Are Day Care Centers In New Jersey Safe For Children?

A scathing report issued by the Asbury Press reveals that New Jersey day care centers are among the nation’s worst regarding proper inspections/safety personnel, slow response times and releasing violations to the public.

According to the report, New Jersey has only 27 inspectors to watch over 4,290 public day care centers.  However, this figure does not include the thousands of private day care centers operating within the state.

In addition, the report found that New Jersey inspectors take an average of 7.4 days to respond a complaint that falls just shy of child abuse.  The report further states that 61 New Jersey day cares have over 33 violations each and account for 26% of reported incidents.

Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, has called on the State of New Jersey to clean up their act regarding child safety.  “If there is going to be an error made, the error needs to be in favor of the safety of the child.  These children cannot speak for themselves,” warns Smith.

When choosing a day care, I would encourage families to personally interview members of the facility, as well as other parents who use the same day care.  Ask the parents how often their child comes home with unexplained cuts, bruises or injuries and how forthcoming the facility is when an accident happens.

Alternatively. if your child has been injured or abused at a New Jersey day care center, you may have legal rights against the facility.  To immediately speak with an NJ personal injury and accident attorney, call (856) 833-0600 or fill out the case evaluation form on the left side of the page for a free consultation.

NJ Medical Malpractice News: Doctor Removes Wrong Lung & Stages Cover Up

According to the State Board of Medical Examiners, New Jersey surgeon Santusht Perera, removed his patient’s wrong lung and lied to cover up the mistake.

The real kicker to this story is that Dr. Perera only received a six (6) month suspension and $81,000 fine for what the board determined was “gross negligence” on the part of the surgeon.

The surgery in question was originally meant to remove a tumor in the patient’s left lung.  However, a portion of the right lung was removed by mistake, thus leaving the tumor to remain in the body.  The surgeon then lied to the patient and told him that it was really his right lung that contained a life-threatening tumor and changed the charts to also reflect this information.

Further investigation into the matter revealed that no such tumor existed in the right lung.  The doctor simply did not check the chart or pay attention to the details of the planned surgery.

Sadly, Dr. Perera can file an appeal for early restoration of his medical license in December of 2008.

 

Related Information:

Contact a NJ medical malpractice lawyer

Nursing Home Abuse page

FDA Officials Get Performance Bonuses for Salmonella, Toxic Dog Food and Heparin?

In a surprising report drafted for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, $35 million in bonuses were paid out in 2007 to top FDA officials– which is a 29% increase from the previous year.

My question is, what part of the FDA’s performance in 2007 was bonus worthy?  Was it the toxic dog food that killed hundreds of pets (take a look at pure balance food review for more on this tragedy and how to avoid it by dealing with a reputable supplier) or the lead paint toys sold to small children as a result of shoddy inspections?  Or maybe it was the contaminated Heparin from China that has been linked to 81 deaths and 700 injuries nationwide?

In the real world (meaning the world outside of “big pharma”), that kind of job performance or track record would have led to pay deductions, if not job termination a long time ago.  To award performance bonuses for such negligence and carelessness is just absurd in my opinion.

Clearly the $35 million in bonuses would have been better spent on plant inspectors or scientific researchers that can catch dangerous drugs before they hit the market.  Instead, our health is put on the back burner so that top FDA officials can be compensated for all of their “hard work.”

Thankfully, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating this ridiculous bonus system, especially since the FDA continues to cry poor when asked about the safety blunders of 2007.  It’s time for someone (anyone at this point) to step in and whip the FDA back into shape—our health depends on it!

Related Information:

Contact a NJ medical malpractice attorney

Letter to Star Ledger Concerning Tort Reform & Medical Malpractice in NJ

Mininno Law Office sent the following letter to the Star Ledger in New Jersey in response to a recent Op/Ed piece in support of tort reform:

Dear Editor:

This week, the Star-Ledger ran an Op/Ed piece from a tort-reform group called the Pacific Research Institute, which openly blamed malpractice suits for the ailing economy.  This group, (which is funded by tobacco companies, insurance lobbyists and corporate healthcare giants), claim that the millions of dollars spent each year on “defensive medicine” and “frivolous” malpractice lawsuits are draining the local economy and forcing doctors out of the state.  And while the theory sounds nice, is there any truth to the tort-reform argument?

