Articles Posted in Defective Drugs

Endo International Agrees To Settle Vaginal-Mesh Defect Lawsuit

Endo International recently settled approximately 10,000 vaginal-mesh lawsuits involving their Perigee, Apogee, and Elevate mesh implants for a combined settlement of more than $400 million. The settlement averages about $48,000 for each injured victim. Endo reportedly has reserved $1.6 billion for liability arising out of its surgical mesh products.

The Food and Drug Administration considers the vaginal-mesh inserts to be high-risk devices and takes the position that the vaginal-mesh inserts should be subject to stricter safety standards. In 2010 alone U.S. doctors inserted more than 70,000 mesh devices.

Last year CMS quit reporting life-threatening conditions acquired by patients during hospital stays. CMS has now announced that they will resume posting data on their website regarding eight hospital-acquired conditions including when foreign objects are left in patients’ bodies and when patients are given the wrong type of blood. Having this information available is pivotal as otherwise the hospital with a rash of events will argue that each event is an isolated, unique event rather than being part of an ongoing pattern that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, some hospitals have shown that they are more committed to covering up medical mistakes than to correcting their mistakes and they need the legal community to encourage them to do the right thing.

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The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recently recommended that lawmakers pass a law revoking the licenses of nursing homes that have three serious violations within a two-year period. Changes to medical malpractice laws have made it more difficult for plaintiff’s lawyers to effectively police nursing homes thereby destroying the incentive of some nursing homes to render quality medical care. According to State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, of the state’s 1200 nursing homes seven of the worst nursing homes would be shut down under a “three-strikes” law. Hopefully such a law would encourage Texas nursing homes to comply with minimum standards.

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Modern technology has given us the hazards of texting while driving and now sexting during surgery. A Seattle anesthesiologist was recently suspended for sexting and exchanging sexually explicit messages during surgery. The investigation revealed that he had sent sexually explicit pictures of himself and texts during multiple procedures including Cesarean deliveries, pediatric appendectomies, epidurals, tubal ligations, cardiac-probe insertions.

The ability of modern cellular phones to send text messages has given rise to texting while driving, a practice considered by many to be more dangerous than drinking while driving. The ability of cell phones to text pictures has also given rise to sexual harassment in the form of unwanted and unwelcome sexts in the workplace.

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The dangers of tobacco smoke have been common knowledge since the Surgeon General first warned the American public more than 50 years ago. However, the dangers were generally thought to be to be limited to lung cancer, emphysema, and other respiratory related disorders. Individuals with lung cancer filed products liability lawsuits against “Big Tobacco” and States sued for the increased cost of healthcare for their residents.

According to a recent report released by the U.S. Surgeon General the effects cigarette tobacco smoke go far beyond lung related disorders and diseases. The report definitively links cigarettes to diabetes, colorectal cancer, arthritis, and erectile dysfunction.

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The Center for Justice and Democracy at the New York Law School recently published a study that conflicts with many commonly held beliefs regarding medical malpractice. The summary conclusions of the study are:

-Few injured patients file claims or lawsuits; experts agree that when cases are filed, they are not


The Texas Supreme Court recently denied the request of Rio Grande Valley neurosurgeon Dr. Madhavan Pisharodi to halt the peer review process which he alleges is abusive and retaliatory. Dr. Pisharodi is accused of destroying and falsifying a patients’ records at the Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville, Texas. State 197th District Judge Migdalia Lopez denied Dr. Pisharodi an injunction and the 13th Court of Appeals affirmed the Trial Court. The Texas Supreme Court denied the petition for review reaffirming the peer review process.

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Tylenol is the brand name for over-the-counter acetaminophen made by McNeil Consumer Healthcare Products, a division of Johnson & Johnson. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), more people die as a result of an overdose of acetaminophen that all or the other over-the-counter pain medications combined. Many of the overdoses are the result of a consumer taking two different medications both of which contain acetaminophen. This is known as “double dipping” in the industry and the dangers of combining medications are either not known or under appreciated by the consuming public. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 300 people die each year from an accidental overdose of acetaminophen.

The problem is compounded by the fact that over 600 different medications containing acetaminophen have been approved for use in the US by the FDA, their normal dose is very close to the overdose limit resulting in a small margin for error, and when combined with alcohol acetaminophen can cause liver damage or even death.

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The TransCanada Pipeline Company cleared another of the many hurdles it has faced in connection with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Michael Bishop, an East Texas landowner, previously contested TransCanada’s condemnation of his property. However, Bishop settled the condemnation issues because he could not afford the legal fees. Recently Bishop sought a restraining order against TransCanada based on his position that the tar sands that TransCanada plans to transport via the Keystone XL Pipeline does not constitute crude oil authorized to be transported by the pipeline agreement.

The tar sands start out as a near solid material and must be converted to a liquid form in order to be transport via a pipeline. Judge Jack Sinz issued an order allowing clearing for the pipeline to go forward. This is not the first nor will it be the last obstacle faced by TransCanada as it passes through East Texas.

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The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled in Texas West Oaks Hospital v. Williams that the employment related claim of a hospital employee alleging negligence on the part of the hospital resulting in injuries to the employee constituted a “health care liability claim” under Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code. At the Trial Court level the Employer moved to dismiss the claim on the grounds that the employee had not filed an expert report as required by Chapter 74 in medical malpractice claims. It is uncontested that the Employer was not rendering health care to the Employee at the time of the alleged injuries and that the Employer was a nonsubscriber under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. The Trial Court denied the motion and the Employer filed an appeal. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Texas Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Employees’ claims were health care liability claims under the Act and required the submission of an expert report.

The only thing that this employment claim had in common with a health care liability claim is that the claim was asserted against a health care provider. Is any claim against a hospital a health care liability claim under the Act? If a hospital breaches a contract, fails to pay its’ taxes, or defaults on a loan and gets sued is the suit a health care liability claim governed by the Act simply because the defendant is a health care provider? At this point the Supreme Court has so broadly interpreted the Act that virtually any claim against a hospital, or any other health care provider, might fall under the Act, thereby creating a special class of defendants under Texas law.

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