Is your knee replacement causing you extreme discomfort or inhibiting your lifestyle? Read on to learn what you can do to seek help

Nearly anytime one hears of an FDA recall in the news, it’s a common reaction to make certain one doesn’t have that item in the pantry, the refrigerator, or the medicine cabinet. Likewise, when we receive recall info regarding our vehicles steering column or airbags, we rush the vehicle down to the shop to have it investigated. Still, not all recall information is so openly communicated. In fact, when it comes to medical device recalls, those who have a faulty product or device operating within their body are often unaware of the danger they face until symptoms begin to arise or until it is entirely too late.

In February 2013, the FDA issued a Class I recall for the diaphyseal sleeve used in DePuy’s knee Limb Preservation System (LPS). Class I recalls are reserved specifically for when there is reasonable probability that a product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. According to the FDA, the segment of the DePuy Knee LPS simulating a joint poses a fracture risk, which can lead to serious complications for the recipient.

Specifically, the FDA states that the taper connection between the sleeve and the base of the joint segment may not be able to withstand weight as it is shifted to the joint during normal, everyday movement. Walking, running, and even bending at the knee for those with this replacement mechanism are at severe risk of injury. Should the sleeve fracture at the taper joint, those with the DePuy Knee Replacement product are at an increased risk of loss of function, loss of limb, infection, compromised soft tissue, and even death.

DePuy Knee Replacement Problems

If you had a DePuy Knee Replacement implanted between 2008 and July 2012, you may be subject to complications related to the faulty medical device. Signs of failure may include the following:

  • Limited range of movement
  • Infection
  • Device dislocation
  • Warm, inflamed, or red skin
  • Stiffness
  • Instability in the knee
  • Fracture of implant components, femur or tibia
  • Loosening of the knee implant
  • Swelling and/or pain in the knee
  • Abnormal sound in the knee implant
  • Decreased ability to walk
  • Abnormal gait

In January 2012 the FDA informed hospitals and surgeons of the potential risks associated with the sleeve, requesting that these product lots no longer be used in knee replacement surgeries. According to the FDA, all diaphyseal sleeves manufactured between 2008 and July 2012 are subject to the recall.

Currently, the FDA has received 10 reports of device malfunction related to fracture and loosening of the knee implant. It is, however, likely that many individuals living with DePuy Knee Implants are not aware of the danger posed by the faulty device. If you have had a knee replacement surgery or know someone who has, now is the time to take action to ensure the wellbeing and safety of you or your loved one.

Knee revision surgeries are considered more painful and invasive than a first-time knee replacement, as they usually require breaking the faulty device away from the bone and, in many cases, the implant is cemented into place. Occasionally, these implants can damage the surrounding bone so severely that a reconstructive surgery is required to completely rebuild the knee before a replacement device can be installed. In addition to an excruciatingly painful surgery and rehabilitation period, revision and reconstructive surgeries can also expose patient to an increased risk of infection and other undesirable surgical complications, such as excessive bleeding, deep venous thrombosis, nerve or blood vessel damage, and pulmonary embolism.

Each year, thousands of Americans fall victim to severe injuries at the hands of Big Pharma’s irresponsibility and inaccurate reporting on the safety of their products. If you have a medical implant such as the DePuy Knee Replacement, it is imperative to remain informed about the latest recalls and legal actions against manufacturers responsible for the device.

Taylor Martino, P.C., a personal injury firm based in Mobile, Alabama, seeks to right the injustices performed at the hands of Big Pharma companies. Since 1988, Taylor Martino has embodied one singular, straightforward purpose: the passionate pursuit of justice for plaintiffs. In their nearly 30 years of operation, attorneys at Taylor Martino have obtained more than a billion dollars in compensation for thousands of clients on a local, regional, and national level. Now, the attorneys at Taylor Martino have made it their mission to investigate all claims of injuries related to the implantation of the DePuy knee LPS in all knee replacement procedures. Their team of passionate attorneys possess the knowledge, experience, and dedication necessary to take on Big Pharma using the testimony of those who have had their lives put on hold because of defective devices.