The short answer is no.  It just seems that way because of the huge financial backing of the medical and insurance industry allows them to penetrate the media with unscientific research and biased opinions in support of tort reform.  For example, this same group (PRI) successfully argued just two years ago that global warming was “make believe” and did not exist.  As a result, the country waited several years to address this time sensitive issue that continues to affect our planet.

So what is the truth on medical malpractice and tort-reform?  The truth is that a medical malpractice crisis does exist in this country—but it has nothing to do with the lawsuits that follow the negligent conduct of doctors.  A quick look at the statistics (and true scientific research) shows that actual incidents of medical malpractice occur each year at an alarming rate.  The Institute of Medicine reports that 98,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors.  According to the FDA, medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, ranking higher than automobile accidents, breast cancer and AIDS.  Clearly, this is more than a few rare, unintentional mistakes or the result of  “frivolous” malpractice suits.

Furthermore, the medical malpractice crisis has become so bad that Medicare, Medicaid and other large insurance companies will deny payment as of October 1, 2008 for “never events,” or medical mistakes that should never occur in a hospital setting.  The following list contains some of these “never events,” as well as statistics to show just how prevalent these “never events” really are:

  • Medication Errors- 1.5 million people each year are killed, sickened or injured from medication errors according to the Institute of Medicine.
  • Foreign Objects Left In the Body- Occurs in 1500 patients each year according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Wrong Site Surgery (surgery on the wrong body part or person)- Occurs in one (1) out of 112,994 operations according to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
  • Patient Death or Disability from Contaminated Drugs or Devices- Just this year alone, contaminated heparin has been linked to 81 hospital deaths and over 700 injuries nationwide
  • Stage 3 or Stage 4 bedsores– 2982 patients develop these pressure sores per day according to the National Decubitus Foundations.

Most people would agree that patients injured as a result of a serious medical mistake have every legal right to file a malpractice suit.  Survivors of medical malpractice lose their jobs, the ability to provide for their family and the ability to live a normal life.  Furthermore, in the state of New Jersey, “frivolous” lawsuits are almost non-existent.  Before a lawyer can file suit on behalf of an injured client, a licensed medical doctor must certify that the defendant physician chose not to follow basic rules of medicine, which led to a patient’s injury or death.

So if insurance lobbyists, corporate healthcare giants and negligent doctors are that concerned about the impact medical malpractice lawsuits are having on the economy, I suggest that they invest some of the millions of dollars they currently pay lobbyists and PR people to make the medical community a safer place.  Maybe billion dollar hospitals can implement policies that allow doctors to get more sleep or a take a break between grueling operations.  Or they can invest in bar code system in which medications are scanned and recorded to prevent errors.  Or just maybe tort reform supporters could make a donation in the name of proper staffing and personnel in hospitals to ensure that immobile patients are repositioned every two hours to prevent bedsores.

Obviously, if insurance lobbyists, corporate healthcare giants and negligent doctors spent the same time, finances and energy addressing the real root of the malpractice crisis, medical malpractice suits would naturally decline.  After all, malpractice caps will not stop the lawsuits—it will just limit the amount a negligent doctor’s insurance company will pay to a patient’s family.   Patient safety, however, will stop the lawsuits, save hospitals and doctors money in the long run and prevent innocent people from falling victim to careless or preventable medical mistakes.

