Do The Drugs You Take Really Work? And Are They Safe?

A picture of a variety of loose pillsWhen one visits the doctor and drugs are prescribed – one rightfully assumes those drugs are both effective and safe.

After all – we trust the physicians in our lives to make good choices for us.

Did you know that in 1997, Congress passed a law creating a website called clinicaltrials.gov overseen by the National Institutes of Health? The website was established to provide physicians and consumers easy access to information on public and private clinical trials.

In 2007, Congress also passed legislation that required medical researchers to release study findings to this website within one year of a study’s completion.

Soon thereafter, editors at many of the most prestigious medical journals decided to publish only study results that appeared on that website.

Well, in 2008, an FDA medical officer by the name of Turner led a research review looking to determine which research studies on antidepressants actually got published in medical journals.

To his surprise, Turner found that of all studies published on the topic, 94% of the time they reported positive results.

So that’s what all the research must have revealed – correct?

Continue reading “Do The Drugs You Take Really Work? And Are They Safe?” »

Why the Choice of Hospitals Matters…

Connecticut Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you are ever in an accident or require surgery – the hospital you choose matters more than most realize.

A study by Boston Consulting Group has just found that patients treated at the worst American hospitals were three times more likely to die and 13 times more likely to have medical complications than those that visited one of the nation’s best hospitals.

Three times more likely to die… that is not a typo.

The study’s authors looked at 22 million hospital admissions across the U.S. and adjusted for factors like age, sex, severity of illness and more.

Unfortunately, no hospitals were specifically identified in the study. The study authors agreed not to reveal institutional names in order to gain access to the data.

When asked to explain such a wide disparity of results, one of the study’s authors, Dr. Barry Rosenberg said that much of the difference in outcomes can be explained by the skill of the medical staffs and the culture of each hospital.

Can patients determine in advance which hospitals to entrust their care?

Continue reading “Why the Choice of Hospitals Matters…” »

When Are Hospitals Responsible For Medical Negligence?

Hospitals and medical negligenceJane suddenly suffers severe lower extremity trauma during a soccer tournament. Ben awakes with unrelenting chest pain and pressure. Mary, driving home from work, is hit head-on suffering multiple fractures and wounds. Jake develops flu symptoms one early evening. Many different situations can lead to a hospital or medical facility visit.   Often, the patient may choose the particular hospital or clinic. Rarely, however, do they have any choice in the doctor rendering care.

This is because patients usually have no prior relationship with hospital or clinic medical professionals. In such situations, patients often never see or meet the medical professionals making decisions regarding their care. Due to this, patients often believe that they are being treated by the facility’s employees and that the facility will be responsible for the care they receive.

However, by carefully drafting service contracts, medical facilities have tried to benefit from staffing highly trained medical professionals without being responsible for the quality of their care. This left patients with potentially inadequate resources to make them whole when injured by medical negligence. The question of whether medical facilities should be held responsible for medical professionals who act as part of their medical team began being raised in Connecticut’s trial courts.

For years, most trial courts answered this question “yes.” Those facilities had held certain professionals out as their own were liable for the actions of their “apparent agents” regardless of phantom agreements that stated otherwise. However, some courts took the hospital’s side, and people injured by medical negligence were forced to accept inadequate results.

Continue reading “When Are Hospitals Responsible For Medical Negligence?” »

The Scary Truth About Modern Medicine

modern_medicine_and_medical_errors

Photo credit: Best In Plastics / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

As shocking as it is remarkable…

We just received a copy of an interview conducted by the Editor (Dr. Eric Topol) of the very popular medical website, Medscape, with internationally renowned author and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD. (recorded 10.12.15).

Here is an excerpt from that interview:

Dr. Eric Topol: We are facing some very important issues today that suggest how bad things are still in 2015. One is that we (physicians) make 12 million serious diagnostic medical errors a year, and that is unchanged, as best we know, since To Err is Human was published in 1999. It seems that without any changes, this will continue, and it has become inhumane to have all of these errors. To the top 20 drugs that are prescribed, by sales, at least, 80% of people are nonresponders. We give these drugs. We have hope, but the fact is that the plurality of patients don’t respond.

Then we have the issues of false-positive results in screening (mammography, PSA levels) at rates that are greater than 60%. Yet these tests are done widely in millions of people every year.

