New England Fireworks Injuries a Risk Through Fourth of July Holiday

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan asks residents and visitors of Massachusetts to set a good example for your children and leave the fireworks to the professionals.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys are urging you to enjoy the many displays of fireworks supervised by local fire departments and conducted by licensed professionals instead of attempting to put on your own shows.
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If you chose to have some fun at home, it's important to make sure that the fireworks you've got are legal in the state.

"While fireworks may be purchased legally in other states, it is illegal to bring them into or through Massachusetts," said State Fire Stephen D. Coan.

In the state of Massachusetts, firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, flares, candles, bombs, wheels, colored fire, fountains, mines, and serpents are all illegal.

Sparklers are still legal though. But remember that they can still be dangerous.

Sparklers light up your Fourth of July with their crackling glow and glowing trail of light. Kids of all ages are in awe of the sparks that fly around Fourth of July celebrations, but these devices are merely wire sticks that are dipped in a mixture of metals and chemicals and set on fire.

Doesn't sound too safe, does it?

Remember that these pretty little devices can also heat up to nearly 2,000 degrees.

It's easy for parents to believe that sparklers are safer that ordinary fireworks, but the truth of the matter is that they're just as dangerous and it's time to stop overlooking the dangers.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), close to 20 percent of all firework-related injuries are actually the result of sparklers. Young children account for a majority of these incidents, too.

Before handing a sparkler to a child or someone else in your family, read over these safety tips and be on your best behavior:

-You never want to hand over a lighted sparkler to another person. Make sure that you give then one that's not been lit let. If you're letting a child hold one, make sure that an adult light it.

-Only use one sparkler at a time. You don't want to intensify the dangers by adding more in the mix.

-Remember that fireworks are still hot long after they've gone out. When they go out, confiscate them from children and place them directly into a bucket of water or under a running hose.

-Never allow children to play with any kind of fireworks without the proper supervision of a competent adult.

-Only purchase sparklers from a reputable vendor.

Each year, there are about 200 people who wind up in an emergency room every day during the month around the Fourth of July. Don't let it happen to you. Be safe and have fun out there. Happy Fourth of July!

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Transvaginal Mesh Company Pays $55.4 Million to Settle Some TVM Cases

According to Reuters, a unit of Endo Pharmaceuticals has recently agreed to pay out $54.5 million to settle just some of the thousands of lawsuits the company is facing over its transvaginal mesh surgical products. 1221952_to_sign_a_contract_3.jpg

Transvaginal mesh, or TVM as it is called, was used by patients worldwide as a method of treating pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that the Endo Pharmaceuticals unit is just one of many manufacturers facing lawsuits and that this settlement is only just the beginning of the compensation that will need to be paid to the women whose health was adversely affected by dangerous mesh products.

Company Settles Without Admitting Fault
Reuters reported that the unit of Endo Pharmaceuticals paying out the $54.5 million settlement is called American Medical Systems. American Medical Systems disclosed this settlement payout in a regulatory filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday June 20th. The company did not indicate exactly how many cases it was resolving with the $54.5 million settlement agreement.

In settling the claims, American Medical Systems did not admit that the company was at fault or liable for the health problems that the women were facing. Transvaginal mesh has been linked to numerous medical issues including erosion of the mesh; significant pain; recurrent organ prolapse and other problems that normally necessitate at least one repeat surgery to correct. However, the company did not admit fault or liability for these symptoms or problems.

American Medical Systems has estimated in the past that it expects to spend at least $160 million to settle the vaginal mesh claims against the company. Other manufacturers that also made transvaginal mesh devices have their own lawsuits to resolve as well, so manufacturers throughout the United States will likely be paying many millions of dollars to compensate people whose lives they damaged through releasing an unsafe medical device.

FDA data shows that in 2010 alone, there were an estimated 300,000 women diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse and around one out of every three of these women had a surgical procedure using transvaginal mesh. Another 260,000 women during the same year had surgery for stress urinary incontinence, around 80 percent of whom used transvaginal mesh.

The $54.5 million settlement from AMS is thus only the tip of the iceberg. Although the company has not admitted fault, its settling of the claims mean that the victims of its dangerous mesh devices will at least have their bills, costs and other losses covered. That the company is estimating paying out more in settlement money is a strong indicator that they believe a judge or jury would see a link between their products and the symptoms experienced by patients.

The company is likely to continue to be willing and eager to settle cases when possible in order to avoid claims going to court and juries rendering verdicts for plaintiffs who were harmed. Settlements allow injured victims to avoid having to go through the process of a trial in order to obtain monetary damages, but plaintiffs should speak to an attorney before accepting a settlement to ensure they are getting the full amount of compensation they deserve.