How to Report Elder Abuse or Neglect in Lehigh County, PA

If you live suspect elder abuse or neglect in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, the county asks that you contact them directly to file a complaint.  This snippet from their website outlines their policy and contact number for reporting abuse or neglect:

Protective Services care management is an intense level of service providing investigations and interventions to protect the health, safety and welfare of adults who are unable to protect themselves and are at imminent risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. A report of abuse can be filed 24 hours a day by contacting Lehigh County Aging and Adult Services at (610) 782-3034 or the elder abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505. It is important to file a report in a timely manner, therefore staff is available 24 hours a day to receive this information.

Report of abuse can remain anonymous and reports can be made on behalf of an adult whether the adult resides in the community or in a nursing home, personal care home or hospital. Individuals who report abuse also have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination and civil or criminal prosecution.

Employees and administrators of nursing homes, personal care homes, domiciliary care homes, adult day care centers and home health care are mandated to report any abuse. If the abuse involves serious injury, sexual abuse or suspicious death, reports are also required to contact the police and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.

Each report of abuse must be investigated to determine if the adult needs help being protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment.

To better understand elder abuse, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) site that serves as a resource dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment.

If you need further information or legal advice regarding elder abuse or neglect, contact our Pennsylvania office at (215) 567-2380 or fill out the form on the left side of the page.  You will be contacted by our intake specialist within 12 hours to discuss your case.

Related Information:

New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Latest Settlement: $800,000 Defective Products Case

New Jersey attorney John Mininno successfully negotiated a settlement today in the amount of $800,000 involving a products liability case.  The details of the case cannot be disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement; nevertheless, Mr. Mininno continues his track record of holding large corporations accountable for the harm and damage they cause to innocent people.

Congratulations John and Keep Up The Good Work!

This may help you:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney

New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act

The laws surrounding whistleblower protection can be confusing.  One aspect of whistleblower protection is covered by the NJ False Claims Act, which allows residents in New Jersey to bring an action, against anyone, who intentionally causes the State to pay a false claim.

With regard to retaliation in the workplace for reporting illegal activities, etc., a NJ resident would be protected under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Act.  The act states as follows:

New Jersey law prohibits an employer from taking any retaliatory action against an employee because the employee does any of the following:

  1. Discloses, or threatens to disclose, to a supervisor or to a public body an activity, policy, or practice of the employer or another employer, with whom there is a business relationship, that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation issued under the law, or, in the case of an employee who is a licensed or certified health care professional, reasonably believes constitutes improper quality of patient care;
  2. Provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any violation of law, or a rule or regulation issued under the law by the employer or another employer, with whom there is a business relationship, or, in the case of an employee who is a licensed or certified health care professional, provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into quality of patient care; or
  3. Objects to, or refuses to participate in, any activity, policy or practice which the employee reasonably believes:
    • is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation issued under the law, or, if the employee is a licensed or certified health care professional, constitutes improper quality of patient care;
    • is fraudulent or criminal; or
    • is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment. N.J.S.A. 34:19-3
Employees who “blow the whistle” on the above mentioned activity in the state of New Jersey are afforded protection under this particular law and may be entitled to sue for damages as a result of retaliation, demotion or termination.

If you believe you qualify for protection under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Act for exposing corporate wrongdoing, contact our NJ office at (856) 833-0600 or fill out the case evaluation form on the left side of the page.  Our intake process is private and confidential and legal action will not be taken without your explicit permission.

Related Links:
Whistleblower Protection

Are you using one of the “8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take”?

A very interesting survey conducted by Men’s Health magazine reveals which drugs doctors would avoid if given the choice.  It seems to me that if doctors are steering clear of these drugs, consumers should also reconsider using such products.

The following snipit reveals which drugs doctors would skip and their reasons for doing so:

Advair– It’s asthma medicine . . . that could make your asthma deadly. Advair contains the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) salmeterol. A 2006 analysis of 19 trials, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that regular use of LABAs can increase the severity of an asthma attack. Because salmeterol is more widely prescribed than other LABAs, the danger is greater — the researchers estimate that salmeterol may contribute to as many as 5,000 asthma-related deaths in the United States each year. In 2006, similarly disturbing findings from an earlier salmeterol study prompted the FDA to tag Advair with a “black box” warning — the agency’s highest caution level.

