April 2010

CPSC Attempts to Prevent Child Injuries by Recalling Graco and Simplicity Cribs, Step2 Toy Drums, Gap Baby Swimsuits, Gogo Kids’ Hooded Sweatshirts, and Sportime Soccer Balls

April 30, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina products liability lawyers continue to monitor the latest consumer products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, we are also aware that there are many dangerous products that haven’t been recalled that can also cause serious injuries and deaths. Please do not hesitate to contact our Hickory personal injury law firm to schedule your free case evaluation.

Recent CPSC recalls this week involving product defects that can cause injuries to children:

• Along with importer The Step2 Company LLC, the CPSC and Health Canada recalled approximately 21,000 Step2® Basic Rhythms Drums™ because of worries that the plastic clips that attach the drumsticks to the drum may break. Should this happen, the small, broken pieces can pose a choking hazard to preschool age children. No injuries have been reported so far.

• About 2,400 Gogo Sports Inc. children’s hooded sweatshirts are being recalled because their drawstrings can pose a strangulation hazard to kids if they get tangled around the neck. There have been no reports of injuries.

• An unknown number of Simplicity full-size cribs have been recalled because the beds’ tubular metal mattress-support frame can come off, bend, or cause the mattress to collapse. These cribs are a strangulation and suffocation hazard. One 1-year-old child died when he became entrapped in the crib and suffocated. Another child who fell out of the crib sustained cuts to his head.

• Following 99 reports of Graco drop-side cribs by LaJobi Inc. malfunctioning, the CPSC is recalling about 217,000 cribs because the beds pose suffocation, entrapment, and fall hazards. Caregivers rescued two kids who became entrapped. Six kids were involved in crib fall accidents. One of them suffered a mild concussion.

• The CPSC is recalling about 1,000 Sportime TechnoSkin Foam Balls and TechStitched Soccer Balls because they contain excessive levels of lead that violate the federal lead paint standard. There have been no injuries or illnesses reported to date.

• Gap and the CPSC are recalling about 6,500 baby swimsuits Their halter straps were made too short, and as a result, the plastic ring near the swimsuit’s neck can press up against the infant’s throat, which can block his her/her airway. This can lead to strangulation. No injury reports have been filed.

You may have grounds for a North Carolina injuries to children lawsuit if your son or daughter was seriously injured because a product was defective or malfunctioned. Negligent manufacturers, sellers, and distributors can be held liable for North Carolina products liability.

Recalls, Consumer Product Safety Commission

Related Web Resources:
Defective Product Liability Claims: Who to Sue?, Nolo

Consumer Reports

SafeKids USA

Schools Must Protect Students Under Their Supervision from South Carolina and North Carolina Personal Injury

April 29, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Thomasville high school student broke his arm and suffered facial lacerations on Monday after falling 30 feet through a skylight and landing on the floor of a Thomasville High School classroom. Police say that three students who were taking part in a masonry program where allowed to go on top of the roof of the vocational building so they could learn how to make scaffolding. Following the North Carolina fall accident, 17-year-old Brian Shuler was airlifted to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

According to Quindale Williams, a student who was quoted in JusticeNewsFlash.com, glass from the skylight started falling onto the classroom. Williams said that as Schuler fell, he struck the poles on the ceiling before falling face first onto the ground. Schuler was bleeding from his nose, mouth, and ears.

Following the North Carolina injury accident, Thomasville High School Principal Deboy Beamon said that the construction teacher had told Schuler and the two students that were on the roof to come down right before the fall accident happened. Beamon maintained that the school is committed to its kids’ safety. Moving forward, the students will have limited access to the building when they are on scaffolding.

As our Charlotte, North Carolina injury law firm has discussed in passed blog posts, schools are responsible for making sure there are no dangerous conditions or situations on the school grounds that can injure students or place their lives in peril. While the kids are under the school’s watch it is the responsibility of the school and its employees to remedy any hazards that might be a premises liability or a personal injury hazard.

Just yesterday in South Carolina, a Rock Hill teenager was assaulted by a fellow student on a school bus. Ashley Barber, 17, sustained razor cuts to her face after she was assaulted by a 15-year-old.

The 15-year-old is charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, disturbing schools, and carrying a weapon on school grounds. Barber, who was released from the hospital after she was treated for her injuries, was charged with disturbing schools and carrying a weapon. A kitchen knife was found in the purse that she was carrying while on the bus.

