Health and Wellness

Another loss for Johnson & Johnson Talc Powder

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talc powder

Another loss for Johnson & Johnson Talc Powder

In October, Johnson & Johnson faced another failed lawsuit over claims their talc powder causes ovarian cancer. The jury ruled in favor of a California woman, diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, who was suing Johnson & Johnson for negligent conduct in the making and marketing of their talc powder. The suit alleged that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the health risks associated with frequent use of the talc powder as form of feminine hygiene.

The St. Louis jury awarded more than $70 million to the plaintiff. Earlier in 2016, two other lawsuits ruled on behalf of the plaintiffs for a combined $127 million.

Although Johnson & Johnson maintains its talcum powder is safe, there has been extensive research that suggests otherwise. Read more about the history of Johnson & Johnson talc powder and its link to ovarian cancer here.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and used talc powder on a regular basis for feminine hygiene, please contact us today to discuss your legal options.

Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

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Medical Malpractice

Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

A recent study led by a research team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, shows that ‘medical errors’ are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind cancer and heart disease.

For the purpose of the study, ‘medical errors’ was defined as someone dying as a result of the care received versus the disease for which they were seeking care. This included bad doctors, miscommunication between departments, administering the wrong drug or the wrong amount of a prescribed drug, etc. The report, which researched studies from the years 2000-2008, estimates an average of 700 wrongful deaths a day. That’s nearly 251k deaths per year ranking above other preventable causes such as accidents (136k) and suicide (42k).

Some speculate the cause is a lack of standardization with regards to health care. Others believe that without federal requirements in place to report errors, hospital lack the ability to track, investigate and subsequently train for improvement. This study shines a light on a serious issue that hospitals are not addressing with the general public. Hopefully, it will force it a change.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of medical error or malpractice, please Contact Us for a complimentary case consultation.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

You Mean My Baby Powder Can Give Me Cancer? And Other Questions About Talcum Powder…

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You Mean My Baby Powder Can Give Me Cancer? And Other Questions About Talcum Powder…

By Patrick A. Dawson

You’ve read and seen Johnson & Johnson in the news lately about talcum powders and their ovarian cancer causing effects. What’s more disturbing is the reveal that J&J knew the talcum powder had cancerous causing risks, and yet they continued to sell and market these products to women. Many of you have concerns and questions, and The Cooper Firm is here to help.

What is talcum powder?

Talcum powder is simply a ground up version of talc. Talc is a clay mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate and is one of the softest minerals known.

What is talc used for? 

According to Wikipedia, “[t]alc is used in many industries—including paper making, plastic, paint and coatings, rubber, food, electric cable, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and ceramics. A coarse grayish-green high-talc rock is soapstone or steatite, used for stoves, sinks, electrical switchboards, crayons, soap, etc. It is often used for surfaces of lab counter tops and electrical switchboards because of its resistance to heat, electricity and acids. Talc finds use as a cosmetic (talcum powder), as a lubricant, and as a filler in paper manufacture.

powderTalc, with heavy refinement, has been used in baby powder, an astringent powder used to prevent rashes on the area covered by a diaper. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not use baby powder because it poses a risk of respiratory problems—including breathing trouble and serious lung damage if the baby inhales it. The particles are so small that it is difficult to keep them out of the air while applying the powder.”

Women have for years used it for personal hygiene and Johnson & Johnson advertised it for this purpose.

It once had asbestos in it?    

Despite the well-known dangers of asbestos, talc often contained asbestos in it, presumably from its close proximity to asbestos ore found in similar geological strata as the talc.

Surely, that ended right?   

Yes, since 1973 the law requires talc to be asbestos-free.

Had there been studies linking talc and talcum powder to problems in humans?

Yes, the dangers of talcum powder to human tissue were first discovered back in the 1930s.   Infants suffered lung ailments from inhalation of talcum powder.  There were concerns too about cancer. In 1971 researchers discovered talc particles, which are extremely fine, on 75 percent of ovarian tumors they examined.

Has talcum powder after the 70s been linked to cancer?

Yes, even after the asbestos was removed, there have been cases of talc causing ovarian cancer.   The link is so well established that courts of law, applying rules about admissibility of scientific evidence, have admitted evidence of it in to several trials.

How does it cause the cancer?

