CPAP Machine Recalls
Philips Respironics (Philips) is a leading manufacturer of CPAP and BiPAP machines to help individuals treat their sleep apnea. Philips also makes ventilators which are often used in the medical setting. Earlier this summer, they announced a recall of many of these devices due to the potential harm they could cause their users. Let’s take a quick look at the nature of this recall and the resulting litigation.

Why Is There a Recall?

A variety of ventilators, CPAP and BiPAP machines produced by Philips use polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam. The purpose of this material is to reduce the sound and vibration from these devices. However, this foam may break down and injure the user. It’s suspected that high heat and humidity, or using ozone to clean the device, could make this problem worse.

Hoy hablamos del herbicida Paraquat y hay muchas razones para informarse sobre este herbicida: es muy peligroso, muy tóxico y, lamentablemente, los estudios están comenzando a indicar que puede causar alguna enfermedad bastante grave si se expone a en cualquier período de tiempo.

¿Qué es el paraquat?

Paraquat and Parkinson's DiseaseEs un químico tóxico que se usa ampliamente en este país, particularmente en la mitad este de los Estados Unidos, donde hay muchas tierras de cultivo, huertos y áreas agrícolas. Se utiliza como herbicida, un asesino de plantas principalmente para el control de malezas y pastos.

My friend and former client, a victim of an artificial hip failure, sat down with me for a great conversation last month. You can listen to that podcast episode here. The other day she sent a note to offer a bit more helpful advice to those individuals working to regain strength and physical health after hip replacement surgery and especially after hip revision surgeries:

Rehabbing after hip replacement surgery

The one thing that I forgot to say that I think may be important for someone:  After several years and seemingly reaching a plateau in my strength and recovery, but still faraway from where I needed to be to walk and function more normally, I started to work with a personal trainer in strength and weight-lifting. Doing mainly squats and deadlifts, beginning with just weighted plastic pipes, and it made a drastic change in my recovery.  It would take a very knowledgeable and patient trainer, but the results were significant. Once I achieved a little more strength through a range of motion, I progressed and my gait improved and I could walk without such a limp.  

Thanks Clay!

Paraquat and Parkinson's DiseaseIt sounds like an exotic fruit, or perhaps a cute little pet name, but touching or eating paraquat dichloride (paraquat) can result in nasty consequences. This toxic substance has a significant history, but more recently, has been linked to Parkinson’s disease. As a result, the herbicide has been subject to litigation. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at paraquat and the emerging lawsuits.

What Is Paraquat?

Historically, paraquat has had two main uses. First, and sadly, it’s been an effective way of committing suicide. Ingesting just one sip could result in death. In fact, when South Korea banned the herbicide in 2011, its overall suicide rate fell 10% and its suicide rate by herbicide or fungicide dropped by more than 46%.

Retired Army Ranger Chet Sechrest and I continue our conversation on the potential for hearing damage in the military, the crucial need for proper hearing protection, and 3M Earplugs:

image-300x200Clay: So Chet as a medic you would supervise and train soldiers in the proper use of hearing protection? But you also said the Army beat into your heads the importance of protecting your hearing in whatever you were doing in the field?

Chet: Absolutely. In fact, for a long time, they had the annual hearing exam requirement. And it was like a pre-deployment requirement, you couldn’t deploy unless you had your hearing exam for that year. So the command was interested in tracking, hearing issues, to make sure that you know, not everybody’s going to go deaf. Does that make sense?

3M Earplugs and Hearing LossYou likely know there is massive litigation emerging around 3M Company’s Combat Arms, dual-sided earplugs. These 3M Earplugs were sold to the U.S. government and distributed to members of the military in a huge contract over a period of 12 or 13 years. And many lawsuits have been filed recently that allege that these 3M Earplugs were defective, and they left thousands and thousands of soldiers with permanent hearing loss or tinnitus. It’s called noise-induced hearing damage. So my friend Chet Sechrest will talk about the unique ways that soldiers are exposed to loud noises. And it’s not always what you think; it’s not simply shooting a rifle or getting trained and the use of weapons or rifles, but also it could be serving as a mechanic for heavy engines, or being exposed to loud tanks or other industrial equipment. And as Chet points out, it could also simply be taking rides on very loud helicopters over and over again without the proper hearing protection. But that’s enough of an introduction. Let’s get to my Q&A with Chet Sechrest.

