MonthOctober 2017

Toyland Trouble

Did you know that more toys are purchased in the United States between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day than during the entire rest of the year? During the holiday gift giving season, it is tempting to buy children the newest toys with the brightest colors or cutest characters, but researchers suggest that many toys on the shelves are not safe for kids.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group issues a “Trouble in Toyland” report each year. This year’s report noted the toys that pose the typical choking and laceration hazards, it also outlines a concerning number of toys that pose chemical exposure threats.

The report explains that children’s toys often contain three types of chemicals that are unsafe for kids: lead, phthalates, and antimony.

Most parents know to avoid toys with lead-based paint after the many recalls lead caused in 2008. After those recalls, Congress passed a new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act limiting the amount of lead that is allowed in children’s toys. Unfortunately, some toys still contain this dangerous chemical.

For example, Monkey in Banana by Uncle Fun exceeds the limit set by Congress and was recalled. Princess Expressions Tiara and Jewelry Set does not violate the law, but it comes very close. Parents should be aware that these kinds of toys are still on the shelves.

The second type of chemicals, phthalates, has gotten significant attention lately. These chemicals have been linked to reproductive problems down the road for children who are exposed to them. The stronger consumer protection laws passed by Congress actually banned nay types of phthalates, but toys still contain them.

Baby Doll, another toy by Uncle Fun, is designed to be chewed on by small children. But the toy has two different kinds of phthalates in it. The popular retailer Claire’s also sells a Dora the Explorer backpack that contains a high amount of phthalates on the plastic.

Later this week, we will examine the last category of chemicals found in children’s toys: antimony. We will also explain the tips that PIRG gave for parents to avoid toys that contain dangerous chemicals.

Gabriel and Gabriel in West Palm can easily handle these cases and a vast number of other legal issues. Remember to contact them before taking matters into your own hands.

Blindly Trusting Prescribed Medications

When people take medication as prescribed for a certain medical condition, they trust the drugs to make them feel better. While most people understand that medications can have some side effects such as drowsiness or an upset stomach, they rarely imagine a drug prescribed by a doctor could cause them to literally gamble way their life’s savings.

However, that is exactly what has happened to some patients who were taking Permax and Cabaser, medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Approximately 100 Australians are suing two pharmaceutical giants in a class action lawsuit, claiming these defective medications caused them to become gambling addicts. Some also say the drugs caused them to develop compulsive sexual behavior. While this is happening in Australia, it could just as easily be unfolding in Louisiana or any other state in the United States.

The plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against Aspen Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer Australia, alleging that the manufacturers were negligent, produced defective products and failed to warn to the potential dangers. They claim that Permax and Cabaser caused them to engage in compulsive behavior and lose a considerable amount of money.

The patients’ attorney noted, “The drugs mimic the effect of dopamine in the brain, which is a pleasure-seeking … chemical and can cause addictive-type behavior. Most of the clients had an obsessive pathological urge to gamble that they couldn’t control, and that had led to huge financial loss and family breakdowns.”

One of these medications is still on the market, though it now carries a warning that its use can result in compulsive behaviors, including gambling and increased libido. However, patients who used the medication prior to 2009 did not receive the benefit of the warning.

If you feel like you’ve been a victim of a prescribed medication, don’t hesitate to contact Michigan Legal Center. With years of experience, Michigan Legal Center has experience with prescribed drugs and other medication.

The Dangers of Fishing

Fishing is a popular pastime for a significant number of Americans. However, a relaxing day on the water with friends or family members can turn into tragedy if a fishing boat malfunctions, resulting in injury and death.

Last weekend, five people went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The group left Venice, Louisiana, at approximately 6:30 Saturday morning and entered the Gulf through the South Pass of the Mississippi. When the sport fishing boat was a few miles south of the mouth of the river, one of the vessel’s two engines inexplicably shut down.

While one of the boaters was inspecting why the engine may have shut off, he noticed that water was coming into the boat. The boaters shut down the other engine, and water filled the vessel even more quickly. The boat ultimately capsized before anyone could put a lifejacket on.