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Judge Upholds DePuy Verdict for Patient Injured by Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant

Thousands of patients throughout the United States are currently involved in litigation to hold DePuy Orthopaedics responsible for damages caused by the metal-on-metal hip implant devices manufactured by this Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. While some of these cases against DePuy Orthopaedics are just getting started, others have already been tried and decisions rendered. 1409595_gavel_5.jpg

Our Boston defective hip implant lawyers know that many of the cases have been successful for injured patients. In March of 2013, for example, a California man was awarded $8.34 million in damages due to injuries sustained after he had a DePuy ASR hip replacement device implanted. DePuy Orthopaedics appealed the decision that was made by the jury in that case, but a judge recently made the decision that the verdict would be upheld.

Judge Upholds Jury Verdict
Juries make decisions about whether a defendant is legally liable (legally responsible) for causing injuries and about the extent of the damages that the plaintiff endured. The damages can include medical expenses; lost income/missed work time; pain and suffering; emotional distress and other economic and non-economic losses. The damage award is a monetary award that is supposed to "make the plaintiff whole."

In the recent DePuy case, the jury determined that the California plaintiff was entitled to $8.34 million in damages to fully compensate him for his losses. The injured plaintiff had underwent hip surgery in 2007 and subsequently experienced serious complications including metal toxicity, pain and walking problems.

After the jury awarded the plaintiff the multi-million dollar verdict, DePuy Orthopaedics asked the judge to grant a new trial or for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). A JNOV would mean that the judge would say that the jury was wrong, that they made a decision that wasn't supported by the law, and that a different ruling should be entered.

The judge, however, declined to either allow for a new trial or to grant a JNOV. Instead, the judge said that there was sufficient evidence that the jury could reasonably have concluded that the DePuy ASR product had a defect and that the medical device manufacturer failed to provide adequate information to patients about the risks of using the metal-on-metal hip replacement product.

The judge's decision means that the verdict still stands, at least for now, against DePuy Orthopaedics. When the judge announced his decision, he also scheduled a hearing for later in the month to address the plaintiff's request that the medical device company be responsible for paying $1.2 million in court costs and litigation expenses.

This is bad news for DePuy Orthopaedics not only because of the large damage award that the company is supposed to pay to the plaintiff, which could get larger if the judge determines that the company has to pay the plaintiff's costs. It is also bad news because there are thousands of other lawsuits out there.

Since one jury has already found that DePuy was responsible for millions in injuries, there is a good chance that at least some of the other juries hearing DePuy cases will also find for the plaintiff and award compensation to those patients injured by the defective hip replacement devices.

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Update on New England Steroid Injection Bacteria Outbreak

Consumers, especially patients with medical conditions, are often in the position of blindly trusting their doctors, pharmacists, and the manufacturing companies that develop and distribute drugs. While most of the drugs on the market have been tested, there are always potential dangers. Since the outbreak of meningitis associated with steroid shots last year, the Food and Drug Administration has been scrutinizing the manufacturing plants of similar products.

The FDA is the federal agency responsible for ensuring that specific products, including over the counter drugs, prescriptions, and other food products, are safe for consumption. When reporting dangerous drugs or other contaminants, the FDA can recall those products temporarily or ban the products completely. Currently, the agency is investigating reports of bacteria found in the same steroid shots that caused a deadly outbreak of meningitis last year.

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While the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work to determine the newest species of fungus and bacteria, the victims have continued to suffer from adverse effects, including skin and soft tissue abscesses. Our Boston dangerous drug attorneys understand the gravity of injuries and are dedicated to helping victims protect their rights against large drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.

The agency initiated the investigation after reports that the products were linked to infections. According to the FDA, the contaminants were found in sealed vials of steroids, which were produced and packaged by Main Street Pharmacy. The company has since recalled its products nationwide after 24 people developed abscesses at the site of their injections in Tennessee. Though meningitis has also been linked to the same injections, the FDA claims that there are no cases associated with the new site.

The injuries and consequences caused of the meningitis injections have been severe and widespread. According to the CDC, 58 people died and 745 other victims developed infections after receiving contaminated injections from the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. Overall, there have been over 300 cases involving abscesses or bacteria related infections caused by the drug.

The newest outbreak involves products that were distributed to 13 states. The federal agencies are continuing their investigation to determine if more patients are at risk. The agencies are particularly concerned about the injections since meningitis outbreak and have found that many of the manufacturing plants were in violation of regulations and operating under unsterile conditions.