If you’ve suffered any injury, pain, or complications as a result of medical devices such as the DePuy Knee Replacement, contact a Taylor Martino personal injury attorney for a FREE case evaluation today. For more information, visit taylormartino.com or call 1-800-256-7728.

Complications From Hernia Surgery Stall Your Life. Seek a Professional to Help You Take Control Today

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans undergo surgery for hernia repair. Surgical repairs can either be done through an open repair (“under the knife”) or laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive. In many cases of hernia repair, a surgeon will use a medical device known as hernia mesh (also called a hernia screen or hernia patch) to reduce the risk of recurrence. As the most common procedure occurring in the United States, hundreds of thousands of patients are implanted with hernia mesh each year.

Naturally, the goal of surgery is to alleviate pain resulting from hernias. And while the intentions of patients and doctors alike were to repair hernias, various companies manufacturing hernia meshes did so irresponsibly—resulting in faulty products. In early 2016, the FDA issued a report regarding complications caused by faulty or defective hernia mesh. Everything from pain and infection to bowel obstruction were reported as resulting complications caused by defective mesh. The mesh may dissolve or deteriorate inside the body.

Now, numerous hernia mesh products used to repair hernias during surgery have been reported as having serious health complications. The companies responsible for defective hernia mesh include Atrium/Maquet, Bard/Davol, Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson, and Covidien. The reported health issues related to the hernia mesh include the following:

  • Severe pain in the abdomen, groin, testes, and upper thigh (adhesions)
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Organ obstruction and/or tearing
  • Scar tissue between abdominal organs and other tissue
  • Fistula (tunnel formation) between intestinal tract or stomach and other tissue
  • Severe infection or abscess

Many patients who were implanted with faulty hernia mesh have undergone additional surgery to remove mesh or treat complications associated with mesh. These painful complications and additional surgeries result in consequences that negatively affect day to day lives. Time must be taken off work to have the surgeries and recover resulting in lost wages. Arrangements must be made to perform even the smallest of household tasks because it’s difficult to lift items larger than a few pounds. Those who are unfortunate enough to have experienced any of the physical pain and unnecessary problems associated with faulty hernia mesh often feel worse than before their hernia was treated! People are hurt and inconvenienced. But why?

The companies who manufacture these faulty medical products either refuse to adequately test the product before launching it onto the market OR they know the product’s problems and simply refuse to report the findings. As a result, innocent people suffer. Taylor Martino, P.C., a personal injury firm based in Mobile, Alabama, seeks to right the injustices performed at the hands of Big Pharma companies. Since 1988, Taylor Martino has embodied one singular, straightforward purpose: the passionate pursuit of justice for plaintiffs. In their nearly 30 years of operation, attorneys at Taylor Martino have obtained more than a billion dollars in compensation for thousands of clients on a local, regional, and national level. Now, the attorneys at Taylor Martino have made it their mission to investigate all claims of injuries related to the implantation of hernia mesh in hernia repair procedures. Their team of skilled lawyers possess the knowledge, experience, and dedication necessary to take on Big Pharma using the testimony of those who have had their lives put on hold because of defective hernia mesh.

Contact the devoted team at Taylor Martino to begin the process of rebuilding your life. Click here to request a FREE case evaluation or call 1-800-256-7728 today.

None of us plan of being hurt. Whether it’s a car wreck or a wet floor you’ve taken a tumble on, accidents happen—often by no fault of our own. However, the consequences of these accidents can last for weeks, months, years, and even the rest of our lives. When you’re faced with mounting medical bills and extensive time out of work to recover from an injury that was not your fault or was, in fact, caused by the negligence of someone else, you are left with no other choice but to seek legal action.

It doesn’t make you “sue happy,” and it doesn’t mean you want a handout. It’s your legal right. Of course, attaining the results you want in taking legal action will be greatly dependent on the type of attorney you enlist to help you. If you are ever find yourself in the market for an attorney, here are some aspects you should keep in mind.

