Gabriel Mejia, Esq.: August 2009 Archives

August 27, 2009

Diet Pills, Alli & Xenical, May Cause Liver Damage

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently alerted consumers to instances of liver damage associated with the prescription diet pill Xenical and the over-the-counter diet pill Alli.  Both Alli and Xenical contain the chemical orlistat which is used to block the absorption of fat in the intestines.  According to the FDA, there have been 32 reports of serious liver damage, including six cases of liver failure, from people taking orlistat.

The FDA advises people taking prescription drugs containing orlistat to contact their physicians immediately if they experience any signs associated with liver damage.  Symptoms of possible liver injury include:
  • weakness or fatigue
  • fever
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes)
  • brown urine
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • itching
  • light-colored stool
  • loss of appetite
Although the FDA has stated there is no definite association between liver injury and orlistat, they continue to investigate the relationship between the reported cases of liver injury and the drug.

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August 20, 2009

Jury Finds Florida KinderCare Liable for Child's Broken Leg, $3 Million

A Pinellas County, Florida jury recently found the national child day care chain, KinderCare, liable for $3 million dollars in damages after a caregiver broke the leg of a child under their care. According to reports, the caregiver broke the child's leg when he would not remain still while having his diaper changed. The caregiver was fired after the incident, but it was soon revealed that KinderCare had received a number of complaints regarding the caregiver's treatment of children under her supervision from other employees and parents. Witnesses at trial claimed the caregiver improperly handled numerous children including dropping some into their cribs and hitting another with a clipboard.

According to news reports, the jurors felt KinderCare should have responded to the warnings and concerns of employees and parents and taken action against the caregiver. Jurors also felt KinderCare should have installed cameras so that supervisors could monitor the staff's treatment of the children in their care. The caregiver pleaded no contest to felony child abuse charges for breaking the infants leg and was sentenced to one year in jail prior to the trial.

It is a difficult decision for a parent to leave their child in the care of another, but more and more families are finding it necessary for both parents to work to make ends meet. It is always best to make these difficult decisions with as much information as possible regardless of how disturbing it may be. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families' 2007 Child Maltreatment report, approximately 0.5% of child abuse incidents occur in the day care setting. Nationally, there were 3,605 child abuse victims in the day care setting in 2007 with 24 fatalities. Florida day cares accounted for 143 of the incidents of abuse.

ChildCareAware.org provides federally sponsored information regarding child care. Here are some tips on how to make an informed decision regarding child care:

  1. Start looking for child care early in order to have enough time to gather information.
  2. Call around and utilize resources provided by local child care resource and referral centers including licensing requirements, complaints and violations, and financial assistance programs.
  3. Visit the day care center and ask questions regarding the child to adult ratio, group size, caregiver qualifications, turnover, accreditation, and any other questions you feel you need to make your decision.
  4. Make an informed choice.
  5. Stay involved with your child's care.
Of course, even the best intentions, research, and involvement cannot prevent these terrible instances of child abuse from happening in day care centers at times.  Many times, as in this case, the day care center is responsible for not taking the proper steps to ensure the safety of the children under their care.  If your child has been the victim of abuse by a day care caregiver, an attorney experienced in personal injury lawsuits will help you understand your rights and fight for the compensation your child deserves.

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August 12, 2009

Graves' Disease Drug, Propylthiouracil, May Increase Risk of Liver Damage

Propylthiouracil (PTU) was recently cited in a safety warning released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  According to the warning, reports to the Adverse Event Reporting System show an increase risk of patients suffering hepatotoxicity with propylthiouracil when compared to another hyperthyroidism drug, methimazole.  There have been 32 cases of serious liver damage associated with propylthiouracil in both adults and children according to the FDA including 13 reported deaths and 11 liver transplants in patients taking PTU.

Propylthiouracil is an oral antithyroid drug used to treat Graves' disease by suppressing the creation of thyroid hormones.  Propylthiouracil is generally considered only as an alternative to methimazole if a patient is allergic to methimazole or is pregnant.  According to the FDA, doctors are instructed to carefully consider the risks of using or switching to propylthiouracil to treat patients with hyperthyroidism and closely monitor all patients taking the drug for liver damage.

Signs of Potential Liver Damage:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • abdominal pain
  • itching
  • easy bruising
  • loss of appetite

Patients taking propylthiouracil and experiencing any symptoms of potential liver damage should seek immediate medical advice. 

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August 6, 2009

Black & Decker Grasshog XP Trimmer Continues to Cause Injury

Florida residents should check their garages and sheds for the Black & Decker GH1000 Grasshog XP stringer trimmer/edger. According to the recall reannouncement released by Black & Decker on the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission's website, the defective trimmers' spool caps, spools, and pieces of the string can break off causing lacerations to user and bystanders. The company also warned that the trimmer may overheat and cause burn injuries.

Thus far, there have been nearly 800 reports of the Grasshog XP trimmers breaking and causing over 100 reported injuries. There have also been reports of property damage caused by the trimmer including broken windows. Black & Decker originally announced a recall of the defective trimmers in 2007 but reannounced the warnings after injury reports continued to rise.

The potentially dangerous Grasshog XP trimmers include those manufactured from November 14, 2005 through November 16, 2006 and marked with date codes 200546 through 200645. The trimmers were sold from November 2005 through January 2007 at home center and hardware stores. The defective Grasshog XP trimmers also have black spool caps.

Use of the defective Grasshog XP trimmers should be stopped immediately. Repair kits are available from the manufacturer.

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