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 they should have been because of a design error. Investigators found 16 fractured gusset plates from the bridge’s center span, he said.
The NTSB’s final report is expected this fall. This past Sunday marked the 180 day deadline for filing … Read the rest
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 attack patients. In 1997, half of them got to see a doctor within eight minutes; in 2004 it took 20 minutes. For a quarter of the heart attack patients, the wait reached 50 minutes or more – a particularly disturbing … Read the rest
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 and used the company’s knee and hip implants.
U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie directed that the contract be awarded to his former boss with no public notice. Mr. Christie said the fees were imposed in lieu of fines.
If … Read the rest
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 industry professionals to improve the safety of users, and other social-networking sites will be invited to participate.
“We must keep telling children that they’re not just typing into a computer. They’re sharing themselves with the world,” said North Carolina Attorney … Read the rest
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 the arteries, it contributed to the formation of plaque. Patients taking Vytorin to reduce the growth of fatty plaque in the arteries actually experienced a growth of plaque in their arteries twice as fast as those taking Zetia alone.
This … Read the rest
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 breast augmentation/reduction occur in offices and clinics, many of which are not accredited. This has resulted in many improper surgeries and negligent medical care. Many patients have suffered accordingly from this mistreatment.
The new law requires all ambulatory surgery centers … Read the rest
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, fire officials said. He was brought to safety in a construction bucket and hospitalized for injuries that the authorities said were not life threatening. Two other workers were treated for minor injuries.
The cause of the collapse was unclear. Officials … Read the rest
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 in the United States. The report included three areas where Medicare/Medicaid are being over-billed or defrauded; nursing homes/rehab centers, pharmaceuticals, and boutique hospitals, not for profits hospitals, or hospitals owned by doctors/investor groups.
1. Most Nursing Homes/Rehab Centers continue … Read the rest
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 objects were left behind after abdominal surgeries at a rate of 1 for every 1,000 to 1,500 such operations. Several medical-products companies say sponges are the most common foreign objects left behind in surgeries. Surgical sponges are made of gauze … Read the rest
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 could still go to court. More than 28,000 of the estimated 60,800 claimants have submitted registration information so far.
But several plaintiffs attorneys have made a motion requesting that the federal judge overseeing the Vioxx settlement, U.S. District Judge Eldon … Read the rest