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For the past several years, we have been hearing more about stem cell research.  In some cases, we are talking about cloning entire animals or even people.  In other cases, there have been reports regarding stem cell cures for diseases we never thought possible.  There has also been a lot of debate about the ethics and morality involved in things like stem cell research involving cloning and how to deal with cells from certain types of tissue.

surgeryThese conversations will likely continue long in the future, and many of the applications are more in the science fiction stage than anywhere close to real world use.  However, there is work being done today on a more modest scale that may bring actual relief to patients sooner rather than later.

Such treatments should be approached with skepticism, given reports of unscrupulous stem cell treatment and research centers that have left patients seriously and permanently injured. Continue reading

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Transvaginal mesh, or “TVM” as it is often called, was not originally developed to be used to treat medical conditions affecting the female reproductive system. Surgical mesh has been around for many years, and, as that name implies, it is a woven medical grade textile that is used to reinforce a part of the body, such an organ that has experienced erosion.

sadVaginal mesh was adapted from the already existing forms of surgical mesh and was marketed as basically a cure-all for women’s health issues.  If you were suffering from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) for example, a surgeon could implant the mesh in a simple outpatient procedure, and you would be back to normal.  This would also allow you to fix issues like stress urinary insentience. Continue reading

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Drug companies are big multinational corporations for the most part, and as such report their profits and losses to Wall Street each quarter. That means these firms are very concerned about making money for their shareholders and their executives.  There is no question many medicines they make save a lot of lives. However, when the desire to rake in a profit overshadows the desire to keep people safe and healthy, problems arise.

white pillsOne of the drugs that makes a lot of money for Bayer AG is known as Xarelto.  Xarelto is part of a relatively new class of drugs called new oral anticoagulants (NOACs).  Xarelto is one NOAC manufactured by the German pharmaceutical giant and marketed by its partner in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson, but there other competitors. Those include Savaysa, Elliquis, and Pradaxa.  These drugs are not only competing with each other, but they are also competing with Warfarin (Coumadin).

A recent news article from Yahoo shows that Xarelto was helping drive company sales this past fiscal quarter.

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There are certain things every person can do to avoid getting a foodborne illness. This includes washing your hands when preparing food, making sure all utensils are clean and keeping food at the proper temperature.  As we all know, there any many foods that, when left out long enough, will develop harmful bacteria that can result in extreme discomfort in the best of cases and serious illness or death in worst cases.

ChipsSalmonella is a type of bacteria typically found in meats like uncooked chicken.  However, if you cook the food to the proper temperature, you should have no trouble.  When you eat prepackaged foods, or go out to restaurant, you do not have the same control and are essentially at the mercy of others to help you avoid getting a serious case of food poisoning.  One of the last sources of foodborne illness one might expect would be pre-packaged foods, like potato chips. It is important to understand that if a company is negligent with its food production methods, any type of food can become contaminated.

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According to a recent news article from Syracuse.com, two customers from Wal-Mart had purchased a package of Marketside Organic Spring Mix brand salad and discovered what the authorities first called “extraneous animal matter.”  As it turns out, that is a nice way of saying was part of a decomposing bat that had found its way into bags of prepackaged salad mix sold primarily in southern U.S. Wal-Mart stores.

batThe two alleged victims of this defective product reported having eaten some of the salad before finding the bat parts, and, for this reason, there was a threat of rabies and other pathogens.  The bat material was sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for testing to determine if the bat had rabies or any other serious pathogens that could affect a human, but the bat was too deteriorated to perform any of the tests.  Continue reading

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According to a recent news article from NASDAQ, Medtronic has begun to voluntarily recall all unused units of their StrataMR product lines.  StrataMR is a line of adjustable valves and shunts that patients and doctors have been complaining about lately.  These complaints range from minor issues to potentially deadly adverse events.  One person has died, but the company has yet to determine the exact cause of the death.xray

The medical devices are used to treat a medical condition known as hydrocephalus, which involves the buildup of fluid on a patient’s brain.  If this fluid is allowed to build up, it presses against the inner layer of skull known as the dura, and this creates a tremendous amount of pressure.  If untreated, this can result in permanent brain injury or even death. Continue reading

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Many people are familiar with transvaginal mesh products.  They have likely seen the many commercials and magazine ads for transvaginal mesh implants and have also read about the many products liability lawsuits filed against medical device companies that manufactured these defective products.

handsHowever, transvaginal mesh (TVM) is not the only potentially problematic surgical mesh implant being used. All surgical mesh is a woven sheet of either organic or inorganic material that is implanted into the patient for the purpose of supporting tissue or organs. It can be for temporary use, where it will eventually dissolve, or it can be a permanent implant like the ones use in TVM surgery.
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Lawsuits against Atrium Medical Corp. for its C-QUR hernia mesh product alleging these devices were not safe for use by humans. hands

One of the most recent cases is one filed in Florida Middle District Court in Orlando just this past month. In his filing, which alleges negligent manufacturing and strict product liability, plaintiff alleges he underwent surgery in April 2013 to repair multiple hernias. His surgeon used the C-QUR product. Subsequently, plaintiff alleges, he suffered injury.

Although the recent Florida Record article reporting the filing does not offer specific details on the man’s injury, we can make the inference based on previous claims, the type of liability asserted here and also what we know about the company’s history.  Continue reading

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The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published a large series of studies that primarily involved the risks and benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.  A recent article from Star-Telegram examined the results of these and discussed what they mean to those who are considering taking testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) drugs, or have already begun taking them and are worried about possible adverse effects and complications.

syringeThe first thing to understand is that while hundreds of thousands of men are taking testosterone replacement therapy drugs every year, the medication was first developed in the 1960’s to treat a relatively rare medical condition known as hypogonadism.  This condition involved extremely low levels of testosterone in men due a glandular defect and would affect normal development.   Continue reading

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When you go into a hospital on the day of your surgery, you have likely met with your surgeon and discussed the risk and benefits of the benefits of whatever procedure you are scheduled to have that day, assuming you are not brought into the emergency room and rushed into an operating room.  You are likely confident that surgeon has the skill and experience to do his or her job properly, and while this is very likely true, if your surgeon is unknowingly using a defectively-designed medical device, the chance of a complication may be exceedingly high.

surgeonIn a case from the Washington State Supreme Court, a surgeon who had used a defendant’s surgical assist robot on numerous occasions spoke to the patient about his intention to use the relatively new device to operate on the patient’s prostate cancer. The doctor obtained informed consent from the patient, who was considered severely obese at the time of his surgery.   Continue reading