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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Tagged with personal injury

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FDA-logoAfter a recent study pointed fingers at the mismanagement of medical device recall by the FDA (see previous blog),  further investigations are confirming an outdated and broken system that leaves patients at risk of serious injury and death as unaware doctors continue to use defective devices on their patients.

A recent example of this outdated process is the recall of a sleep apnea ventilator device manufactured by Philips. It is not clear so far as to when exactly, Philips executives found out that the foam used to dampen the noise of the machine was breaking down and could potentially be inhaled or ingested by patients, exposing them to carcinogenic or toxic effects. However, the company announced publicly, on April 26th, while reporting Q1 earnings that it was creating a provision of 250 million Euros to cover costs related to possible risks to users in some sleep and respiratory care machines. While the company had probably already identified that the defective devices were the ones manufactured between April 2007 and April 2021, it waited almost two other months to initiate a recall and warn consumers of potential carcinogenic and toxic effects.  After the issuance of the recall, the FDA issued a safety communication on June 30. It took until July 22nd for the FDA to classify the recall as class I event and publish a public notification.

Does this mean that all patients have been contacted and had their ventilator changed? Not at all. In the actual process, the customers of the manufacturer, such as the hospitals, the providers, the retailers or the distributors are in charged of contacting the patients and they usually don’t do it.  Instead, doctors wait for the patients to come in with symptoms.

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Haunted Houses can cause injuryIf you ran  away from a scary character in a haunted house,  hit a wall and broke your nose, even the best personal injury lawyer will probably not be able to get you compensation because of  what is called “the assumption of risk”. The assumption of risk is a legal doctrine under which an individual is barred from recovering damages for an injury sustained when he or she voluntarily exposed him or herself to a known danger.

When you or your children, enter a haunted house you know that you might be scared and as a result have irrational behaviors that might result in injuries but you agree to take this risk. Therefore if you suffered injury as a result of being scared, it will be difficult to sue the haunted house for damages.

Over the years, some people have tried anyway but most of them lost their case:

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floodFlooding and cleaning up damages after a flood can be dangerous and cause accidents that can result in severe injury and sometimes death. Here is a summary of  the most common dangers and how to avoid them.

Driving a vehicle during a storm and after a storm can be dangerous especially crossing flooded roads. It is estimated that half of the fatalities caused by flooding are people in a vehicle. Crossing an area flooded by water in a vehicle can be deadly. 12 inches of water can carry off a small vehicle and 18 to 24 inches are enough to move a larger vehicle.   It is much safer to turn around rather than risk your life driving your car through a flooded road. If the water raises around your car, you should be ready to abandon it.

Down and damaged power lines create electrical hazards and only qualified workers should perform repair work after proprely evaluating the dangers and de-energizing lines if possible. Even for qualified workers, repairing power lines damaged by a storm can be dangerous. Most common accidents related to damaged or down power lines are electrocution by contact or burn caused by electrified lines, workers falling from heights during repairs or people being struck by a falling pole or other objects falling with the pole such as tree limbs.

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Marion and Aristides victims of terrorist attackWe would like to warmly congratulate two of our clients, Marion Van Reeth and Aristides Melissas for their amazing performance last July, climbing Mont-Ventoux, one of the most difficult climbs of  Tour  de France!

The couple who suffered critical injuries during the terrorist truck attack that took place on the Greenway, downtown Manhattan on October 31st 2017,  were among 10 other victims of  terror attacks who climbed Mont-Ventoux on July 6 ahead of the Tour the France cyclists to support victims of terrorism and call for worldwide solidarity and generosity.

A symbol of the long fight that terror victims endure while recovering from their injuries and trauma, the climb marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack in the US and the 5th anniversary of the Brussels and Nice attacks and was organized by Tour the France with Association Française des Victimes du Terrorisme and V-Europe.

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Ventricular_assist_device (1)Medtronic stopped the sale of the defective HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device, or HVAD last June after more than 3,000 patients died and 20,000 were injured.

Since 2011, multiple problems with the device have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration but the agency never took any decisive action to make sure the manufacturer  fixed the problems. The FDA and its Center for Devices and Radiological Health are in charge of making sure that medical devices are safe and effective for patients however as we highlighted in a previous blog, the agency policy is too accommodating with manufacturers. It has the power to seize products or to issue fines but rarely uses it.

