Mininno Law Office: In The News

The following is a letter from John Mininno the Courier Post (South Jersey), published on May 24, 2008:

How To Treat A Bedsore

The development of a bedsore (or pressure sore) in an elderly or bedridden loved one can be a scary ordeal. Bedsores are painful and often require months of treatment before they heal. Bedsores can also be fatal if not cared for properly; therefore, it is important that family members are extremely involved in the treatment process.

The following list offers practical tips on how to treat a bedsore. Families can also use the list as a gauge to determine whether their loved one is receiving appropriate care from the nursing home or hospital staff. In addition, I encourage you to read ahead to the legal rights of a bedsore patient. Bedsores are a clear sign of neglect in nursing home or hospital setting. You have the legal right to hold these facilities accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused your loved one.

Bedsore Prevention Methods

  1. Keep Moving– Ideally, a bedsore patient should move every 15 minutes to keep pressure off of the sore. If this frequency is not possible (as in the case of an immobile resident), the bedsore patient must be moved at least every two hours. He or she should also be kept off of the sore as much as possible. Special mattresses, foam blocks or special chairs may help keep your loved one comfortable during the repositioning process.
  2. Keep it Clean– The bedsore should be cleaned with Saline solution and wrapped with an occlusive dressing. Occlusive dressing is a clear transparent bandage that can seal itself to the wound and is found at your local medical supply store. The bandage should also be left on for a few days before it is changed. If the dressing is changed too often, it will inhibit the body’s natural growth factors from connecting with the raw tissue.
  3. Get Healthy– Malnutrition is common in bedsore patients. This condition contributes to the easy breakdown of the skin. To promote healing, the bedsore patient should eat plenty of protein, take 500 mg of Vitamin C supplements twice a day (as always, consult with a doctor before taking supplements) and drink 8 glass of water a day to prevent dehydration. It is a proven fact that patients who receive proper nutrition will not only heal faster, but will be less likely to get another bedsore in the future.

Legal Rights of a Bedsore Patient

Nursing homes and hospitals have specific guidelines aimed at preventing bedsores. Therefore, if a bedsore develops, it’s safe to conclude that someone was not following the rules. These sores are so unacceptable that insurance companies are now refusing to pay doctors for bedsore treatment.

The reason for this is simple—bedsores are easier to prevent than treat. In most cases, bedsores are just the result of carelessness and neglect. Fortunately, insurance companies are not the only ones taking a stand against such negligent behavior. Bedsore patients and family members have turned to the court system to hold hospitals and nursing homes responsible for the pain and suffering they have caused. And while the hospital or nursing home may insist that bedsores are unavoidable even under the best circumstances, nothing can be further than the truth.

How to Get Help

Your first priority is the physical health of your loved one. Once they are stable and being treated as recommended above, you should contact an elder abuse attorney to discuss your specific case. At Mininno Law Office, we use a unique team of medical and legal professionals that work together to cover every angle of your bedsore case. Our staff nurse will answer any medical questions you may have, while our team of elder abuse attorneys will fight aggressively for your rights in court.

To get started with our licensed RN, call toll-free (856) 833-0600 or fill out the case evaluation form on the right side of the page.

Related information:

New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream Can Cause Respiratory Distress in Infants

The FDA has advised nursing mothers to stop using Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream, as it may cause respiratory distress, vomiting and diarrhea in infants.  The FDA posted the following warning on their website:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use or purchase Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream, marketed by MOM Enterprises, Inc., because the product contains potentially harmful ingredients that may cause respiratory distress or vomiting and diarrhea in infants. The product is promoted to nursing mothers to help soothe and heal dry or cracked nipples. Product labeling specifically states that there is no need for mothers to remove the cream prior to nursing. However, the ingredients contained in the product may be harmful to nursing infants.