Female users often apply the talcum powder as part of their feminine hygiene routine. It is thought that the incredibly fine talc particles are absorbed through the genitals, pass through the fallopian tubes, then come to rest in the ovaries.  There, they irritate the ovaries making them more susceptible to disease and cancer.

How much does it increase the cancer risk?

Ovarian cancer strikes 20,000 women a year.   Talcum powder raises the risk of this cancer from 1 in 70 to 1 in 50.  In March of this year, an article in Epidemiology concluded that the use of talcum powder could increase the risk of ovarian cancer by 33 percent!Shower to Shower

One trial expert has said that at least 45,000 women have died of ovarian cancer as a result of talcum powder use.   Some calculate that women who use the Shower To Shower brand talcum powder have a 16 times higher rate ovarian cancer.

To be sure, there are industry studies (some may be honestly done, or others motivated by money) that say talcum powder causes no increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Has the talc industry, and Johnson & Johnson, known about these dangers?

Information gathering (called “discovery” in litigation) is still going on.   We suspect the cancer link was well-known for many decades by companies selling talc products.   Discovery will eventually show just how far back that knowledge goes.

As to Johnson & Johnson, it was warned by one of its paid experts, Dr. Alfred Wehner, about talc in 1997.   He pulled no punches, stating in a letter to Johnson & Johnson that anyone who continued to deny the evidence in the studies “will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry:  denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”   Johnson & Johnson has not stopped selling its talcum powder products.   Court documents show that Johnson & Johnson has known of the risks for more than 40 years.

Have people brought lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and others? 

Yes.  So far over 1,200 lawsuits are known to exist.   Many of them were filed in the City of St. Louis, Missouri area.

Has anyone been successful in their lawsuits?

Yes, the first three that we know that have gone to trial have resulted in verdicts for the plaintiff.  They include:

          Fox v. Johnson & Johnson (City of St. Louis, MO)

In February 2016, the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy.   The jury awarded Jacqueline Fox’s family more than $72 million for her death from ovarian cancer.   See the ABA Journal and Reuters for more information on the trial.

          Ristesund v. Johnson & Johnson (City of St. Louis, MO)

In May 2016, a St. Louis jury found Johnson & Johnson liable, and awarded Mrs. Ristesund $55 million in compensatory and punitive damages.   See Reuters and Bloomberg for more information on that trial.

          Berg v. Johnson & Johnson (Sioux Falls, SD)

An earlier trial in 2013, resulted in the jury finding Johnson & Johnson negligent for its dangerous product, but failed to award the plaintiff any damages.  Deane Berg, one of the earliest to sue and bring this matter to light, had turned down an offer of $1.3 million to settle her case and sign a “confidentiality agreement.”  She refused to sign, and put her case before a South Dakota jury.  She knew the risks of that conservative jury pools in that state.  See New York Post about the Berg case, and how it led to the Fox and Ristesund verdicts.

As an aside, we salute Mrs. Berg’s brave decision to go to trial rather than hide the hazard.   As always, evidence will continue to emerge as more plaintiffs conduct deeper and more vigorous discovery into the files of Johnson & Johnson and trade associations.


What should I do if I have used talcum powders?

  1. Stop using the product.
  2. Go see your doctor. Ovarian cancers can be slow growing at times, and painless, so many women do not know they have it until it is too late.
  3. Retain the bottles of any that you have used. If you are diagnosed with cancer, the bottle and contents may become evidence in the case. While one bottle alone may not have caused the cancer, it can be evidence of the type of talcum powder you habitually use.
  4. Find a lawyer experienced in complex liability lawsuits.

 

The evidence admitted in all the above cases can also be used to help you prepare and try your case.   If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and believe the use of talcum powder could be related, please Contact Us today for a complimentary case consultation.

As E-Cigarette Popularity Grows So Do The Concerns

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Medical Malpractice

As E-Cigarette Popularity Grows So Do the Concerns

Since being introduced to the United States in 2007, E-Cigarettes have grown to nearly a $2.5 billion industry with 466 brands saturating the market. They are popular for a number of reasons:

  • They offer a variety of flavors to suit tastes of smokers and non-smokers alike
  • Many restaurants and venues allow you to ‘smoke’ e-cigs indoors
  • The health risks associated with traditional tobacco-based cigarettes do not compare to this new vapor option

 

Despite their popularity, there is a new risk coming to light that causes real concern: Explosions.

