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Let’s pretend that you had a medical device implanted into your body a few months ago – perhaps a pacemaker or maybe a new hip.  Ever since the surgery, you just haven’t felt right and the implant doesn’t seem to be doing what you thought it was supposed to do.

You go back to the doctor and you cannot seem to get any satisfaction to remedy your issues.  You happen to discover that the device you recently received has been recalled.

This does not necessarily mean that your doctor or medical provider has committed malpractice.  In fact, a very small percentage of cases end up in the category of malpractice.  There are many factors involved and a lot of information required before a case of malpractice is determined, including legalities. Simply, it takes a lot of time to build a case.

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For those reasons, if you suspect malpractice on the part of your doctor or medical providers, we strongly urge you to see us at Theodoros & Rooth right away – before any more time goes by.

There are statutes of limitations that apply to all injury cases, which act like deadlines to file your lawsuit.  If you do not file a lawsuit on time, it is highly likely that the court will dismiss your case, even if it is meritorious.   It’s not all that simple as there are a lot of other factors to consider, but realize it’s a good rule of thumb to get started as soon as possible, especially when the evidence is fresh and more easily available.

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We hear so much bad news about the risks of personal injury at home, on the highways, on bicycles and while boating in the summertime, that it’s refreshing to report some good news for a change.

 

According to the latest statistics from the Indiana Department of Labor, workplace injuries fell 5 percent in 2015 in Indiana. Even though we’re well into 2017, it always takes a while for complete statistics to be compiled.

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The year is now tied with 2013 as the year with the lowest on-the-job injury rate since the federal government began recording 25 years ago.  According to the Indiana Department of Labor, 3.8 people per every hundred were injured or contracted work-related illnesses last year.

A report from Indiana Public Television notes that The Indiana Department of Labor claims that the lower injury rate is a result of a concerted effort on many fronts.   DOL Spokeswoman Amanda Stanley says this includes, “Organized labor, trade organizations, safety councils, and basically everybody taking the safety of Hoosiers in the workplace seriously and doing everything they can with those cooperative relationships.”

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One of the most popular cosmetic procedures these days is breast implant surgeries. Breast augmentation is the second most popular cosmetic procedure among women, after liposuction. More than 300,000 procedures were performed in 2015.

The procedure is generally safe but the Food and Drug Administration announced late last month (March 2017) that these implants can cause a rare form of cancer that may have killed at least nine people.

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The cancer is called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and the FDA is checking into more than 350 reports linking it with both silicone and saline breast implants.

Considering the frequency of the procedure, the chance of getting this cancer is very rare even with 300 cases over 10 years or longer.   What’s more, the FDA says, like many other cancers, it can be treated if caught early enough.

 

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So do you think you can keep your child safe from concussions and other injuries by enrolling him (or her) in a flag football league rather than tackle?  You might reconsider.

A report released in February from the University of Iowa show that flag football is not safer.

The abundance of news over the years about the long-term effects of repeated head injuries from the pro to the youth level has generally concluded that children under the age of 12 should not participate in contact sports such as tackle football.

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The UI researchers studied three large youth football leagues with almost 3,800 participants. The research team compared the number of injuries, severe injuries, and concussions in players competing on flag football teams and tackle football squads.

 

 

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I hope you enjoy this nice story about what myself and a few cohorts like to do in our “spare time.”  Thanks to Eloise Valadez from the NW Indiana Times for writing this. 

For a group of local doctors and lawyers, music is a wonderful diversion from their hectic, professional work lives.

Barry Rooth, Michael Gideon, Gus Galante, Jeremy Willett, Tom Levin and Michael Brody are blending their non-medical talents together in the band The unProfessionals.

“We didn’t always have a full band. Tom (Levin), had a drum set in his basement and we used to get together every once in a blue moon and play. Different people would come and go,” said vocalist Michael Gideon, during a recent interview at the Halls of St. George. The group was preparing for a recent show at the Schererville venue.

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The band members said they started playing simply for fun. The unProfessionals has been together formally for about a year and have only had a few gigs during the past year. The band’s Halls of St. George donated performance was for The Taste of the Region charity event.

Jeremy Willett, a medical attorney, said he got involved in the group about a year ago when Gus Galante was looking for someone else to help fill out the band. Willett plays bass, plays a little guitar and keyboards and does a bit of singing.

“I thought I’d give it a try,” Willett said.

Galante, who is a plastic surgeon, said after just jamming in Levin’s basement, the group members felt they wanted to do a little more with their musical project.

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It seems like Johnson & Johnson, famous for its baby powder used worldwide for decades, is beleaguered with lawsuits as of late.

