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According to a recent news feature from CNN Money, there is significant confusion when it comes to the recent recall of Galaxy Note 7 smart phones manufactured by Samsung after some of the models exploded.  The reason for the confusion in part is because there are two different suppliers of batteries, and the company has chosen not to call this a recall, but rather a return and replacement program.  While the company may wish to use this more innocuous sounding description, federal regulators have chosen to stick with the more familiar name, calling it a defective product recall.

mobile-phone-4-1490452However, before we look at the more confusing aspects of this recall, lets look at what we do know. We know that these smart phones that retail for over $900 are bursting into flames and basically exploding while people are holding them.  The company says that the problem only occurs while the phones are charging, but since many people charge their phones while using them to talk, text, and use other apps, this poses a significant danger. Continue reading

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According to a recent news feature from USA Today, General Motors has just announced they will recall 4.3 million vehicles as result of a problem with the airbag control system.  There has been one death as well as several injuries linked to this particular airbag issue.

The problem is related to the software that controls airbag deployment in the front of the vehicle.  The software issue caused the system to go into test mode when the vehicle was in motion as opposed to when it was first turned on and all of the system runs a test and diagnostic mode.  While it is not exactly clear how this happens based upon reports, the computer may have be able to disengage the seat belt retention mechanism when the airbag was in test mode. Continue reading

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In the United States alone, more than 600,000 people undergo a single or bilateral total knee replacement operation each year. This incredible figure makes total knee replacement the most common surgical procedure performed each year.  Next in line is the total hip replacement operation, of which there are between 300,000 and 400,000 performed annually in the U.S.  Between the two procedures, it is clear to see that joint replacement (arthroplasty) is big business.

woman-in-hospital-1051476-mWhile the vast majority of operations go well, there is always a risk of infection following a major surgery. Infection can destroy the artificial knee and cause a patient to need an above the knee amputation.  It is important to understand that no matter how much effort a hospital puts into sterilizing everything and making sure there are no germs present in the operating room, infections, including staff infections, are going to happen, and it is not necessarily anyone’s fault. Continue reading

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Pharmaceutical industry experts have been buzzing recently about the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s rejection of approval for Xarelto. Specifically, the decision is being lauded by Boehringer Ingelheim, the makers of Pradaxa, according to a recent news feature from FiercePharma.

greenpillsFirst, let’s look at what these two drugs do.  Xarelto and Pradaxa and competitors (along with Eliquis and Savaysa) are in the big money market of New Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs).  This new class of drugs is designed to treat patients who suffer from various potentially deadly clotting disorders that are not caused by a heart valve defect.  Patients who suffer from one of these medical conditions such as atrial fibrillation (Afib) must take a blood thinner or anti-clotting agent to prevent dangerous clots from forming, which may result in a painful death. Continue reading

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According to a recent news feature from News 3, there have been 55 confirmed cases of hepatitis A linked to smoothie chain in the mid-Atlantic region.  These 55 cases are all in Northern Virginia, and now there are additional cases being assessed, including cases in Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, and even states out west like Oregon and Wisconsin.

smooooothie-1525770The state department of health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have traced the source of the contamination to strawberries that were all imported from Egypt. Upon being made aware of the contaminated strawberries, the company voluntarily stopped using all strawberries sourced from Egypt. Continue reading

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The makes of Xarelto (Bayer and Johnson & Johnson) took a major hit this week in terms of the future of there flagship drug.  Xarelto is a member of a relatively new class of drugs called New Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs).  NOACs are used for patients who suffer from a series of medical conditions including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and atrial fibrillation (Afib).  Afib is a serious medical condition that causes an irregular heartbeat when the patient does not have a heart valve defect.

whitepillsIn addition to Xarelto, Pradaxa, Eliquis and Savaysa are members of this new class of NOACs.  Traditionally, before these medications were on the market, patients would take Warfarin (Coumadin) as a blood thinner.  Warfarin is known to work and is relatively safe as long as patients do what they are told to do by their doctors.  However, since patients do not always do what they are told, the drug is not always so convenient to take and may result in a serious internal bleeding disorder.  However, if a patient does suffer from internal bleeding, a doctor can prescribe a reversal agent (antidote) to allow the patient to clot normally so the bleeding will stop. Continue reading

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A recent article from NBC News takes a look at one new hip replacement procedure now being used and the history of advancements in hip replacement surgery in general. These days, a total hip replacement has become the second most common surgical procedure in the U.S., with the first being a total knee replacement.  Each year, more than 300,000 hip replacements are performed in the U.S. alone.

surgery1If you went to get a total hip replacement around 20 years ago, you would expect to be spending around two weeks in an an inpatient rehab center following surgery.  During this time, a therapist would help you out of bed using lifts and then help you get to an exercise room where you would be told to perform a series of exercises each day.  There are two main reasons for this: The first reason is that if a patient was in bed the whole time, he or she would be a high risk for developing a serious and potentially deadly clotting disorder known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Continue reading

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These days, McDonald’s have been seeing a decline in profits as more are turning to healthier food options for themselves and their families.  This is not say the company and its competitors are not making a ton of money, but their numbers are not as good as they were a decade ago.

children-at-play-1439826For this reason, the company has been working towards providing healthier options while still keeping the old standards. To some extent it has been working.  One of the thing they were doing to make parents feel the restaurant chain can promote a healthier lifestyle for children despite their old image problem, is to include a fitness band in Happy Meals.  These are essentially a very cheap version of the Fitbit and other popular fitness watches that have flooded the market in the past few years. Continue reading

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Despite what the many commercials and magazine ads tell us, there is very little known about how testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) affects older men.  These ads tell us that taking testosterone will increase sex drive, increase energy, stop weight gain, increase muscle mass and even cure depression.  Essentially, the drug companies tell prospective patients that if you take testosterone replacement drugs, you will feel like a much younger man.

untitled-1238929-mThe truth is that most doctors do not really know what a normal hormone level is for a man in his 60s.  The reason for this is because there haven’t been many studies.  They did not have to do many studies, because testosterone hormone was never approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat these signs of normal male aging, as the commercials suggest.  In reality, the drug was approved in the 1970s to treat a relatively rare medical condition known as hypogonadism.  This is condition where a young patient has an extremely low testosterone level and is having developmental disorders. Continue reading

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In Hosford v. BRK Brands, Inc., a case from the Alabama Supreme Court, a four-year-old girl was killed in fire in her family’s mobile home in May 2011.   Her mother and other surviving family members filed a personal injury lawsuit with a wrongful death claim against the maker of the two smoke detectors that were installed in the home at the time of her tragic death.

smoke-alarm-1420153They made various claims that are common in products liability cases, such as failure to warn, negligence and claims of wantonness. Failure to warn of a known danger is one of the more common claims, because it is an allegation the maker of a particular product was aware or should have been aware of a certain type of danger when the product was being used for its intended purpose and failed to warn the plaintiff of that potential danger. Continue reading