1. Winning record

There are thousands of plaintiff lawyers across the state, so there’s truly no reason to involve yourself with an attorney without credible experience. You’ll want an attorney with a track record of searchable judgments. Ask about their experience is and request past verdicts to help you understand just how good he/she is at their job.

Past successful verdicts don’t guarantee a successful outcome on your case, but they certainly do provide you a comprehensive look at the competency and experience of the firm or attorney you may be considering.

2. Attitude

According to longtime attorney and former U.S. Marine Ed Rowan of Taylor Martino, P.C., having a fighter’s spirit is critical in being a successful attorney. “As a former Marine—as you may know there are no retired Marines—I’ve got a background that gave me a mindset to never quit. I have pride in my work and I look for the positives in any situation,” he says.

Just as the attorney must be persistent in the pursuit of justice, so must the plaintiff himself/herself as the wronged party. “I have all this enthusiasm that I want to always channel in the right direction—I think this is something that makes me a successful attorney today,” says Rowan. “You just can’t make it through some of the challenges of being hurt or out of commission if you’re a quitter. I always ask my clients, ‘Are you fighting? Can you continue to fight?’ because I’m dug in this for the long haul when I take their case and I want them to be in it with me from start to finish.”

While there is often physical and emotional strife involved in moving through your case, Rowan notes that perspective can make all the difference. “I often find myself telling the folks I represent that I hate that I’m meeting them under such circumstances and that I know it’s tough, but we can make the best out of a bad situation. I try to approach it from the most positive angle possible and stay the course.”

3. Size

Many personal injury cases are require multiple attorneys for an all-hands-on-deck approach. At Taylor Martino, multiple lawyers, paralegals, and several support staff work on cases to ensure that no stone is left unturned.

More resources simply equal better bottom-line results. Firms with plenty of people on hand mean more eyes and ears to handle each case, with more perspectives and various levels of experience. For the team at Taylor Martino, this means over 30 years of reputable experience.

4. Reputation

Accolades matter. The best law firms will have a laundry list of accomplishments that are easy to find out about. For instance, several Taylor Martino attorneys have made the Super Lawyers list or have had the distinction of being on the Rising Stars list. Client reviews should also always be readily available on a firm’s website or Facebook page. These reviews will give you firsthand knowledge of the kind of attorney you can expect when you enlist their services.

5. Fee policy

The first thing you should expect with any plaintiff attorney worth his/her salt is a fee policy explaining that your attorney(s) won’t be compensated until you are. This type of guarantee ensures that you aren’t hit with fees throughout the process of your representation. Additionally, this type of fee policy means your lawyer works hard to get you paid as that’s the only way he/she is getting paid.

A free consultation is another must when it comes to selecting the right attorney to represent you in a personal injury case. The free consultation is the hallmark of any compassionate, decent plaintiff firm.

“Even if you can’t stand law suits or plaintiff lawyers or injured people bringing about claims but you unfortunately find yourself lumped into that injured person category, just come talk to me,” says Rowan. “There are absolutely no strings attached. Just see what I have to say—there’s no charge. It’s just about receiving free information that you can choose how to use for yourself. If you’re comfortable, I’d be honored to help you.”

Being subjected to an injury, a permanent disability, or even the loss of a loved one due to negligence of another are realities no one wants or deserves. However, you do have rights and options in the aftermath of these terrible situations. If you’ve suffered an injury or disability through no fault of your own, seek advice from the experts at Taylor Martino during a FREE consultation by clicking here now or calling 1-800-256-7728 today.