Potentially harmful ingredients in Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream are chlorphenesin and phenoxyethanol. Chlorphenesin relaxes skeletal muscle and can depress the central nervous system and cause respiratory depression (slow or shallow breathing) in infants. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medications. It also can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration in infants.

Mothers and caregivers should watch for a decrease in an infant’s appetite. More serious signs would be difficulty in awakening the child, limpness of extremities or a decrease in an infant’s strength of grip and a change in skin color. Please seek immediate medical attention if your child is showing these signs and symptoms.

“The FDA is particularly concerned that nursing infants are being unwittingly exposed by their mothers to this product with dangerous side effects,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director, FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Additionally, these two ingredients may interact with one another to further compound and increase the risk of respiratory depression in nursing infants.”

Though the FDA has not received any reports of injury to infants, the agency is alerting the public because of the potential harm this product can have on a child.

Chlorphenesin can also harm the mother by causing dermatitis, a skin condition that can worsen the drying and cracking of nipple skin.

MOM Enterprises, Inc. is based in San Rafael, Calif. The company has stated that it has discontinued marketing the nipple cream with the potentially harmful ingredients. The FDA is advising consumers to discontinue use of Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream and to consult a health care professional if they experience problems or believe that their infant may have experienced problems due to this product. Nursing mothers with cracked, painful nipples, which is often a side effect of nursing, should speak with their health care professional or a certified lactation consultant if the problem is severe or for other treatment options.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to report adverse events related to this product or any FDA approved product to MedWatch, the agency’s voluntary reporting program, by e-mail at here, or by phone at 800-332-1088, or by fax to 800-332-0178. Consumers may also mail reports of adverse events to MedWatch, Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20852-9787.

If you are a nursing mother and have observed any of these side effects after using Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream, I strongly encourage you to report these symptoms to the FDA using the contact information listed above.  Drug investigations are sparked by consumer feedback, so it is important that you speak up if you have experienced any strange side effects after using the cream.

Alternatively, if your child has been hospitalized as result of using this cream for respiratory distress or dehydration due to severe vomiting or diarrhea, you may have rights against the product manufacturer.  To speak with our licensed RN regarding your child’s medical history, please fill out the contact form on the right side of the page or call toll-free (856) 833-0600.
A medical malpractice professional will contact you within 12 hours to discuss your case.

Could your child’s anxiety, depression or cutting be linked to Singulair?

We have begun collecting medical information this week from parents whose children experienced negative side effects after taking the drug Singulair.  The data so far has been shocking to say the least.

There are so many striking similarities among the side effects experienced by kids all over the country.  So far, the most common side effects include:

  • suicide
  • severe depression
  • panic disorder/social anxiety
  • severe nightmares
  • suicidal thoughts
  • self-mutilation
  • violence or aggressive behavior.

A large majority of these children have visited psychiatrists, been prescribed very strong medication and have fallen behind in school as a result. And while some doctors have acknowledged the connection between Singulair and these behaviors, others have dismissed the concerns of Singulair moms —thus forcing them to take matters into their own hands.

While I certainly do not recommend stopping a drug treatment without consulting a doctor, its interesting to note the results of discontinuing the drug.  99% of the parents I have talked to reported having a “completely different kid” after stopping Singulair.  Grades began to improve, the aggression, suicidal thoughts and terrors stopped and most of them were able to come off of their anti-psychotic medicine.

Sound familiar? How to get help:

If these stories sound strikingly familiar to you, its important to know that you are not alone in this struggle.  There is an excellent forum/support group going on over at medications.com.  Furthermore, while there are no definitive studies linking the drug to these side effects as of yet, I highly recommend that you send a complaint to the FDA regarding your experience.  One of the mother’s at medications.com has found a contact person at the FDA who is looking into reports of suicide and suicidal behavior.   You can share your Singulair story with her by emailing sarah.sellers@fda.hhs.gov .

Finally, if you are interested in taking legal action against Merck, please email us your story as well.  If we can compile enough data to show this is a real problem, we may be able to get the ball rolling on a class action lawsuit.  You can email me personally filling this form.

