Knowing when to leave is half the battle

We all know the type: the person at the party who cannot bring themselves to leave. Whether they just like the sound of their own voice or fear of facing what is at home is just too much, knowing when your time is up is critical.  (Watch this segue.)  And the same goes for IVC filters.

Oh geez.  Its time to go.

Oh geez. Its time to go.

After surgery, the risk of blood clots forming goes up.  If one of those clots makes it into the lungs, it can be bad.  Like, pulmonary embolism-bad.  So, surgeons can place a metal cage or filter in a vein, called the inferior vena cava, to trap blood clots to prevent them from reaching the lungs.  

The problem is that, if these IVC filters are left in too long, they tend to not stay in place. That is, they can move or tilt, causing perforation or tearing of the vein.

These filters have several metal spines, and in a pinch, can also be used to catch bass and stripers.  (This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.)  What has been stated by the FDA is that leaving an IVC filter in too long can be dangerous.

What does this mean to you:

It can sometimes be as important to know when to stop using a particular medical device as it can be to know when to start.

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Take a moment and repose yourself

Most people are familiar with a statute of limitations, a law that gives you a certain amount of time to bring a claim starting from the date of the injury.  That makes sense, since you know when you are injured.  A “statute of repose,” on the other hand, is a limitation on the amount of time starting from the date a product is made, whether you have been injured yet or not.

Seeking enlightenment

What makes these laws – such as Ohio’s law – particularly vicious is that they can cut off the ability to file a claim BEFORE THE INJURY HAS EVEN HAPPENED.  One a product had been made – whether that’s a medical device like a hip implant, a smoke detector, or a baby’s high chair – after 10 years, no claims can be made against the manufacturer.

What does this mean to you?

Not surprisingly, Ohio’s statute of repose has been described as “a victory for manufacturers.”  If manufacturers won, who lost?  And by the way, how does this make products safer?

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

When I was growing up, my grandfather was a smoker.  As entertainment for the grandkids when we’d go to visit, grandpa Harris would stand up on a chair, hold his lit cigarette up to the smoke detector, and set off the alarm.  Now that’s fun.

smoke detectorBut its only fun as long as the smoke detector works.   It was revealed this week that as many as 150,000 smoke detectors made by ESL and Interlogix have been recalled.  According to the Consumer Product Safety commission, radio interference can cause the detectors to fail.  Most were installed commercially in schools, apartments, hotels, and dorms. 

What does this mean to you:

Call your security or fire system company to see if you have one of the recalled units.  If you do, you can find out more by calling Edwards/ESL at (800) 655-4497 or Interlogix at (855) 286-8889.

And in other news, people no longer buying Ford Pintos

Change is hard.  I get it.  The people in the horse and buggy business probably didn’t like to see the advent of the automobile.  But as technology changes, especially in the the area of safety improvements, business must change and adapt along with it.

secret handshake

It is disappointing, then, but perhaps not surprising, to learn that many manufactures of table saws, such as Bosch, Black & Decker, Makita, and Ryobi, have been conspiring to thwart new safety rules to require automatic blade stop technology, called Saw Stop, in their saws.  And this is no small issue.  67,000 U.S. workers and do-it-your-selfers suffer blade contact injuries every year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

What does this mean to you:

Its one thing if they don’t want to adopt the safer technology, but its quite another to actively try to stop safer technology from being adopted as the standard.

Shop around before making a major tool purchase.  What you don’t know can hurt you.

The itsy, bitsy baby climbed out of the high chair

I saw this story in the Columbus Dispatch today noting an increase in the number of injuries to babies caused by high chairs.  On average, 9,400 kids are hurt every year due to high chairs – a number that has been on the rise.

Baby in highchair

To be sure, some injuries were caused by children climbing out, while other are related to defects in the chair itself.

What does this mean to you:

Always register your baby products with the manufacturer so you are kept abreast of recalls.  Or, you can sign up to receive alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

The passengers on the bus go ’round and ’round

Seat belts have been mandatory in cars since 1968.  Seat belts are even required in airplanes, where there is usually no such thing as a “minor” crash.  Why, then, are no seat belts in commercial or school buses?