Avandia– Diabetes is destructive enough on its own, but if you try to control it with rosiglitazone — better known by the brand name Avandia — you could be headed for a heart attack. Last September, a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study found that people who took rosiglitazone for at least a year increased their risk of heart failure or a heart attack by 109 percent and 42 percent, respectively, compared with those who took other oral diabetes medications or a placebo. The reason? While there have been some reports that Avandia use may cause dangerous fluid retention or raise artery-clogging LDL cholesterol, no one is sure if these are the culprits. That’s because the results of similar large studies have been mixed. So the FDA has asked GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia, to conduct a new long-term study assessing users’ heart risks. There’s only one problem: The study isn’t expected to start until later this year.

Celebrex– Once nicknamed “super aspirin,” Celebrex is now better known for its side effects than for its pain-relieving prowess. The drug has been linked to increased risks of stomach bleeding, kidney trouble, and liver damage. But according to a 2005 New England Journal of Medicine study, the biggest threat is to your heart: People taking 200 mg of Celebrex twice a day more than doubled their risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. Those on 400 mg twice a day more than tripled their risk, compared with people taking a placebo.  And yet Celebrex, a COX-2 inhibitor, is still available, even though two other drugs of that class, Bextra and Vioxx, were pulled off the market due to a similar risk of heart damage. The caveat to the consumer? In 2004, the FDA advised doctors to consider alternatives to Celebrex.

Ketek–  Most bacteria in the lungs and sinuses don’t stand a chance against Ketek, but you might not either. This antibiotic, which has traditionally been prescribed for respiratory-tract infections, carries a higher risk of severe liver side effects than similar antibiotics do. “Ketek can cause heart-rhythm problems, can lead to liver disease, and could interact poorly with other medications you may be taking,” says Dr. Rodgers. “Unfortunately, it’s still available, and although many doctors are aware of the risks, some may still prescribe it without caution.” In February 2007, the FDA limited the usage of Ketek to the treatment of pneumonia.

Prilosec and Nexium– Heartburn can be uncomfortable, but heart attacks can be fatal, which is why the FDA has investigated a suspected link between cardiac trouble and the acid-reflux remedies Prilosec and Nexium. In December 2007, the agency concluded that there was no “likely” connection. Translation: The scientific jury is still out. In the meantime, there are other reasons to be concerned. Because Prilosec and Nexium are proton-pump inhibitors, they are both incredibly effective at stopping acid production in the stomach — perhaps too effective. A lack of acid may raise your risk of pneumonia, because the same stuff that makes your chest feel as if it’s burning also kills incoming bacteria and viruses. You may also have an elevated risk of bone loss — in the less acidic environment, certain forms of calcium may not be absorbed effectively during digestion. “The risk of a fracture has been estimated to be over 40 percent higher in patients who use these drugs long-term, and the risk clearly increases with duration of therapy,” says Dr. Rodgers.

Visine Original– What possible harm to your peepers could come from these seemingly innocuous eyedrops? “Visine gets the red out, but it does so by shrinking blood vessels, just like Afrin shrinks the vessels in your nose,” says Thomas Steinemann, M.D., a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Overuse of the active ingredient tetrahydrozoline can perpetuate the vessel dilating-and-constricting cycle and may cause even more redness.

Pseudoephedrine– Forget that this decongestant can be turned into methamphetamine. People with heart disease or hypertension should watch out for any legitimate drug that contains pseudoephedrine. See, pseudoephedrine doesn’t just constrict the blood vessels in your nose and sinuses; it can also raise blood pressure and heart rate, setting the stage for vascular catastrophe. Over the years, pseudoephedrine has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. “Pseudoephedrine can also worsen symptoms of benign prostate disease and glaucoma,” says Dr. Rodgers.

