National Transportation Safety Board Finds that Faulty Design Led to Minnesota Bridge Collapse; Dozens of Claims Filed

The National Transportation Safety Board said earlier this month that undersized gusset plates in the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis were “the critical factor” in the bridge collapse of August 1, 2007, that killed 13 people and injured 100. Chairman Mark Rosenker said the plates, which connected steel beams, were roughly half (1/2 inch rather and 1 inch) the thickness … Read the rest

Study Finds that Waiting Time in the ER More than Doubled; Possible Violations of Federal Law (EMTALA)

An analysis by researchers at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School found that the median waiting time to see a physician in hospital emergency departments jumped from 22 minutes in 1997 to 30 minutes in 2004, a 36% increase.

Ominously, according to results published in the journal Health Affairs, wait times more than doubled for the sickest heart … Read the rest

Medical Device Manufacturer’s Settlement of Kickback Charges Shows That Even Criminal Fines Can Be “Privatized”

The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey directed that a no-bid 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million contract be awarded to The Ashcroft Group, the consulting firm of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, to monitor a large settlement of criminal accusations against medical device manufacturer Zimmer Holdings and four smaller companies accused of paying kickbacks to doctors who recommended Read the rest

MySpace Agrees to Take New Steps to Protect Children from Sexual Predators and Bullies

MySpace, the country’s largest social-networking Web site, has agreed with attorneys general of 49 states to take new steps to protect children from sexual predators and bullies on its site. MySpace also agreed to lead a nationwide effort to develop technology to verify the ages and identities of Internet users. The popular online hangout will create a task force of … Read the rest

Drug Makers Release Test Results That Shows That Their Cholesterol Drug Zetia Has No Benefits

Merck and Schering- Plough, the makers of the popular cholesterol drug, Zetia, announced that Zetia and Vytorin, a pill containing Zetia and Zocor, had failed to benefit patients of a two-year trial which was completed in April of 2006. Merck and Schering-Plough’s press release stated that Zetia not only failed to slow down the accumulation of fatty plaque in … Read the rest

New NY Public Health Law Tightens Oversight Over Office-Based Surgeries

A new public health law that took effect on January 14, 2008, is tightening oversight over outpatient medical facilities that provide office-based surgeries. Office-based surgery refers to any invasive process outside of a hospital where moderate or severe sedation or general anesthesia is used.

Experts have found that more than half of medical procedures, including surgeries, endoscopies, colonoscopies, rhinoplasty, and … Read the rest

Construction Workers Fatal 42 Story Fall Latest Problem for Bovis Lend Lease

A construction worker who was pouring concrete at Trump SoHo, a condominium hotel in SoHo, fell 42 floors to his death on the afternoon of January 14, 2008, when a wooden mold used to set the concrete collapsed.

Another worker was thrown from the 42nd floor, but was caught in a safety net that extends outward from the 40th floor, … Read the rest

Report on Medicare/Medicaid Overbilling and Fraud in 2007 Focuses on Nursing Homes/Rehab Centers, Pharmaceuticals and Boutique Hospitals

Americas Watchdog and its Corporate Whistleblower Center have just released the results of its third annual study focused on Medicare & Medicaid fraud. The report continues to show widespread Medicare/Medicaid billing abuse and fraud involving all aspects of health care.

The Corporate Whistle Blower Center has just reported its 2007 year end findings on the state of Medicare/Medicaid over billing/fraud … Read the rest

Technology Being Introduced to Cut Risk of Surgical Sponges Being Left in Patients

Last month’s $10 million settlement of a suit brought by a woman who underwent surgery for diverticulitis of the colon wherein a surgical sponge was left behind is a reminder of how frequent this complication occurs and of how potentially dangerous it can be.

A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that sponges and other foreign … Read the rest

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Motions Challenging Vioxx Settlement Cloud Issues as January 15, 2008 Deadline to Register Approaches

Pursuant to the terms of the $4.85 billion Vioxx settlement, January 15, 2008 is the deadline for all plaintiffs with a Vioxx-related case to register — whether or not their injuries would necessarily qualify for the settlement payout. This preliminary step will establish how many cases Merck, the manufacturer of Vioxx, faces. Those that don’t qualify for the settlement … Read the rest