The Caregiver Victim: Collateral Damage of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Not only does a traumatic brain injury (TBI)  forever change the life of the victim, it also causes serious damage to the health and lives of the victim’s family. The TBI victim is not the same person which causes profound stress to the care giving family. The stress is constant and usually no hope for improvement.
The TBI victim has extensive cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems. These problems result in a grim life for the family caregiver. Studies show:
• A divorce rate of 84% for TBI couples
• All or most of the family savings gets consumed
• Compromised immune system for up to three years after caregiving ends
• An increased risk of developing a chronic illness.
• Major depression diagnoses nearly 50% of caregivers.
• Premature aging, taking as much as 10 years off a caregivers’ life.
When a wrongdoer has caused a TBI, the caregiver victim should also be compensated. While these are the results of scientific studies, how does a caregiver demonstrate her injury to a jury? Some steps to document the impact:
• Start a diary of events. While the family members may feel disloyal about recording negative behaviors, the diary is necessary to help others understand the depth and breadth of the loss.
• Seek respite services to relieve the stress of caregiving.
• Seek emotional support through participating in support groups or counselling with a psychotherapist.

Over the counter birth control pills, can this be safe?

Despite risks of blood clots, stroke and death, in October 2015 California will be the first state to allow women to purchase birth control pills without a prescription. The pharmacist need only  complete a one hour training, conduct a health screening of the woman and take her blood pressure.  And, there is no age restriction.

Oregon has a similar law that will take effect in January 2016.  While Oregonians are still working on the regulations, they will likely require more training for the pharmacists and will only sell to minors who have a prior prescription from a doctor.   

Although women's rights advocates applaud the improved access to oral contraceptives, some are concerned about the serious health risks posed by the drugs and fear the lack of  health care provider screening will increase unnecessary risks. 

What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease which afflicts the brain of people who have suffered repeated concussions and traumatic brain injuries, such as athletes who take part in contact sports, members of the military and others. The brain of an individual who suffers from CTE gradually deteriorates and will over time end up losing mass. Certain areas of the brain will atrophy, and other areas are prone to becoming enlarged. Another aspect of CTE is that some areas of the brain experience an accumulation of tau protein, a substance which serves to stabilize the structure of brain cells (neurons). With CTE, neurons become defective and subsequently may cause major interference with the brain’s ability to send messages.
Some of the most common symptoms include loss of memory, difficulty controlling impulsive or erratic behavior, impaired judgment, and behavioral disturbances including aggression and depression, difficulty with balance, and a gradual onset of dementia. An individual with CTE may mistakenly relate the symptoms to the normal process of aging, or might be misdiagnosed to the fact that many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

Settlement Reached for Actos Bladder Cancer Victims

Takeda, the manufacturer of Actos, has agreed to pay $nearly $2.4 billion to settle bladder cancer claims brought by users: 

  1. who  took Actos at some time prior to December 1, 2011,
  2. who were diagnosed with bladder cancer on or before April 28, 2015, and
  3. who retained counsel before May 1, 2015. Under the terms of the settlement, approximately $2.4 billion will be distributed to approximately 10,600 Actos qualifying users, for average award of $225,000. 

The exact amount of any individual settlement award will be determined through an agreed-upon points matrix by which a number of points will be assigned to each individual claimant based on the level of injury.  The point total will then be adjusted up or down based on various factors, such as length of Actos use, smoking history, and prior history of bladder cancer. 

The five levels of injury include 1) a single occurrence of low grade bladder cancer; 2) recurrence of bladder cancer or occurrence of high grade or T1 bladder cancer; 3) occurrence of T2 bladder cancer or treatment for any bladder cancer by radiation or oral or intravenous chemotherapy; 4) occurrence of T3 bladder cancer or partial or radical cystectomy or nephrectomy to treat bladder cancer; and 5) occurrence of T4 bladder cancer or death from bladder cancer. 

If you meet the criteria above, you should be receiving more information from your attorney.  Please note that Individuals who wish to participate in the settlement must opt-in to the resolution program by July 13, 2015, and then submit a claim package (by a date to be determined) including documentation substantiating the injury and factors accounted for in the points matrix.  A Claims Administrator will then determine points each participant, and calculate the dollar value of each point to determine individual settlement awards. 