The full article in Men’s Health can be found here.  The best advice for consumers is to do your homework and talk to your doctor about any side effects you may be experiencing.  In some cases, the benefit of these drugs outweighs the risk; but for the majority of indviduals, these drugs are dangerous and unnecessary.

Alternatively, if you have been injured after using a dangerous or defective drug product, click on the following links:

Contact a NJ medical malpractice attorney

Protect the Elderly: Support the 2008 Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act

This week, the Senate Special Committee on Aging will hear arguments regarding the “2008 Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act” (S. 2838). This act would eliminate pre-dispute binding mandatory arbitration (BMA) clauses in nursing home contracts. Without this legislation, senior citizens will be denied the right to a jury trial in the event of abuse or neglect. Nursing homes will also avoid public accountability and exposure for such abuse, as arbitration hearings are kept private and confidential. It is for these reasons that we as citizens must speak out in favor of this bill.

An online petition letter in favor of the “2008 Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act” can be found here on the Public Citizen website. The letter reads as follows:

Dear Senator:

I am writing to urge you to support the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, S. 2838, introduced by Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fl.). This important legislation would eliminate pre-dispute binding mandatory arbitration (BMA) clauses in nursing home contracts.

Binding mandatory arbitration clauses have been showing up in credit card, employment, and insurance contracts, and now they are being used to take advantage of the elderly and their families – by blocking residents from taking nursing homes to court and holding them accountable for harmful practices. BMA benefits nursing homes at the expense of the elderly because they use it as a means to evade accountability and limit their economic liability for any harm they cause.

There are several reasons why the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act needs to be passed.

First, most nursing-home residents and their families are unaware of arbitration clauses in admission documents. And they wouldn’t be permitted to negotiate the clauses even if they knew about them.

Second, the lack of any meaningful review of arbitration decisions creates a climate ripe for abuse. The arbitration process is secretive and the courts have little involvement. This bill would allow the courts to decide the enforceability of these binding mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts.

Third, arbitration companies are beholden to the nursing homes that hire them for repeat business, which creates a bias. For example, public data published in Public Citizen’s report “The Arbitration Trap: How Credit Card Companies Ensnare Consumers” show that one California arbitrator decided 526 of 532 cases in favor of business — a mere 1.14 percent for the ordinary consumer.

It’s time to enact the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act and restore accountability for nursing homes that don’t take care of their residents.

Thank you for listening to a constituent. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

(Insert your online signature)

I encourage you to take a minute and electronically send this letter to your state senator. I would also encourage you to email the form to as many people as possible. We must speak for those who do not have a voice. In this case we must stand up for elderly men and women that do not realize the implications of the “fine print” on the nursing home admission form. This “fine print” is simply a loop hole for million-dollar elder care facilities to continue “business as usual” without having to worry about bad press or lawsuits in the event of abuse or neglect.

Thislegislation is the only way to force bad nursing homes to clean up their act, rather than putting a legal muzzle on innocent victims of abuse and neglect. Therefore, please take this opportunity to tell your representatives that you support the 2008 Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act and urge him/her to act quickly to pass this important bill.

Thank you in advance for your support regarding this urgent matter!

Related Information:

Find a Nursing Home Attorney

Bedsores are Negligence: Learn your rights!

FDA Issues Warns Anti-Psychotic Drugs Increase Mortality Risk in Elderly Patients

The FDA released the following statement today regarding anti-psychotic drugs and the risks that they pose to the elderly:

FDA notified healthcare professionals that both conventional and atypical antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of mortality in elderly patients treated for dementia-related psychosis. In April 2005, FDA notified healthcare professionals that patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with atypical antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Since issuing that notification, FDA has reviewed additional information that indicates the risk is also associated with conventional antipsychotics. Antipsychotics are not indicated for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. The prescribing information for all antipsychotic drugs will now include the same information about this risk in a BOXED WARNING and the WARNING section.

Read the entire 2008 MedWatch Safety Summary, including a link to the FDA Information for Healthcare Professionals regarding this issue at: this link

Related Information:

Nursing Home Abuse Information