Multiple news reports are surfacing of e-cig users experiencing an explosion of the device causing burns to their hands, mouths, and eyes and in some more unfortunate cases, death. Speculation abounds for the cause of the explosions with most blaming faulty battery issues (most e-cigarettes use a lithium-ion battery–the same battery recently determined as the cause of explosions in Hoverboards). These explosions can happen when the device is being charged or if the device fails to re-set should the battery become overheated.  In either case, injury reports are increasing.

Since no single public agency is responsible for collecting the data on these explosions, the actual number of incidents varies. Recent reports have shown the number of incidents range from 25 to 151 over a 6 year period. This is cause for great concern—especially for an industry with so little regulation.

The Cooper Firm will continue to follow the reports and provide information. For those who may have been injured while using an e-cigarette device, please contact our office for a complimentary case-consultation.

Source: http://www.safetyresearch.net

What you will never find at your doctors’ home

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Medical Malpractice

What you will never find at your doctors’ home

There are a lot of dangerous products out there, some of which are in your own home. You hear warnings all the time, but it can be hard to know just how risky products actually are. Emergency room doctors see a lot of product injuries, which is why Health.com thought it would be a good idea to see what products they find so hazardous they won’t have them in their own homes.

Here are some of their answers:

  • Trampolines. They cause many serious upper-body fractures, broken femurs and neck injuries. Parents develop false assurance with nets around the trampolines, but they do little to protect from serious injuries.
  • Button batteries. Although increasingly common in many products, these shiny and tiny objects are very attractive to kids. Once swallowed, they can get stuck and battery acid can cause serious injuries and life-long disabilities.
  • Swimming pools. Even kids who are able to swim can drown. Having a pool at your home can be even more risky considering that it is not always under supervision.
  • Power washers and extension ladders. Many times emergency room doctors see falls from high ladders that result in serious injuries. Power washers can also result in penetrating injuries or severe lacerations due to people not realizing how powerful the water flow is.
  • Guns. Even the most pro-gun doctors have seen enough accidental shootings and suicides to not want guns in their homes.
  • Styrofoam microwave soups. These products can get extremely hot. They often get left on the counter where toddlers and young children are prone to grab and receive scalding burns.
  • Old pain medication. Having these pills lying around can result in overdoses. Just one too many can kill a child.
  • High chairs that pull up to the table. These products often result in falls and trauma in young children.

Although these products can be used safely, most emergency room doctors don’t recommend having them due to the amount of injuries they see in trauma centers. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a product defect, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

To see the full post visit Health.com.

Do you have a medical malpractice claim?

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Medical Malpractice

Do you have a medical malpractice claim?

People usually visit the doctor for preventative care or to help improve their health, but in some cases, people leave in worse condition. Sometimes, that could be due to a doctor’s negligent behavior, or it could just be the unfortunate case of one’s health. If a doctor was negligent, you may be eligible to pursue a medical malpractice claim for compensation for your injuries.

In order to have a valid claim, there are a few things you must prove. Medical malpractice claims are very complex and difficult to pursue. Many states are also limited by tort reform. Due to the fact there are a number of variables that could have led to the injury or wrongful death, you and your attorney must prove in these things order to have a case:

There was a relationship between the doctor and the patient. If you were treated directly by the doctor, than it is fairly easy to prove. In some cases, there are consulting physicians and it can make it more difficult to establish that there was an actual relationship between the doctor and the patient.

-The doctor was negligent in his/her actions. This is often the most difficult and misunderstood area that must be proven. Although you may have not been pleased with the treatment or the results of the treatment, it does not mean that there was negligence. In order to have a solid medical malpractice claim, one must prove that the doctor deviated from the appropriate standard of care. In many cases, the doctor may have not done something the best way possible, but they did not deviate from the standard of care.

-You must be able to prove that the injury or death was a direct result of the doctor’s negligence. With patients with serious underlying health conditions, this may be difficult. Medical experts can help determine if the doctor’s actions directly affected the injury or death, but if the injury or death would have occurred either way, there is no case. For instance, if the doctor failed to diagnose a patient with an issue, but the patient died due to a different and unrelated issue then the doctor’s negligence did not directly affect the injury or death.