Bus travel

It seems the bus industry has resisted efforts to mandate seat belts in new buses, or to retrofit old buses with new seat belts.  You see, the health and safety of those pesky passengers shouldn’t get in the way of the bottom line.

What does this mean to you:

Be careful when selecting your preferred method of travel.

 

Defeating Assumption of Risk

Just a quick post to say that I recently wrote an article for the Ohio Association for Justice on the defense of assumption of the risk in product liability cases in Ohio.  For those that are interested, you can read it here.

 

Another reason not to like needles

 

The CDC is warning that a spinal steroid injection given for back pain has been tainted with a fungus.  This injection has been linked to at least 7 deaths already with many more cases under investigation.

There is a fungus among us.

The steroid at issue is methylprednisolone acetate.  A sealed vile was contaminated with the fungus aspergillus meningitus.  The steroid was used across several states, including Ohio.  Click here for a list of all the states and facilities where the tainted steroid was used.

What does this mean to you:

If you or a loved one had a spinal steroid injection at Ortho-Spine Rehabilitation Center in Dublin, Ohio, the Marion Pain Clinic or Back Pain Specialists, both in Marion, Ohio, or Cincinnati Pain Management in Cincinnati, Ohio, please contact your doctor to confirm you did not receive the contaminated steroid.

 

 

Add one more to the list

When we think of things that are dangerous to children, generally things like strollers or cribs come to mind.  But products designed for adults pose a dangers to little ones as well.  I stumbled on this tragic story about unstable furniture, like dressers, cabinets, and chests, that can tip over and pin children down, often with disastrous consequences.

Child climbing a dresser

What does this mean to you:

As parents, we can’t assume that only “kids products” pose dangers to kids.  To anticipate what children might get into, we have to to think like they would and approach common situations as they would.  Come to think of it, that might not be a bad way to approach life anyway for purposes of our health, business success, and mental acuity.

Guest post: Surgical Mesh and the FDA

 

Although surgical mesh has been in use for decades, it was not until 2002 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of transvaginal mesh for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse.

Since that time, the FDA has received numerous reports of complications associated with transvaginal mesh. On July 13, 2011, the FDA released a statement that informed consumers that the complications associated with transvaginal mesh are not rare and that traditional surgery methods for the treatment of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse may be more effective and carry less risk.

For those who have already had transvaginal mesh implanted, or for those considering this treatment, this release from the FDA is cause for real concern. There are, unfortunately, numerous complications and many of these complications are quite severe.

To date, the most common complaints associated with transvaginal mesh include:

1. Protrusion or erosion of the mesh. This complication is very serious. Protrusion means that the mesh works its way through nearby organs.

2. Organ perforation. The surgical procedure or the transvaginal mesh itself can perforate — or puncture — nearby organs.

3. Additional complications. The FDA has received numerous reports of neuromuscular issues as well as psychological trauma following the insertion of transvaginal mesh. Some patients have reported feeling the mesh inside their body; sexual partners may also be able to feel it.

The way the mesh is inserted may actually determine the extent of complications a patient will face. The FDA has stated that proper training can reduce the likelihood of these complications. The FDA reports that mesh inserted transvaginally rather than through an abdominal incision results in a higher risk for complications. Even though there have been serious risk associated with this surgical mesh, the FDA has yet to have a Vaginal mesh recall.

For patients, this news from the FDA is understandably disturbing, particularly if their doctors had not previously informed them of the potential risks they would be facing. If your doctor has recommended this procedure to treat pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence, it is vital to make sure you are fully aware of the risks you are facing. Ask your doctor if they have received the recommended specialized training.

It is also important to get a second opinion, in light of the very real health risks you could be facing as a result of this procedure. The FDA has stated that traditional surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence may actually be more successful than the use of transvaginal mesh and carries much less risk for the patient.

So far, nearly 4,000 complaints have been received regarding the use of transvaginal mesh in these treatments. The FDA continues to monitor the situation, and encourages more education both for surgeons and patients. Even though pelvic organ prolapse is a painful condition, patients need to be aware that they may be facing more pain and more surgery if they elect to go with transvaginal mesh. Transvaginal mesh lawsuits have already been filed due to these severe complications.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.