To prevent additional injury and health risks, the FDA is requesting that health care providers and consumers report adverse consequences of drug use or any additional problems that could be associated to the Main Street products. If you or someone you love was injured or suffered because of a defective drug, you should report that injury to FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

The consequences of a dangerous or infected drug can cause significant and permanent health conditions and in some cases, death. Victims and their families in New England or nationwide may be entitled to significant compensation for those losses and should contact an experienced advocate who can initiate an immediate investigation.

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What You Need to Know About Swimming Pool Safety This Summer

Early this June, CBS Local reported that an 18-year-old girl was seriously injured in a swimming pool accident. The teen suffered a spinal injury, a fractured skull and a broken wrist. The teen also faces trespassing charges because she and a friend were allegedly "pool-hopping" at the time of the accident. Essentially, this means that the teens broke into someone's back yard to go swimming. Unfortunately, they chose the backyard of someone whose pool had been emptied for repairs, which was how the 18-year-old was injured when she jumped in. 1341083_neglected_pool.jpg

Our Boston accident attorneys know that swimming pool accidents are far-too-common over the summer months. While pool-hopping teens may not be a common occurrence, trespassers coming onto properties to use swimming pools occurs frequently through the hot summer months, and many of these trespassers are young children who could drown within minutes. Young kids are even at risk of drowning in swimming pools with parents in arm's reach, since most people don't really recognize the signs of drowning.

Keeping kids (and teens) safe from summer swimming pool accidents thus needs to be a joint-effort. Parents and caregivers should do their part by supervising their kids carefully, teaching their kids to swim and learning the signs of drowning. Pool owners need to carefully secure their swimming pools to ensure that kids don't wander into the pool and lose their lives.

Protecting Kids from Swimming Pool Accidents

The homeowner of the pool where the 18-year-old kid was injured had done everything right to try to prevent accidents and trespassers. The homeowner was actually a building inspector for the town of Westford whose job it is to make sure pools are up-to-code. He had a six-foot privacy fence to block the view of the pool and a four-foot-tall chain link fence around the rest of the area.

While his fence did not keep the teens out because they were intent on trespassing, it would have kept out an average child wandering around the neighborhood.

Having a fence is so important that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently issued a call-to-action encouraging homeowners to put a fence around all pools. The CPSC's news release on the fence issue was sent out because the majority of kids who drown -390 each year on average- do so in backyard pools.

Having the pool fence can protect these young children and it also protects homeowners from being held legally liable for injuries that kids sustain.

Of course, while a fence can keep trespassing kids out, kids are also at risk when swimming with permission unless they are carefully supervised. Supervised mean not just keeping an eye on them, but also knowing how to recognize the signs of drowning.

Unfortunately, many believe that drowning involves flailing and splashing like they see in the movies. The reality, however, is very different. As a Slate article recently indicated, drowning doesn't usually look like drowning because a drowning person cannot cry out for help or flail. A drowning person cannot cry out because he cannot breathe, and he cannot flail because his drowning mechanism will cause him to extend his arms laterally and press down on the water's surface.

Actual signs of drowning thus include a mouth that sinks and reappears regularly; movements that look as if the drowning person is climbing a ladder; and having glassy, closed or unfocused eyes.

If homeowners put up fences and parents and caregivers learn the signs of drowning this summer, hopefully there will be fewer deadly or dangerous drowning accidents and kids will make it through the summer season OK.

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Boston Doctors Seeks to New Solutions To Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment

It is a long-standing and well-accepted rule that doctors need to obtain informed consent before providing treatment to patients. When a patient is unable to give his consent, family members or those with medical power of attorney need to be consulted. These rules exist to ensure that people understand the risks of receiving medical care and can make choices about how they want to handle their own health issues. 666037_x-ray_head.jpg

Unfortunately, our Boston brain injury attorneys know that patients who suffer some of the most severe injuries are not able to give informed consent when they need treatment. Those who are brought to the hospital after suffering head trauma from a car accident, slip and fall, work accident or other incident are often unconscious as a result of head injuries.

Because brain injuries often occur in trauma situations, patients may not have their family with them either. These brain injury victims need treatment right away to have the best chance of avoiding brain damage, but there is that issue of informed consent to think about.

Boston Doctors Seek New Solution for Brain Injury Patients

A group of Boston doctors is currently seeking permission to try out a new solution in treating brain injury patients. According to the Boston Globe, the doctors are hoping to join a national trial that is intended to assess the impact of administering the hormone progesterone to a brain injury patient in the hours immediately following the injury. Doctors want to be able to provide the hormone treatment to patients through injections that are given right away, entering them in the trial without waiting for informed consent.

