A Cycle of Blame?

June 29th, 2017

It’s easy to get hurt when riding a motorcycle. Since you are not surrounded by a car, the cyclist is often subjected to significantly more damage that the occupants of a car. There are no doors, bumpers or airbags to protect you (But airbags – that may be a topic for another day).

If a motorcyclist has gotten hurt as a result of someone else’s actions – they may need legal help to get back on their feet. Or back on their cycle – if there was damage to that as well. But motorcycles can be replaced – people? Not so easily.

If you are hurt in an accident, there are a couple key things that need to be done. First, document as much as you can. Get pictures of the location and any damage to people or property. Get copies of any records of the accident, like the police report or insurance information.

Next, get checked out by a medical professional. If circumstances are dire enough, this might need to be step one. If the Doctor says you are fine – congratulations! Many motorcycle riders involved in accidents won’t be that lucky. Road rash, head & spinal injuries, broken bones, and lost limbs are fairly common results of motorcycle accidents.

And step three, if you are injured – contact an attorney. We prefer it would be one at Garmon of course. Your attorney can then help guide you through the complexity of the legal system and help you get compensated for your claim.

The Battle of the Bulge – Revisited

June 23rd, 2017

A hernia is a bulge of tissues through an opening of weakness within your abdominal wall muscles.  There are several different types, with several different types of treatment.

One of these treatment options was the Physiomesh – an Ethicon / Johnson & Johnson product introduced in 2010. The Physiomesh is a flexible mesh of polypropylene designed to reinforce the abdominal wall. It can be surgically implanted over an opening, a bulge, or a weak spot in the abdominal wall.

But that isn’t an option anymore.  Ethicon / J&J withdrew the Physiomesh due to higher than average revision rates.

But what exactly does that mean? It boils down to a simple fact – the Physiomesh didn’t do an adequate job. The Physiomesh has been associated with recurring hernias, bowel obstructions, chronic pain, infections, and tissue/organ perforation. Many cases require a surgical removal of the implanted device.

On top of that, the mesh can fall apart and release shards of the material into the body, further complicating matters.

It isn’t too much to ask that a medical implant do the job it was designed for. If you have suffered complications from the Physiomesh, give us a call.

A Father’s Day Issue

June 20th, 2017

Testosterone Replacement treatment (TRT) is a method used to treat hypogonadism, a condition known as “Low-T” or “Low-Test.” This occurs when a guy is believed to produce too little testosterone as a result of an injury or disease.

There are several drugs that purport to boost testosterone and various supplements which allege to also boost testosterone. The problem is these drugs (AndroGel, Adroderm, Axiron, Bio-T-Gel, Delatestryl, Depo-Testosterone, Fortesta, Striant, Testim & Testopel) have been proven to increase the risk of heart attack and other adverse cardio events. These may be acceptable risks, if the consumer is adequately warned. Unfortunately the warnings have been either non-existent or inadequate.

In January of this year there was yet another study forcing the maker to change their labeling – this one to include information about the potential for abuse and possible addictiveness of these drugs.

If you, or someone you know, has suffered a heart attack or stroke after taking a testosterone supplement like AndroGel or one of the others, contact our office for a free consultation.

The Heartburn of PPIs

June 9th, 2017

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) were medicines introduced in the 1990s. They reduce the production of gastric acid. You may know them by a number of other names, including:

• Nexium (esomeprazole)
• Prevacid (lansoprazole)
• Protonix (pantoprazole)
• AcipHex (rabeprazole)
• Prilosec (omeprazole)
• Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
• Kapidex (dexlansoprazole)

Among others:

PPIs have been used to treat a whole host of maladies. Among these are Dyspepsia, Peptic Ulcers, GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease), Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, Barret’s Esophagus, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Gastritis and Gastrinomas.

But is the risk justified? With long term use PPIs may come with some significant side effects. “(Over the counter) PPIs are marketed at low doses and are only intended for a 14 day course of treatment up to 3 times per year.”

