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uber-rideshare-passenger-sexual-assaultRideshare companies like Lyft and Uber have opened up new transportation options for millions. But the services have also opened up opportunities for drivers to commit sexual misconduct, up to and including rape. Multiple women who were sexually assaulted have sued Uber and Lyft for failure to adequately background-check their drivers. These lawsuits often also accuse the companies of failing to suspend drivers who were credibly accused of assault.

Widespread Rideshare Sexual Assault Allegations

Although the Washington Post says both Uber and Lyft have committed to eventually publishing statistics on sexual assault, neither has made any such statistics available as of fall of 2019.

Hospitals In Illinois that are BADA national hospital safety watchdog group has just issued its semi-annual report card on U.S. hospitals, giving 46 Illinois hospitals an “A” grade and four a “D” for patient care. The state was ranked 11 overall among states, an improvement from 14th place in spring 2019.

The nonprofit Leapfrog Group grades hospitals on how well they protect patients from medical errors, injuries and infections.

Of the 108 Illinois hospitals surveyed, 46 earned an A, 19 earned a B, and 39 earned a C. Of the four that received a D, only one is outside the Chicago area: UnityPoint Health in Pekin, Illinois. The rest were Mount Sinai Hospital, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, and University of Illinois Hospital.  None received an F.

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Medical device maker Ethicon is one of the two chief manufacturers of surgical staplers in the U.S.  Surgical staplers are widely marketed and used as an alternative to manual sutures made by surgeons to close internal wounds, their greatest benefit being reducing a patient’s time in surgery. However, Ethicon and other stapler makers have long been dogged by reports that their products frequently malfunctioned, causing serious injury and even death to patients.

Now Ethicon has initiated a recall of more than 8,000 of its Echelon Flex Endopath staplers, announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October. The FDA has identified this as a Class I recall, which indicates the devices could cause life-threatening injuries or death. As of October 3, seven serious injuries and one death had been reported to Ethicon for the affected products.

The Echelon Flex Endopath staplers are designed for use on only one patient, in major or minimally invasive surgical procedures including gynecologic, urologic, thoracic, pediatric, and general surgeries. They were manufactured between July 18 and August 3, 2019, and distributed to healthcare providers between August 1 and September 26.

Juul-pic-1024x724Things keep getting worse for e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, Inc.  In the midst of a wave of vaping illnesses sweeping the nation, the leading U.S. vaping company is under fire. Juul is currently the subject of a federal investigation and multiple lawsuits targeting its marketing practices to underage users. It has recently undergone a shakeup in its corporate leadership and faces a flurry of legislation at the state level attempting to restrict or ban its flavored “pods,” which have become wildly popular among America’s youth.

Now the mountain of mass-tort litigation Juul is facing will be consolidated in a multi-district litigation (MDL) in federal court in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered.  Attorneys for Juul and for some of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits had requested an MDL in a hearing before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Los Angeles, which decides if similar federal court cases around the country would best be handled in a single court.

In early October, the panel agreed to create an MDL and centralize all pending federal cases against Juul in the court of U.S. District Judge William Orrick of the Northern District of California, who was already overseeing a class-action lawsuit brought against Juul in 2018 by 44 plaintiffs from 22 states.

ndma-examined-scientist-lab-microscopeIn late 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced recalls of multiple drugs believed to be contaminated with a carcinogenic substance called NDMA. Those recalls affected both prescription and over-the-counter versions of the heartburn and ulcer medication ranitidine, known by the name brand Zantac but also sold as a prescription and over-the-counter generic. The FDA had earlier recalled several types of blood pressure medications—losartan, valsartan, and irbesartan—because of contamination with NDMA. It believes there has been NDMA contamination in those drugs for up to four years.

What Is NDMA?

NDMA is short for N-Nitrosodimethylamine, an organic chemical. It’s present in low levels in certain foods, particularly smoked or cured foods, but most often found as a manufacturing and water treatment by-product. It’s also used in biological science as a way to create cancer in laboratory rats, and according to the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer believes it probably causes cancer in humans. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says NDMA comes from a family of known and powerful carcinogens.