This is a departure from the traditional rules associated both with providing medical care and with putting patients into clinical trials. Usually, patients need to be told of the risks of participating in trials or studies and need to be given the chance to refuse enrollment. However, because doctors in this clinical trial would be giving the hormone injections right away to unconscious patients, there generally would be no chance to say no.

If the Boston doctors are given permission to enter into the study, this would be the first time that an exemption was made at a Boston hospital on the issue of informed consent since the FDA created rules in 1996 allowing such exemptions. The law permits exemptions in situations where emergency care is necessary.

When a brain injury occurs, every second counts when it comes to treatment because a "secondary cascade" of harm occurs to the brain after the initial trauma. The secondary cascade refers to the fact that swelling, metabolic changes and fluid build-up can result in cells continuing to die until the brain is stabilized. The more cell death that occurs, the more cognitive and neurological impairments a patient experiences. The cell death is permanent and cannot be cured or reversed, so the only hope for staving off serious brain damage in head trauma cases is prompt treatment.

The hope is that the progesterone will be effective at stopping the secondary cascade of injuries if administered promptly after the trauma because the progesterone can stop cell death. If the doctors at Boston-area hospitals are allowed to go forward and enter the trial to study the effects of progesterone on brain injury patients right after a trauma, patients will have a reason to hope that brain injury treatment will be more effective at preventing permanent harm.

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Preventing Injury Caused by Dangerous Drug Interactions

Patients who take regular medications or multiple medications are at risk of injury caused by dangerous drugs. According to some health and medical experts, there are some ways you can help to avoid the consequences of dangerous drugs or dangerous drug interactions. Our Boston injury attorneys are experienced in these medical-legal cases and are dedicated to helping patients protect themselves and their loved ones from medical negligence.

According to statistics, the average American fills approximately 12 prescriptions per year. This creates significant opportunities for prescription errors including wrong medication, overdose, or dangerous mixing of drugs. While doctors, pharmacists, manufacturers and other medical professionals should be held accountable for dangerous drugs and injuries, there are some steps a consumer can take to avoid injures.

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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has reported that more than 77,000 injuries and death occur every year as a result of drug related events. Consumers and patients who understand the risks can take steps to reduce the chance of drug injuries and fatalities. The Food and Drug Administration has indicated that there are three main drug interactions: drug-food interactions, drug-condition interactions, and drug-drug interactions.

Drug-food interactions may result in dangerous side effects, such as when a drug is mixed with alcohol. Drug-condition interactions may have dangerous consequences if a doctor prescribes a drug without knowing a full medical history and other conditions that could be impacted by the use of a drug. Mixing two drugs or drug-drug interactions can be dangerous or fatal.

As a consumer, you should be aware of these various kinds of drug interactions. Pharmacists have offered the following tips to help you avoid some interactions and keep your family safe:

1) Stick with a regular pharmacy. Choosing one pharmacy and picking up all of your prescriptions can reduce the possibility of error and ensure that your pharmacist has a full record of your prior health conditions or other medications. When you see a regular pharmacist your doctor can also check for any risk of drug interactions.

2) Communicate regularly with your doctor. If you have a new or resurfacing health condition, always make changes known to your doctor. Your primary physician as well as any specialists you are seeing should have a list of your conditions and prescription medication. You should also indicate whether you are taking supplements and over the counter medication. Always ask questions if you have dietary restrictions, habits, or a history of food-drug interactions.

3) Ask questions and pay attention. When you get a prescription filled, you should have a clear understanding of the dose, potential side effects, name of the drug, and the drug instructions. Following directions can reduce the likelihood of error or a dangerous drug interaction. Always follow directions and drink water or eat food with a drug as indicated on the label. When you have questions, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or your pharmacist about concerns.

You should never share medication or take a prescription without a doctor's consent. This could also result in serious side effects and injury. As always, when you are the victim of a dangerous drug interaction, you should consult with a legal-medical professional who can help you assert your rights.

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Oklahoma Tornado Raises Awareness for Storm Preparation

Hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather disasters can be extremely dangerous. As victims of the recent Oklahoma tragedy know, nothing can prepare you for such upheaval. While the consequences of a storm are never predictable, taking precautions in advance can help to prevent injury and to create an environment of survival before, during and after the storm.

Some preparations may include creating an emergency plan, learning how to identify warning signs before a severe storm, and how to monitor tornado warnings. Experts agree that knowing the warning signs can help you stay safe during a storm. Even though tornadoes don't usually strike the New England region, our Boston personal injury attorneys realize that disaster preparedness can also help prevent injury after storms like Hurricane Sandy.