-There must be severe and significant damages. Once you have determined that the doctor acted negligently and that the negligence caused the injury, you must then evaluate the recoverable damages. Damages include pain, suffering, lost wages, earning capacity and medical bills.

The best way to determine if you have a medical malpractice case worth pursuing is to contact an experienced attorney. Feel free to contact our law offices today for a free consultation regarding your claim.

Sodas could be contributing to aging

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Sodas could be contributing to aging

A new study revealed that soft drinks could be playing a large role in the aging process due to the fact they encourage cell death. The study was completed by researchers at the University of California in San Francisco. Researchers found that soda consumption can decrease lifespan by up to 4.6 years.

The study compared 5,000 DNA samples of American adults between the ages of 20 and 65 to see if there were similarities between drinking soda and telomere length. Telomeres are protective caps of DNA that cover the chromosomes. They found that individuals who consumed sodas regularly showed shorter telomere than normal. The results held despite matter of age, race, income, or education level. They study was done on individuals who do not have diabetes. Because the study was limited to adults, this telomere shortness may also be more rapid in children who consume soft drinks.

Shorter telomere lengths are commonly associated with high risk for heart disease and diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages have been proven to result in obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  A more shocking result showed that consuming 20 ounces of soda a day or more shortened telomere length at the same rate as smoking tobacco. Regular exercise lengthens the telomere caps about the same rate that sodas shorten them, the study also found.

In order to live a long and healthy life, we suggest cutting the amount of sodas you consume and adding in regular exercise.

Source: Tech Time

Number of ER visits related to synthetic pot more than doubles

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Medical Malpractice

Number of ER visits related to synthetic pot more than doubles

Synthetic pot, also known as “K2” or “Spice” has become a growing public health risk. The number of visits to the emergency room has more than doubled in the past few years in the United States. Although the drug is considered safe and legal among many, it is still very dangerous. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration administrator, Pamela Hyde, is urging that there be more promotion and education on the fact that these products can cause significant harm.

U.S. officials just reported that there were more than 28,500 emergency room visits linked to synthetic pot in 2011, compared to around 11,400 in 2010. For teens age 12-17, the number of emergency room visits has doubled from 38,000 in 2010 to nearly 7,600 in 2011. For young people ages 18-20, the number of visits has quadrupled from 2,000 visits in 2010 to 8,000 visits in 2011.

This is a growing concern for officials who are promoting that states offer and share educational information to communities about the signs and symptoms of the use of synthetic marijuana. Some of the health problems related to synthetic marijuana include anxiety, severe agitation, nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rate and blood pressure, unresponsiveness and death. There are even cases of young men and women dying after their first hit of synthetic pot.

We encourage all parents to educate and have open conversations with their children and teens about the dangers and health risk associated with synthetic pot.

Source: Consumer.com

What Baby Products to Avoid

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Childcare Product Safety Attorney

What Baby Products to Avoid

It can be easy to trust department stores and large brands to make high quality safe products, but not all products are safe.

There have been many popular baby and childcare products that are unfortunately associated with injures and death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that 40 percent of all recalls last year were for children’s products. Many times parents are unaware of recalls and safety defects unless they register every single product they own, so before you head to the store to register or buy your baby goodies, make sure you do your research. Here are some baby products to avoid when shopping and the alternatives.

Drop-side cribs. Drop-side cribs have been associated with at least 32 deaths and hundreds of injuries according to CPSC. They were recalled and permanently banned from sale in 2011. Many parents still buy and sell these drop-side cribs used online. Instead, look for a newer crib with fixed sides and simple design, and don’t use any cribs over ten years old.

Bumpers. Although they are supposed to keep the baby from hitting and injuring their head, bumpers are a suffocation hazard. Many studies have linked them to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). We recommend not using any bumpers and just a fitted sheet. They may look cute, but they are very dangerous.

-Sleep positioners and pillows. These products are intended to keep the baby from rolling on their stomach and also to avoid acid reflux, but many babies have suffocated from slipping free. The FDA and the CPSC have called for a ban on the products, but some are still being sold. Instead, place your infant on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.

-Blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. Babies can becomes easily entangled and smother themselves in these products. Extra bedding can be extremely dangerous. Keep your baby warm by dressing them properly for a bare fitted sheet and do not allow them to sleep in your bed. Use blankets for tummy time or swaddling only.