Hypoxic Ischemia and Birth Injuries in BabiesIf you are like most parents, you had never heard of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) until your child was diagnosed with it. Sometimes referred to as perinatal asphyxia, it refers to a brain injury where the supply of blood and therefore oxygen to a newborn’s brain is halted temporarily during the process of childbirth. It can lead to a host of health problems, both physical and mental, as your child develops.

Your child’s HIE may be mild, severe, or somewhere in between. It is normal to be extremely frustrated and upset by an HIE diagnosis—and it makes complete sense to wonder what went wrong that led to your child’s injury. You may have already considered the possibility that your child’s doctor made a mistake that caused the HIE. Or, you may have not wanted to think about such an upsetting idea.

If your child’s injury was caused by medical malpractice, it is important to get to the truth of what happened. Not only does proving medical malpractice increase the odds that you can get much-needed financial support to take care of your child from your doctor’s insurer, but it also allows you to hold those responsible for the injury accountable.

Swallowing Issues Lead to Choking AccidentsAs people age, they tend to develop challenges with swallowing. Research has shown that issues with swallowing can occur even in elderly people with no serious medical conditions. Presbyphagia is a term that refers to these swallowing problems that come with aging.

In nursing homes, the potential for injuries is significant among patients by default. Elderly people in nursing homes are going to be prone to disease and injury—like with swallowing problems and choking—in many instances. Nursing home staff should be carefully trained to anticipate such problems and ideally to prevent them whenever possible.

Whether you have a parent in a nursing home, you are a patient in a nursing home, or you are a nursing home staff member, it is important to be aware of swallowing issues in the elderly and the necessity of preventing choking accidents resulting from such issues.

Ways Nursing Homes Can Help Prevent Bed SoresEveryone has heard complaints about how nursing homes take care of patients. While not all nursing homes are negligent in their treatment of residents and patients, there is no denying how commonly issues like bedsores show up. Since nursing homes and their staff are under constant scrutiny these days by the families of residents and the public in general, it is important that they take extra precautions to avoid unnecessary patient suffering, illnesses, disease and neglect.

Preventing bedsores is one area where nursing homes could excel in their treatment of patients. Bedsores are a challenge for any long-term care facility because they are not always easy to prevent. By looking more closely at the way they take care of patients and the options they have for avoiding more common and relatively minor health issues for those patients, nursing homes can improve their image and better serve their patients.

What Causes Bedsores?

Who is to blame for truck injury accidentsMost people know that truck accidents involve a few key players. What few are aware of is that the victims and operators, also known as truckers, are far from the only parties that suffer the brunt of the legal fallout.

Companies or individuals known as carriers operate most commercial vehicles that move goods. These enterprises typically receive their freight contracts from brokers that serve as intermediaries between carriers and other firms known as shippers, such as the businesses that arrange the sale of consumer goods.

How do brokers and shippers figure into the liability landscape? Where do their legal responsibilities lie after one of their truck drivers gets into an injury-causing collision, and what does their involvement mean for victims? Here’s what to know about your post-truck-accident future.

There are laws in place that are supposed to protect elderly nursing home residents from abuse and neglect and enforcement procedures established to ensure the law is followed. But laws and procedures are only effective if they are faithfully carried out, which is not the current state of things in the U.S. Clearly, the system that is supposed to protect our vulnerable elderly is badly broken.

Two U.S. senators from Pennsylvania have just released to the public a government-generated list of several hundred nursing homes that were flagged as among the worst in the country, but whose names until now were being withheld by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal entity responsible for oversight of the nursing care industry. They include 18 nursing facilities in Illinois.

CMS annually inspects nursing homes throughout the U.S. and rates them for quality according to a five-star system, publishing its detailed findings on the Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare website. CMS identifies the most troubled facilities for inclusion in its Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, which entails extra scrutiny and oversight of consistently poorly performing homes where inspectors have documented abuse and neglect. The SFF program targets facilities that “substantially fail” to meet the standards of care mandated by federal regulations.