Clay: Chet was an Army Ranger and a member of Special Forces. He pulled three tours of duty in Iraq. So Chet, how long did you serve in the military?

Chet: I served a total of 27 years and nine months in the military.

iStock-518657244-300x286After news broke that Zantac (the brand name for ranitidine) was linked to cancer, a large wave of lawsuits started making their way into state and federal courts. Many of these cases have been consolidated into the Zantac multi-district litigation, or MDL 2924.

The Zantac MDL is still in the early stages of litigation, but the court just handed down two major decisions that could dramatically undermine a majority of the cases and claims.

We’ll go over these two decisions, but before we do, we need to provide a little context. We’ll start with outlining the defendants and claims in the Zantac MDL, then discuss a legal concept called “preemption.”

Elmiron and Pigmentary MaculopathyElmiron is a drug used to treat interstitial cystitis. Most of you don’t know what interstitial cystitis is, and that’s a good thing. Unless you are a urologist, you wouldn’t have reason to know about the condition . . . unless you suffer from it. But if you suffer from interstitial cystitis, you probably know a lot about it. In this post I am going to describe the condition, then discuss Elmiron, the only FDA-approved drug to treat the condition, and finally highlight the latest studies indicating that Elmiron may cause pigmentary maculopathy, which can cause vision loss or even blindness.

Interstitial Cystitis

iStock-636100698-300x200Interstitial cystitis is a painful bladder condition. Interstitial means situated within but not restricted to one organ or tissue, especially fibrous tissue. Cystitis means an inflammation of the urinary bladder. Urinary tract infection is one example of cystitis. Interstitial cystitis causes the walls of the bladder to become irritated or inflamed. This leads to bladder pressure, bladder pain, and pelvic pain. Interstitial cystitis is one of several conditions labelled painful bladder syndrome.

Firefighter using AFFF foamFirefighters have a host of tools available to them to fight fires. Some of these are simple, like high-pressure water. Others are more state-of-the-art, like forward-looking infrared handheld cameras and aerial drones. One of the special tools in a firefighter’s arsenal is aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF. This “fire foam” has served as a highly effective fire suppressant for about half a century. Unfortunately, exposure to this substance has been linked to serious health problems, including cancer.

Let’s take a closer look at AFFF, its relationship to cancer and what it means for those who might have been exposed.

What Is AFFF?

Today I finish my conversation with Physical Therapist Amy Dougherty on specific problems that may arise with metal-on-metal artificial hip failures:

Clay: Over the past ten years you have seen a lot of metal-on-metal hip implants. Several years ago an attempt was made to put a metal-on-metal artificial hip together, and that was supposed to last forever, or last a whole lot longer, and it turned out that it was problematic. And I know you have had many patients who have had that [implant]. What did you see out of the metal-on-metal hip implants when they were failing?

Physical therapist assisting patient after hip replacement surgery.Amy: Again, the first cardinal sign that I saw was chronic pain, an inability to weight bear normally through that joint. So even after normal hip replacement, the patient should be able to weight bear through it. It should not feel like they collapse on that hip, and so a limp that never resolves or an inability to get away from an assistive device. So, I had a patient in her 50s that could not get off a walker. She was 50. She was playing tennis five days a week before she had her hip replaced. Yes, with the metal-on-metal she suffered metallosis and she had an overt failure of that joint replacement. She was a candidate for this new [metal-on-metal implant], now widely known to be a bad device, because she was so young, active, fit, and healthy. It was supposed to last for longer. It was supposed to allow her to have more function larger range of motion, less risk of dislocation and all of those things. So as we know, that did not really work out so well.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I was involved in a case for the faulty hip replacements. Clay Hodges represented me. I can't say enough about how much he has helped me. Clay was able to win multiple settlements on my behalf with most of them being the maximum amount able to be awarded. Matt J.
★★★★★
Clay, thank you sir for making a disheartening experience at least palatable, you and your staff were honest, caring and understanding through the entire process of my wife’s hip replacements, while monetary settlements never make the pain and suffering end, it sometimes is the only way people can fight back to right a wrong. J. V.
★★★★★
We are absolutely pleased with how Clay Hodges handled my husband’s hip replacement claim. He always kept us informed of the progress. And, his work resulted in a settlement which we are extremely pleased. Thank you, Clay! Carol L. & Norm L.
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