Personal Injury

If the negligent actions of another party have caused a significant injury, you may be thinking about suing that person to recover financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic costs associated with the incident. This includes actual expenses as well as compensation for things like physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Since Alabama imposes a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, you need to act as quickly as possible. You may be wondering how much money you might collect and how a judge and jury determine financial damages in a case like yours. Before you proceed with your claim, it’s important to understand that the burden of proof lies with you as the injured party. That means you’re required to demonstrated how the negligent actions of the other party have had negative effects on your life that you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

Alabama also allows for punitive damages in extreme situations. The law stipulates that a personal injury victim may be entitled to this additional compensation when the responsible party acted in a way that demonstrates clear and convincing evidence of intentional malice, fraud, oppression, or wantonness towards the victim.

Payments for Expenses You Could Receive

In a personal injury lawsuit, the judge and jury consider both economic and non-economic damages. The first category includes actual expenses in several categories as well as anticipated future expenses or losses in the same category. Typical examples include:

  • Loss of income and/or earning capacity: If the nature of your injuries forced you to miss work unpaid or to use your own vacation time or sick leave, you’re eligible to sue for lost income. You will need a doctor’s report estimating how much work you might miss in the future to receive payment for the work hours you expect to miss. It’s also possible that you can no longer perform your regular job and need to accept a part-time or less physically taxing position to accommodate your new physical limitations. The court would consider your current and past salaries as well as missed promotions due to the injuries when determining your award amount.
  • Medical costs: Between emergency care, hospital admission, ongoing supplies, physical therapy, and other costs, it doesn’t take long before you could potentially owe hundreds of thousands of dollars. As with lost wages and earning capacity, the court estimates your future medical expenses when determining the amount of this portion of your personal injury lawsuit.
  • Damage to property: If the other party seriously damaged your vehicle or any of its contents, you could receive compensation for repair or replacement. For example, you may have been on your way to a sporting practice with several hundred dollars of equipment in your vehicle that is now unusable due to the crash.

Pain and Suffering and Other Non-Economic Damages

While it can be challenging to determine future expenses for economic damages, the judge and jury base these awards off pre-determined amounts. However, non-economic damages are completely subjective and often depend on how much sympathy the court has for your situation. Pain and suffering, as mentioned above, may cover a variety of issues you experience due to the accident. In addition to physical pain, you could receive compensation for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, reputation damage, and much more. The only caveat is that you must prove the other party caused these issues with his or her negligent actions.

Loss of enjoyment of life or loss of companionship are two other common categories of subjective damages in a personal injury case. If you can no longer participate in an activity that brought you pleasure before the accident, you could qualify for loss of enjoyment compensation. Loss of companionship is more for the spouses of injured people whose relationship dynamics changed considerably due to the accident.

Schedule a Free Consultation to Learn More

Because everyone’s personal injury case is so different, we can’t say before filing a lawsuit on your behalf exactly how much you might receive. However, we can provide rough estimates based on similar cases in the past when you come to our Mobile, Alabama office for a no-obligation case review with one of our personal injury lawyers. We invite you to contact us at 1-800-256-7728 to request your one-on-one session.

jackknife truck accident

Accidents involving tractor-trailers can be dangerous and have catastrophic consequences. Because these commercial trucks are so large, they are prone to any number of contortions that can cause severe injury or even death. One of the scariest types of accidents involving a tractor-trailer is a jackknife accident, in which the truck’s cab and trailer end up facing different directions. If you’re involved in one of these crashes, you may wonder about your rights to recover damages.

What is a Jackknife Accident?

A jackknife accident happens when the tractor trailer’s two sections head in opposite directions. Like a folding Swiss army knife, the cab of the truck goes one way while the trailer folds in at a right angle. When this “swing” occurs, it can create a dangerous situation on the road for unsuspecting drivers before the truck comes to a halt.

Since half of all truck accident fatalities occur on two-lane, non-divided roads, both on-coming vehicles and cars in the back can be affected. These accidents may also spill heavy cargo onto the roadway, cause multi-car pile-ups, or lead to dangerous vehicle fires.

What Might Cause a Commercial Truck to Jackknife?

