Are New Jersey Hospitals Safe?

Posted in Medical Malpractice

Some hospitals in New Jersey are doing a good job at health and safety—but many are still struggling to create a safe environment for patients. The November release of the Leapfrog Group’s “hospital report card” shows New Jersey tied with Texas at #17 in rankings for public health and safety.

Even though 25% of the New Jersey hospitals scored an “A” grade, the bad news for New Jersey is that 47% of the 68 hospitals reviewed received a grade of “C” or below. Additionally only three of the five hospitals that previously delivered straight “A” marks in the report were able to maintain their “perfect” health and safety status. These are Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and Jersey City Medical Center.

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E-Cigarette Class Action Suit Stymied by Federal Law

Posted in E-Cigarette, Product Liability

A class action failure-to-warn lawsuit against e-cigarette companies was thrown out by the Central District Court of California last week. The suit, filed by plaintiffs from CA, IL, and NY, included claims that the accused companies, including Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Reynolds American Inc. (which bought Lorillard in 2014), deceptively advertised the health benefits of e-cig products over traditional cigarettes.

The judge ruled federal law superceded state regulations citing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s rule making e-cigarettes subject to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Under Federal law tobacco products only need to carry a warning regarding the addictive properties of nicotine. States cannot mandate stricter labeling requirements.

The only claim that appears to have survived is Continue Reading

52 in NJ Contract Infection Due to Contaminated Syringes

Posted in Medical Malpractice

It has been reported that the State of New Jersey is now aware of 52 cases of B.cepacia infection in 2016. These cases are linked to an outbreak being investigated by health officials on the Federal and State level.

B.cepacia, or Burkholderia cepacia, is a complex of bacteria usually found in soil and water, and it can survive for prolonged periods of time in a moist environment. People who are most susceptible to this infection typically have health problems such as weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis.

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Workers’ Compensation: 5 Most Common Injuries

Posted in Workers' Compensation

According to the Insurance Journal, the five most common Workers’ Compensation claim injuries include:

  • Strains and sprains (30%)
  • Cuts or punctures (19%)
  • Contusions (12%)
  • Inflammation (5%)
  • Fractures (5%)”

The Department of Labor also lists strains and sprains as the top workplace injury. Many of these injuries take place while working in traditional blue collar jobs. For example:

  • Strains and sprains can occur from overexertion in material handling jobs.
  • Eye injuries most often happen while working in construction or manufacturing jobs.
  • Object impact and injuries from machinery or tools often arise in warehouses, manufacturing, and construction jobs.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Banned on all U.S. Airplanes

Posted in Product Liability

Recently Samsung axed its entire line of Galaxy Note 7 phones because, despite efforts to replace the original batch with working models, they were unable to correct the battery defect that causes and injuries. Despite the company’s heartfelt plea for users to return the phones, social media reports showed that some people wanted to the keep the dangerous items. In response to the ongoing danger, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Friday banned the phone on all U.S. airplanes. Many international airlines have instituted similar bans.

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Summer Camps for Burn Victims—Register Now for 2017

Posted in Burn Injuries

What do you think of when you hear the words “summer camp?” Fun, adventure, new friends? Summer camp invokes memories of all of these things. But for children with burn injuries, summer camp can feel like it is off the agenda—at least until they are fully healed. Luckily this is no longer true—there are a growing number of options in the form of specialized burn camps that cater to the needs of pediatric burn victims.

Children with burn injuries sometimes have difficulty performing common tasks due to physical damage. Some have problems with social interaction due to pain, isolation, or scars. Others may require continuous treatment—sometimes daily; sometimes weekly or monthly. Summer camps are seldom set up to meet the needs of these specialized functional and medical requirements. This is where the burn camp comes in.

Camp Susquehanna is one of these specialized summer burn camps. Continue Reading

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Burn Survivors

Posted in Burn Injuries

While the physical injuries caused by burns often receive the greatest attention from medical staff, the psychological and psychiatric injuries caused by burns cannot be overstated. As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, more than 90% of burn victims experience some symptoms of stress within the first week of the injury and more than 45% develop chronic signs of stress that can be categorized as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after one year. Approximately one third of survivors of major burn injuries suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being discharged from the burn center.

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Explosion after Explosion after Explosion

Posted in E-Cigarette, Product Liability

Earlier today I released a blog post about the difficulty of following the chain of commerce to identify product liability in exploding vape devices. That was in response to a weekend e-cigarette battery explosion that injured a fourteen year old girl in Florida.

Today there is a related incident in the news where a suspected lithium battery failure resulted in injuries to a student in New Jersey. According to a TechTimes news article a witness heard “fizzing and a popping sound” just before Darin Hlavaty’s iPhone 6 Plus started on fire. Hlavaty had the phone in his back pocket.

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Another E-Cig Explosion—Who is Responsible?

Posted in E-Cigarette, Product Liability

Over the past weekend a young girl was injured in yet another e-cigarette explosion. The vaping device burst into flames in the pocket of a nearby person on an adventure ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Caroline Saylor, 14, received first and second degree burns to her face, arm and leg when the flames “shot out” from the neighboring seat. Conflicting reports suggest the man and his friends ran off after it happened. Without access to the defective vaping device it is impossible to determine whether the product mechanism was defective or whether there was misuse by the user. In either event, this incident is further evidence of a consumer safety issue that is being flippantly dismissed by the profit-seeking e-cig industry.

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Workers’ Comp and Company Events—Are You Covered?

Posted in Workers' Compensation

When evaluating Workers’ Comp claims, the New Jersey courts closely evaluate the location, circumstances, and nature of work events that lead to an injury. There is a distinct difference in the approach to mandatory work activities vs. voluntary work activities.

Scenario 1: You are on the company softball team. During the last game, you are just about to run for home base when the batter’s ball strikes you in the head, knocking you out. You develop a subdural hematoma and have to have emergency surgery. Does Workers’ Comp cover you?

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