That fracking hurts!

Ohio has become the new Texas with the oil and gas drilling boom consuming much of eastern Ohio.  Most of the media attention around fracking has focused on the environmental impacts – flammable tap water, earthquakes in Ohio, or toxic drinking water, to name a few.  Nasty stuff, to be sure.

fracking

But the physical dangers to people in the area of the wells, workers and others, is also a big fracking problem.  I saw this article today about a worker at a well in Noble County, Ohio who died after an explosion.  I suspect we will start to see more and more unfortunate, but preventable, injuries in the fracking industry in the coming months and years.

What does this mean to you:

Though the energy companies promise jobs and increased economic opportunities to the communities they invade, the costs – in terms of both environmental and human loss – continue to mount.

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Shhh! We’d like to keep our fraud secret!

So, Über and Lyft want to keep their insurance policies secret, which raises a lot of questions in my mind.  Like, what are they hiding?  And specifically, what is covered by the policy?  Is it only the driver, or are the passengers covered too?  Seems like we should be allowed to know the answers.

secret

 

Interestingly, the companies are required to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – insurance that protects you when you are not at fault.  But, there is no requirement that the rest of us buy uninsured motorists coverage, and there is no requirement that your agent offer or even explain it to you.   Its important enough to require it for those services, but not for everyone else.  Hmmm.

What does this mean to you:

Go now and find out how much uninsured motorists coverage you carry on your insurance policy.  We will wait for you here.  Yes, its that important.  Go on.

Do you have uninsured motorists coverage in your auto policy?  Do you also have it in your umbrella policy?  What are the limits?  Considering that almost 15% of drivers carry no insurance and many more do not carry enough insurance, do you have high enough limits?

 

What did you expect?

Its football season again.  Finally.  But with the season comes the ongoing discussion about concussions, especially repeated ones, and what is and is not an acceptable level of carnage that players endure for our amusement.  The NFL recently settled a lawsuit by former players regarding concussions.  And now comes word that a suit has been filed in California against FIFA attempting to alter rules to curb concussions too.

Brain Trauma

What does this mean to you:

Does everyone know that slamming your head into a 300 lb. hunk of linebacker is probably not good?  Sure.  But if the organizing league had information that the problem is much worse than reported, and refused to take action to fix the problem, all in order to make a profit at expense of the players’ health, that is a problem too.

In addition, Marlboro will sponsor the Komen 5k race

Mark Twain once said that golf is a good walk spoiled.  Truth be told, I  tend to agree with him.  But people nonetheless seem to enjoy the activity, whether they’re out strolling the fairway or going for the long ball.

hip

Hopefully, then, the irony was not lost this week when it was announced that the PGA Tour would be sponsored by – wait for it – Stryker Orthopedics.  Yes, that Stryker Orthopedics.  The one that made 20,000 defective ABG II and Rejuvenate metal hip implants.  The ones that would be bad for golfers (or anyone else who likes to, you know, move) to use.

What does this mean to you:

Remember that advertising and corporate sponsorship can be as much about framing and creating a positive public image as about selling products.

Testing, schmesting.

You would think that medical devices  implanted inside your body would be some of the most highly-tested products in the world.  Not so, though, for hip implants made by the Stryker company, who began selling its hips without going through clinical trials first.

science experiment

Stryker claimed its hips were similar to DePuy’s metal on metal hips that were already for sale.  The fault in this logic, if you can call it that, is that DePuy’s hip implants are the ones having problems with fretting and corrosion of the metal, which causes pain and swelling.  This defect may even lead to metalosis – metal toxicity in the blood stream caused by metal ions and shavings from the implant itself.  This, despite the fact that the industry has known for some time that as much as 40% of metal-on-metal hip implants would fail.

Stryker has since recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants.  DePuy has since settled many of the claims against it for $2.5 billion.

What does this mean to you:

Someone with a recalled hip implant probably does not know the make or model they have.  If an implant patient continues to have, or suddenly develops, pain or swelling around their hip implant, they should check with their surgeon right away.

The Phantom (Driver) Menace

There seem to be a rash of “hit-skip” incidents going around, like this one just this weekend in Victorian Village.  Luckily, this guy was caught.  But what if they never find the at-fault driver?

Car-smoke

In Ohio, this situation is called a “phantom driver.”  Most insurance policies require there to be some other evidence that a crash happened, other than just the injured person’s word.

What does this mean to you:

If you are hit by another car who takes off, you will either need another person who witnessed the wreck to back you up.  Either that, or show some damage to your vehicle to prove there actually was a wreck.  Believe it or not, sometimes insurance companies don’t believe you!

 

They did what to who?

Unfortunately, car insurance companies rarely live up to their commercials, as we’ve discussed before.  Otherwise, that perky Flo from Progressive would be giddily settling claims to and fro and whatnot.

Go ahead. Make a claim. I dare you.

I saw this tragic story making the rounds online.  At the trial for the wrongful death of a motorist, the lawyer for the insurance company for the motorist (Progressive) worked in conjunction with the lawyer for the at-fault driver.  That is, the dead woman’s own insurance company called witnesses to try and blame her for the crash, just like the lawyer for the person who caused the wreck did.  Talk about adding insult to injury.

This is common litigation strategy and how most insurance companies behave, whether they are yours or someone else’s, because money is on the line.  Their goal in any case like this is to pay the least amount of money possible.

What does this mean to you:

In Ohio, your car insurance has a legal obligation to treat you in “good faith.”  If they don’t, they can be help responsible for additional damages beyond what they owe for your personal injury case itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Not a leisurely stroll

Longtime readers of FSBD know I’ve covered the issue of dangerous children’s products before on this blog.  I saw this article today that Peg Perego stollers have just been recalled, with at least one death reported.  This, in the wake of other recent stroller recalls by both Graco and Maclaren.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

What this means to you:

Though we may not want to do it for every DVD player or blender we buy, take 30 seconds and fill out the warranty card so you are apprised of recalls as soon as they happen, especially for products that impact the safety of children.