Are the side effects worth it to get rid of heartburn? Adverse events have included accelerated aging of blood vessels, increased risk of pneumonia, heart attack or stroke, permanent kidney damage (from AIN – Acute Interstitial Nephritis to potential renal failure), bone injuries, and a possible increased risk of dementia.

I know heartburn can keep you up at night. But is getting rid of heartburn worth gambling on those physical maladies – or increasing the chance of losing your mind?

The makers of PPIs have done very little to inform the public of the risks associated with their products. And to top it off, these products may be addictive.

If heartburn – or the complications of heartburn medicine – are keeping you up at night, give us a call.

Unauthorized Acid Trips

June 5th, 2017

The FDA has issued a warning for patients taking the Type 2 diabetes drug canagliflozin, also known by its brand name, Invokana. Use of Invokana can lead to dangerous levels of ketones – acids in the bloodstream. This is known medically as acidosis and can lead to a number of problems – bone disease, delayed growth, dehydration, swelling of the brain, pancreatitis, several types of kidney problems, and even death. As if that wasn’t enough, just last month “(t)he FDA found people who took Invokana had leg and foot amputations twice as often as patients who took a placebo.”

Canagliflozin is in a category of drugs called SGLT2 (Sodium-GLucose coTransporter-2) inhibitors. These drugs help lower blood sugar by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through urine. But they are not without side effects.

If you have been prescribed Invokana for diabetes make sure you keep in close contact with your doctor. You may need to watch out for symptoms of ketoacidosis. These include decreased alertness, flushing, frequent urination or thirst (lasting over a day), headache, nausea, stomach pains or fruit-smelling breath.

At this point canagliflozin has been approved for use with Type 2 diabetes. Your physician can prescribe it for other things, but both the patient and the prescriber need to be aware of the risks.

Shedding More than Tears

May 30th, 2017

Breast cancer is a serious disease. Victims of breast cancer may be treated with a number of drugs, depending on what the doctor feel is the best treatment for that case.

In some cases, doctors treat with Taxotere (also known as docetaxel). Taxotere is an injected chemotherapy drug in the taxanes drug family. As with a lot of chemotherapy drugs, hair loss is side effect.

What might not have been mentioned though, is that this drug can lead to permanent hair loss. There is a small risk of that with many chemotherapy drugs, but a study indicates that the chance of permanent hair loss is substantially higher with the use of Sanofi’s Taxotere than with other chemotherapy drugs.  Based on the Senlacek study and according to FDA standards. permanent hair loss could be considered a “common” side effect of docetaxel use.

And yet, this “common” side effect was not mentioned to patients or doctors as being more than just the usual small risk associated with other chemotherapy regimens.

Victims of breast cancer have enough to worry about in getting well. They shouldn’t have to worry about permanent self-esteem issues that are often associated with hair loss – especially when other drugs are available that don’t have near the risk of that happening. While the omission of that detail may not be a bald faced lie, it is a risk that the manufacturer should have disclosed to doctors and patients so they could make an informed choice.

The Wrong Kind of Heartbreak

May 24th, 2017

The FDA website has put up a notice that there have been numerous adverse events related to use of IVC filters. The IVC (Inferior Vena Cava) filter is an implanted device used for people who were in danger of developing recurrent blood clots. It was used on people who cannot take blood thinning medication or who were at risk for blood clots even when on blood thinning medication.

But they are not a permanent fix. They need to come out. The FDA has found that many of the side effects reported may have been because the IVC filter stayed in the body too long. That led to some serious complications such as filter breakage, infection, internal bleeding, embolization, perforated organs, the filter migrating to other areas, and death. The FDA warns that IVC filters need to be removed as soon as the risk of pulmonary embolism is gone.

Some of these devices have been recalled. Boston Scientific had a recall in 2005 and Cordis Corporation had a recall in 2013. IVC Manufacturer C.R. Bard had problems with the FDA for manufacturing a Recovery Cone Removal System (the Model RC-15) without marketing clearance and several of their filters have had a number of alleged safety issues.

