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DePuy ASR Hip Recall Featured on CBS Atlanta News with CSS Firm Partner Richard Schlueter

August 17th, 2012

The DePuy ASR hip recall initiated in August of 2010 has been a hot topic of discussion in the medical community over the last year and half. Surprisingly thousands of patients are still unaware of the detailed history and circumstances surrounding the hip implant recall. CBS Atlanta News, as anchored by Stephany Fisher, recently did an informative news piece called: Consumer Reports Investigation Warns of Dangerous Devices.

In discussing the DePuy ASR hip recall and the failures associated with it, Childers Schlueter & Smith founding partner, Richard Schlueter, was featured in the news piece along with Calhoun Police Lieutenant John McGivern who is a Childers, Schlueter & Smith client.

Atlanta attorney Richard Schlueter is representing more than a 150 clients who received the now-recalled implant. And it’s estimated that several thousand people in Georgia are affected.

Based on the initial FDA notice date of July 17, 2010 and subsequent DePuy worldwide recall date of August 24, 2010, the statute of limitations for most Georgians affected by this DePuy ASR recall will expire in less than 60-90 days, or as early as July 17, 2012 (if you go by the actual FDA notice date to doctors) or possibly August 24, 2012 (if you go by the actual product recall date). There may be exceptions to these dates for Georgia citizens based on the Discovery Rule, that can in limited circumstances extend the standard 2 year rule if the injured viticm was not aware they had a recalled ASR hip implant and/or that it has caused them injuries.

For this reason, and as denoted in the news story and video:

Richard Schlueter stressed that time is running out for victims to pursue legal claims, stating, “I would encourage anybody that has this device to consult with a lawyer to at least know their options and to make sure they bring a claim before the statute of limitation runs,” he said.

There have been numerous news articles and groundbreaking stories covering the DePuy ASR hip implant recall since 2010, and Consumer Reports recently joined in the cause to promote more awareness of this life altering, and potentially life threatening, problem.

“This particular type of hip was called the ASR XL,” said Consumer Reports’ investigator Nancy Metcalf. “It was made of chrome cobalt metal, but it was never clinically tested before the FDA cleared it to be sold. Because of high failure rates and complications like Dr. Tower experienced, it’s now off the market.”

Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC applauds the efforts of  Stephany Fisher and CBS Atlanta News for “Asking Tough Questions” to promote more awareness of the growing epidemic of 510(k) medical devices and the recalls affecting thousands of patients and consumers all over the United States.

In addition to viewing the CBS news report, if you are not familiar with the Safe Patient Project,  please review their website as soon as possible to learn about how they are working to keep Georgians and Americans safe from untested and dangerous medical devices, such as the recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants:

“Medical device industry lobbyists are working overtime to pressure Congress to preserve weak federal oversight that puts patient lives at risk,” said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project (www.SafePatientProject.org).  “We need common sense reforms to assure consumers that these devices are safe and work like they are supposed to.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Richard Schlueter Discusses The DePuy ASR Recall On CBS Atlanta News

October 12th, 2011

Richard Schlueter, a partner with Childers, Schlueter, & Smith, LLC, was recently quoted and appeared on cbatlanta.com regarding the DePuy Orthopaedics Recalled ASR Hip Implant.

DePuy recalled the ASR Hip System last year in August “because it was wearing out faster than expected in some patients.”  According to Richard Schlueter, DePuy downplayed side effects that are far more serious.  Schlueter and the firm of Childers Schlueter & Smith are representing more than 30 Georgians and dozens more citizens on a nationwide basis that have the recalled ASR hip implant from DePuy.

The video of this important news story by Stephany Fisher of CBS Atlanta News is shown here:

A very serious side effect from this recalled hip implant is metallosis.  When the device wears, it is possible that it will shed metal particles and cause pain, swelling and permanent tissue damage.  In addition to metallosis, Cobalt or Cobaltism, according to Schlueter, is the real concern.

DePuy declined an interview with cbatlanta.com after their request but did make the following statement:

“DePuy’s top priority is and always has been patient safety. In August 2010, DePuy issued a voluntary recall of the ASR Hip System after receiving new information from the UK National Joint Registry as part of the company’s ongoing surveillance of post-market data concerning the ASR Hip System. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can blood tests of the ASR DePuy Hip Implant recall conducted by Lab Corp mislead orthopedic physicians that read the results regarding Cobalt levels?