Unless we as parents make this an issue, the drug companies will continue to make billions at the expense of our children’s health.  Its time that we all work together and put a stop to the pharmaceutical giants that could care less about us or our families.

Gender-bias doctors commonly misdiagnose ‘emotional’ women

“Its all in your head”

How many women have ever been told by a doctor “the pain is in your head,” or “you’re just over-reacting” in response to their medical complaints? What about the thousands of women who are on anti-depressants for a problem unrelated to their current visit, yet the doctor permanently writes them off as “hysterical” or “emotional,” and links every health problem to mental illness? 

Apparently, gender inequalities in medicine are extremely common. Millions of women have been denied proper medical care because their doctor will not take them seriously.  They erroneously conclude that weird symptoms or pain are simply the result depression, hormones, stress or a way to get attention without running additional tests to confirm their diagnosis.  Its no wonder that medical malpractice suits are on the rise.

My personal experience as a “hysterical woman”

I have dealt with panic disorder for most of my life.  For years, I suffered silently because I did not want to be labeled a hypochondriac by my doctors.  However, my OB/GYN suggested that I take anti-anxiety medicine for the first time in my life after the birth of my son in December.  They explained that my hormones would be a little whacko for a while and it would help me deal with the anxiety and stress that naturally comes with motherhood.

During labor, I was torn by the baby and suffered a painful, 4th degree tear.  As my epidural wore off, I was in excruciating pain—to the point I couldn’t even stand to lie in the bed.  It got so bad that I began to cry and paged the nurse for help.

To my surprise, the nurse walked in the room, gave me a condescending look and told me that I was over-reacting and having a panic attack.  She suggested that I get over it or she would red flag me for post-partum depression, and further implied that I would be labeled unfit to take the baby home.   Any mother knows what a big mistake that was.  My post-partum daggers came out and I had to put her in her place. I finally got a new nurse that took me seriously and saw that I was swelling very badly and needed immediate care.

The consequences of gender-bias

My experience as a paralegal at a medical malpractice firm has further exposed me to the blatant disregard that doctors show “emotional” women.  Unfortunately, these women blindly accept any diagnosis that the doctor shoots off, because after all, they aren’t the one with the “M.D.” after their name.  CNN recently featured a story on the “5 Mistakes Women Make At The Doctors Office.”  One of these mistakes was the fact that women do not recognize gender bias and allow doctors to brush off their complaints at the expense of their health.  As a result, they surpress that inner voice telling them that something is not right and they need to get help.

Sadly, by the time these women convince their doctor to refer them to a specialist or get a second opinion, a good majority have found out they were in the last stages of cancer or have experienced permanent injuries that may could have been avoided if treated at an earlier stage.  Now sick, unemployed and nowhere to turn, these women have no choice but to file a malpractice suit and pray that a jury will award them enough money to make ends meat.

So what are we doing wrong ladies?  What are we doing to loose the respect and compassion that we deserve from our doctors?  Do we bother them when we come in with our WebMD print outs on the various diseases that match the symptoms that we see in our children or that we are experiencing ourselves?  Does that fact that we tend to cry when describing our pain cause the doctor to assume we’re just depressed?  Does a chart that shows that we have taken anti-depressants or pain medication for the past few months indicate that our problems must be psychosomatic and we are wasting our doctors time?

Sarcasm aside, gender bias in medicine is a real threat to women everywhere.  I can only suggest that any woman who is currently using a doctor that cuts them off, underestimates their complaints or flat out denies further treatment when you are clearly in pain needs to switch providers immediately.

How to find a doctor that respects you and your body

In choosing a new provider, pay attention to how seriously your complaints are taken by the receptionist and the medical staff that works in the office.  When choosing a doctor, you should review their medical credentials, but also take note of their bedside manner.  If you do not feel comfortable talking to the doctor openly, you are in the wrong place.  Good qualities to look for in a doctor is whether he/she explains to you what they are doing during an exam, whether they encourage questions and dialogue about your symptoms or diagnosis, and whether or not they get angry or offended if you ask to be seen by a specialist.