In the case of the HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device, the FDA knew about issues with the product as early as 2011 when the product was developed by the parent company HeartWare and was seeking FDA approval. An inspector mentioned in its report that engineers were not reviewing documents fully before approving them and that the employee assigned to quality control did not have sufficient training. The company told the FDA they would take corrective actions.

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FDA-logoMany defective medical devices might still be used by medical professionals because deaths that occurred when using these devices are being mislabeled as injuries in the FDA Medical Database according to a study published last week in JAMA Network. The study looked at 290,141 reports of defective medical devices that resulted in serious injuries or deaths that were processed by an algorithm. They found that 52% were classified as deaths and 47.9% were classified by the algorithm as malfunction, injury, other or missing. Among these 47.9% that were not classified as death, 23% of these reports were indeed death reports that were not classified proprely by the algorithm. As a result many deadly devices might still be used on patients.  The FDA must review all reports classified as death but does not routinely review all reports that are classified as other or misfunction.

The most dangerous of all medical devices were the ventricular assist bypass devices. These devices represented 13% of all adverse event reports. Coming in second position was the dialysate concentrate for hemodialysis in liquid or in powder with 8.7% of all adverse event reports. The third most reported defective devices were the transcervical contraceptive tubal occlusion devices with 5% of all adverse reports.

The authors of the study also mention that 95% of the adverse event reports were made by manufacturers and not by healthcare facilities or physicians which might constitute a conflict of interest. The authors note that delays in reporting serious injuries or deaths were common. An example of this issue was the Essure permanent birth control device. 32,000 women reported issues with this device between 2002 and 2013 while the FDA only received 1,023 reports.

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Heat Injury preventionHeat injuries can have serious consequences including disability and death. Heat injuries affect not only people practicing sports during the summer but also workers such as construction workers or landscapers. Anyone who practices a strenuous activity in warm conditions is at risk and should understand the body mechanism behind a heat stroke and how to prevent it.

When someone exercises in the heat, the body reaction is to sweat to cool off the body. Therefore the body looses a lot of fluids that need to be replaced by water or hydrating drinks. The body also needs to cool off.  If someone doesn’t let his or her body cool off properly and hydrate proprely, the body becomes dehydrated and  heat injuries occur.

Heat injuries come in many forms from mild to acute:

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job-made-boxes-can-lead-to-serious-injury-and-deathIn a recent bulletin, OSHA warns construction workers and other workers using forklifts about potential injuries and deaths caused by “job-made boxes”

What are “job-made boxes”?

Job made boxes are any makeshift attachments created by construction workers or workers in other industries such as boxes, baskets or platforms. They are often made of wood as well as metal and plastic. They look like a little balcony: a platform with 3 walls around it. Workers attach these boxes to forklifts to lift equipment, workers or material to various heights. Workers also use them to step on them when working at elevated levels.

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construction workers moving equipment are at risk of struck by accidentsStruck by injuries are the most common non-fatal injuries sustained by construction workers.

Among the 79.7 k construction workers who were injured in 2019, 16.6K suffered struck by injuries and 4 K suffered struck against injuries. Struck by accidents are also among the top causes of construction workers fatalities. In 2019, out of a total of 1,102 workers fatalities, 80 construction workers died after being struck by a vehicle and 70 of them died after being struck by an object or equipment.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently analyzed data related to these types of injuries and published the result of the study in a recent data-bulletin. Researchers at CPWR found that there was a big difference on how fatal and non-fatal struck by injuries occur. Fatal struck by injuries mostly occur when a construction worker is struck by a vehicle while non fatal struck by injuries are mostly caused by handheld objects or equipment.

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nurseNational Nurses Week starts Today until May 12. When someone is ill or injured, nurses not only bring physical support but also psychological support to the patient and to the family. During the pandemic they scarified their own health, mental and physical, to fight the pandemic and we thank them for their work. Nurses are our super-heroes.

To kick-off #NationalNursesWeek The Center for Injury Research and Prevention just launched a new website for nurses and medical staff to help children and families coping with illness and injuries. The “Health Care Toolbox”  looks at Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress for children and families and how nurses can play a significant role in reducing distress, bringing emotional support and interact with the family.

When a child is injured or sick, the pain endured by the child as well as the medical procedures or treatment the child has to go through can create psychological and physiological responses from the child and the family called “Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress Disorder”.  Having trouble concentrating, sleeping and eating, blaming each other or feeling numb about the situation, having unwanted thoughts or avoiding things reminding them of the event are some of the symptoms that can be experienced during  Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress Disorder. If the symptoms persist they can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).