Xarelto Users Listen Up

Blood thinners can be a blessing if you are at risk of developing unwanted blood clots.  Deep-vein thrombosis, for instance, is a condition in which a blood clot develops, usually from lack of movement, and can migrate to other parts of the body with potentially lethal consequences.  If you were immobile as the result of a broken leg, you would be at risk of DVT.  When taking a blood thinner it is important to remember that sometimes your body needs to clot.

A relatively new blood thinner, Xarelto, has been criticized heavily because there is no known reversal agent.  That means if you are on Xaralto, and you start bleeding for any reason Xaralto may result in uncontrolled bleeding.  You could literally bleed to death.  If you are taking Xarelto be vigilant and notify your doctor if you are injured. Click here to see the Xarelto Lawsuits. You or a loved one could have a case against them.

Defective Medical Device Replacement

If you have a defective medical device, you should consult an attorney before you have the apparatus replaced. Doctors and other health care professionals are focused on the medical aspects of your treatment and may not recognize the importance of preserving evidence. The faulty equipment may serve as powerful evidence. Your attorney can arrange in advance to have the device and perhaps pathology specimens preserved following surgery. Having the device and tissue available will allow your attorney to hire experts who will do testing and analysis that will strengthen your case.

Texting Equals Prison

We all know texting distract drivers. They are warnings everywhere. Here is one that should get your attention, keep your eyes on the road and away from texting: Jonathan Mikeal Raynes is going to spend 2 years in the Alabama State penitentiary because he was texting when his car struck another car killing its driver. He will then be on probation for two years and if he violates that probation, he will spend 8 years in jail. http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2016/04/judge_calls_for_prison_time_in.html

You say it will not happen to me. Who is Mr. Raynes? From all reports, he is not a thug, a gang member, a hoodlum or bad guy. He wasn’t speeding, driving drunk or intentionally reckless. He was working – making deliveries for his father’s auto parts business when the wreck happened. The result of his texting is more than his prison time. He also has to live with the death of a 24 year old recent college graduate and the effect her death has on her family.

A fellow trial lawyer friend of mine, Mike Ferrara of New Jersey http://www.ferraralawfirm.com/ recently posted some interesting facts about the effects of texting in the United States. Distracted driving was linked to 1.4 million crashes in New Jersey between 2004-2013. These account for nearly half of all motor vehicle accidents during this period. At any given time on U.S. roads, there are 660,000 vehicles being driven by someone using a hand-held phone. In 2013, 10 percent of all drivers aged 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

Texting while driving and has already been banned in 46 states. Alabama is one of those states. The ban on hand held cell phone conversations is not as strong. Talking on the cell phone is distracting as well. Research has shown that texting and driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Because texting is used regularly by younger people, drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

You say “I don’t text. Why should I be worried?” It goes back to what my father taught me in the 60’s- defensive driving. Do not assume the other guy is going to do what is right. Do not assume that his blinker means he is really going to turn. Don’t assume he is going to stop at that stop sign. Don’t assume anything. Be wary. Keep a look out. The Raynes fatal wreck occurred when he swerved into oncoming traffic. Unexpected.

The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic. It urges us all to recognize this month, talk to others about distracted driving and practice safe driving techniques ourselves. It has a great webpage on what you can do to be safer http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving.aspx It asks you take the Focused Driver Challenge and pledge to drive cell free.

I pledge to Take Back My Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will not:

-Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
-Text or send Snapchats
-Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
-Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Vine or other social media
-Check or send emails
-Take selfies or film videos
-Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
-Call or message someone else when I know they are driving

Take the pledge to your children or other loved ones that you will be an attentive driver. Share your pledge on social media.

We all know distracted driving is a problem that is 100 percent preventable. Before you are tempted to send a text message, remember the dangers of distracted driving. Do what you can do to prevent tragedy from striking in your life! Don’t risk your life and others. Don’t spend part of your life behind bars. You do not have to live with a preventable error that cost another’s life. Don’t drive while texting or distracting. Pass it on- but not by texting when driving!.

