has received at least 99 reports of hoverboard battery packs that have overheated, exploded, or caught fire. There have been at least 18 reports of injuries, such as burns to the neck, legs, or arms, as well as reports of property damage.

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Last May, we wrote an article here about recent findings that the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. was medical mistakes caused by doctors, hospitals, and other medical personnel. 

New information now made public shows that these mistakes, including delays in treatment, cause the death of at least 100,000 patients a year, and possibly as many as a half a million.

At Theodoros & Rooth we have over 110 years combined experience fighting for justice for those that have been harmed or even die as a result of negligence on the part of any medical provider.  These are people we should be able to trust.

Now hospitals, specifically, are in the spotlight.   

TR OWNS HOSPITAL SCENEA Bloomberg editorial out recently notes that,  “No one knows the exact number, and that points up an underlying problem: Hospitals almost universally resist confessing when a medical error hurts or kills a patient, because admitting fault can expose them to lawsuits. Getting them to overcome this reluctance is essential — to let patients and their families know the truth, and to ensure that hospitals become safer by learning from their mistakes.”

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Since 1975, Indiana legislators have decided to limit the amount of compensation injured victims of medical malpractice are entitled to receive by placing a cap on the amount of medical malpractice awards.  The current cap on all damages in Indiana is $1,250,000.  In many cases, this amount does not begin to fully compensate someone for the harm that was done to them.  Oftentimes, the cap does not even cover the costs of an injured person’s past medical bills, lost wages, and the costs of the medical care they will need in the future.  These injured Hoosiers often are forced into bankruptcy or require State aid to cover their medical costs.  In stark contrast, in 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court declared the state’s previous cap on non-economic damages unconstitutional.

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Unlike the laws in Illinois, the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act provides shelter for doctors and limits the amount their insurance company has to pay for their negligence to $250,000.  Even if a jury finds that a doctor or hospital was negligent and caused a patient catastrophic injuries or even death, the doctor will never pay a dime out of his pocket and the most his or her insurance company would have to pay is $250,000.  Therefore, despite the nature of the injuries or the amount of medical bills the patient incurs as a result of a doctor’s negligence in Indiana, the doctor remains protected under the Indiana caps and the patient suffers all of the harm.

This past March, Governor Pence signed a bill approving an increase to the state’s cap on medical malpractice damages.  The new law would raise the cap to $1.65 million in 2017 and $1.8 million in 2019. Indiana’s new law continues to cover both economic and non-economic damages.  The final vote was a unanimous 49/0.  It is widely believed that one of the reasons the cap was increased was the growing concern among the medical and insurance community that the Indiana Courts might find the low value caps unconstitutional as the caps were clearly depriving many plaintiffs from being fully compensated for their injuries.  Despite the increases to the cap, many victims of medical malpractice will continue to be under compensated for the injuries they sustained. Continue reading →

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Earlier this month (June 20) the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out an appeal from Illinois smokers who sought reinstatement of a $10.1 billion class-action judgment in a long-running lawsuit against Philip Morris.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Illinois smokers, was one of the nation’s first to accuse a tobacco company of consumer fraud. Known as Price v. Phillip Morris, the lawsuit claimed that Philip Morris deceptively marketed “light” and “low-tar” Marlboro cigarettes as a healthier alternative. The federal government now bars cigarette makers from labeling their products with such terms.

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A Healthier Alternative?

The justices did not comment in leaving in place an Illinois Supreme Court ruling in favor of the cigarette maker. The smokers objected to the participation of state Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who they said benefited from tobacco money in his retention election.

“Today’s action by the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ends this case once and for all,” Murray Garnick, an attorney and spokesman for Philip Morris’ parent company, Altria Group Inc., said in a statement.

 

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There are more counterfeit medicines on the market today than you would ever imagine.    This is already a serious global crime – and it’s growing dramatically.

 Shockingly, in cases that have been tried against these counterfeiters, the penalties have amounted to a slap on the hand.  According to a May 2016 investigative report in the AARP Bulletin, one high profile case in 2013 involved a counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin “that had no active ingredient.”  The FDA sent out letters to doctors in 48 states warning them about the drug.  Some of these counterfeit drugs were traced to Canada and a company known as Montana Health Care Solutions.  There has not been a full accounting of how many people were affected by the fake Avastin.  The owner of the company was given five years probation and six months house arrest.

 Thinking about your future health. A doctors stethoscope and clipboard.

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