We Hear About a Lot of Auto Recalls These Days

It seems that no matter how much research you do, how much money you spend or how many auto dealers you visit in Illinois to get your favorite car, you have no guarantee that it is safe from recalls while you own it.

Forbes Magazine reports that auto makers continued to experience an increase in sales over the past three years despite the sluggish national economy. The good news is that in 2012, the industry sold around 14.5 million units for an increase of 13 percent over 2011. The bad news is that these same auto manufacturers recalled 14.3 percent of current and past models during 2012.

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You Were Exposed to Asbestos at Work

Now you have been diagnosed mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that attacks the thin layer of cells that line the body’s organs, particularly the lungs. Symptoms can include: lower back pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, weight loss and muscle weakness, to name just a few.

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When Recalls of Medical Devices Affect Your Health

Every year, many people in Illinois are affected by medical device and product recalls. Defective products can carry a high financial cost for manufacturers. But the physical and emotional costs for patients injured by these products far outweigh any dollar value.

Women are diagnosed with with pelvic organ prolapsed (POP) fairly often. POP occurs when the tissues that hold the pelvic organs in place become weak or stretched. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 30 to 50 percent of women may experience POP in their lifetime with two percent developing symptoms.

If you received this diagnosis, your doctor may have told you that a transvaginal mesh (TVM) implant would correct the problem. So you agreed to have an operation. You had the procedure a month ago, but now you’re experiencing complications. If after the TVM implant your pain has increased, not subsided, it is important to have your physician examine you as soon as possible.

After some research, you may have found that TVM implants for individuals with POP can cause serious problems. You learned the 2011 FDA report stated that TVM products can pose serious risks for patients who receive these permanent implants. By all means, see your doctor immediately.

From a legal perspective, how do you proceed if you are in chronic pain from a TVM implant? Do you have any recourse against the medical/pharmaceutical giants that manufacture this mesh? Yes, you do!

It is worth your while to contact an Illinois attorney who is familiar with TVM product liability lawsuits involving defective devices and products. The attorney can work with you to investigate whether your injury is a result of the mesh product itself or a health care provider’s error. Together, you can develop the best approach to ensure the best road to recovery and compensation for your damages and losses.

Generic Drugs: A Closely Watched Case

In 2005, Karen Bartlett visited her doctor complaining of shoulder pain. Her doctor prescribed Sulindac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve pain and address symptoms of arthritis. Ms. Bartlett was dispensed the generic form of Sulindac, manufactured by Mutual Pharmaceutical Company. Her life was never the same.

Ms. Bartlett suffered a rare but life threatening drug reaction related to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TENS). TENS is diagnosed when 10 percent of the outer layer of human skin is catastrophically damaged or destroyed. Ms. Bartlett suffered burns and skin loss affecting 60 to 65 percent of her total skin area.

Spending months in a medically-induced coma, Ms. Bartlett suffered two septic shock episodes, was treated in five different hospitals, and was left with external and internal burns and disfigurement that rendered her legally blind, unable to eat normally, have sexual relations or exercise. Once active, independent and gainfully employed, Ms. Bartlett, only 53, is almost blind and unable to read or drive.

A trial court awarded Ms. Bartlett $21 million dollars in her action against Mutual Pharmaceutical and the decision was upheld by an appeals court. Mutual has requested the Supreme Court to determine if a generic drug manufacturer should be held liable for injuries caused by an exact replica of a drug as it was created by the originating company.

About 80 percent of prescriptions in the United States are filled using economical generic drugs. In a case that could have far-reaching legal consequences, the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case and decide whether a generic drug manufacturer can be held liable for injuries caused by a defective drug.

In the past, the Court held generic drug manufacturers cannot be held liable for labeling deficiencies over which the generic manufacturer has no control — this case questions the inherent safety of the drug itself, not the labeling. The findings in this case may decide if injured patients can legally challenge generic manufacturers of dangerous, defective drugs. Time and the Supreme Court will tell.

If you have been injured by a reaction to a drug, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact a product liability lawyer at our office to find out more.

Ongoing Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of March 11 of 2013 the number of reported cases of injury from contaminated steroids produced by the now-defunct Massachusetts company New England Compounding Center (NECC) stands at 722. Hard hit states include Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee and New Jersey. Illinois currently has two reported cases.