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Businesses, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other organizations should take necessary steps to prepare for a storm. In addition to creating a safe environment for clients, residents, students, or other occupants, employers should be concerned about the safety of their workers. Creating an emergency plan is a necessary blue print to determine where residents, students or employees should take shelter. It should also outline policies to ensure that individuals are accountable. Depending on the premises, there should be specific procedures to deal with any hazardous materials that could pose an additional threat.

After a storm, there could be additional dangers posed to workers, including electrical lines, sharp debris, heat illness, and the potential injury caused by equipment used during a recovery effort. Portable generators can create the risk of electrocution, burn, or fires. Immediately after a storm, workers should take every necessary precaution to stay safe, whether in an office building, on a construction site, or facing the elements.

Workers who are assisting with recovery efforts may face additional dangers on the job. Unstable premises, electrical hazards, and other unknowns can pose a serious risk to workers involved in recovery or restoration efforts. While employers are responsible for providing equipment, training workers, and providing necessary information to successfully complete a recovery effort, workers should always be wary of latent risks or dangers.

Employers are responsible for the safety and health of workers. Companies should create emergency strategies and give workers the information they need to anticipate any hazards associated with response or recovery after a storm. OSHA has provided information for workers and employers to prepare for a storm. Though storm personal injury cases can be complicated, it is important for victims to have a clear understanding of their rights and recovery options.

In the event of a storm-related workplace accident, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation. Workers who suffer an injury during or after a storm do not need to prove negligence, they only need to demonstrate that they were injured while in the course of performing work-related duties. In addition to workers' compensation benefits, all storm victims may also be able to pursue third-party claims against negligent individuals or entitles.

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Criminal Penalties for Foreign Drugmaker Ranbaxy

The pharmaceutical company, Ranbaxy, has been held criminally liable for a number of injuries and wrongful death caused by dangerous drugs produced in overseas factories. The manufacturing company failed to follow federal safety guidelines and lied to authorities. Now the company has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and will be forced to pay a record $500 million fine.

Consumers in the United States and worldwide should be able to trust that the company's they depend on are held to the highest standards. Our Boston dangerous drug lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of drug injury protect their rights against Ranbaxy and similar negligent drug manufacturing companies.

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Lofton, et.al. v. McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, et al., was initiated in 2000 after the death of Christopher M. Lofton. The company received its first warning in June 2006 and the Department of Justice initiated legal proceedings against the company in 2008. Many critics believe that the $500 million fine is minimal compared to the damage caused by the company and the egregious acts that led up to the criminal charges.

Foreign drug makers are difficult to regulate and the FDA faces a number of challenges when reviewing how the drugs are manufactured or distributed in the United States. According to reports, this is one of many foreign drugmakers that was able to produce drugs cheaply and under the radar of the FDA. The company has pleaded guilty to felony charges after admitted to selling adulterated drugs with the intent to defraud. Ranbaxy failed to meet drug specifications and made intentionally false statements to the government.

Ranbaxy was finally scrutinized after evidence of harm to consumers and the FDA found that the drugs had extremely high rates of impurity, creating significant risk to patients. In November, Ranbaxy had to withdraw its anti-cholesterol drug after the pills were found to be contaminated with glass powder. Many of the drugs would become unusable when exposed to hot or humid conditions, even when necessary to patient survival. Many of the drugs were prescribed to patients suffering from AIDS, bacterial infections, or epilepsy.

According to reports, Ranbaxy is guilty of failing to follow standards of manufacturing prescribed by the FDA as well as fraud. In addition to breaching patient trust, the company also defrauded an entire system. Some critics of Ranbaxy have suggested blacklisting a number of the drugs that are still under investigation. Many believe that the Indian government is also to blame for failing to investigate or charge the company with a crime. India's regulation agency has also failed to probe the company.

It has been reported that the company's executives demonstrated an extreme lack of empathy for patients dependent on their drugs. The company has admitted that during the summer of 2007 a batch of gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, had tested positive for impurities. This meant that the shelf life for this batch of drugs was unreliable and that the drugs were essentially unusable. The drug is used to treat epilepsy and is a necessary part of life for patients. According to reports, there had been several issues with the batch for month. Despite this knowledge, the company intentionally delayed notification to the FDA. The end recall involved nearly 75 million pills.


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Bus Driver Pleads Not-Guilty After Boston Overpass Collision

Bus companies are increasingly scrutinized in the wake of a number of accidents along the East Coast, which have resulted in serious injuries and death. The accidents have been caused by fatigued drivers, negligent maintenance, and other acts of negligence on behalf of drivers and bus companies. Last February, 35 teenagers and chaperones were injured after visiting Harvard University. Now the Philadelphia driver accused in the crash has pled not-guilty to the criminal charges stemming from the accident.

