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Florida 358 articles

Cases of superbug outbreaks likely grossly underreported

duodenoscope

Specialized endoscopes at the center of a deadly superbug outbreak at UCLA Medical Center were discovered to be the same type of surgical equipment implicated in a previously unreported outbreak in Florida six years ago, raising concerns that cases of infection may be grossly underreported. Revelation of the Florida outbreak, which sickened 70 patients and contributed to the deaths of 15 patients, is one of a handful of outbreaks that have come to light since the UCLA incident was made public last month. Outbreaks were discovered at two separate hospitals in Florida. The scopes at the center of the controversy ... Read More

Analysis: Statins benefits overrated, side effects underreported

lipitor

Statin medications, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, can drive down elevated cholesterol levels, but they have failed to substantially improve users’ chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The drugs also have numerous serious side effects that are pushed under the radar by supporters of statin therapy, according to a study published in the March edition of the medical journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. David M. Diamond, a professor of psychology, molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, and Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, an independent health researcher and an expert in cholesterol and cardiovascular ... Read More

U.S. awards whistleblower for exposing fraudulent import duty scheme

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A group of companies that make and sell shower doors and enclosures has agreed to pay the U.S. more than $3 million collectively to settle allegations stemming from a whistleblower that they engaged in schemes to dodge customs duties on aluminum extrusions they imported from China. Federal prosecutors said that California-based C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., Florida-based Southeastern Aluminum Products Inc. and Texas-based Waterfall Group LLC have agreed to pay $2,300,000, $650,000 and $100,000, respectively, to resolve the allegations. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the three companies made false declarations to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection ... Read More

NHTSA to fine Takata $14K a day until compliance

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

A fine of $14,000-per-day has begun being levied against Takata Corp. by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after the auto parts supplier failed to “fully cooperate” with the safety agency’s probe of Takata’s exploding air bag inflators. The NHTSA also plans to discuss the situation with the Department of Justice if Takata continues to neglect its responsibility with dangerous air bag inflators, which have already been linked to at least six deaths. NHTSA issued “special orders” to Takata following the discovery of the air bag inflator defect, including requesting answers to questions while under oath and various documents. In essence, ... Read More

Honda expecting lower profits in 2015 as a result of Takata air bag recall costs

Honda Takata airbags

A prolonged (and apparently expensive) Honda recall to replace potentially dangerous Takata Corp. air bags has caused the Japanese automaker to cut approximately 6.5 percent of its profits from the company’s annual profit predictions. Instead, Honda is placing millions of dollars aside to ensure that the recalled vehicles are fixed. The Takata airbag recalls began when millions of cars from nine different auto manufacturers were recalled in June due to defective airbag inflators produced by the Japanese supplier Takata Corp. The recall notice claims that the airbags may burst from the defective inflators, resulting in metal fragments blasting into the ... Read More

New reporting requirements could mean fewer work-related deaths and injuries

Working on the Wall

The New Year brought a significant change to the American workplace as new, stricter rules went into effect January 1 designed to reduce work-related deaths and injuries. In particular, the new regulations mandate employers report all work-related amputations, eye loss, and in-patient hospitalizations of workers within 24 hours. Under the old rules, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required employers only to report fatalities on the job and accidents in which three or more workers were injured. Employers are expected to report work-related deaths within eight hours under the new rules. “We believe the updated reporting requirements are not simply ... Read More

Families of workers killed in 2013 Peru helicopter crash seek $110 million

helicopter crash, Peru - image courtesy KXL News

PORTLAND, Ore. – More families of workers killed in a 2013 helicopter crash while exploring for petroleum in Peru have filed wrongful-death lawsuits in Multnomah County, Ore., Circuit Court. The lawsuits, which now amount to six after two additional suits were filed this week, collectively seek $110 million in damages against Aurora, Ore.-based Columbia Helicopters, Columbia Helicopters Leasing, and Boeing Co., which manufactured the chopper. The Boeing-Vertol Model 234 cargo helicopter, a civilian model of the Chinook helicopter with tandem rotors used by the military, broke apart for unknown reasons in the air on Jan. 7, 2013. The helicopter crashed ... Read More

U.S. intervenes in two whistleblower lawsuits against Florida heart clinic chain

whistleblower

The U.S. government will become actively involved in two whistleblower lawsuits against a Florida cardiologist and his clinic, alleging that they billed Medicare for medically unnecessary heart procedures and lured new patients with inappropriate kickbacks. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Dr. Asad Qamar and his physician group, the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence (ICE), performed excessive and unnecessary peripheral artery interventional procedures and other treatments on Medicare patients. One of the whistleblower lawsuits alleges that Dr. Qamar routinely encouraged patients to undergo the unneeded procedures by waiving their 20 percent Medicare copayment regardless of financial hardship. The Institute of Cardiovascular ... Read More

Investigators clear Florida whistleblower accused of creating hostile work environment

osha whistle

NORTH PORT, Fla. – Lawyers hired to investigate a whistleblower accused by some City of North Port, Fla., workers of creating a hostile work environment have cleared the accused employee of wrongdoing. According to Sarasota’s WWSB, Rich Tirado, an aquatics technician for the city, claimed the investigation was ordered in retaliation for him blowing the whistle on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) test cheating scandal. Last fall, Mr. Tirado claimed that city workers were given the answers to an emergency management test required by FEMA. He reported his concerns about the fraud to the City Manager, who turned the ... Read More

Investigators to meet with 7-year-old sole survivor of Kentucky airplane crash

airplane propeller

Federal air crash investigators planned to meet with a 7-year-old girl who was the sole survivor of an airplane crash that killed her parents, sister, and a cousin in Kentucky late Friday night, hoping to find more clues about went wrong. Sailor Gutzler told authorities she thought her family was dead but hoped they were just sleeping after she freed herself from the wreckage and walked nearly a mile through dense woods at night to find help. Sailor had been flying home to Nashville, Ill., with her father, Marty Gutzler, 48, mother Kimberly Gutzler, 46, sister Piper Gutzler, 9, and cousin ... Read More