What is Medical Malpractice?

If you watch certain kinds of television, you’ve almost certainly heard the term “medical malpractice” before. It’s a surprisingly common problem, and one most people hope to never deal with. But what exactly is it, and how do you know if you’ve been the victim of malpractice?… Read the rest

Grandfather Clause Left Gaping Loopholes in Regulation of Medical Devices

Most medical devices have never been shown to be safe or effective. The US Food and Drug Administration have promised for years to subject some of the riskiest devices to a rigorous review.

The agency has failed to adequately regulate medical devices leaving certain types of devices already on the market approved for sale with less stringent reviews until the F.D.A. would require them to pass a more rigorous test. Consumers responded that the agency was failing to protect the public, and the industry groups acknowledged that the system was flawed in many different areas.

The agency has turned … Read the rest

Michael Moores CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY in Action: The FDA’s Approval of Menaflex

Last week, just one week before the opening of Michael Moores new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitted what has been known for a while that its approval of the Menaflex device in December 2008, came after intense political pressure from politicians made just months after they received significant campaign contributions from the manufacturer of Menaflex.

In issuing its approval, the FDA overrode the agency’s scientific reviewers who repeatedly and unanimously over many years decided that the device was unsafe because the device often failed, forcing patients to get another operation. This was … Read the rest

It Doesnt Take Much of a Gift to Influence Doctors Prescription Choices

A principal underlying assumption regarding limits on and ethics guidelines addressing pharmaceutical promotion is that smaller gifts are unlikely to exert influence on prescribing decisions. Nonetheless, a substantial body of marketing and psychology literature suggests that even trivial doctor gifts can exert influence irrespective of economic value.

Adding a small gift such as personalized mailing labels, a pen or a coffee mug to a solicitation for donations has been shown to significantly increase donations. These types of gifts can also influence prescribing behavior, according to a study that appears in The Archives of Internal Medicine. (Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(9):887-893).

The … Read the rest

Study of Artificial Spinal Disk “Prodisc” – Guided by Physicians’ Finances or Concern for Patients?

When patients are considering treatment options, there is often”blind faith” in the doctor’s recommendations, as he is viewed as a concerned, educated and neutral provider. Perhaps, this view is nave. In reality, doctors are often financially motivated in the varying courses of treatment offered. Instead of acting as neutral gatekeepers of potentially harmful drugs and procedures and “neutral scientists “investigating a procedure’s safety, at times they are in actuality financially motivated advocates for the same.

For instance, Dr. Joseph E. Zigler, a well known spine specialist, and an advocate of Prodisc, an artificial spinal disk for the lower back, has … 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 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

Latest Brain Scan Technology May Help Increase Recovery for Conscious Pain and Suffering of “Vegetative” People

Brain scans using the most recent technologies are challenging the decade-old doctors’ assumption that patients who have been diagnosed as vegetative lack any capacity for conscious thought. Most of these patients are previously healthy people who suffered a traumatic brain injury such as in a car accident, or oxygen deprivation after a heart attack or stroke or perhaps even due to medical malpractice. Although most brain scans show what is wrong with someone’s brain, sophisticated brain scans are showing what parts of the brain are working, with surprising results.

What is lacking in these patients is not necessarily … Read the rest