Girl assaulted with razor on school bus, Charlotte Observer, April 29, 2010

Thomasville NC injury news: Student airlifted after 30 ft. fall through roof, Justice News Flash, April 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:

World report on child injury prevention, World Health Organization

Injuries among children and adolescents, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

ConAgra Foods Workers Injured During 2009 Slim Jim Blast File North Carolina Negligence Lawsuit Against Town of Garner and More than 15 Contractors

April 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Over 20 ConAgra Foods workers who were injured during an explosion at the company’s Slim Jim plant last summer are suing the town of Garner and more than 15 contractors for North Carolina negligence. The workers sustained serious injuries, including emotional trauma and serious burn injuries, during the June 14, 2009 blast that was caused by a natural gas leak. 3 workers died and 38 were hurt. Also included as plaintiffs in the North Carolina negligence lawsuit are the wife of an ex-worker and one contract worker.

Federal investigators say the blast was caused by the improper indoor purging of a gas line that provided the fuel to the water heater. In their North Carolina negligence complaint, the plaintiffs claim that the defendants knew this was taking place but didn’t stop it. The explosion happened as a contractor attempted to light a gas-fired water heater in a pump room. The complaint also contends that the town let contractor Midsouth Industrial Refrigeration Inc. install natural gas and propane lines even though it lacked the proper licenses and limits.

As a worker injured on the job, you are likely entitled to North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits. This precludes you from suing your employee for personal injury or wrongful death. However, you still may be able to file a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death complaint against liable third parties.

Explosions at a workplace can result in serious injuries for those that are lucky enough to survive. Burn injuries, disfigurement, broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, and emotional trauma are just some of the serious work injuries that can result. You deserve to receive all the injury compensation that you are owed for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Workers injured in ConAgra explosion file civil suit, NewsObserver, April 8, 2010

ConAgra workers sue N.C. town, Omaha.com, April 8, 2010

Third Body Found in Slim Jim Plant Explosion Rubble, FoxNews/AP, June 10, 2009

Related Web Resources:
ConAgra Foods

Town of Garner, North Carolina

Protecting Your Loved One From North Carolina Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

April 17, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home negligence lawyers represent patients (and their families) that have been injured or died because of nursing home neglect and abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering due to the mistreatment or lack of care he or she is receiving at an assisted living facility anywhere in North Carolina or South Carolina, do not hesitate to remove your loved one from the nursing home, report the incident, and seek legal advice.

While you can never predict whether or not your loved one will become the victim of Hickory, North Carolina nursing home abuse or neglect, you can take steps to decrease the likelihood by personally inspecting the facility before deciding to place your relative at the home, reading federal and state ratings evaluations, and finding out whether or not the assisted living facility has a history of nursing home negligence or safety violations.

A number of factors can increase the likelihood of nursing home negligence at a long-term care facility, such as:
• Not enough nursing home workers on staff
• Low nursing home worker to patient ratio, leaving each employee to take care of more patients that he/she can handle
• Unsanitary conditions
• Inadequate (or no) criminal background checks conducted on prospective nursing home workers and patients
• Inadequately trained employees
• Inadequate security
• History of nursing home abuse or neglect at the long-term care facility
• History of patients dying or becoming more ill because of poor nursing care

Some signs of possible North Carolina nursing home abuse or neglect:
• Unexplained bruises
• Bedsores
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain
• Malnutrition
• Soiled clothing
• Complaints by the patient that he or she is being mistreated
• Unusual patient behavior
• A resident’s sudden desire for isolation
• The patient appears emotionally aggravated

Related Web Resources:
Elder Abuse and Neglect, Helpguide.org

Nursing Homes, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services

10 Things Nursing Homes Won’t Tell You, Smart Money, April 18, 2010

E-Ferol: $110 Million Dangerous Drug Settlement Reached in Deaths of Babies

April 14, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A $110 million class action settlement was approved last week against the maker and distributor of E-Ferol. Carter-Glogau Laboratories was E-Ferol’s manufacturer and O’Neal, Jones & Feldman Pharmaceuticals distributed the supplement that was administered briefly during the mid-80′s.

At least 38 baby deaths are linked to E-Ferol, which was supposed to prevent blindness known as retrolental fibroplasias, that can be caused by a vitamin E deficiency. However, The plaintiffs’ lead attorney believes that many more infants died than the ones noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vitamin E supplement was administered intravenously and marketed as a drug that could help premature babies. E-Ferol had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and was recalled after approximately just five months in the market following reports of deaths in hospitals throughout the US.

