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Chrysler, GM bankruptcy deals strip victims of legal recourse

Dozens of accident victims and their lawyers made their way to Washington, DC, and the halls of Capitol Hill last week, urging lawmakers and the Obama administration to protect their ability to pursue medical claims against Chrysler and General Motors. In a May 31 ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez overruled objections lodged by the Ad Hoc Committee of Consumer-Victims of Chrysler LLC and other consumer groups when he approved the sale of Chrysler to Italy’s Fiat, free and clear of outstanding legal claims against the U.S. car manufacturer. Gonzalez effectively ruled that only liabilities that promote Fiat’s commercial ... Read More

Ohio company penalized for 20-year-old gas leak

The owners of a gas station in Waldo, Ohio, have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $161,550 for a petroleum leak that took place more than 20 years ago. According to Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations, the Waldo Duchess gas station will also “conduct the necessary corrective actions and cleanup” to resolve the complaint. According to the Attorney General, the gas station owners removed seven underground storage tanks from the property in December 1988. The state conducted an inspection at the time and found that petroleum had ... Read More

Boy suffering with SJS/TEN receives free exam from hospital

When he was not quite 2 years old, James Lumasag was diagnosed with a rare but life threatening skin condition after receiving a round of antibiotics to treat a cough and fever. The toddler fought for his life in the intensive care unit of a hospital, where he received 22 bags of plasma as his skin peeled away from his body. “His whole body, except his head, looked totally burnt,” his mother Merlyn said. “James suffered too much.” Blisters also formed on his eyes, causing his eyelids to fuse closed. Ophthalmologists tried to pry his eyes open but it wasn’t ... Read More

ORAU to address health concerns of those affected by coal ash spill

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of academic institutions, will begin addressing the health concerns of residents affected by last December’s coal ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Fossil Plant in Kingston, Tennessee, by late summer, according to a report by Knox News. The consortium was tapped to head up the response and handle the work. TVA will be monitoring the implementation of the guidelines and has agreed to pay medical expenses for anyone whose health problems are determined to be caused by the coal ash. More than a billion gallons of coal ash spilled from an ... Read More

Magic’s Nelson plays just months after shoulder surgery

Last February, experts thought Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson was done for the season when he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Recovery usually takes about six months, and over the past four months the Magic began inching toward the Finals. Now it seems, just four months post surgery, Nelson has stepped back into the game to help his team fight for the title against the Los Angeles Lakers. Labrum repair surgery requires months to heal because the fibrocartilage has a poor blood supply. During surgery, the labrum is stitched together and anchored to ... Read More

FDA should have acted faster to prevent contamination

Leslie Fullerton provided the best care he could for his 29-month-old daughter Natalie with the medical equipment and medications provided him, but he still blames himself for her death. The little girl had already undergone a double-lung transplant and was recovering nicely when her father, following instructions of his daughter’s health care provider, used a pre-filled syringe to clean the tube implanted in Natalie’s chest to give her intravenous medication. Days later, Natalie became breathless and feverish as a bacteria infected her blood. Months later, Natalie died. Investigators now know that the pre-filled heparin and saline syringe Fullerton used was ... Read More

FDA monitoring Chantix for serious risks, new safety concerns

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration released a list of about 20 pharmaceutical drugs that the agency’s researchers are closely monitoring for potential safety concerns. Not surprisingly, Chantix (Varenicline) claimed a spot on the list. According to the FDA, the drug is being watched to determine whether it causes or contributes to angiodema (rapid and potentially life-threatening swelling of skin and tissue), other serious skin reactions, visual impairment, and accidental injury. Data pulled from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) between October and December of 2008 suggested that Chantix may be linked to the side effects. The FDA ... Read More

Birmingham hospital leads Alabama in pediatric brain injury care

The University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) and Children’s Hospital will be named as a “Lead Center of Excellence” by the Sarah Jane Brain Project, a national organization devoted to expanding research and awareness of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (PTBI), which is the leading cause of death and disability for children 15 years old and younger. PTBI is to blame for 5,000 deaths and about one million hospitalizations every year. Of the pediatric patients hospitalized for PTBI, 17,000 result in permanent disabilities. The Sarah Jane Brain Project is actively building a network of hospitals and research clinics across the country as ... Read More

Man says faulty defibrillator felt like being kicked by horse

“It felt like having a horse inside you trying to kick its way out of your chest,” says Bill Storms of Delaware, Ohio, describing what it felt like when the Medtronic cardiac defibrillator implanted in his chest began malfunctioning and sending electrical jolts through his body. The 38-year-old truck driver said his device misfired 138 times over a five-hour period before the device was eventually turned off. Storms is just one of many individuals who were injured when the Sprint Fidelis leads attached to a defibrillator fractured and malfunctioned. Medtronic voluntarily suspended distribution of the Sprint Fidelis Leads in 2007, ... Read More

Families flee homes containing Chinese drywall

Congress, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a spectrum of state and consumer agencies are scrambling to unravel the mystery behind tons of toxic drywall that importers brought into the country from China. Enough drywall to build 30,000 homes entered U.S. ports from China in 2006 and 2007. Now, people in as many as 18 states claim that the drywall is making them sick while corroding their homes’ electrical wiring, air conditioning units, and other household systems. According to reports by CNN, 18-year-old Yorelle Haroush is leaving her ... Read More