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NTSB Finds Fatigue Cracking In American Airlines Engine

Federal safety investigators say an engine disk that broke apart just before an American Airlines plane took off at Chicago O’Hare International Airport last week shows signs of fatigue cracking. “A high-pressure turbine disk in the Boeing 767’s right engine broke into four pieces, which shot out of the engine’s housing,” the Associated Press reported, citing the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report of the Oct. 28 incident. An analysis of the fragmented disk, 90 percent of which investigators have recovered, showed evidence of an irregularity where the fatigue cracking began, the NTSB said. Investigators haven’t determined what precisely caused ... Read More

Man alleges faulty guardrail amputated his legs in crash

A North Carolina man has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Trinity Industries Inc. and Trinity Highway Products LLC after a guardrail manufactured by the companies cut through the floorboard of his Isuzu SUV during a January collision and severed both of his legs below the knee. Jay Traylor, now a 36-year-old double-amputee, is one of many plaintiffs across the country suing Trinity industries, a major manufacturer of guardrails whose products are installed along highways in virtually every state. Like other plaintiffs, Mr. Traylor alleges Trinity changed the design of its ET-Plus guardrail system, without the required approval of federal authorities, ... Read More

Whistleblower claims highway guardrails are killing, maiming motorists

Highway guardrails installed to protect motorists are instead causing people all over the country to be killed, disfigured and injured, alleges a whistleblower in a lawsuit set to be tried this summer. According to Seattle’s Q13Fox, whistleblower plaintiff Joshua Harman alleges that Dallas, Texas-based Trinity Industries changed the design of its ET-Plus guardrail systems as a money-saving measure. He alleges the guardrail manufacturer implemented the changes, reducing key dimensions, without the government’s approval. Mr. Harman, a certified guardrail engineer, claims the popular guardrails, which are used all over the country, are failing at an alarming rate because of the changes. ... Read More

Indiana considers tougher private-bus safety laws in wake of deadly church bus crash

A new bill that would hold privately owned and operated passenger buses in Indiana to some of the same safety standards as their commercial counterparts moved to the state Senate for consideration. The measure, designed to close a loophole that permits potentially dangerous privately owned buses to operate within the state, was introduced after the July 26 church bus crash in Indianapolis that killed three people and an unborn child and injured more than two dozen others. Senate Bill 238, which unanimously passed a Senate transportation committee vote last week, would require privately owned buses to submit proof of vehicle ... Read More

Private buses bound to few safety rules and standards

Passengers who use privately owned buses, such as those owned and operated by churches, should know that the vehicles are not bound to the same federal and state safety requirements that commercial and school buses must meet. The problem of allowing buses that don’t fall under the same strict oversight to transport passengers was underscored recently by the crash of a church-owned bus that sped off an Indiana interstate and crashed July 27, killing three adults and an unborn child. Dozens of other passengers were injured in the crash, some critically. The bus, owned and operated by Colonial Hill Baptist ... Read More

Johnson and Johnson considers $3 billion settlement for defective metal hip implant

Johnson & Johnson is considering shelling out more than $3 billion to settle lawsuits related to a faulty all-metal hip replacement system. The payout is about 50 percent higher than the company proposed in previous discussions, and would resolve as many as 11,500 lawsuits in the United States, at more than $300,000 per case. If accepted, the settlement would be the largest involving artificial hips. The lawsuits allege that the metal-on-metal ASR hip replacement system, made by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, was defectively designed, which caused the devices to fail at a higher than expected rate. Thousands of patients ... Read More

Large diameter metal-on-metal artificial hips fail more often than other implants

Hip replacement surgeries are among the most performed surgical procedures, but in some cases the device fails, resulting in revision surgery to remove and replace the device. On average, artificial hips can last 20 years or more before being replaced, but one type and size of hip implant was found to fail more often than traditional hip implants. Last month, the Canadian Institute for Health Information released a report that studied the factors influencing how long artificial hip implants lasted. Researchers reviewed data from 56,942 surgeries throughout Canada (except Quebec) from 2003-2011. They found that metal-on-metal large-diameter modular implants in particular ... Read More

Authorities investigating deadly Indiana church bus crash face regulatory shortfalls

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Investigators say that it may take a few more days to determine what caused the driver of a church bus to lose control of the vehicle and crash as he exited the highway. The July 26 crash killed three people and an unborn child and injured 26 others, some critically. The bus, owned and operated by Colonial Hill Baptist Church in Indianapolis, was carrying 37 passengers, mostly church teens who were returning home from a teen church camp in Michigan. The driver, Dennis Maurer, 66, who was employed by the church to drive the bus, careened down ... Read More

DePuy recalls defective femur bone implant

DePuy Othopaedices, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is recalling an implant used to replace part or all of the femur bone. The device could fracture when exposed to normal weight loads while walking, which can cause pain, infection, loss of limb, neurovascular injury or the need for revision surgery. Patients heavier than 200 pounds and those who are highly active are at greater risk for fracture. DePuy has notified doctors and hospitals of the defect with the LPS Lower Extremity Dovetail Intercalary component. The medical device company is also providing surgeons with a patient letter template for notifying their ... Read More

DePuy discontinues two of its hip replacement systems

DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced it will stop selling two of its less popular hip replacement systems. The company said discontinuations are not the result of safety or effectiveness concerns, and the devices were not being recalled. DePuy will discontinue both the Ultamet Metal-on-Metal Articulation and the Complete Ceramic-on-Metal Acetabular systems in August. The devices were distributed worldwide but now represent less than 1 percent of DePuy bearings sold in the United States and Europe. Physicians are now opting for artificial hips made from metal-on-polyethylene, ceramic-on-polyethylene, or ceramic-on-ceramic parts. One reason why surgeons have turned away ... Read More