Our Boston bus accident attorneys routinely work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to determine the cause of the accident and identify all of the parties responsible for injuries or fatalities. In this case, our legal team would take a comprehensive approach, using witness statements, police records, and other reports to determine the cause of the accident and preserve necessary evidence for a civil case.

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Public and private schools, churches, and other organizations will often hire private bus companies to transport students and members to activities and events. In this case, the group of traveling teenagers was from a non-profit called Destined for a Dream Foundation based out of Bristol, Pennsylvania. Recent fatal accidents have raised awareness regarding the safety of these busing companies and the level of scrutiny faced by drivers. Sadly, it can take multiple accidents, injuries and deaths to raise the awareness of legislators and to improve safety regulations for these companies.

In this case, a 67-year-old driver was charged with misdemeanor negligent operation of a motor vehicle. He also faces two civil infractions for traffic violations. Evidence shows that older drivers may have slower reaction times or reduced vision. It is unclear whether the bus company properly screened the driver to ensure that he was capable of operating the bus.

Immediately after a highway bus accident, a private investigation on behalf of any victim can preserve evidence and help to support a claim. According to police, the accident occurred when the driver was following GPS directions but did not see warning signs that indicated a low overpass. The bus struck the overpass on the night of February 2.

While most passengers were not seriously injured, one of the teenage victims suffered a serious spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries often require significant medical attention and long-term care needs. Any serious permanent injury warrants a comprehensive financial recovery for medical expenses, long-term care needs, rehabilitative care as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

After a bus accident involving a private company, the driver, as well as the bus company can be held liable for injuries. If a victim can prove that the bus company failed in a duty to screen drivers, maintain vehicles, or follow safety regulations, that victim or the victim's family may be entitled to significant compensation for their losses.

In cases involving negligence, a driver may face additional penalties and criminal charges. Evidence of criminal negligence can also be used in a civil personal injury case. The driver in this case pled not-guilty to charges and will return to court on July 24.

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Swimming Pool Safety: A Summertime Concern for All

The weather's heating up and the swim suits are coming out. Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed after a long winter. Americans swim hundreds of millions of times in pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, and hot tubs/spas each year and most people have a safe and healthy time enjoying the water. However, it is important to be aware of ways to prevent drowning risks associated with this fun, summertime activity.
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Our Boston swimming pool accident lawyers understand that there are more than 10 million residential swimming pools across the U.S. and another 310,000 public swimming pools. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 40 percent of children and about 20 percent of adults in the country swim about 10 times a year. When you add that all up, that's some serious risks for accidents.

Every day, roughly ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children under the age of 15. As a matter of fact, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the nation.

An adult should actively watch children at all times while they are in a pool. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water and within arm's reach, providing "touch supervision." For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and free from distractions. The supervising adult must know how to swim.

So we know all about the risks, but do you know about ways to make your pool safer for everyone? Here are some simple safety tips to make sure everyone has a fun and injury-free day at the pool.

Tips for a Safer Day at the Pool:

-Make sure everyone can swim. Enroll your youngest family members into swim classes. They're affordable, they work and they can save lives.

-Protect your pool and protect young invaders with a four-sided pool fence. Make sure this fence is equipped with child-proof locks. You don't want your little ones venturing near the pool when you're not around to supervise.

-Make sure that you're cleaning up your pool, and by that we mean that you should clear the water and pool deck of toys and floatation devices when the pool is not in use. You don't want kids' attention to be attracted to the pool when you're not near.

-Learn CPR. Having these lifesaving skills can mean the difference between life and death while waiting for paramedics and emergency personnel to arrive.

-Always keep a phone with you. Whether it's a house phone or a cell phone, you always want to have one within reach while attending your pool, just in case an accident happens.

We're wishing you a safe summer season and a warm day at the pool, but we're asking that you do so safely and responsibly.

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Depression and Brain Injury Often Linked

Brain injuries are far too common in the United States, with the CDC indicating that around 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur each year as either isolated injuries or with other injuries. Brain injuries can happen in many different situations, from car accidents to slip and falls to military combat. Unfortunately, whenever a brain injury occurs, it can have a profound and devastating impact on the rest of your life. 1254880_shiny_brain_.jpg

Our Boston injury attorneys know that brain injury victims may need ongoing medical care and adaptive devices to cope with their injuries. Unfortunately, patients may never fully recover. It is important that every brain injury patient receive the full amount of compensation available from whoever caused the brain injury. This means that when your brain injury has far-reaching physical and emotional consequences, your compensation needs to take these issues into account as well. This includes taking into account depression or other emotional distress or trauma caused by the brain injury or accident.