Jackknife accidents are generally caused by a truck’s sudden change in speed, such as when it slams on its brakes. When the truck’s cab stops, the momentum of the trailer continues, and there is no place for it to go but a sideways pivot, creating the jackknife. The most common situations that lead to jackknife accidents include:

  • High Speed. No truck stops on a dime, but trucks traveling a high rate of speed (over 55 mph) increase their chances of having to brake suddenly, causing a jackknife reaction.
  • Curvy Roads. Roads with steep angles and curves can create dangerous situations where the truck will fold in on itself.
  • Adverse Weather. The chances of sliding jackknife accidents increase when roads are icy or wet or when visibility is poor.
  • Equipment Failure. Equipment failure such as bad brakes or hydraulics can cause a jackknife accident.
  • Other Negligence. Careless driving, drowsy driving, and distracted driving are just a few of the other ways that driver error can lead to one of these crashes.

Damages Suffered from Jackknife Accidents

Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When you are following the rules of the road and suddenly find 28 feet worth of metal trailer swinging in your direction, it can be a terrifying event. Jackknife accidents cause massive destruction, catastrophic injuries, and loss of life. Some accident victims struggle to put their lives back together as they recover from:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Burns
  • Permanent disfigurement

In addition to the physical trauma suffered from the accident which could require extensive medical care, you may suffer other losses such as missed time from work, permanent disability, and pain and suffering.

Who is Liable in a Commercial Truck Jackknife Accident?

Most jackknife accidents are preventable, which means that you have the right to demand compensation from those responsible for your losses. The most likely candidate for liability is the truck driver, who may have either violated traffic laws or failed to operate their vehicle responsibly. There is also the chance that the driver operated their vehicle more hours than allowed or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving.

The trucking company may also be held responsible in some cases. They must document the hours that the driver works as well as properly maintain the truck so that it is safe on the road. Other parties that might be at fault in one of these cases include equipment manufacturers and cargo loaders. When you work with a truck accident attorney, they will investigate your crash to determine who should be pursued for damages.

Get Help with a Jackknife Accident Lawsuit

If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one resulting from a jackknife accident, you need to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney about your rights. At Taylor Martino, our experienced personal injury attorneys have been representing accident victims throughout Alabama and Mississippi for more than 30 years.

We will review your case, advise you of your options, and do everything possible to hold the negligent parties responsible for your damages. Schedule a free consultation now by calling 1-800-256-7728 or contact us online.

Elderly population vulnerable to abuse and neglect

According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the fastest growing segment of the state’s population are the elderly. These are NaNas and Pop-Pops, mothers and fathers, WWII vets, grocery greeters, bankers, and former boardroom wonders. Despite myriad backgrounds and life stories, one thing all elderly individuals have in common is a susceptibility to abuse.

While we often think of neglect, exploitation, and physical and sexual abuse as grievances enacted upon the very young, a recent expose from the Minnesota StarTribune shows that elder abuse is on the rise—particularly within state care facilities. And while state regulations and treatments standards are in place, state regulators lack the staff and expertise to effectively and appropriately investigate, leading to investigations that drag on for years with penalties never enforced. Many state prosecutors allege that they are not notified of these investigations until months after the abuse has occurred, creating overall difficulty in bringing about criminal charges at all.

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For more information on this topic contact Taylor Martino, P.C. at (800) 256-7728 or locally at (251) 433-3131.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook
The Cost Of The Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis in the United States is getting worse every year with related deaths doubling in the last decade and four times more than in 2001. While deaths have increased significantly so have the costs of dealing with the opioid crisis across the nation. According to a paper published by the White House in November 2017, the cost of the opioid epidemic reached an unprecedented $504 billion in 2015. This estimate is six times larger than the original estimate and is 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the U.S. for 2015. These statistics are very troubling.