Skin, Yes. Skim, No. Club Cannot Take Exotic Dancer's Tips

Recently a California jury awarded 249 exotic dancers $6.5 million for unpaid wages.  The jury found that their employer, Paradise Showgirls, violated the Labor Code that prohibits a Club from taking a portion of the dancers' tips or requiring a divestment of payments for services. The exotic dancers are employees, not independent contractors, and thus need not contribute any portion of what they earn to defray the Club's overhead. 

Deal or No Deal? Takeda offers $2.2 billion

 Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. the manufacture of Actos diabetes medicine has offered to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve patients’ claims that the drug caused their cancer, according to Bloomberg News. More than 8,000 patients fighting bladder cancer have filed lawsuits in state and federal court. The settlement offer would pay each patient or his heirs approximately $275,000.  

Many people doubt that the $2.2 billion is sufficient to compensate all of the patients. It is speculated that Takeda may choose to settle cases with some lawyers and continue negotiations with others. Plaintiff lawyers who oversee the litigation in federal court for plaintiffs have stated that at this time, “There is no deal.”

Tags: ,

What are the risks of taking Propecia?

The risks of Propecia are still unfolding.  For several years, men have been taking Propecia for hair loss. Merck the manufacturer of Propecia represented that a limited number of users may experience side effects including sexual dysfunction such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorder as well as potential depression. The actual rate of sexual function may be as high as 39%. Studies in Sweden indicate that the adverse side effects often continue after discontinuation of Propecia.  This persistence and/or permanence of the sexual dysfunction, depression and cognitive impairment remained undisclosed to U.S. consumers.  Merck failed to include it on its label. 

Men who used Propecia are claiming that Merck failed to adequately warn them about its risks. Most of these cases are being litigated in New York. Recently the wife and children of a man who took Propecia filed a claim against Merck alleging that in addition to depression, Propecia caused their father and husband to have thoughts of suicide and it led to his eventual suicide.

New Plan for Handling Remaining Yaz Claims

Nearly 20,000 women have brought claims against Bayer for its failure to warn about Yaz’s association with increased risk of clotting.  Women suffered deep vein thromboses, pulmonary embolis and death.  Although Bayer has paid out approximately $1.7 billion in settlements to Yaz claimants approximately 3400 claims remain.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon expressed disappointment that Bayer has been unwilling or unable to settle out of court.  Most of the remaining cases involve catastrophic injuries to women with patent foramen ovale and/or arterial clotting.

On February 13, 2015, Judge Herndon issued a case management order that provides for all Yaz actions that were initially transferred from outside of Southern Illinois to return to their home courts. And the trials originally scheduled for May 4, 2015 have been cancelled or continued.  The Judge has scheduled a Yaz trial to begin in his courtroom on June 15, 2015.  

Risperdal Found to Cause 'Man Boobs'

  On February 23, 2015 a Pennsylvania jury found Risperdal drug maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to properly warn of the potential for Risperdal to cause gynecomastia, a condition in which males grow enlarged breasts.  As a boy, Austin

 Pledger, took Risperdal to assist with behavioral symptoms related to autism and later developed size 46DD breasts from taking the drug. The condition was irreversible.  The jury awarded Pledger $2.5 million.

 

 

Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

It depends. Does your employer retain the right to control the how you perform your work? If yes, then you are an employee. If no, than you are an independent contractor. If maybe, then the Court will consider these additional questions:

  • Are you engaged in a distinct business?
  • Is your job usually done with or without supervision?
  • What skills does your job require?
  • Do you supply the tools, instruments and the place of work?
  • How long do you work?
  • How are you paid? By time or by the job?
  • Is the work part of the regular business of the company?
  • Did you or the company believe you were creating an employer-employee relationship?

These questions usually raise complicated and detailed answers. A judge or jury will weigh the answers to these questions to determine whether a person is an employee or independent contractor.  As discussed here, the answer makes a difference as to how employment laws may be enforced.