-Bumbo seats. Many reports have surfaced of babies falling from Bumbo seats by rocking themselves out. Many times parents place these Bumbo seats on tables or counter tops which can increase the severity of injuries. Never place these seats on a raised surface and do not leave children unattended while using the product.

-Crib tents. These products were intended to keep children from climbing out of cribs, but children can get strangled in the material. If your child is crawling out of their bed, it means you should transfer them to a toddler or regular bed.

-Co-Sleepers. These are products are made to connect to the bed so that the baby can sleep near the mother while she is breast feeding. There have been several reports of parents rolling onto the child and suffocating them. Use a regular crib or a bassinet, instead of a co-sleeper. These bedside sleepers do not have established safety regulations yet.

-Changing tables without four raised sides. If your table does not have four sides that come up past the changing pad, then there is a risk of your child rolling off the table and being injured. Ensure that the sides come up on your table on all four sides or change your baby on the floor with a pad.

-Un-anchored furniture. According to CPSC, there have been reports of over 200 deaths related to furniture tip-overs.  Simply secure your furniture to the wall with fasteners and straps. Most home-improvement stores carry anti-tip straps or brackets.

-Sling Carriers. The CPSC reported that there are at least 14 deaths associated with slings and dozens of serious injuries. It is easy for children to fall out of slings. There have also been many recalls in the past few years for the slings causing SIDs and suffocation, especially on children four months or younger. Soft-front carriers and backpack carries are safer options for babies. We suggest using car seats or strap-on carriers instead. Make sure you practice using any kind of carrier before actually placing a baby in it.

-Walkers. These products help children stand and walk on their own, but there are reports of babies falling down stairs. It has been recommended that a ban be placed on the product. Try a stationary ‘jumper’ or activity center, which can has a secure base.

-Infant bath seats. Bath seats can give parents false security when washing their baby. Often times the seats can tip over and the baby can fall in the water and drown. Children can drown in just two inches of water.  Never leave your child unattended when giving them a bath.

Shopping for a baby can be overwhelming. Always look at safety regulators websites for safety recalls and do your research before purchasing new or used products.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to a childcare product, contact our law offices today for a free consultation on how to protect your rights.

Source: CPSC

Dietary supplements send thousands to the ER

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Medical Malpractice

Dietary supplements send thousands to the ER

Although often promoted or thought of as harmless, multivitamins, diet pills, supplements and energy boosters are sending thousands to emergency rooms every year.

New England Journal of Medicine recently released a study, the first study of its kind, revealing that 23,000 people end up in the emergency room each year from ingesting dietary supplements and 2,000 resulted in hospitalization. In most cases, patients are admitted for suffering from heart palpitations, chest pain and choking. The majority of the patients were young adults, children and elderly according to the study. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention as well as the Food and Drug Administration sent teams who conducted the study. Emergency Room visits from 63 different hospitals were tracked from 2004 to 2013.

The reasoning behind the high volume of emergency room visits could be due to the fact that herbal products and those similar are largely unregulated. Even though they are unregulated, the study showed that about half of adults in the United States have taken at least one dietary supplement in the past month.

Health officials have attempted to warn consumers of the potential dangers of these supplements, especially after several related deaths of healthy individuals who took supplements. Just in the last year, two young men one 18 and one 24-years-old died due to overdoses on powdered caffeine. Lamar Odom, former Lakers basketball player, also collapsed and was in intensive care due to “herbal Viagra” called Reload. The FDA has issued several warnings about Reload, due to a hidden drug ingredient which could cause severe reactions.

The study showed that more than a quarter of the ER visits were for young adults between the ages of 24 and 34 years. Most of the time, young adults were taking weight loss or energy products and suffered cardiac symptoms. The second largest and most frequent group seen in the ER for problems related to these drugs were children who got into supplements they were not allowed to touch. Elderly were less commonly involved, but most of their cases were related to choking.

The CDC urge young adults not to take energy or weight loss products in excess and to remember that these products can have severe effects on the hearts. Older adults should be very careful any time they are taking pills to be mindful of choking and should avoid taking large pills or several pills at one time. Always swallow supplements and pills with plenty of water. It is also best to tell your physician if you are taking any dietary supplements and which ones specifically. Keep all supplements and medication away and out of reach of children.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or has died as a result of dietary supplements, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.


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