Meningitis and spinal infection are the two most common consequences suffered by those who received steroid injections from drug lots contaminated with Exserohilum, a common black mold capable of causing serious human infection, according to the CDC investigation.

Of the 14,000 people who received direct injections of the contaminated drugs into the area around their spines, 50 have died. A sudden rise in meningitis cases led to initial identification of the outbreak late last summer and was followed months later by rising numbers of dangerous spinal abscesses in those known to have received the tainted drugs.

With claims of defective drugs and improper medical treatment, hundreds of patients have filed lawsuits for damages. In the U.S. District Court in Boston, the federal bankruptcy Trustee for NECC is supporting a move to consolidate the claims. To some attorneys representing plaintiffs in the case, creation of a large settlement pool funded by all possible defendants would provide compensation for damages caused by NECC, now in bankruptcy with limited assets.

In the latest outbreak update issued by the CDC, the agency outlines considerations for the management of central nervous system infections with anti-fungal medications and surgical intervention. Spinal infections are deeply rooted, dangerous and often impossible to detect with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. Surgery and anti-fungal medications are dangerous and damaging too.

Initially seeking relief from chronic back pain, these patients continue to face physical threat and fear as a result of their medical treatment. If injured by bad medical advice or a defective product, always seek help from an experienced product liability attorney.

Update on Transvaginal Mesh Litigation

We are at the forefront of Chicago law firms representing women injured by surgical mesh, a product used to treat pelvic organ prolapsed (POP) and Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). Made of woven polyester, polypropylene or other materials, the mesh is permanently implanted in the vaginal wall.

Thousands of women have been seriously injured by implantation of surgical mesh to relieve and support weakened pelvic muscles. As early as 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health notice concerning serious complications associated with use of surgical mesh including vaginal erosion, pelvic organ and vascular perforation, neurologic damage and pain. Yet these devices remain in use.

In February of 2013, a New Jersey jury delivered the first verdict in more than 2,000 lawsuits filed against manufacturers concerning surgical mesh in the United States. Linda Gross, a 47-year old hospice nurse from South Dakota received the Gynecare Prolift mesh implant in 2006 as a remedy to pelvic prolapse. Manufactured by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) based in New Jersey, Ms. Gross experienced no relief from the product, and instead faced 18 additional operations to address pain and internal damage as the mesh eroded.

In her product liability lawsuit, the jury awarded Ms. Gross $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.8 million in punitive damages. Although the jury did not find the Ethicon product was defective, it found the company provided insufficient warning prior to use of the device by her surgeon and misrepresented risks of the product.

Although Gynecare Prolift was removed from the market in 2012, Ms. Gross must self-catheterize simply to urinate because of the damage done to her by the mesh. This first verdict gives hope to women across the country injured by mesh products.

If you have suffered harm from a transvaginal mesh implant, talk to us about your injury.

Understanding Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Hundreds of women who received mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) are suing manufacturers and physicians for injuries suffered as a result of the procedure.  As the focus on damage caused by improper treatment intensifies, the interest in what causes POP continues to grow.  What exactly is pelvic organ prolapse?

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse

For women, the relaxation of ligaments and muscles in the pelvic region sometimes allows for the intrusion of the bladder, colon, or uterus into the vagina. Upper vaginal tissue can also bulge into the lower vaginal area.  By one estimate, 40 to 70 percent of all women suffer some form of pelvic floor weakness during their lives.

Symptoms of POP are varied and include:

  • A sensation of pressure, or a protrusion, in the pelvic region
  • Bulging in the vaginal or perineal area
  • Urinary incontinence, or frequency or urgency of urination
  • Straining to defecate
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pelvic or lower back pain

Pelvic floor muscles weaken with age, leaving connective ligaments to support internal organs.  When ligaments weaken, tissue presses into the vaginal wall.  POP is more likely to occur following multiple vaginal births, after menopause, or as the result of obesity.

Treatment of POP

Mild cases of POP are treated with Kegel and other exercises designed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. A pessary, estrogen supplements, or laparoscopic surgery can reduce or resolve symptoms.