 

Nationally, opioid related deaths are increasing at alarming rates. The following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show what is happening across the nation, and especially in the eastern half of the United States. Of the states reporting, these states have the highest increases in synthetic opioid related deaths from 2014 to 2015:

 

STATE2014 DEATHS2015 DEATHSPERCENT OF INCREASE
Tennessee13225190.5
Ohio5901,234107.3
West Virginia12221776.4
Illinois127278120
New York294668135.7
Massachusetts453949108.7
Connecticut94211125.9
New Hampshire15128594.4
Maine6211690.4
Georgia17428464.7

The CDC also reports that more than six out of ten drug overdose deaths involved an opioid in 2015, and that “Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.”

Locally, the Southeastern United States is taking center stage with the number of deaths increasing dramatically and the number of prescriptions alarmingly high. Alabama has the highest prescribing rate in the nation with 121 prescriptions per 100 US residents. Mississippi accounts for 105.6 prescriptions per 100 residents, Georgia 77.8 per 100, and Florida 66.6 per 100. The prescription rate in the nation is unprecedented in history. In addition, from 2014 to 2015, Florida opioid related deaths rose by 22.7%, Mississippi by 6%, Georgia by 6.7%, and Alabama by 3.3% (CDC).

Side Effects of Prescription Opioid Use

Although prescription opioids can help with pain, there are many side effects that increase the risk of taking them for pain:

  • Drug Tolerance. Opioids produce an effect in the body where more is needed to create the same level of pain relief over time.
  • Drug Dependence. If the drug is stopped patients suffer withdrawal symptoms which shows drug addiction was present.
  • Increased Pain Sensitivity. Using opioids may actually increase a patient’s sensitivity to pain, causing a vicious cycle of needing more pain relief.
  • Constipation. Opioids frequently cause constipation which creates a need for other measures and the use of laxatives to combat the constipation. Recurring constipation can lead to other health problems and a life-threatening condition called impaction where the bowel is unable to move.

Other side effects include excessive sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, depression, decreased testosterone levels, itching, and sweating.

Monetary Cost

The cost of the opioid crisis purported by the White House includes both costs for those living with opioid addiction and the cost of the loss of life and the resulting cost to families and society as a result of these deaths. Some of these costs include healthcare costs since opioid abusers “utilize significantly more healthcare resources than non-addicted peers,” (The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis, Nov, 2017). In addition, costs come from lost earnings, especially as related to time lost from work due to illness, incarceration, and death over an expected lifetime. Other costs include:

  • Recovery programs
  • Criminal justice costs due to arrests, incarceration, trials, public attorneys, and all costs related to criminal justice
  • Caring for the families of the deceased who may fall into poverty needing to access government programs such as food stamps and free meals at school, as well as other programs
  • Care of infants born with opioid addiction
  • Care of children who die or are found unconscious due to ingestion of opioids found in their houses and elsewhere
  • Increased spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C

Human Cost

The human cost of opioid addiction, overdose, and death is alarming, especially since most opioid related deaths occur between the ages of 25 and 55 years old. In addition, the above mentioned study reported that deaths are actually under-reported and in reality, are up to 24% higher than officially documented. Human cost not only relates to the workforce and contributing members of society, but even more importantly the impact to children and families, both monetarily and emotionally. Parents are incarcerated and dying at alarming rates leaving broken families, grieving spouses and children, poverty, and a host of emotional difficulties related to these issues including future need for depression and anxiety counseling and other services.

Reasons for the Crisis

Obvious reasons for the crisis include the highly addictive nature of opioids and the number of overlapping or continued prescriptions being given. However, drug companies may also be a major contributor to the crisis. According to a December 2017 article in the Washington Post, the DEA had evidence already in 2014 against major infractions by one of the largest pharmaceutical drug companies in the US, McKesson Corp. According to the report, “investigators said they could show that the company had failed to report suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers sent to drugstores from Sacramento, Calif., to Lakeland, Fla. Some of those went to corrupt pharmacies that supplied drug rings.” Unfortunately, a deal was struck earlier this year with McKesson and the Government agreed not to pursue charges. This information is disturbing in light of the monetary and human cost of the opioid crisis in the United States.