Brain Injury and Depression Linked
Recently, News Fix reported that researchers at the University of Iowa discovered a potential correlation between depression and brain injury. Prior research suggests that depression may be one complication of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but the research on this issue is limited.

The Iowa researchers decided to find more data to better understand the connection between TBI and depression. The study involved comparing 91 patients suffering from traumatic brain injury with 27 patients who experienced multiple traumas but whose nerve systems were not involved. The researchers discovered that approximately one third of the patients had clinical depression over the course of the year following their brain injury.

The one-third of patients who developed clinical depression generally had a history of mood disorders and/or anxiety disorders. The percentage of patients who developed clinical depression, in other words, was generally already more prone to mental issues than patients in the control group who had TBI but no depression.

Still, this does not change the facts that there may be a link between brain injury and depression.

Depression Can Change Your Life
Patients who are depressed can have a number of issues, including poor social functioning. Brain scans also revealed that depressed patients have a lower level of gray matter. An estimated 77 percent of patients with TBI and depression also exhibited aggressive behavior and reported anxiety.

These are serious issues and your quality of life can be changed dramatically if you are involved in a car accident or other incident and suffer brain injury. You need to ensure you have full and fair compensation to cover all of your losses - including depression and emotional distress compensation- so that you can get medical help with ALL issues caused by the accident.

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More Trouble at Compounding Pharmacies Highlights Risks to Patients

Just a few short months ago, many people had never heard of a compounding pharmacy. Now, however, compounding pharmacies have been in the news many times in recent months, starting with headlines about a devastating outbreak of fungal infections allegedly caused by the New England Compounding Pharmacy (NECC). 1396654_alchemic_vials_2.jpg

Infections and issues related to compounding pharmacies have prompted discussions of changing regulatory laws and created nationwide concern as people throughout the United States were diagnosed with meningitis due to the NECC's contaminated steroid medications. Unfortunately, our Boston injury attorneys know that the NECC case was not an isolated incident and that many compounding pharmacies are simply not producing drugs that are as safe as they should be. A recent incident involving a Tennessee compounding pharmacy has confirmed this and underscored the fact that compounding pharmacies can cause serious public health problems.

More Trouble at Compounding Pharmacies

According to Fox News, health officials are now investigating cases involving patients who were injected with medicines from a Tennessee compounding pharmacy called Main Street Family Pharmacy.

Main Street Family Pharmacy was creating injections with methylprednisolone acetate, which is the same drug that was produced by NECC and that caused the fungal infection throughout the entire United States. More than 55 people died and 740 more were injured by the fungal infection caused by NECC and this made patients and public health officials very nervous when news broke that a Tennessee pharmacy had sent out the same drug that was also contaminated.

As of now, however, authorities indicate that the current situation does not approach the level of severity of the fungal infections and meningitis outbreak prompted by NECC in 2012. However authorities also caution that it is still early and that investigation is still ongoing, which means that things could turn out to be much worse.

So far, seven cases of potential infection have been identified and traced back to drugs from the Main Street Family Pharmacy. Five of those cases are in Illinois and two more are in North Carolina. All five of the patients in Illinois had skin infections in the buttocks and hips. At least one of the North Carolina patients, on the other hand, is reported as having some type of fungal infection. However, a health-care epidemiologist leading the CDC investigation into the incidents reports that there is no current indication that the patient has meningitis or any other life threatening conditions.

As the CDC and other investigations continue into these infections, hopefully no more reports will surface of people developing complications or infections as a result of the injection of drugs from the Main Street Family Pharmacy.

In the meantime, until the investigations are concluded and cases resolved, the FDA has recommended that doctors stop using any sterile drugs distributed by Main Street Family Pharmacy. Main Street Family Pharmacy has indicated that it supports the FDA"s recommendation because in its 15 years of operation, "patient safety has always been and will always be," their top priority. Unfortunately, it seems as if the company may not have lived up to its obligations and may have let patients down.

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Food Poisoning Lawsuits: Infections from Foodborne Germs Increase

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections from certain foodborne germs increased in 2012 as compared with prior years, with some infections occurring at the highest levels since 2000. While new standards aim to make food safer, some restaurants and food distributors are still not doing enough to protect the public from dangers of foodborne illness. 1422473_grilled_sausage_patties.jpg

Our Boston injury attorneys know that foodborne germs can lead to devastating illness and even death. If you are made sick as a result of contaminated food sold in your supermarket or served to you in a restaurant, you may have a claim for damages. You will need to prove that someone was to blame and that the dangerous product or the negligence of the manufacturer, distributor, store or restaurant was the direct cause of your foodborne illness.

