Dan Irving Cytryn, Esq.: October 2009 Archives

October 19, 2009

Prescription for Death

Dead by Mistake a recent Hearst Corporation study, estimates that 200,000 Americans will die this year from hospital errors and infections. These preventable errors can affect anyone regardless of age, wealth, previous health history, social status, or level of education. And as personal injury attorneys who help relatives of those victims of wrongful death or malpractice, we have seen the disastrous effects of these mistakes.

Three-week-old Alyssa Shinn was born 14 weeks prematurely and was progressing well until her death following an accidental overdose of zinc (ABC News). At a hospital in Indiana, three babies died after receiving an overdose of heparin.

Michael Hurewitz, a healthy 57-year-old newspaper reporter, entered Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City to donate part of his liver to his brother. He died there from an infection contracted in the hospital after the surgery.

Even the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital is not immune from error. Trevor Nelson, a 34-year-old producer with the television news show 60 Minutes, was admitted with a headache and fever. He was diagnosed with viral meningitis, a condition that frequently resolves itself within about 10 days even without treatment. However, Nelson was administered frequent high doses of powerful narcotic drugs and died within 15 hours of his hospital admission.

How can you protect yourself if you are hospitalized? Be a partner in your care, not just a passive observer. Ask questions, and check your medications to be sure that you are receiving the correct drugs and dosages. Have employees check your name and compare it to the name on the chart or on their orders before giving you any treatment or taking you for any procedures. Check that hospital employees wash their hands or wear fresh disposable gloves when treating you. And if you are unable to take these measures for yourself, have a family member or friend act as your advocate.

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October 9, 2009

Top Ten Most Dangerous Children's Products

Your child may be at risk of serious injury or death if you are using any of the products listed below.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) recently released the following list of the ten most hazardous recalled children's products that might still be available in resale stores or on the Internet:

  • Evenflo Envision High Chairs -- Fasteners and metal screws on both sides of the high chairs can loosen and fall out, allowing the seat back to detach or recline unexpectedly. As a result, children can fall backwards or out of the seat or choke on the detached hardware.
  • Hill Sportswear Hooded Sweatshirt -- There was one reported death of a three-year-old boy who was strangled when the drawstring of the sweatshirt he was wearing became stuck on a playground swing.
  • Simplicity Bassinets, including those with Graco or Winnie the Pooh motif -- There are at least three deaths involving Simplicity bassinets. The metal bars in the Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets are covered by an adjustable fabric flap which is attached by Velcro and folded down when the bassinet is repositioned. If the Velcro is not properly fastened when the flap is readjusted, an infant may slip through the opening between the metal bars and suffocate.
  • Simplicity Drop Side Cribs -- There have been 10 known deaths associated with this product. The drop side can detach, creating a space between the side and the mattress. Infants and toddlers can be entrapped in this space and suffocate.

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October 5, 2009

Florida Woman First Fosamax Multidistrict Litigation Plaintiff

Ironically, 71-year-old Shirley Boles took Fosamax (the brand name for alendronate) to increase her bone density, but instead the Walton Beach, Florida woman found her jawbone deteriorating, her teeth loosening, and her gums turning black. This condition resulting in jawbone death is known as osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).

Boles took Fosamax from 1997 to 2006 and asserts that Merck, the manufacturer, failed to warn doctors about the relationship between the drug and ONJ. There are now approximately 900 plaintiffs participating in the class action against Merck. This first lawsuit is being heard this month in the US District Court in Manhattan.

A study performed at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry and reported in the Journal of the American Dental Association (Jan. 1, 2009) found that 1 in 23 of the 208 patients studied taking alendronate had active ONJ. Researchers noted that even short-term use of alendronate was correlated with ONJ in some patients after certain dental procedures.

According to an article in USA Today (March 13, 2005) the chairman of the division of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Miami, Robert Marx, stated that he knew of 40-50 cases of ONJ nationwide in patients who had taken Fosamax.

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