In early December, a jury in Texas awarded six patients $1 billion in punitive damages for serious complications resulting from a hip replacement device manufactured by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

In May 2016, Johnson & Johnson suffered another costly loss in less than three months over claims that their talcum based baby powder caused cancer. More cases are still pending over similar claims.

Now, an Indiana man has filed another lawsuit in New Jersey against the giant pharmaceutical company claiming that he “suffered substantial injuries and damages” from the hip implant made by DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures surgical joint replacements and other medical devices related to spinal- and sports-related injuries.

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The suit alleges DePuy’s metal-on-metal version of the product, which is the second line of the hip replacement implants, is defective and allows for metal particles to make their way into the recipient’s bloodstream and tissue.

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In every profession, most people are caring, honest, and trustworthy. The medical profession is no different.  Most doctors uphold the Hippocratic Oath, to which they swear to “do no harm” to their patients.  However, a small percentage of doctors do not.  Because of these doctors and medical professionals, medical error has become the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States.  Your doctor is one person who you believe you can trust.  There are too many instances where this is just not true.

Early this year, there was another gross example of medical malpractice in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The following information was taken from a January 3, 2017 article in the Albuquerque Journal.

“In one set of cases, patients were told they could alleviate their lower back pain by an injection of untested and unauthorized hot bone cement. In another set, patients agreed to unnecessary implants of pacemakers and other medical devices after being told their conditions were so serious they might die on their way home.”

tr-pacemaker-300x232The two sets of medical malpractice cases were the biggest in decades in New Mexico and involved so many alleged victims that lawyers had to turn potential clients away.

Both sets of cases were rooted in southern New Mexico and involved smaller hospitals that allegedly allowed rogue doctors to take advantage of unwitting patients. Both included major out-of-state corporations as defendants.

The lawsuits involving an Alamogordo pain specialist who performed unorthodox spine treatments that harmed dozens of patients continue to drag on in the courts. However, the other litigation against a Las Cruces osteopathic cardiologist, Demosthenes Klonis, who was accused of implanting unnecessary pacemakers in patients, ended in 2016 with a series of secret settlements worth millions of dollars.

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Friday the 13th of January (2017) was the day was the day that Takata was ordered to pay for their lies about defective airbags they knowingly allowed to be installed in several makes of vehicles in the US and worldwide.   They might still not be off the hook.

We have reported many times in this space about the gross negligence of Takata in the seemingly never-ending saga of airbags that have seriously injured and even killed unknowing drivers.

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Takata Corporation on Friday agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud in concealing its sales of defective automotive airbag inflators, and will pay $1 billion in fines and restitution.

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Many Republications believe a malpractice crisis is threatening health care in the United States.  However, experts say this is not the case and that there has been no such “crisis” in more than 10 years.  “It’s a wonderful time for doctors looking for coverage and it’s never been better for insurers,” said Michael Matray, editor of Medical Liability Monitor, a trade publication. Doctors are, in fact, paying less for malpractice insurance than they did in 2001 — without any inflation adjustment and the rate of claims has dropped by half since 2003.

Despite these facts, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Tom Price, the incoming Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, want to boldly reform the malpractice system, saying hundreds of billions are wasted on “lawsuit abuse” and defensive medicine.

As top Republicans see it, frivolous lawsuits are driving up malpractice insurance premiums and forcing physicians out of business.  They claim doctors and hospitals live in fear of litigation, ordering excessive tests and treatments that make health care unaffordable for Americans.  In order to lower insurance premiums and costs, proponents of Tort Reform want to set caps on the amount an injured patient is able to recover if they are successful in a medical malpractice case.  This means that no matter how badly a patient is hurt, or even if the patient dies because of medical malpractice, the plaintiff could only recover a limited amount of money, which in many cases does not fully compensate them for their injuries.TR-stethscope-300x207

More than 30 states across America have some form of cap on damages in malpractice lawsuits to control litigation and awards with helping to contain costs.

As we wrote here last July, “(Here in Indiana) 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.”

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If you have had heart surgery between 2010 to 2016, you may be at risk of a life-threatening infection linked to a medical device used during your procedure.  The device is the Stockert 3T heater-cooler which is commonly used to heat and cool a patient’s blood during the operation.

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Before you panic, government health officials say the risk of infection is generally very low and is not contagious.

Still, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control have received at least 91 reports of patients who developed a nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) infection linked to the heater-coolers. Worldwide, the infections have resulted in at least 12 patient deaths, according to the FDA.  A total of about 600,000 patients in the United States who have had heart operations involving the machines are at risk.