October 10th, 2011

After DePuy Orthopaedics made a major announcement recalling two of their major hip implant devices in August of 2010 (DEPUY ASR XL ACETABULAR HIP SYSTEM &DEPUY ASR HIP RESURFACING SYSTEM), the company recommended those patients directly affected get blood tests done by their doctors.  The reason for this recommendation is to determine whether the patient, who is affected by the Recalled DePuy Hip Implant, has high levels of chromium and cobalt presented in their bodies.  Elevated levels are a precursor to an inflammatory response that results in eventual necrosis and resorption of bone that leads to physical symptoms that the patient may experience from the ASR device.  There are also significant other medical problems that a patient may experience by having toxic level of cobalt or chromium in their system as well. The really concerning part of this is that many patients do not know they are experiencing problems until the issue becomes critical and potentially life threatening.

From the Recalled ASR Hip Implant itself, the device can release metal particles and go into the patient’s bloodstream and/or tissue.  A high level of cobalt released into a patient’s tissue and/or bloodstream can damage the patient’s tissues, bones and/or organs.  Consequences of a toxic cobalt levels include, but are not limited to: tinnitus (ringing of the ears), blindness, pain, and other conditions.

Here is a close look at the Recalled DePuy Hip Implant.

 

What exactly is cobalt?  According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Register (ATSDR), cobalt is a naturally occurring element that can be found in water, plants, animals, rocks, and soil.  The element is used in the manufacturing of aircraft engines, grinding and cutting tools, magnets, and artificial hip and knee joints.  Cobalt can benefit or harm human health.  In the case of a hip implant, it can be extremely harmful.  Although DePuy is suggesting patients to have a blood test performed to see the amount of cobalt present in affected patients, there are three ways to test for cobalt.  The three tests include whole blood tests, blood serum tests, and urine tests.

 

Lap Corp is one of the laboratories reporting the blood tests for DePuy.  From what we have seen in our cases, the test results returned to patients by Lab Corp. in regards to the reference levels of toxicology, do not quantify the numerical read out for what a Toxic level is.

 

Furthermore, Lab Corp. has contracted with MedTox Laboratories Inc. to perform the blood analysis and results that is reported to DePuy ASR patients. It is believed that the Lab Corp. method of reporting the value of Cobalt may be misleading or at the very least may not provide all the necessary information to fully be apprise patients of the potential dangers from them.

Below is an example of a report of Lab Corp. on a tested patient that according to studies demonstrate that this patient’s level of Cobalt is toxic. How will the orthopedic physician read this report?  Though the report gives a reference value to the chromium value to be “high” in bold and identified, there is no similar info reported to the physician on Cobalt

 

What does this mean?  If the Doctor does not independently research studies regarding toxic values of Cobalt, patients will likely not be informed if the level of cobalt present in their blood is actually toxic!  Doctors can easily read this lab report and see “TOXIC: Not established” and assume the patients have nothing to worry about.  This could be extremely misleading to patients and doctors alike and therefore it should be more thoroughly investigated and examined.

 

If you have any questions regarding this post or your own cobalt and chromium test results, you may want to contact our attorneys at CSS Firm.  Although we are not doctors, our experienced team of injury lawyers will work closely with you and see that your medical and legal needs are properly considered and evaluated.

 

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Truck Wreck Cases: Part One of Two

August 30th, 2011

The most devastating crashes on the road resulting in the most serious types of injuries are tractor trailer crashes.  Collisions between tractor-trailers, also known as semis and semi-trailer trucks, and regular two-door/four-door sedans result in some of the most catastrophic injuries. When a truck accident occurs, serious bodily injuries follow.

 New safety features and mechanisms are constantly being developed to help prevent trucking collisions.  However, all the new safety designs in the world can’t make up for poor decision-making out on the roads.  And while accidents on the road are sometimes avoidable, the trucking industry as a whole is still responsible for many of the trucking accidents. 

Many drivers involved in trucking accidents are injured as a result of a tractor trailer company expecting more from their drivers than they should.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, one out of nine traffic fatalities last year resulted from a collision involving a large truck or semi. On average, 380,000 large trucks are involved in crashes.

Getting evidence is extremely important.  911 recordings from police departments are only kept for a certain period of time, often as short as 90 days.  If a request for the 911 records is not made to the police department in a timely fashion, the records can be lost.  Similarly, “roadway evidence” such as skid marks – marks left on the roadway from a vehicle that has locked its breaks – and yaw marks – marks left on the roadway when a vehicle’s tires spin in a circular motion – are key pieces of evidence which get washed away within a few days after the crash.  An accident reconstructionist can help with that process.

Also, operational documents that are maintained by the trucking company may disappear unless the company is instructed to hold onto the records.  A spoliation letter from a trucking attorney telling the company to properly safeguard all reports and logs is needed to bolster the argument that the trucking company should have retained the records beyond the six months required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (see Part Two of this Article). 

