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Milwaukee 48 articles

Less invasive alternative to colonoscopy set for 2011 clinical trial

A Madison, Wis., company is developing a less invasive way of screening for colon cancer that it hopes will take the place of uncomfortable colonoscopies and increase the number of people willing to be screened for colorectal cancers. Exact Sciences Corp., has developed a DNA-based test that can detect colorectal cancer through a stool sample. Even more convenient than a colonoscopy for the patient, the test can be administered at home and sent to a lab for analysis. The new test can detect more than 50 percent of pre-cancers and 85 percent of cancers, compared to 85 and 90 percent ... Read More

Northwestern Mutual reps sue company for FLSA violations

Three former Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company employees who filed a $200-million class-action lawsuit against the company claim they were deprived of minimum wages and overtime pay. The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Diego, alleging Northwest Mutual misclassified them and hundreds of other employees as independent contractors to save money. Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual denies the allegations, pointing to a similar trial it was involved in last year. In that case, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled in favor of Northwestern Mutual, saying it had the right to retain certain employees as independent contractors. The plaintiffs named ... Read More

Pfizer and other drug companies fund medical courses

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently published a comprehensive report that exposes a very questionable relationship between the University of Wisconsin-Madison college of medicine and the drug industry. Using the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an example, the report describes how pharmaceutical companies have infiltrated the nation’s universities by funding physician education courses. Critics argue that the arrangement is unethical; when a college accepts hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in funds for such classes, the patrons expect something back. So what might appear superficially as a philanthropic gesture is actually an arrangement with lots of strings attached — an ... Read More

Camp Lejeune’s toxic water supply may have sickened half a million

As many has half a million people who lived on or near the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina have been exposed to highly toxic chemicals that infiltrated the camp’s groundwater from 1957 to 1987. The U.S. government and the Marine Corps blame a now-closed dry cleaning company that once operated off-base but in the area of the camp, in addition to toxic chemicals that leaked from underground storage tanks and unsafe chemical disposal procedures on base.The Marine Corps began closing Camp Lejeune’s wells in 1984, after tests showed dangerously high levels of two industrial solvents in ... Read More

AP: 'software glitches' led to prolonged infusions of heparin

Medical mishaps including prolonged infusions of drugs such as the blood thinner heparin were given to patients at Veterans Affairs medical centers throughout the U.S., potentially putting their lives in danger, according to the Associated Press. The errors, which occurred between August 2008 and December 2008, were blamed on “software glitches” that interfered with patients’ electronic health records. Nearly one-third of the country’s 153 VA hospitals reported seeing problems with the electronic medical records. Moving from a paper system to an electronic medical records system was designed to reduce human error; however, health care experts say the errors prove that ... Read More

Family says nursing home didn’t reveal black box warning

The black box warning on the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal says it all: “Increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.” But Bruce Bowman’s children claim they were never told by the nursing home staff that cared for their father that the medication he was being given could kill him. “I’d never give any kind of consent for any of that,” says Martin Bowman, Bruce’s son and legal guardian, to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Martin approved all his father’s medication but said he was never told that the drug given to control his father’s agitation and physical aggression could kill him. ... Read More

1,400 nursing home residents sue Minnesota chain

About 1,400 nursing home residents are suing a Milwaukee, Minnesota-based nursing home chain for consumer fraud, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. The class-action lawsuit alleges that Extendicare partook in deceptive marketing practices to lure deep-pocketed seniors with high-reimbursement conditions into substandard homes that were not equipped to provide the level of care the patients required. Nursing homes receive higher reimbursements for some medical conditions. The suit alleges that by admitting residents with these conditions the homes were taking advantage of higher profits without regard to whether sufficient care could be provided. According to the news story, the lawsuit seeks ... Read More

History of hernia patch raises questions on implant recalls

How do makers of implanted medical devices react when one of their products starts breaking? One answer can be found in the case of a hernia repair device made by a subsidiary of C. R. Bard Inc. In late 2005, the company sent out a recall, urging doctors to stop using some versions of the product because a plastic component could break and cut through a patient’s internal organs and tissue. At the time, Bard executives said they knew about some serious injuries potentially caused by the device, which is known as the Kugel patch. Since then, the Food and ... Read More