Foodborne Illness and Food Poisoning Lawsuits

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections from two germs that are commonly spread through food have significantly increased in 2012 when compared with the baseline period from 2006 to 2008. The two germs that have caused higher rates of infection include:

  • Campylobacter, which can be found in raw milk, produce and poultry. Infections from this germ have increased 14 percent in 2012 as compared with 2006-2008 and infections are at their highest level since 2000.
  • Vibrio, which is commonly linked to eating raw or undercooked shellfish. Infections from this germ are up 43 percent as compared with rates observed from 2006 to 2008.

Campylobacter infections can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and fever. The infections normally resolve themselves in around a week, but this is not always the case. Vibrio, on the other hand, is more rare but can cause more serious and potentially life threatening infections. Those who develop this infection who have liver disease are at the greatest risk.

Liability for Foodborne Illness

Efforts are continually underway to try to prevent foodborne illness from occurring and to try to minimize the dangers that people are exposed to in their food products. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both have certain requirements that must be followed as well as best practices that are advised. In 2011, FSIS updated its industry performance standards for both campylobacter and salmonella to reduce the presence of these germs in turkeys and chickens.

Manufacturers are expected to comply with guidelines, and restaurants and stores that serve food must also comply with local Board of Health requirements. Typically, people get sick only whens something goes wrong somewhere along the way and someone doesn't comply with the regulations. When this occurs, you may be able to sue if you were made ill due to foodborne bacteria or germs. For example, you could potentially sue:

  • A food manufacturer or distributor that produced contaminated products.
  • A grocery store that sold you tainted or contaminated food.
  • A restaurant that served you undercooked or dangerous food that caused you to develop food poisoning.

The key in these lawsuits will be showing that the manufacturer; grocery store; distributor or other defendant did something wrong or careless or breached some legal safety obligation. Provided you can show that something went wrong, you should be entitled to receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and other losses.

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Dialysis Patients Face Many Drug-Related Risks

Dialysis patients are dependent upon a number of drugs to help ensure that their bodies stay healthy and functioning even though their kidneys do not work. Unfortunately, the very fact that dialysis patients are dependent upon drugs makes them vulnerable to many health risks. 1421532_pills_drugs.jpg

Our Boston dialysis injury attorneys know that many people suffered cardiac events and were harmed as a result of dangerous dialysis drugs produced by Fresenius Medical Care. However, this is just one of many examples of dialysis patients who have been put at risk or who suffered harm as a result of the drugs that were administered to them. Only recently, for example, a pharmacist was found to be misbranding dialysis drugs and providing cheaper medications to patients.

Dialysis Drugs Misbranded

According to KSN.com, a pharmacist confessed to distributing misbranded dialysis drugs to patients. The pharmacist reported that he had substituted a Chinese-made drug for an FDA approved medication. The drug that the patients were supposed to receive was an iron sucrose drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for dialysis patients.

Unfortunately, the pharmacist wanted to make some extra money and to earn a larger profit so the pharmacist decided not to give patients the drugs they needed. Instead, patients received the misbranded Chinese drug that had no FDA approval and that may very well have been a different drug, a placebo or a dangerous chemical substance.

Dialysis patients, especially, could be vulnerable to problems with dangerous medications since their bodies are unable to filter out waste on their own. A patient undergoing dialysis needs to take the recommended drug therapies as advised by a doctor in order to maintain strength and in order for the dialysis regimen to be effective in keeping the patient healthy.

Unfortunately, this means that administering the wrong medication to a dialysis patient could have devastating consequences. The pharmacist who was dishonest and who prevented people from getting the medications they need has thus committed a very dangerous and immoral act.

The pharmacist who distributed the mislabeled drug provided the medications to dialysis patients in Kansas, but this type of problem could happen anywhere and at any time. The pharmacist is facing criminal charges, will be required to pay around $849,000 in restitution, and will spend as long as 48 months in jail. He faces these penalties as he has been charged with distributing a misbranded drug as well as with healthcare fraud.

Hopefully, these penalties will be enough to deter others from providing mislabeled drugs to dialysis patients. Unfortunately, it seems that greed often gets the best of those who are in the healthcare business. This pharmacist was not the first to put the lives of dialysis patients at risk. When Fresenius failed to issue a widespread warning to patients or healthcare providers despite knowing that GranuFlo and NaturaLyte increased the risk of a cardiac event, the actions of Fresenius were every bit as egregious and dangerous as the actions of the pharmacist who provided the wrong drug to patients just to make a buck.

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