In addition to operational documents, the electronic control module (“ECM”) should be removed from the tractor and preserved.  The ECM controls the systems on the tractor unit.  It records data relating to the operation of the tractor.  The information it records will include speeds, brake system operations and engine controls.  This information can be downloaded by the manufacturer and may play an important role in determining what happened at the time of the crash.

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Major Drug Companies Sued After Patient Develops Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

August 29th, 2011

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a life threatening allergic reaction typically caused by over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Although it is an uncommon disorder, the consequences can be severe.

What is SJS?

Victims of SJS and its more advanced counterpart Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), also known as Lyell’s syndrome, suffer from a variety of symptoms. Usually starting like the flu, SJS can progress into painful skin lesions and blisters in a matter of days. Severe skin and organ damage, blindness and even death can result.

Christopher’s Experience with SJS and TEN

Several years ago the life of Christopher Trejo was changed when he was simply seeking relief from minor pain. After taking Motrin (ibuprofen) for aches from soccer practice, he began getting blisters and his mouth filled with blood. His skin completely came off – in sheets – and he went temporarily blind. He was hospitalized and his condition reclassified from SJS to the more serious TEN.

Now, Christopher is able to work but has been disfigured as a result of the disease. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Data Finds Link Between Traumatic Brain Injuries And Herbicide to Parkinson’s Disease

August 26th, 2011

A recent study by researchers at UCLA discovered new details in the link between Parkinson’s Disease and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In addition, this discovery lead to a greater understanding of a link between the disease and one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world: paraquat.

Anyone can suffer a TBI, either in a car crash, playing a sport, slip and fall or other accident. The latest research shows even mild TBI can cause long ranging neurological damage like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s, and dramatically increases the risk of stroke. This new study shows just how TBI can cause Parkinson’s disease.

Details of the Study

In the UCLA study, rats given a moderate TBI suffered a 15 percent loss in nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, which progressed to a 30 percent loss after 26 weeks. Loss of this specific neuron is what causes the tremors and diminished motor control associated with Parkinson’s disease. Combining this with exposure to paraquat, a common herbicide, the loss of the neuron happened much faster.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Asbestos Exposure Continues, Despite Cancer Warnings

August 22nd, 2011

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer most often associated with exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a heat-resistant, fibrous material used in the construction of homes and other industrial applications. Since being positively linked to mesothelioma, its use has been greatly restricted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Have I Been Exposed?

In the home, asbestos is often used for roofing shingles and insulation – either in the walls or on pipes. While their mere presence isn’t generally life threatening, working with materials that contain asbestos can release microscopic fibers into the air. If you are a tradesman and involved in demolition and renovation work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations designed to help keep workers like yourself safe around asbestos.

Employer Fined $1.2 Million for Exposing Employees

Earlier this year, OSHA fined AMD Industries Inc. $1.2 million for having five untrained and unprotected employees remove materials containing asbestos from boilers, heating units and plumbing in their factory. The company did not warn their employees of the dangers associated with the task, and was part of OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program.  This program focuses on employers who willfully or repetitively violate OSHA regulations.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

One of the difficulties in dealing with asbestos cases is that signs of exposure typically don’t show up until at least 15 years later. Some studies suggest it can take 50 years to develop mesothelioma after asbestos exposure. Also, symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to many other, less serious conditions. Symptoms include: Read the rest of this entry »

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Reckless Driving Charges for Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

August 19th, 2011

A motor vehicle crash, which occurred in the last week of July, has two people facing reckless driving charges in Alpharetta, Georgia. 

According to Aspen Newspapers, witnesses said that Aaron Poisson, 22 years old of Cumming, Georgia was driving his white Ford Taurus on the wrong side of the road.  As a result of his erratic driving, an oncoming car was forced to brake suddenly in order to avoid colliding into Poisson.  When the oncoming car did break, the vehicle behind it ran into it causing a domino effect for the vehicles following it. 

Poisson was not hit in the motor vehicle crash.  Poisson and another car turned into the nearby Old Station Place subdivision. A witness at the scene followed both cars and cornered them in the back of the subdivision.  The witness then urged both to return to the scene of the vehicle accident.  However, neither driver returned to the scene of the motor vehicle accident. 

Amber Davis, a 24 year old female from Hunters Oaks Drive  followed closely behind Poisson’s truck.  Witnesses recorded the license plates and descriptions of the drivers of both motor vehicles as Davis and Poisson fled.