For more information on this topic contact Taylor Martino, P.C. at (800) 256-7728 or locally at (251) 433-3131.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook

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The Evolution of the Opioid Crisis

With President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017, Americans may be wondering how in the world we got here. Opioid related drug overdoses and deaths are increasing at an alarming rate in recent years, killing more than 60,000 people in 2016. Considering the following facts published by the White House in the study The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis, Nov, 2017:

  • The majority of these deaths fall between the ages of 25-55.
  • About two-thirds of opioid drug overdoses are from prescription medications.
  • The crisis is costing Americans over $500 billion per year.

In addition to the deaths between the ages of 25-55, an increasing number of children are being found unconscious or dead after accessing their parent’s drugs or coming in contact with these very dangerous drugs, and there is a surge of babies being born who are opioid dependent. In this article we examine the evolution of the opioid crisis to see how we ended up in this position as a nation.

Opioid History

Opioid addiction has been a problem for much of the history of the United States, but never at this level. Beginning in the 1990’s something began to change. There was a push by patients in the US to more effectively treat pain and pharmaceutical companies began to promote the benefits of opioid pain relievers. Pharmaceutical companies dramatically increased the size of their sales staff and gave out generous bonuses to sales reps. Doctors began writing prescriptions more liberally for all sorts of pain ailments from back pain to arthritis pain to chronic pain. Thus, began an epidemic use of prescription opioids in the United States.

An enlightening fact that has emerged in the evolution of the opioid crisis is that there has been a demographic shift among opioid users from the 1960s to the 2000s. In the 60s more than 80% of opioid users began by using heroin. In the 2000s, 75% report beginning with a prescription opioid pain reliever.

Opioid Crisis Statistics

According the Centers for Disease Control the rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States was 2.5 times higher in 2015 than in 1999. Examine these statistics per 100,000 people:

19992015
Overall Deaths6.116.3
Male Deaths8.220.8
Female Deaths3.911.8
Deaths Ages 55-644.221.8

The largest percentage of increases have occurred since 2013 and by 2015 deaths in the age range of 45-54 had increased to 30 per 100,000.

States with the statistically significant increases in death rates from 2013 to 2015 include an overwhelming majority from the eastern half of the United States including:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

When comparing statistics from the Annual Surveillance Report Of Drug-related Risks And Outcomes, 2006 to 2016 data shows that current levels of prescriptions are trending downward overall, yet some states still have very high prescription rates:

Location20062016
Overall72.466.5
Oklahoma108.797.9
Alabama115.6121
Arkansas98.3114.6
Tennessee124.8107.5
West Virginia129.996
Kentucky122.697.2

What is Being Done Now?

The CDC published a report titled CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in 2016 which “provides recommendations for primary care clinicians who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.” This includes recommendations on when to use an opioid for pain relief, which opioid to choose, dosage and duration recommendations, and assessing risks and potential harm to patients.

In addition, in a 2015 address titled What is the Federal Government Doing to Combat the Opioid Abuse Epidemic?, Nora D. Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, stressed that the recent initiative by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services would implement better prescription practices as well as reversal drugs, research, and promotion of findings to the public as well as healthcare facilities and practitioners. In addition, measures would be taken to develop treatment plans with “reduced potential for misuse and diversion.” Types of intervention shown to be successful are:

  • Delivering addiction/overdose education and prevention in schools and communities
  • Supporting drug monitoring programs
  • Distribution of reversal drugs such as naloxone to opioid users
  • Investigation and prosecution of inappropriate use of opioids by doctors and pharmacies

For more information on this topic contact Taylor Martino, P.C. at 1-800-256-7728 or locally at 251-433-3131.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook
Mycobacteria Infection

A number of patients who recently had surgery may have been exposed to dangerous bacteria that is notoriously hard to diagnose. The bacteria can have life-altering, even deadly consequences. What is worse and frightening is that the patients probably don’t even know they have been infected and may not learn that they have been infected until it is too late.