Continue reading “The Scary Truth About Modern Medicine” »

What’s the Annual Death Rate from Medical Errors?

The question in our headline is actually one that was recently asked of consumers by researchers here in the U.S.

The most common answer they got… 5,000 a year.

That’s not even close.

The actual number may be as high as 800,000 deaths per year from medical malpractice and drug related injuries – just in the U.S.

What’s more, the number of those suffering harm short of death may number in the millions per year when one includes medical malpractice (including surgical errors) and death from drug side effects.   The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates the rate of medical harm to be over 40,000 each and EVERY day.

Continue reading “What’s the Annual Death Rate from Medical Errors?” »

Wait… Hospital Profit Goes Up When They Make A Mistake?

Hospital errors lead to greater profit.Did you know your hospital’s profit can jump from $16,936 to $55,953 per patient when a surgical error is made?

Yup.

According to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),  a surgical complication increases a procedure’s average profit margin by 330 percent for the privately insured and 190 percent for Medicare patients.

Continue reading “Wait… Hospital Profit Goes Up When They Make A Mistake?” »

Is Your Doctor Guilty of This?

Iatrogenesis.

Any idea what that is?

It’s defined in the Merriam – Webster Dictionary as the “inadvertent and preventable induction of disease or complications by the medical treatment or procedures of a physician or surgeon.”

We’ve talked a lot about it in past posts – it’s another term for medical malpractice and it’s the third leading killer in America.

So is it something new?

Nope.

Contemporary medical scholars have been writing about it for years.

Continue reading “Is Your Doctor Guilty of This?” »

There Are Over 40,000 Medical Errors A Day In America

 

Yup.  You read that headline correctly.  More than forty thousand a day – according to the 2011 Health Grades Hospital Quality in America Study.

What is one of the leading cause of harm?

Hospital acquired infections.  What’s worse, increasingly these infections are being caused by antibiotic resistant superbugs.  Brad Spellberg, MD, a LA BioMed infectious disease specialist, recently analyzed reams of clinical data and concluded antibiotic resistance among hospital-acquired infections is “at crisis levels.”

Why the rise in these dangerous superbugs?   Simple – the overuse of antibiotics in clinical care and in agriculture…

Continue reading “There Are Over 40,000 Medical Errors A Day In America” »

Did You Know More People Are Killed By Prescription Drugs Than Car Accidents?

It’s sad but true

What’s even worse – drug companies marketing drugs to consumers that the drug companies know are the cause of injuries and death.

Let’s look at a few recent examples:

 

  • Propulsid:  This drug is a heartburn medication that was made by
    Johnson & Johnson.  From 1993-1998, the company made over $1 billion in sales for this drug, even as the company knew that hundreds of patients were dying from its deadly side effects.  Children were known to be at a particularly high risk of death.  As the number of infant deaths continued to climb, a few folks at Johnson & Johnson began to wonder whether the company should severely restrict Propulsid’s use for children.  This internal inquiry led to a ban on sales for premature infants in some European countries, but senior executives at J&J actually overruled a ban in the United States.  In all, some 300 people died from using this drug before it was finally pulled from market.
  • Trasylol:  This drug was used on open heart patients to prevent blood clotting and was made by Bayer.  Bayer had known for years that the drug could and did cause kidney damage and kidney failure – and yet they continued to market and sell the drug.  A study published in 2006 in the New England Journal of medicine estimated that halting the use of Trasylol would prevent 11,050 cases of kidney failure annually and save more than $1 billion in dialysis costs. Under pressure – Bayer conducted a study confirming the toxic effects of the drug but chose not to inform the FDA.  Under pressure – Bayer halted the sale of the drug in the U.S.
  • Zyprexa:  This drug was introduced to the market by Eli Lilly to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder declaring it “the number one psychotropic in history”.  What Eli Lilly failed to disclose was the fact that the drug had dangerous side effects including diabetes.  In fact, they specifically instructed sales reps to avoid introducing the issue. They even launched a marketing campaign targeting two groups known to be particularly at risk – children and the elderly.  In 2009, the Department of Justice fined Eli Lilly $1.4 billion for its duplicitous marketing of Zyprexa tactics.