Plaintiffs have accused the defendants of deceptive marketing practices, such as promoting E-Ferol as a vitamin supplement instead of a drug and giving hospitals and giving doctors the impression that the drug was FDA-approved. Carter-Glogau Laboratories and Jones & Feldman Pharmaceuticals have said that there weren’t many laws regulating vitamins back then. The two companies haven’t been in business for nearly 20 years.

In addition to the babies that died, dozens of infants that were given the drug ended up with kidney damage, blindness, brain damage, and liver damage. The symptoms became known as “E-Ferol syndrome.”

According to the CDC, about 89 hospitals administered E-Ferol to babies. While some of them willingly notified parents that they’d given their children the supplement, others were not as forthcoming and had to be legally forced to disclose this information. Many plaintiffs didn’t even know that their children had received E-Ferol until they found out about the dangerous rug lawsuit.

The class action case was brought on behalf of anyone who was administered E-Ferol between November 1, 1983 and April 30, 1984. Heirs of victims, the estates of those that died, parents of 42 babies who died, and adults that received the vitamin supplement as infants were among the plaintiffs. The defendants’ liability insurance will cover the settlement.

Hundreds of other dangerous drug lawsuits and wrongful death complaints have been filed over the injuries that were sustained by babies who were given E-Ferol.

Dangerous Drugs
Unfortunately, there are drug manufacturers that continue to market and release dangerous drugs into the marketplace. Some of these pharmaceutical companies are trusted names in the industry. You may have grounds for filing a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit seeking damages for personal injury, products liability, or wrongful death.

Maker of E-Ferol ordered to pay $110 million settlement in deaths of babies, Star-Telegram, April 10, 2010

Settlement Reached in E-Ferol Case, Consumer Affairs, April 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Three jailed for selling drug that killed 38 babies, FDA Consumer/Findarticles.com, July – August 1989

The Tragic Case History of Intravenous Vitamin E, The New York Times, May 27, 1984

Appeals Court Rules That Mother’s North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving Son That Fell Into Ravine After Release From Hospital Can Proceed

April 10, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina Court of Appeals says that Bernice Allen’s wrongful death lawsuit against Granville Medical Center can proceed. Allen’s son William, who had epilepsy, died after he was released from the hospital.

Allen says that she told the hospital to make sure that they didn’t release him after he underwent his epilepsy treatment until she arrived to pick him up. William, who was prone to seizures, could not go home alone.

Despite her request/warning, the hospital released her son. Several months later, William’s remains were discovered in a ravine.

Allen’s North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit was dismissed by the trial court because it failed to assert that an expert had reviewed the alleged incident of medical malpractice. Allen appealed. She said that her civil complaint is not seeking damages for medical malpractice. Rather, she is wanting to recover compensation for negligence, including the hospital’s alleged failure to properly supervise William while allowing him to leave the hospital without being accompanied by a responsible adult.

The appeals court judge agreed with Allen and reversed the lower court’s ruling.

Hospital Negligence
Hospitals can be held liable for medical malpractice and/or negligence. This means that they also can be held liable for the careless actions of their employees that caused someone’s North Carolina personal injuries or wrongful death.

Other reasons why you might choose to file a North Carolina injury complaint (that may not directly involve medical malpractice allegations) against a hospital:

• Slip and fall
• Inadequate security
• Sexual assault
• Premises liability
• Products liability
• Inadequate patient supervision

You have three years from the incident to file a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit claiming that the liable party or parties were negligent.

Mom Can Sue Hospital Over Son’s Release, CourthouseNews, April 8, 2010

Medical Malpractice: When Can Patients Sue a Hospital for Negligence?, Nolo

Related Web Resource:
Granville Medical Center

Appeals Court Considers Whether Family Has Right to Sue for North Carolina Personal Injury After Pedestrian Was Mistakenly Declared Dead

April 9, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of 34-year-old Larry D. Green is asking North Carolina’s Court of Appeals to let them sue Louisburg paramedics for personal injury. State law usually protects civil servants from being sued for North Carolina personal injury if the alleged negligence occurred while the worker was doing his or her job. However, a lower court judge has already ruled that J.B. Perdue, the former medical examiner for Franklin County, should be sued in civil court for his role in the catastrophic mix-up.

Green was injured in January 2005 in a North Carolina pedestrian accident when he was struck by a car as he crossed a highway north of Louisburg. A local paramedic declared him dead after feeling for a pulse. The worker never attempted to resuscitate him.

The paramedic then asked a county paramedic to check Green for a pulse. The second paramedic, however, said he trusted the first paramedic’s judgment and did not check the victim.

