Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt another blow to U.S. consumers and U.S. businesses as the decision in McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro makes it more difficult to hold foreign manufacturers accountable in the U.S. court system. This creates an unequal playing field, as U.S. companies must meet U.S.
Last night, HBO aired the premiere of Hot Coffee, a documentary feature film that sets out to change the way people think about our civil justice system.
This documentary feature film was directed and produced by Susan Saladoff, who spent 25 years as a trial lawyer. In the film, she depicts the real story behind the McDonald's coffee scalding and three other cases that shine a light on the corporate campaign to limit access to justice.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a devastating blow to patients’ rights today in the Pliva v. Mensing decision. The case involves two women— Ms. Mensing and Ms. Demahy— who took metoclopramide, the generic equivalent of Reglan, a drug used to treat acid reflux. Both women developed tardive dyskinesia, a neurological movement disorder the then-approved label described as a rare adverse effect of the drug. In fact, as many as one in five people who use metoclopramide long-term may develop this disorder, as the Food and Drug Administration recognized when it ordered a black-box warning in 2009. This warning was too late for Ms. Mensing and Ms. Demahy. They sued the generic manufacturer for failing to warn about the disorder.
Today, The Washington Post discusses the prevalence of these surgeries and possible solutions.
But seven years later, some researchers and patient safety experts say the problem of wrong-site surgery has not improved and may be getting worse, although spotty reporting makes conclusions difficult. Based on state data, Joint Commission officials estimate that wrong-site surgery occurs 40 times a week in U.S. hospitals and clinics.
H.R. 5 would protect health providers that perform these wrong-site, wrong-surgery, wrong-patient medical errors and take away the legal rights of the victims.
The New York Times got it right in their editorial today, the Wal-Mart v. Dukes decision has added yet another barrier for those seeking justice when a class-action suit is the most efficient and for some the only way to hold wrong doers accountable.
The key finding in the study showed that 52.5% of all paid claims had some outpatient component, which has not been previously researched like errors that occur inside of hospitals. Reuters also reported on the research, and spoke with Dr. Tara Bishop who helped author the study.
"We were actually very surprised by that finding," Bishop, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said. "I hope it's a wake-up call for the medical community and for patients, so we can start working on ways to solve these problems."
This study makes clear that patient safety needs to be the priority of all health care providers, not just those working in hospitals. Patient safety programs need to extend outside the walls of the hospital to help reduce medical errors.
Today the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted unanimously to approve the Deepwater Horizon Survivors' Fairness Act (S. 183), legislation that would address the inadequacies in out-dated maritime laws that limit legal remedies for the injured and families of those lost in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of April 2010.
This legislation amends the Limitation of Liability Act, the Death on High Seas Act (DOHSA), and the Jones Act, all legislation that passed decades ago and is now surely outdated.
Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care held a hearing titled "FDA Medical Device Approval: Is There a Better Way?” While the medical device industry argues the FDA’s process to approve medical devices is far behind that of Europe, Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, Director, Centers for Devices and Radiological Health for the FDA, testified that medical device companies in Europe do not need to show their medical devices offer any medical benefit in order to get EU approval. "The solution (to approve medical devices quicker) is not to lower our (FDA's) standards," said Dr. Shuren.
In fact, U.K. newspaper the Guardian quoted Suzanne Ludgate of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the government regulator of medical devices in the U.K., saying she was "appalled at how many devices are brought to market with a lack of appropriate clinical data."
“Tort reform is not cost control. Tort reform is not cost control. Tort reform is not cost control.”
Despite claims from supporters of tort reform legislation like H.R. 5, limiting injured patients’ rights will not control the rising cost of health care. Improving patient safety and preventing medical errors from occurring in the first place will lower costs and more importantly, save lives.
For more background on this issue, please read AAJ’s extensive primer on the problem of medical malpractice, the importance of preventing medical errors, and improving patient safety.