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Some Hospitals May Not Be Training Staff on Correct Use of Dilaudid

There is evidence that shows the pain medication Dilaudid is being prescribed incorrectly and leading to overdoses and even addiction problems.

If physicians and medical professionals are getting the dosage wrong on Dilaudid, it might be because it is three to five times more potent than morphine. Dosing guidelines changed about eight years ago, but the drug is still being prescribed at the wrong dosage, according to Outpatient Surgery Magazine.

Pain management has become one of the more challenging aspects of the medical field and getting it wrong can create a host of new problems. “Overdosing has been complicated by an apparent lack of understanding by some physicians and nurses of what represents a safe dose,” wrote Dr. Howard Marcus in the December 2011 issue of the magazine. The drug also can create problems for people using other central nervous system depressants or alcohol, he wrote.

Patients with other health issues could also be at risk if they are given Dilaudid for pain management. Patients with sleep apnea, kidney disease or congestive heart failure all can have unintended reactions with Dilaudid, he noted.

A woman in New Mexico is suing a hospital because she had a dangerous reaction to DIlaudid while being treated for severe abdominal pain. The woman was obese and suffered from sleep apnea. She had a seizure during her sleep in the hospital and nurses barely made it in time to save her, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. The complaint alleged that the hospital did not adequately train its staff to monitor patients taking Dilaudid.

The drug is a hydromorphone painkiller used for moderate to severe pain. Dilaudid is a semi-synthetic derivative of morphine and is classified as both a narcotic and an opiate, according to the Promises Treatment Centers website. Doctors prescribe it as an alternative to morphine because it has fewer side-effects, but since it is considerably stronger, there is a potential for abuse.

Doctors commonly order a Dilaudid at a rate of one to four milligram IV, according to Dr. Marcus. That order is similar to eight to 32 milligrams of morphine. After dosing recommendations changed, the new Dilaudid dosages should be 0.2 to 0.6 milligrams every two to three hours.

One large hospital group stopped using other narcotics and started using Dilaudid exclusively with tight controls. By removing meperidine/promethazine, which is no longer a first-line analgesic, the hospital’s staff was required to keep track of fewer types of drugs, dosages, side effects and uses, according to Dr. Marcus. This resulted in lowering the risk of respiratory depression as a result of narcotics.

Families of patients who suspect they have been injured or killed as a result of getting the wrong dose of Dilaudid can contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury and wrongful death.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago wrongful death attorney and Chicago wrongful death lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

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Yellow Dot Program Will Alert Emergency Workers of Crash Victims’ Health Condition

Time is critical when emergency workers assess an accident scene. The more they know about the victims of a highway accident, the better chance they have of treating their injuries accurately.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently debuted a new information delivery system that can help emergency workers learn critical information about crash victims at the scene.

Illinois drivers who want to participate will get a folder to keep in the glove box with information about the people in the car, such as their names, photos, emergency contact information and their primary care physician’s contact information. The folder also will tell emergency workers about current medications and other important health-related information. Emergency workers will know the motorist is participating in the program because there will be a bright yellow decal in the rear window of the vehicle.

In case of a serious automobile accident, that yellow dot could serve as a lifeline for the driver and passengers in the vehicle. The Illinois Department of Transportation is particularly targeting the program toward the elderly or people who are on medication. In emergency situations, health care workers can often waste valuable time trying to learn about the victims’ health before they can accurately treat the patient, according to a press release by the IDOT.

Individuals involved in a serious auto accident need to call a Chicago auto accident lawyer to get fair compensation and be represented effectively against an insurance company. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Company Cited for OSHA Violations at Illinois Plant

As Illinois lawmakers work to reduce workers’ compensation coverage in the state, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration cited Central Transport International Inc. for multiple and repeat violations at its Hillside facility.

The logistics company was in violation for improperly training workers who drive forklifts and not having adequate eyewash stations for employees who could be exposed to chemicals, according to an OSHA press release.

“Deficient forklifts and improperly handled chemicals can lead to serious injuries or death,” said Diane Turek, director of OSHA’s Chicago North office, in the press release.

CTI was cited for four repeat violations totaling fines of $132,000. The company was found to have allowed forklift operators to use equipment that stayed in service even though they had been noted to be deficient.

The company was cited for eight other serious violations with fines of $30,800. Those violations included illegible forklift name plates, unlabeled hazardous materials, and improper training on handling chemicals. A serious violation is one where there is a probability of physical harm or death because of the hazard.

Central Transport also was cited for five violations deemed “other than serious” that totaled fines of another $2,000.

Illinois’ Legislature passed a bill last year that changed the way the state handles workers’ compensation claims. One of the biggest changes has to do with which doctors can be used to determine the nature and severity of an injury. The new law may require an injured worker to pick a doctor from within a preferred provider network.

The state’s new law slices medical fees to hospitals and doctors by 30 percent in hopes of saving about $700 million a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Other cost-saving measures include reducing the number of weeks a worker with carpel tunnel syndrome can receive benefits from 40 down to 28.5. Carpel tunnel is a repetitive stress injury that can limit the use of one or both hands. Benefits also are capped at a 15 percent loss for carpel tunnel cases.

The new law also cuts off wage differential, which used to be available over your lifetime. Wage differential is the difference between what you could make before the injury and what you can make after the injury. This is now cut off at 67 years old or five years after the injury, whichever comes later.