Police later found Poisson and Davis on Alpharetta Highway (Georgia 9) on July 24th.  They were pulled over based on Poisson’s license place.  Poisson and Davis denied knowledge of the accident.  However, because of reliable witness statements, the police were able to obtain warrants for Poisson and Davis’ arrests and both turned themselves in on July 26th

Fleeing from the scene of a car accident is a crime. The drivers who were involved in the collision as a result of Poisson’s poor decisions may have recourse against Poisson.

Davis faces a charge of reckless driving while Poisson faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident, driving on the wrong side of the road, and reckless driving.

Punitive damages are types of damages that are awarded to deter the defendant and others from engaging in the type of behavior that the defendant chose to follow.  These damages are not generally awarded to compensate the plaintiff but the injured party does take a portion of these damages as compensation.  Usually, punitive damages are sought where there is wanton and willful disregard for the safety of other drivers and/or pedestrians.  The most notable cases in Georgia relate to hit and run collisions and DUI accidents. 

If you have been injured in a car collision, you may want to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers to see how we can help protect your legal interests. We will discuss the merits of your case with you at no charge to you.  All consultations are confidential and free.

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How to Avoid Nursing Home Abuse

August 18th, 2011

Just as a young adult takes great care in choosing a first home, so should those in their twilight years, as they consider a move into a nursing home, or a skilled nursing facilities. It is not a decision to take lightly; unlike a bad roommate or neighbor who lets the yard go to weeds, it can be much more challenging for the elderly to find a safe home.

How to Choose a Home

First impressions are important. Upon arrival, is the building and surrounding landscape well maintained or are plants overgrown and the parking lot cracked and worn? Inside, what is the condition of the lobby? Is it clean and inviting or shabby and in need of repair? If a business neglects its property, one can imagine how they may treat their residents.

You’ll likely be given a tour of the facilities and hopefully be allowed to speak with other residents and the workers who will be entrusted to care for you or your family member. If the person giving the tour does not permit you to speak with other residents or staff that should be a big red flag.

How Common is Nursing Home Abuse?

While most nursing homes are healthy, safe places that provide quality care, a recent Congressional study uncovered some alarming statistics. Nearly 1/3 of all nursing homes across the U.S. have had formal complaints filed against them for verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Neglect is also a form of physical abuse, especially when residents are dependent on staff for everything from vital medications to basic hygiene.

Signs of Abuse

Unfortunately, residents can’t always speak out against their abuser, or are afraid of retribution if they do. Abusive workers know they may be subject to civil and criminal penalties and will often scare their victims into silence. The only way to stop them is to speak up for yourself or a family member if they are unable or unwilling to do so themselves. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, some signs of abuse may include: Read the rest of this entry »

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Hit and Run Driver Kills Pedestrian Crossing the Street

August 16th, 2011

On July 21, 2011, 64 year old James Curry was hit by a truck as he crossed the street with a shopping cart to recycle cans. 

According to Channel 12 News, WRDW, Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for 29 year old Ricky Lavon Oliphant Jr. in connection with the fatal hit and run accident.  The crash occurred on Olive Road and Cooney Circle. 

Witnesses have said that the truck that struck Curry was an older model black Chevy S-10 with a faded blue door.  There were two white males in their 30s inside the truck and one did not have a shirt on.

Several days after the crash, Curry died at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center as a result of the traumatic injuries he sustained in the accident.

Oliphant is now wanted for this hit and run accident

Ricky Lavon Oliphant Jr. was released on parole from prison on May 13, 2011.  Oliphant was at Jefferson County Correctional Institute since July 2008 for receiving stolen property.  The sentence he received was five years.

Please contact Richmond County Sheriff’s Office if you have any information on Oliphant.

 In the United States, around 5,000 pedestrian fatalities occur every year.  Every year, there are about 64,000 injuries to pedestrians that are related to motorist collisions.  Because thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed each year alone, pedestrians should exercise caution when walking places, like to work or to a friend’s house.  Always follow traffic control devices and look both ways before crossing any street or roadway.

And while  auto collisions are a scary possibility that all drivers, and pedestrians, must be aware of, in some situations punitive damages can be imposed on the responsible driver.  Punitive damages are types of damages that are awarded to deter the defendant and other similar positioned people from acting the same way as the defendant did against the injured party.  These damages are not generally awarded to compensate the plaintiff but the injured party does take a portion of these damages as compensation.  Usually, punitive damages are sought where there is wanton and willful disregard for the safety of other drivers and/or pedestrians.  The most notable cases in Georgia relate to hit and run collisions and DUI accidents.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, or a hit and run vehicle, you may want to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers to see how we can help protect your legal interests. We work tirelessly for our clients to not only maximize their claim, but to also help them put their lives back together.

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