IS YOUR PRESCRIPTION SAFE?

Taking the wrong prescription drug, too many of a prescribed drugs or missing the wrong prescription drugs can harmful. Regarding opioids, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced March 22, 2016 that it is requiring class-wide safety labeling changes for immediate-release (IR) opioid pain medications. The FDA is requiring a new boxed warning about the serious risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death due to opioid medications. Here is what the FDA Commissioner, Robert Califf, M.D. said: “Opioid addiction and overdose have reached epidemic levels over the past decade, and the FDA remains steadfast in our commitment to do our part to help reverse the devastating impact of the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids.” Today’s actions are one of the largest undertakings for informing prescribers of risks across opioid products, and one of many steps the FDA intends to take this year as part of our comprehensive action plan to reverse this epidemic.” http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm491739.htm,

This made me wonder how doctors learn to write prescriptions. And why does the FDA warn doctors? Don’t doctors and drug companies need to warn patients? And how do doctors do that? Is there a prescription writing class like English Composition 101? And what difference does it make to the patients how they write prescriptions? What difference does it make to the patients and how do we do something about it? Can it affect me?

Medication errors can be devastating. There are some powerful statistics primarily from the FDA at http://www.datarayusa.com/resources/stats/ :

  • Medical errors of all kinds claim as many as 98,000 American lives each year and are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Up to 7,000 of these deaths are attributed to adverse drug events (ADEs) from medication errors (ibid).
  • At least 1.5 million preventable ADEs happen in the United States each year (Source: “Preventing Medication Errors: Quality Chasm Series,” a July 2006 report from the IOM).
  • The number of serious adverse drug events reported to the Food and Drug Administration totaled 89,842 in 2005, more than double the amount in 1998. Additionally, the number of fatal adverse drug events more than doubled over the same period to 15,107.
  • There are approximately 1.25 million annual medication errors in the U.S. Approximately 39% of medication errors occur during the ordering process;
  • Almost one in five medication doses administered in hospitals is given in error. Between 2.4% and 6.5% of patients admitted to U.S. hospitals experience an ADE according to data presented by the FDA in 2004. The mean rate is 4.3%.
  • The average cost of an ADE is $2,257 (FDA 2004).
  • Adverse drug events cost the United States $37.6 billion each year, and approximately $17 billion of these costs are associated with preventable errors

Another interesting article on this problem can be found in the American Nurse Today journal. http://www.americannursetoday.com/assets/0/434/436/440/6276/6334/6350/6356/8b8dac76-6061-4521-8b43-d0928ef8de07.pdf

While a lot of these errors occur in the hospital, what happens when we pick up a prescription from the pharmacist? Do we know why we are taking the medicines? Do the labels on our prescriptions tell us?

When I receive prescriptions from the pharmacist, usually the drug manufacturer’s prescribing information is provided. I try to read it. I try to understand it. I try to remember it. But, what I see every day is the pill bottle with directions on it. What does it tell me? What should it tell me? If it does not tell us what the drug is for, then we should confirm with our doctors and write it down so we do not forget- or mix up drugs for the wrong reason.

The basic format of a prescription written by the doctor includes the patient’s name and usually the date of birth. It also has the medication and strength, the amount to be taken, the route by which it is to be taken and the frequency.. The prescriber also writes how often and much should be given, and how many refills. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) national patient safety goals list multiple criteria for prescribers to follow when writing prescriptions. They are there to provide the doctor with guidelines and to protect us.

Be sure the drug you get from the pharmacist it is what the doctor ordered. Then when you get your prescription, make sure everything is as you remember the doctor telling you and in accordance with what was written on the prescription. If not, first ask the pharmacist to double check or call the doctor. If you still do not think it is right, call the doctor’s office and clarify it. Or go see the doctor. Don’t be a statistic because you assume the doctor and the pharmacist got it right. They are human and make errors.