Four of the boaters died in the accident. According to a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the cause of death is believed to be hypothermia. The National Weather Service reports that the water was between 50 and 64 degrees that day.

One of the boaters was rescued that afternoon by an oil crew boat. Apparently, he had been able to hold onto a rope at the bow of the vessel and eventually climbed onto the boat’s hull, where he was seen by an offshore crew boat identified as Sea Angel. He received treatment for mild hypothermia after the rescue.

The U.S. Coastguard is currently investigating the cause of the boating accident. Authorities believe neither alcohol nor drugs contributed to the tragic incident.

It is true that we do not know what caused the boat’s first engine to fail. However, if it turns out that the boat was defective in its design or manufacture, the survivors may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Although this type of boating accident may be rare, there’s no denying the dangers that it encompasses. Contact Rizk Law Portland if you’ve been injured because of an unexplained defect in your motor vehicle. Instead of trying to solve the case yourself, lessen the Rizk!

Attorneys Can’t Handle the Nurse Shortage

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations [JCAHO] August 2002 media alert stated that “Nursing shortage puts lives at risk: Joint Commission expert panel issues urgent call to action.” Why has JCAHO issued this urgent alert? Because “patient care is suffering from a dramatic shortage of nurses, who are the front line of care and support for patients . . . too few nurses result in increased deaths, complications, and other undesirable patient outcomes.”

When it comes to legal nurse consulting in Los Angeles, attorneys are facing the effects of the nursing shortage in their cases. It has affected the complexion and complexity of injury claims and compounds the case analysis. What should have been a fairly straightforward PI case becomes a complex medical malpractice case, presenting difficult liability and causation issues. Further, the already complicated medical malpractice case becomes a veritable maze because understaffing in a hospital setting leads to system-wide failures resulting in multiple negligent omissions or commissions during a single hospitalization.

Nurses are the eyes and ears of the doctors and hospital and have the most contact with patients on a routine basis. If the ability to monitor and observe patients is reduced, a critical link in the system is weakened. Nurses are being required to work longer hours and attend to more patients. With the increased demand for nurses to do more with less, the function of the nurse as a checkpoint in the process to assure appropriate treatment is compromised.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found a 31% increased risk of death at hospitals where there is understaffing of nurses involved in patient care. The JCAHO is studying the issue and is expected to publish mandated nurse staffing levels. Through legislation, California has already mandated safe nurse/patient ratios.

When the attorney suspects substandard hospital care, a detailed review of the records, including nursing notes, is required. The attorney should look for continuity of care. For example, if a physician orders monitoring of a patient’s vital signs at 15-minute intervals, the nursing notes should reflect this pattern. If the pattern varies widely, with vitals signs checked at 15 then 30 then 60 minutes, this could be indicative of the lack of appropriate monitoring and other negligent omissions.

Documentation other than the patient’s medical record is important to substantiate a claim that understaffing has affected a patient’s outcome. The attorney should request nurse staffing records and patient census reports. These should be analyzed for nurse/patient ratios, patient acuity levels (how sick they were and, therefore, how labor intensive where their care needs), and compared to hospital Policies and Protocols on nurse/patient ratios.

Nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections occur at a significantly increased rate at understaffed hospitals. A simple procedure can turn into a complicated infectious disease process, increasing costs, prolonging hospitalizations, worsening outcomes and complicating prognoses. Understaffing contributes to the infection rates by cutting corners and reducing important monitoring tasks. Statistics regarding the hospital’s infection rate should be obtained. The hospital’s Policy and Protocol manuals should be reviewed for evidence of how the institution should identify, track and resolve nosocomial infections. If the patient underwent surgery, culture records from the surgical suite and equipment should be scrutinized for common links to the patient’s illness.

The issues presented here are only the beginning. If the trial lawyer suspects understaffing of nurses has to lead to complications during a hospitalization, please call or contact us to discuss the additional areas to be analyzed.

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