Pelvic organ prolapse is relatively common and usually treatable. If you have suffered injury from implanted transvaginal mesh treatment for POP, be sure to seek experienced legal advice concerning your legal options.

Transvaginal Mesh: Never Tested?

Serious complications, loss of sexual pleasure, constant pain: a sad combination. Women who underwent vaginal placement of surgical mesh experience these losses daily, and wonder how this damaging procedure could have been recommended for them.

Our firm is at the forefront of Chicago attorneys aggressively pursuing compensation for victims of transvaginal mesh placement. Injuries from pelvic mesh result from failure of the medical device itself or medical error in implanting the device.

Sorting through accounts of the horrific damage done to women with implanted surgical mesh raises the pointed question of how this procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In 2008, the FDA issued a public health notification that warned about these devices. In 2011, the FDA issued an update, noting that serious complications are not rare and that the benefits of the procedure are no greater than those of other less dangerous options available to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

In May 2012, the non-profit organization Consumer Reports offered an in-depth article on dangerous medical devices. In discussing transvaginal mesh troubles, the authors detailed the entry of pelvic mesh kits onto the medical market by manufacturers claiming substantial equivalence to previously approved hernia repair kits.

Without recalling the product, the FDA ordered safety studies earlier this year. Since then, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon has taken four mesh kits off the market.

In 2010 alone, about 100,000 women received surgical mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse. The slipshod approval process that led to the unnecessary daily suffering of so many women must be changed — if not by regulation, then by litigation.  If you have suffered serious injury as a result of transvaginal mesh implantation, contact a personal injury attorney in our office to determine if you are eligible for compensation.

Pradaxa Product Liability Update

When introduced by German pharmaceutical manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim, it was hoped the prescription drug Pradaxa would replace Coumadin, a popular blood-thinning product with a troubled history of serious side effects. Both drugs are prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with irregular heart rhythms. Unfortunately, however, hopes for Pradaxa as a replacement for Coumadin did not come to fruition.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over 1.1 million prescriptions for Pradaxa (dabigatran), were filled between October 2010 and October 2011. However, in 2011 alone, the FDA received reports of around 3,700 adverse drug reactions to Pradaxa. More than 500 deaths were reportedly linked to it.

Approved for sale by the FDA in October 2010 and still on the market, Pradaxa is now the focus of large scale litigation.

As experienced personal injury attorneys in Chicago, our firm helps clients pursue their rights after injury caused by Pradaxa. In recent legal news, the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) entered an order consolidating current and future federally-filed Pradaxa cases in the Southern District of Illinois. In reviewing 21 federal cases, the JPML held that:

  • The actions concern common questions of fact
  • Centralization in Illinois serves both parties and witnesses
  • The actions share common allegations of severe bleeding caused by irreversible effects of the anticoagulant Pradaxa
  • Consolidation avoids duplicate discovery, and preserves the resources of  both the parties and the judiciary

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys represent individuals and families injured by Pradaxa.  If you have questions, contact our office about your injury.

Transvaginal Mesh Litigation — Is It for You?

Civil lawsuits are an important part of our legal system. Without this recourse, many victims of negligence, injurious pharmaceuticals and faulty medical devices would have no way to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and the many other consequences of injuries sustained through no fault of their own.

Suing for transvaginal mesh injury

If you were hurt by the implantation of transvaginal mesh, you are not alone.  About one thousand cases have been consolidated in multidistrict litigations (class action lawsuits) in the Southern District of West Virginia and the Middle District of Georgia. The first of the West Virginia cases is slated for trial in February 2013.

Thousands of women were injured by pelvic mesh, a product still on the market. While pursuing legal action seems difficult, consider these points:

  • An experienced personal injury attorney investigates the unique facts of your case, and provides straightforward counsel on your chances for compensation
  • Reputable personal injury firms do not charge for services, but are paid from the proceeds of compensation obtained on your behalf
  • Filing a timely claim is important to preserve your right to compensation

Well-established in the Chicago area, our firm works hard to obtain fair compensation for each of our clients injured by transvaginal mesh implants. If you have questions about a possible case, or about the legal process itself, talk to us. The call is free.