Bottom line, a women’s instinct does not lie.  You know your child or your body better than anyone else.  If something just doesn’t seem right, chance are its not and you should get a second opinion.  A wasted trip to the doctor is better than a delayed cancer diagnosis or even death.  Remember you are one of hundreds of patients at the doctor’s office.  It’s up to you to be your own “patient advocate” and ensure you are given the respect and care that you deserve.

Free Legal Advice: Mininno Law Office

What To Look For In A Nursing Home

The thought of placing a family member in a nursing home can be overwhelming.  With reports of abuse and neglect constantly surfacing all over the country, selecting a nursing home is often the last resort for many families.  Unfortunately, the time does come when even the most devoted families are unable to provide the necessary medical care that their loved one needs.

When faced with such a tough decision , it is essential that family members educate themselves on how to distinguish a good nursing home from the bad.  Carole Herman from the Foundation Aiding The Elderly (FATE) has compiled the following tips as a free resource to guide families in selecting a nursing home.  Her website offers a wealth of free information for those dedicated to protecting the elderly.

When looking for a nursing home, Carole suggests the following:

The following are some tips on what to look for in a nursing home to help prevent bad care and abuse of your loved one.

Do not be intimidated by threats from the facility such as kicking the patient out of the facility because of complaints or the facility’s refusal to cooperate with requests for information.

Get a durable power of attorney for medical care so that you can make health care decisions and review medical records.

Request a complete facility profile from the State Health Department, Licensing and Certification Department for the facility you intend to use. Note the number of complaints, the fines assessed and whether the fines have been paid.

Notice how many people in the facility seem to be in stupors or in bed or unable to walk or talk. If many patients fall into this category, be wary of overmedication at the facility, especially with the psychotropic drugs Haldol, Thorazine, Mellaril and Prolixin.

Visit at different times during the day, including meal times. Take notice of the types of food and nutritional balance. Dehydration is a problem, so make sure water is available at all times and that it is easily accessible to the patient.

Be sure the patient is actually seen by the doctor and talk with the doctor personally. If the doctor is difficult to contact, bring in another doctor to examine the patient.

Make sure all recommended care is given, such as physical therapy. Stop by when such activities are scheduled.

Take seriously any complaints the patient has about mistreatment by the staff, such as “they pull my hair”, “they are mean to me”. Don’t accept the facilities statement that the patient is old and doesn’t know what’s going on.

Check the patient’s body for bedsores or pressure sores, particularly the tailbone, feet and hips. Stage 4, the most serious stage of bedsores, causes death in many cases.

Take an interest in other patients. Talk with their relatives about problems and the care being given.

Report any signs of bad care to the state licensing office in your state that licenses and regulates nursing homes. Be sure to follow up on the complaint to insure accountability.

As you can see, the common denominator among her suggestions is involvement.  I can not stress enough how simple involvement will help you discern nursing home abuse before the situation gets out of hand.

Alternatively, if you have read the above suggestions and now believe that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, it is not too late to act.  Ask questions, demand answers and immediately get involved in their treatment.  If this does not solve the problem, move your relative to a different facility and contact an attorney immediately to discuss the situation. You can find more information on filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in New Jersey or Pennsylvania here or call (856) 833-0600 in NJ or (215) 567-2380 in PA.

Businesses one-step closer to legal immunity for defective or deadly products

The current war against the American consumer by Big Business and the Bush Administration has gotten a bit nastier.  Apparently, this team of powerful executives and government officials have circumvented an unfavorable Congress and are now using agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration to create rules that make it virtually impossible to sue a business for a defective or dangerous product.  With these rules in place, large corporations can continue to sell toxic dog food, toothpaste, lead paint toys, contaminated heparin and dangerous drugs such as Vioxx and Trasylol, while making millions at the expense of injured consumers.