The new law does not address causation, or the degree to which an injury was caused by working for the employer. The law did, however, adopt AMA guidelines for determining the degree of injury.

A qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help injured workers understand the complexities of the new law and how to make sure they are compensated for their injuries.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney and Chicago workers compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Drug Makers Pay Big for Illegal Marketing

American pharmaceutical companies are learning the hard way that marketing drugs improperly is not only bad for customers, it is bad for their bottom line.

In the fall of 2011, Merck paid $950 million in a civil lawsuit to settle charges it illegally marketed a painkiller called Vioxx. That same year Pfizer paid the government $14.5 million for illegally marketing an overactive bladder drug called Detrol.

A division of Merck advertised Vioxx for rheumatoid arthritis before the Food and Drug Administration approved it for that use. Officials said the company misrepresented the drug’s cardiovascular safety. The company already is scheduled to pay $4.85 billion in lawsuits from thousands of Vioxx customers because of stroke and heart attack claims, according to Fairwarning.org. Merck maintains that the civil settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

Pfizer is accused of illegal marketing in 10 different lawsuits. The Detrol case is the last of the suits accusing the company of pitching its prescription drugs for unapproved uses, according to the Associated Press. Although some of these cases were dismissed, the pharmaceutical giant already has agreed to pay $2.3 billion in criminal and civil claims.

The FDA approved Detrol for frequent urination and bladder leaks. The company was accused of marketing Detrol for conditions like enlarged prostates and bladder obstruction, according to the AP.

A Chicago defective products lawyer and Chicago personal injury attorney should be contacted promptly if you or a loved one is dealing with a serious injury or wrongful death due to taking these one of these medicines. To learn more, call 877-595-HURT (4878) or visit more of http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com.

Proper Processes Can Stop Wrong Side Surgeries

The medical community is being called upon to make procedural changes that would significantly reduce the risk of wrong site and wrong side surgeries. Across the country, about 40 surgeries a week are performed on the wrong side of the body, the wrong site on the body, or even on the wrong patient.

The problem with surgeries was originally highlighted in 1998 by the Joint Commission, a nonprofit group that accredits health care organizations. The health care community has made many necessary fixes, but there is still a long way to go, according to Commission President Mark Chassin.

Many hospital groups across the country have been successful addressing these surgery mistakes through procedural changes, according to Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine.

A Safe Surgery Coalition in Minnesota began a campaign to eliminate surgeries performed on the wrong site in three years. In its first year, the campaign brought wrong site surgeries down from two or three a month in the state to only one per month. In Pennsylvania, one group of hospitals reduced its wrong site surgery numbers from an average of 15 a year down to only four.

These positive changes are the result of disciplined work, according to the magazine. Hospital groups unwilling to put in the effort still have unacceptable rates of surgery site mistakes. The causes of wrong site surgeries can be complicated to solve. Errors usually happen because of miscommunication during surgery prep, according to the magazine.

The procedural fixes that can lead to fewer or even zero wrong site surgeries are so simple, they sometimes do not get enough attention, according to Dr. Bill Berry, who is the program director of Safe Surgeries 2015, an initiative from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Wrong site surgery problems can occur in several places throughout the process including scheduling, consent forms, on-site marking and operating room time outs. The procedure that can bring about the biggest change when done correctly is known as the OR time out. A time out is the final check before the surgery begins.

The state health department in Minnesota created a process to address wrong site surgeries called the Minnesota Time Out. Researchers there found that the time outs were chaotic and rarely consistent or thorough, according to the magazine.

By creating a time out process where everyone in the room has a role and the procedure is followed every time, Minnesota has seen improvement.
Sometimes adding new processes to protect the patient can ruffle the feathers of health care professionals who are set in their ways, but that is where a hospital CEO must step in and insist that safe surgery processes be implemented and followed, according to the magazine.

Victims of wrong-site surgeries have real and long-term effects from the incorrect procedures. A medical malpractice attorney can hold the guilty party responsible while the victim recovers.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Fatal Traffic Accident Costs Increase by $6 Million

A new report from the American Automobile Association shows that the financial impact of a fatal vehicle crash is about $6 million. The study from AAA puts a monetary value on things that are affected by fatal crashes like emergency services and legal costs and calculates an estimated financial impact.

Traffic accidents are three times more costly than congestion, according to the survey. Although congestion and auto crashes are linked, AAA looks at each differently in this report. The financial impact of congestion is calculated mostly by looking at gasoline usage and loss of time.

AAA published the study to raise awareness of highway safety issues when the current economic climate has politicians mostly talking about jobs and the economy, according to a story about the study in USA Today. The group makes recommendations on improving highway safety like cable barriers in highway medians and new roundabouts. AAA uses the financial impact data to help support its argument that more needs to be spent on highway safety.

Automobile crashes are the largest cause of death among Americans between the ages of 5 and 34, according to the study. These cost estimates have risen considerably since the last time AAA did a similar study. In 2005, a study determined that a traffic fatality cost $3.24 million.

A Chicago accident attorney can help individuals deal with the financial burden of an auto accident they did not cause and recover compensation for medical bills and other costs. To learn more, call 877-595-HURT (4878) or visit more of http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com.

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The law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg represents injured people throughout Illinois, including Chicago, the Chicagoland area, Joliet, Waukegan, Cicero, Evanston, Arlington Heights, Wheaton, Bolingbrook, and Naperville, as well as other cities within Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Lake County and McHenry County. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg also represents injured people throughout Wisconsin, including Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Madison.
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