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October 2012 Archives

Meningitis Infections

In the last two weeks there have been quite a few reports of meningitis infections caused from contaminated drugs (mostly steroids) injected into patients for pain control. So far the media has reported that these contaminated drugs came from a single source, a drug company out East. If you or someone you know has developed one of these infections here are some facts you should be aware of:1. It's probably not the doctor's fault. Physicians commonly assume that the drugs they purchase are safe for their intended use. This case is no different. The physicians had every reason to believe that these drugs were safe until news reports began to surface which indicated something to the contrary.2. The drug company is dead on arrival. Minnesota, and every other state, has adopted a principle called "strict liability in tort" which simply means that if a product reaches the consumer in the same condition that it left the manufacturer, and when it left the manufacturer it was in an unreasonably dangerous condition, or not fit to be used as intended, the manufacturer is absolutely liable for all of the damages that result. It doesn't matter if the manufacturer exercised all reasonable precautions to make sure that the drug in question was safe when it left their premises. That is the difference between a claim in negligence and the claim in strict liability in tort. When making a claim for negligence you have to prove that they were somehow negligent in allowing this drug to get out. While that's certainly is likely in this case, it's a hurdle that an injured consumer does not have to overcome. All the consumer has to show is that the product was unreasonably dangerous, and this stuff certainly was.

"Permanent" Soft Tissue Sprain? Nonsense!

If you or someone you know has been injured in car accident and has been told that there are permanent soft tissue injuries or some kind of permanent sprain/strain injury, you can almost be guaranteed that the diagnosis is incorrect.Ligaments, muscles and tendons (called soft tissues) are present throughout our bodies. They are in your ankles, your wrists, your elbows, your knees, and up and down your spine. Many times people involved in car crashes have complaints of neck pain and headaches, and less frequently complaints of low back pain, and the doctors can't find anything on an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan to explain the pain. So they tell the patient that they have some sort of sprain or strain injury. If it doesn't go away after six months or more many doctors just told the patient that it's permanent and there is nothing to do but learn to live with it. That is, in most cases, bad medical advice.The plain fact of the matter is that if you have lived for any length of time you have sprained something in your body. Maybe an ankle. And it healed up after a few weeks, at most. Unless the tissue is torn, any kind of sprain or strain injury will heal up usually within days, sometimes weeks, but never longer than that. Therefore, if a doctor is telling you or someone you know that they have a permanent sprain or strain injury, they are wrong.Recent advances in the treatment of chronic neck and back pain from car accidents has proven, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the usual source of chronic neck pain or back pain which cannot be traced to a damaged disk or broken bone, is caused by damaged facet joints. These are small joints on either side of the spine which allow for a certain amount of movement of your spine, but not too much. These joints are very small and delicate, and can be damaged in car crashes fairly easily. There is a diagnostic tool known as a medial branch block which a qualified physician can use to determine if there is facet joint damage and which joints have been damaged. If the test results are positive there is a treatment called radiofrequency ablation which can eliminate the pain completely, for on average about 12 months at a time. These procedures are performed by dozens of physicians in every major metropolitan area in the country.

Greedy Plaintiffs and Their Lawyers

The propaganda machine for the insurance industry and the Chamber of Commerce have convinced many Americans that the real reason for their personal financial difficulties is greedy plaintiffs lawyers and greedy plaintiffs milking a broken civil justice system for jackpots. This is, of course, a lie.In this morning's Star Tribune there was an article reporting that the average Wall Street pay has gone up by 16.6% in the last two years and (worse yet) 48% of Wall Street employees expected their bonuses this year will be higher than in 2011.The reasons for the financial collapse, the reduction in home values across this country, and the reduction in your personal stock fund (if you have one) are (1) Wall Street greed and (2) greed on the part of the banks. Once the Wall Street types found a way to bundle home mortgages as securities, the need for more mortgages to bundle became insatiable and the banks were encouraged to lend money to anyone and everyone who came in the door. This in turn caused an unrealistic spike in home prices because the banks were willing to give everyone a mortgage. Supply and demand. Eventually the bubble burst and we all got burned, except, of course, for the greed heads on Wall Street and at the big banks.No one can say that this was caused by juries making irresponsible parties for personal injuries inflicted on other human beings.