To divert attention from their wrongdoing and avoid legal responsibility, these companies and sympathetic government officials have demonized trial lawyers and families who file suit to recover the costs of medical bills and lost wages.  If these people could spend one day in my shoes as a trial lawyer, they would be forced to face the fact that real lives are ruined by their greedy desire to make a buck.  These CEO’s have never sat across the room from an inconsolable family, (the way I do on a daily basis), trying to cope with the loss of their loved one who died after using drug that the manufacturer knew was dangerous, but released it anyway.  They have never met one-on-one with a hardworking father who is now unable to provide for his children after using a defective product on the job that took his limb.

Despite these hardships faced by unsuspecting consumers, billion dollar corporations and governmental agencies are trying very hard to paint themselves as the victims of meritless lawsuits.  Meanwhile, the real victims—namely American consumers—are losing their homes, steady paychecks and quality of life because of someone else’s negligence.

Bearing the responsibility for negligence is just a fact of life.  If a drunk driver negligently gets behind the wheel of car and hurts someone, that person is entitled to sue for his or her medical bills, etc.  If someone slips on my sidewalk because I negligently decide not to shovel my snow, that person has every right to sue my homeowners insurance for his or her injuries.  Why, then, should a large corporation be held to a different standard for releasing a dangerous or defective product on the market?

The bottom line is that these companies should be held responsible for their actions.  Whether it’s a fine for releasing harmful chemicals into the environment or paying medical bills and lost wages of consumers that were injured by their products, corporations should be held to the same standard as everyone else in this country.  If Big Business and the Bush Administration truly want to “curb lawsuits,” then I suggest they step it up a notch and produce better and safer products that are tested and tried before their release to the American public.  Safe and happy consumers have no reason to file a lawsuit.  It’s really just that simple.

Free Legal Advice: Defective Products

DEFECTIVE PARTS PROMPT PLAYWORLD SYSTEMS TO RECALL SWING SETS

Playground Swing Sets by Playworld Systems Inc., of Lewisburg, PA have been voluntarily recalled in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed. These defective products have been distributed throughout the United States.

The clevis bearing on the swing set can wear, causing the swing to detach and the user to fall. Authorized dealers sold the swing sets to day care centers and children’s learning centers nationwide from January 2007 through February 2008 for $770 and $3,100.  So far, only minor injuries have been reported; however, the defect has the potential to cause serious injuries.  Click here for further information on the recall.

For further information, click on the following links:

NJ personal injury lawyer and lawsuit information

FIREFIGHTERS SHOW HIGH RISKS OF CERTAIN CANCERS

A new study by the Massachusetts Department of Health suggests that firefighters face higher risks of several types of cancer including colon, brain, bladder and kidney cancers, as well as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

This may be caused by exposure to potentially cancer-causing chemicals released by burning materials, which can be inhaled or absorbed by the skin. These same hazardous materials can occur in defective products.   Health hazards also lie at the firehouse where idling trucks expose firefighters to diesel exaust.  Click here for the full story.

Free Legal Advice: Medical Malpractice

ATV Recall Alert: 2008 Honda TRX500

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that American Honda Motor Co. has recalled it’s 2008 Honda TRX500 due to steering control problems. The electric power steering shaft, (also known as Honda FourTrax Foreman 4×4), may break unexpectedly and cause the driver to lose control of the ATV. The recalled ATV’s were sold at Honda dealerships between October 2007 and March 2008.

The CPSC has asked that consumers stop using the product immediately. Registered owners are advised to contact Honda for a free repair of the power steering shaft. Consumers can contact Honda toll-free at (866) 784-1870 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit the company’s website at this link.

To file a defective product suit following an ATV accident, click on the following links:

ATV Accident Lawyer