Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Data: Hospital Infections Linked to 48,000 Deaths (2006)

The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that research "published in Monday's edition of Archives of Internal Medicine estimates that 48,000 people died in 2006 after developing sepsis or pneumonia during their hospital stays." AFP reports that "the two hospital-acquired infections...account for about one-third of the 1.7 million infections US patients pick up every year while in hospital, the study...shows." Furthermore, "they are...responsible for nearly half of the 99,000 deaths a year from hospital-acquired infections reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)." These are numbers that should be front and center in the malpractice debate, not "tort reform."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homeland Security Officers Fail to Secure Guns

"The nation's Homeland Security officers lost nearly 200 guns in bowling alleys, public restrooms, unlocked cars and other unsecure areas, with some ending up in the hands of felons. The problem, outlined in a new federal report, has prompted disciplinary actions and extra training." Read more from USA Today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CT Bill Would Make Hospital Errors Public

The Courant reported that "all medical mishaps" reported by Connecticut hospitals "would again be made public under legislation to be considered this session by the public health committee." Under "the proposed bill, drafted by the attorney general's office...a confidentiality provision added in 2004 to the state's 'adverse event' law" would be eliminated. Furthermore, "the draft...calls on the state Department of Public Health to conduct random audits of hospitals to determine compliance with the reporting law, with each violation bringing a fine as high as $10,000."

Suit Filed in Fatal Coast Guard Crash

A lawsuit filed in San Diego alleges that a "Coast Guard vessel was traveling at an unsafe speed when it struck and killed an 8-year-old boy who was at a Christmas parade on his family boat." Thirteen people were aboard the 26-foot Sea Ray boat that was hit by the Coast Guard vessel on Dec. 20th, during the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. Read more.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pfizer Faces Whistleblower Suit Re: Lipitor Marketing

A lawsuit against Pfizer, filed by former company executive Jesse Polansky of Maryland, claims that for more than seven years, Pfizer has engaged in a "deliberately false and misleading campaign" to push the cholesterol-fighting drug Lipitor for use in millions of patients for whom the drug was not recommended. "According to the lawsuit, as many as 14.6 million people considered at 'moderate risk' of a heart attack were targeted by Pfizer for Lipitor therapy whose benefits were suspect. Pfizer realized that by off-label marketing to the balance of 'moderate risk' patients, it could increase its revenues by billions of dollars." Pfizer denies the allegations. Read more.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Toyota, Gov't Links Questioned

Bloomberg News reports that according to "court and government records," NHTSA regulators recruited away by Toyota "helped end at least four U.S. investigations of unintended acceleration" in Toyota vehicles. "Christopher Tinto, vice president of regulatory affairs in Toyota's Washington office, and Christopher Santucci, who works for Tinto, helped persuade the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to end probes including those of 2002-2003 Toyota Camrys and Solaras, court documents show. Both men joined Toyota directly from NHTSA." The piece adds that Toyota "may be alone among the major companies" in recruiting NHTSA officials to serve as liaisons to the agency. "Possible links between Toyota and NHTSA may fuel mounting criticism of their handling of defects in Toyota and Lexus models" linked to highway fatalities.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Were Power Plant Workers Overworked

The AP has reported that "Some workers building a Connecticut power plant shattered by a gas explosion had been spending more than 80 hours a week there before the blast killed five Sunday, The Associated Press has learned. One employee said workers smelled gas less than an hour beforehand and were told to open doors wider for air." Erik Dobratz, "the son of pipefitter Ray Dobratz," who was killed in the explosion, "said his father had told him he was working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for six months."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Power Plant Explosion Investigators Looking for Evidence of Negligence

The AP reports that "Authorities in Connecticut have launched a criminal investigation into the cause of an explosion that killed five people at a power plant under construction, saying they can't rule out negligence. Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano says if everything had gone right at the Kleen Energy plant on Sunday, there wouldn't have been an explosion." Police Acting Chief Patrick McMahon "says police have ruled out any intentional act and are focusing on whether there was negligence while workers were clearing gas lines of air."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

CT Power Plant Explosion Kills At Least 5

News sources report that at least five workers were killed this morning in an explosion at the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, CT. Scores were injured and some are still missing. A horrible tragedy for all involved.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Score One for the Plaintiffs

Won a decision on a Motion to Strike. This action for damages was filed on behalf of a Pawcatuck, CT couple who allege claims for negligence, nuisance (public and private) and negligent infliction of emotional distress, arising out the Oliver Group's use of property for its business, and claims that the Town of Stonington has allowed a nuisance to exist next door to the plaintiffs' home. The couple alleges numerous violations of the law in connection with the parcel next door to their home, including: illegal parking in a residential zone; an unapproved use of the building without the owners applying for or obtaining a variance; an increase in the size of Oliver's building without regard to property line setbacks or required buffers between it and neighboring houses and without zoning approval; excess noise; and business operations without installation or maintenance of an adequate buffer between the properties.

This Memorandum of Decision is the first decision on motions directed to the pleadings. The Oliver Group filed a Motion to Strike the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th counts, which allege claims for public nuisance and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The court denied the defendant's motion, on the grounds that the plaintiffs have sufficiently pleaded the elements of public nuisance ("the court finds that the plaintiffs' allegations could support a public nuisance claim because they allege excessive noise and traffic congestion that affect rights of members of the general public....") as well as the elements of a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress ("the allegations set forth in the plaintiff's complaint could support a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress in that they have alleged that the Oliver Group should have realized that by operating a parking lot in a residential area without a proper buffer would generate excess noise and light that would cause emotional distress to those living in the surrounding area...."). You can read the decision on JD Supra.

Read our February Newsletter


RI Firm Expands Recall of Italian Sausage Products

Daniele International Inc., a firm with operations in Pascoag and Mapleville, R.I., is expanding its January 23 recall to include approximately 17,235 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) varieties of Italian sausage products, including salami/salame, that may be contaminated with Salmonella. Read more from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).