The problem, which has become global in scope, is that a few years ago certain medical equipment frequently used during cardiac surgery was contaminated with bacteria in a German manufacturing plant. The contaminated equipment was then shipped to hospitals in the United States. Unfortunately, hospitals have used this equipment for years without properly cleaning and disinfecting it, thus exposing countless patients to a dangerous pathogen called non-tuberculosis mycobacteria. And because mycobacteria is a slow growing organism, most patients don’t even know they have been infected until they become sick or incapacitated, which can take many months.

The contaminated medical equipment is frequently referred to as a heating-cooling system. The purpose of the heating-cooling system is to keep patients either warm or cold during surgery to optimize the chance of successful surgery. These machines are routinely used during open-heart surgery. A German company called Sorin Group (now known as LivaNova) manufactured a popular model known as the Soren 3T heating and cooling system. The Soren 3T’s were sold all over the United States.

Beginning in 2011, a number of reports began filtering in about patients suffering from unusual mycobacteria infection after heart surgery. The risk of a mycobacteria infection from heart surgery is normally very low, so a cluster of new cases was alarming. The one common thread among these cases was that a Soren 3T heating system was used during surgery. In July of 2014, Soren sent a letter to a number of medical facilities using the 3T model that outlined important information about reported mycobacteria infections. The letter notified hospitals about the problem and recommended strict adherence to the company’s cleaning and disinfection protocols.

According to a recent FDA release, Soren discovered that the mycobacteria contamination originated in its plant in Germany. In other words, these machines were contaminated during production and sent to medical facilities already colonized with dangerous bacteria. Compounding the problem, the evidence is beginning to emerge that these machines were not being properly cleaned by hospitals. Thus, the mycobacteria was permitted to colonize the machines and potentially infect countless patients during surgery.

The nature of mycobacteria has made this recently discovered crisis even more dangerous. Mycobacteria is notoriously slow growing and subtle. Often patients do not feel its effects until months after exposure. This is very dangerous because it allows the infection to grow and spread over time. Without intervention with antibiotics, these infections can become a major health risk. Patients who received valve replacement surgery are at particularly high risk because the bacteria can grow on the valve and eventually break off causing a potential stroke or even death.

Taylor Martino is a law firm that serves victims in Alabama and Mississippi. If you believe that you, or a loved one, has been affected, please contact us today for a free and confidential consultation and case evaluation by calling 251-433-3131 or by email.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
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Practice Road Safety

Holiday events and celebrations can be exciting times for family and friends to get together. But, get-togethers with family and friends can turn into tragedies when people are killed or injured in traffic crashes.

As the holiday season is approaching, motorists need to be mindful of actions that will make their holiday travel safer. Drivers can protect themselves and their passengers by following these holiday travel rules.

1. Before beginning any trip, have your vehicle tuned up and make sure it’s in good shape for travel. This is especially important for winter driving conditions. Vehicle safety changes based on the weather around it. If you are not sure what all to check ,take your vehicle to your local service department.

2. Make sure you and everyone in the car is properly wearing their seat belts and riding correctly in car safety seats. Remember, the rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride. Being on the road for long periods can cause some passengers to move their safety belt or even remove it. Make sure you check frequently to assure proper use.

3. Have flexibility in your travel plans. Having flexibility allows for unexpected events that may arise in different areas. This gives you plenty of time to reach your destination and not feel rushed. Rushed driving causes more accidents.

4. Stay fresh and alert when driving. Take plenty of breaks and do not push yourself to meet an unrealistic schedule. If you get tired, pull off the road.

5. Don’t speed and follow all traffic safety/driving rules. Use the correct lanes, signals, and other driving courtesies to notify other drivers of your intentions.

6. Lastly, don’t drink and drive. Don’t use your cell phone while driving.

All in all, there are several ways you can practice road safety while driving this holiday season. Taylor Martino wants everyone to be safe, buckle up and obey the law. Happy Holidays!

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