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Los Angeles 410 articles

Drop in breast cancer rates linked to reduction of HRT use

A new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests a sudden decrease in breast cancer in several countries worldwide is likely linked to the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) finding that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause can dramatically increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer and other serious health problems, the Wall Street Journal reports. Prior to the initiative in 2002, more than 200,000 American women were diagnosed with breast cancer each year. After 2002, that rate dropped below 190,000 each year since. Statistics from other countries show similar results. Despite the findings, some ... Read More

Quaid-Cedars-Siani lawsuit over heparin overdose finally closed

Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly now have closure in their year-long heparin overdose lawsuit against Cedars-Siani Medical Center, according to OK! and Entertainment Tonight. The entertainment media reported that a Los Angeles judge has signed off on the $750,000 settlement the couple reached with Cedars-Siani last month. According to the settlement, the hospital did not admit wrongdoing in the potentially fatal overdose of heparin that was accidentally administered to the couple’s newborn children Zoe Grace and Thomas Boone Quaid. The settle also allows for the couple to pursue claims for their children in the future. The California Department ... Read More

Strong bones in menopause may increase risk of breast cancer

Strong bones may make older, post-menopausal women at greater risk for breast cancer, according to a study conducted by University of Arizona, reported by KABC-TV in Los Angeles. Bone scans are used to check for osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Women are typically four times more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis. Because there is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis, most doctors advise older women to have bone density tests every year along with a mammogram. The University of Arizona’s eight-year ... Read More

California police investigate elder abuse at assisted living facility

Rita Kittower had no choice but to put her husband of nearly 50 years into an assisted living facility after he suffered a major stroke that diminished his memory and left him unable to care for himself. Mrs. Kittower paid $75,000 a year to the upscale Silverado Senior Living facility in Calabasas, Calif., to provide her husband Elmore with the best possible care, according to the Los Angeles Times. When he died, staff told her Mr. Kittower died peacefully in his sleep. But when Mrs. Kittower received a call the day after burying her husband from an employee at Silverado, ... Read More

Nurses convicted of crimes still in good standing in California

Nurse Haydee Parungano was an independent contractor who traveled Southern California to provide nursing services to Medicare patients. Her records show she worked every day between April 1, 2002, and August 31, 2003, including all weekends and holidays, averaging 20 visits per day. During this time span, there were 60 days that Parungano claimed to have seen more than 32 patients – a feat that, at 45 minutes per patient, would take more than 24 hours to accomplish. Last year, Parungano was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for her role in a health care fraud scheme that ultimately ... Read More

California nursing home settles lawsuit

Just another reminder to do your homework when checking out nursing homes: Sun-Mar, a company that runs 18 skilled nursing facilities in Southern California, had boasted in its brochures about the outstanding care it provides. Unfortunately, that was found not to be the case. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sun-Mar agreed to pay $2 million to former residents in a settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit that alleged substandard care of its elderly patients. The Times quoted the attorney in the case as saying, “These facilities are giving out brochures about this wonderful, superlative care — one need only ... Read More

Pharmaceutical industry focus on ‘blockbuster’ medications

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday examined how the business “strategy that has made the pharmaceutical industry one of the wealthiest and most powerful on Earth” might have begun to “betray it.” Pharmaceutical companies for 25 years have “imitated the basic business model of Hollywood” and have “focused on creating blockbusters,” which they “hope will appeal to masses” and “promote like mad,” according to the Times. Pharmaceutical companies must spend as much as $1 billion to promote new medications in their first two years on the market to make the products into a “mega-brand” with at least $1 billion in ... Read More

High court may bar claims for FDA-approved drugs

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in the first of two cases this term that consumer advocates fear could shut courthouse doors to patients injured by FDA-approved drugs or medical devices. Legal experts say the cases could also affect lawsuits already filed by tens of thousands of Americans challenging the safety of blockbuster drugs such as Celebrex and Prempro and a host of medical devices. The case before the court today was brought by the family of a New York man who suffered severe medical complications when a balloon catheter burst during a procedure to clear his arteries. ... Read More

NorCal man blames MRI dyes for illness

An elderly man has sued several major health companies, claiming the dyes used to scan his failing kidneys caused a rare, painful and incurable disease. Peter Gerber, 72, of San Rafael, contends that injections of dyes containing the heavy metal gadolinium caused him to develop nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, or NSF. Also known as nephrogenic fibrosing demopathy, the disease can thicken the skin, stiffen joints, restrict movement and potentially lead to death if it affects internal organs. Only about 215 cases have been reported worldwide, all involving people with kidney disease. No cures have been reported but some patients have seen ... Read More

Parents sue Paxil maker for heart defects

Five more suits have been filed in Pennsylvania against the makers of the antidepressant Paxil on behalf of children who have developed severe heart problems. Three of the families sued for wrongful death and two for personal injury. The families contend that the mothers’ use of Paxil during pregnancy resulted in severe heart defects in their infants and have sued GlaxoSmithKline for failure to warn the public about the dangers of the drug for pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently recommended that pregnant women not use Paxil, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Karen Barth Menzies of ... Read More