Other famously dangerous drugs that caused injury and death include:

  • Fenfluramine/phentermine (Fen-Phen).  Maker: Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES).  Multiple manufacturers
  • Cerivastatin (Baycol). Maker: Bayer
  • Rofecoxib (Vioxx): Maker: Merck
  • Valdecoxib (Bextra): Maker: Pfizer

The cost of adverse drug reactions to society is more than $136 billion annually and adverse drug reactions cause injuries or death in one of five hospital patients.

If you or a loved one is ever the victim of a defective drug or the improper prescription of a drug therapy, call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer.  A knowledgeable malpractice attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled hundreds of defective drug and medical malpractice cases over our more than 55 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases including:

  • Top listings in “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Best Law Firms”
  • Top listing by Martindale-Hubbell as a “New England Top Rated AV Preeminent® Law Firm
  • Admission of five of our personal injury lawyers as members in the very prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  The American College is a professional society of Fellows who become members only by invitation, with admission limited to experienced, outstanding trial lawyers who are unquestionably and eminently qualified as actively engaged trial lawyers.  Only 1% of all trial lawyers in any state are offered admission as members to the College… read more.

We have a great team of legal experts dedicated to defective drugs and the improper prescription of drug therapies. Please contact us if we can help you.  The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.

Eating Meat Daily Can Also Mean Consuming Antibiotics Daily

A staple of the American diet is meat.  For most, meat is consumed daily.


“Yeah… so what?” you say.

Did you know that most commercial meat growers feed their animals and birds a daily diet of antibiotics?  Daily – in every meal…

Did you also know that 80% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are fed to livestock?

Ok.  Are you still wondering why this fact matters?

One of the gravest dangers to mankind is the rapid rise of antibiotic resistant super bugs.  In fact, the age of the antibiotic is believed to be near an end.

Why’s this happening?  The answer is found back on those farms and in the food you eat daily.  The overuse – some call it abuse – of antibiotics is making it possible for common bacterial strains to mutate into forms ominously called “super bugs” now completely resistant to conventional treatment.

What does all this mean?

Here is what life was like before antibiotics:

“Before antibiotics, five women died out of every 1,000 who gave birth. One out of nine people who got a skin infection died, even from something as simple as a scrape or an insect bite. Three out of ten people who contracted pneumonia died from it, ear infections caused deafness; sore throats resulted in heart failure….

Unfortunately, cases like this might once again become more common. “If we’re not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC recently said. “For some patients and some microbes, we are already there.”[1]

Increasingly, one of the leading killers in America is hospital acquired bacterial infections.  Many of these bacterial infections are caused by these new strains of antibiotic resistant super bugs.  These infections can develop during routine hospital visits (often because the hospital has failed to maintain rigid hygiene standards for equipment and staff), and are now difficult if not impossible to treat, making them fatal.  Remember – a hospital’s failure to maintain rigid standards of cleanliness and hygiene is medical malpractice.

What can consumers do to protect themselves against infection?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • If a hospital stay is in your future and it is a planned procedure – make sure you understand the hospital’s hygiene procedures and get assurances that they are followed scrupulously at all times.
  • If you find yourself hospitalized for emergency care, ask family or friends to talk to the hospital about their standards.
  • Also ask hospital staff before they examine you whether they have washed their hands first.
  • Finally – with the bigger picture in mind – think about the meat you consume and consider asking your grocer to carry more meats raised without antibiotic supplementation.

If you or a loved one is ever the victim of a hospital acquired infection, call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer.  A knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases over our more than 55 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases including:

  • Top listings in “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Best Law Firms”
  • Top listing by Martindale-Hubbell as a “New England Top Rated AV Preeminent® Law Firm
  • Admission of five of our personal injury lawyers as members in the very prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  The American College is a professional society of Fellows who become members only by invitation, with admission limited to experienced, outstanding trial lawyers who are unquestionably and eminently qualified as actively engaged trial lawyers.  Only 1% of all trial lawyers in any state are offered admission as members to the College
  • Listing in New England Super Lawyers published by Connecticut Magazine.  Less than 5% of attorneys in the New England states receive this honor
  • Lifetime Achievement awards from the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association and the Connecticut Law Tribune
  • Board Certification by the National Board of Trial Advocacy

We have a great team dedicated to medical malpractice cases.    Our offices are in Hartford but we are available to meet with you in your home or office if that is easier for you.  Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.

 


[1] http://civileats.com/2013/11/20/what-does-a-post-antibiotic-era-look-like/#sthash.fsenPO2Y.dpuf