In one study only less than 10% of patients that received and IVC filter had had the filter removed, even though having a filter stay past the recommended time in the body pushes the rate of complication significantly higher.

Did you or a loved one have an IVC filter implanted? Is it still in there? Do you even know? The answer could literally break your heart.

Once Upon a Bankruptcy

May 19th, 2017

Once upon a time …

There was a car company called General Motors. General Motors had a problem. Well, General Motors, or GM as most people call them, actually had several problems, but we’re just going to focus on one today.

That problem is that GM made some cars with faulty ignition switches. These switches caused a lot of problems for other people. Unfortunately, these problems caused some accidents that were a bit more serious than spilt milk. These problems plagued a number of GM vehicles like the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Saturn Ion. And Impalas and Malibus. And Monte Carlos, Camaros, Buicks, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs.

The faulty switches could turn the car off and leave it without power – even the airbags.  And some people got hurt or killed.

GM knew about the problem for several years before enough people died that they put out a recall on the switches. They recalled over 2.5 million vehicles. GM also had to pay $900 million dollars to settle criminal charges regarding those switches and set aside almost $600 million for a compensation fund.

Then some other problems caught up with GM. In 2009 they declared bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by the Federal Government. GM said that the bankruptcy should wipe out whatever claims were outstanding.

Well some courts didn’t think that was fair.  GM appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court let the lower court’s ruling stand which allowed existing claims to go forward. Why? Because GM knew about the flaw before the bankruptcy and they should have told customers.

So now the cases can go forward. And there could be hundreds of them.

But because of these faulty switches, some people are not living happily ever after. If you or a loved one are one of these and need help with your case, please give us a call.

NOT The End

Xarelto – Not Worth the Headache

May 15th, 2017

Xarelto, a drug made by Johnson and Johnson subsidiary, Janssen Pharmeceuticals and Bayer is giving its manufacturers and those taking it serious headaches.


From the beginning it was known that “Xarelto can cause bleeding, which can be serious …” That quote is actually taken from the manufacturer’s website (Linked here). What they didn’t mention is just how serious that bleeding could be.

Sure, they mention that it may take longer for bleeding to stop, and that you need to contact your Dr. if you have bleeding issues such as abnormal nosebleeds, vaginal bleeding, or blood in various excrement. But they don’t tell you about the link to possible brain hemorrhage. You’d think that might be worth mentioning.

Use of any drug caries a risk. In many circumstances the risk is justified. But the manufacturers of medications have a duty to doctors and their patients to inform them of risk that may be associated with a medication they manufacture. Your doctor wants what is best for you – S/he is not about to switch you to a drug that is more dangerous without a good reason. But if your doctor is misinformed because the drug maker fails to explain the risks associated with their medicine, well then, that drug maker has some serious explaining to do.

If you have had bleeding issues while on Xarelto, or its generic name Rivaroxaban, give us a call.  That’s a headache no one should have to deal with.

The High Cost of Hygiene

May 11th, 2017

Earlier this month a Missouri jury awarded a verdict of over $100 million dollars to a a woman after finding that she had been developed cancer due to her use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.  Key to the case was J&J’s failure to warn the users, their customers, that a number of studies had shown that talc, the key ingredient, could be dangerous.  Studies have shown that the use of talcum powder could increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer by a significant amount.  Some studies say over 90%, others show up to 300%.

Everyone agrees that good hygiene is important, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your life.

If talc isn’t purified properly it could have all sorts of impurities, including asbestos. Nearly two dozen studies have shown that women using talcum powder in the genital area were at an increased risk for developing cancer. Some of these studies have been around since the 1970’s. At what point were the manufacturers going to warn people of the dangers of the product or withdraw it from the market? Apparently only after people start dying.

Lois Slemp, the recipient of the verdict mentioned above, may soon be one of those victims. Her ovarian cancer has spread to her liver.  She had no idea that a reputable company’s hygiene products would be carcinogenic.

It’s time for these companies to come clean. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, give us a call.