The North Carolina personal injury lawsuit accuses Perdue, then the Franklin County medical examiner, of ignoring signs that Green was not dead, including eye twitching and chest movement. Green was placed in a body bag and transported to a morgue.

It wasn’t until 2 ½ hours later when a North Carolina Highway trooper asked the medical examiner to help figure out from which direction the auto had struck Green did Perdue realize that the victim was still alive.

Green’s family and guardian say that wrongly declaring him dead when he was, in fact, still alive caused him to sustain injures that have left him bedridden in a rest home where he is fed through a tube and cared for 24 hours/day. Franklin County and the family reached a $1 million North Carolina injury settlement earlier this year.

Court weighing right to sue over mistaken death, Winston-Salem Journal, November 20, 2009

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Tort Liability

Wrongful Death, Nolo

North Carolina Doctor Groups and N.C. Medical Board Disagree on Whether Medical Malpractice Settlements Should Be Made Public

April 4, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina Medical Board wants doctors in the state to list online any medical malpractice settlements that they’ve been involved in. Data would include the doctor’s name and the settlement—although the amount of the settlement would not be published. The doctor would also be given the option of posting an explanation for the settlement. The information would remain on the doctor’s profile for seven years.

North Carolina Doctor groups have expressed concern that while they agree that medical malpractice verdicts or notice about whether a doctor has had his practicing privileges revoked should be made available to the public, they don’t think that information about medical malpractice settlements should be published.

North Carolina Medical Society President Dr. Hadley Callaway has suggested that the board investigate the legal settlements first—and if substandard care is proven, then only then should the settlements be listed.

He says that doctors may want a chance to make their case before the NCMB and that just because they settled doesn’t mean they provided poor medical care. Callaway expressed concern that listing explanations for settlements could sound like the doctors were making excuses.

Allowing settlement information to be available to the public could also lead to more lawsuits going forward because doctors may be less willing to settle any medical malpractice claims.

Another doctor, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Christopher Snyder says that this proposed rule is unfair. He says that some doctors choose to settle because of pressure from insurance companies and not because they have done anything wrong. However, it is ultimately up to the NCMB to decide whether the information will be posted.

If you have been seriously injured because a hospital, a doctor, or another health care provider was negligent or careless when providing you with medical care, contact our North Carolina medical malpractice law firm to discuss your case.

N.C. Medical Board may put malpractice settlement info online, Triangle Business Journal, April 25, 2008

Malpractice Settlement Data Could Go Online in North Carolina, IHealthBeat.org, May 5, 2008

Related Web Resource:

North Carolina Medical Board

Dangerous Drug?: Darvon Pulled from Market Over Concerns It May Cause Potentially Fatal Heart Rhythms

April 1, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals is pulling the painkiller Darvon off the market. The Food and Drug Administration issued the ban over concerns that it causes potentially fatal heart rhythms. The FDA is also banning related brand Darvocet and wants drug manufacturers to stop marketing low-cost drugs that contain propoxyphene, which is the active ingredient in Darvon. Current Darvon users, however, are being directed keep using the drug until a replacement medication can be prescribed.

Darvon is an opioid narcotic that is prescribed for moderate to mild pain. Last year, about 10 million people were given prescriptions for Darvon and related drugs. However, the popular medication has been plagued with safety concerns for decades. Consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, which blames Darvon for several hundred deaths a year, has been pressing the FDA for a ban. Darvon has already been banned in Great Britain and the European Union following numerous suicides and accidental drug overdoses.

In January 2009, the FDA decided to keep the drug in the market but to include a stronger warning label with overdose risks. It wasn’t until a recent study showing that Darvon can cause fatal irregular heart rhythms that the federal agency finally told Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals to stop making the drug.

Dangerous Drugs
Medication prescribed to you by your doctor is not supposed to cause serious injury or death. Any potential side effects and health risks should be included in a warning to users. Unfortunately, some drugs make it into the market with FDA-approval and later prove to be more dangerous than previously thought. You may have grounds for a North Carolina dangerous drug case.

Other common side effects that have been linked to dangerous dugs:
• Birth defects
• Heart attack
• Kidney failure
• Psychological problems
• Stevens Johnson Syndrome
• Death

Our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug lawyers represent clients who have suffered serious health issues or who have lost loved ones because they took a prescription drug or over-the-counter medication that caused serious injury, illness, or death.

Darvon painkiller pulled off market due to heart risks, USA Today, November 21, 2010

Popular painkillers taken off the market, Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Food and Drug Administration

Darvon, National Center for Biotechnology Information

Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals


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