August 2010 Archives

August 30, 2010

Traumatic Brain Injuries Often The Beginning Of A Disease Process

According to a recently released study, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have now been linked to the onset of several debilitating diseases. Commonly associated with birth trauma, car accidents, and sport's injuries, TBIs have now been shown to set off a neurological process associated with Alzheimer's, sleep apnea, ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, and Parkinson's disease.

Complicating matters, TBIs are often difficult to detect and may be initially overlooked. Brain injury symptoms that occur as a result of sudden trauma such as a car accident or birth trauma may not manifest for several months, prolonging treatment and rehabilitation.

Although it may be difficult to prevent malpractice or other injury accidents from occurring, educating yourself about the signs of TBIs can help reduce the likelihood of requiring significant lifelong care.

Signs to look for include:

• Memory lapses
• Blurred vision
• Confusion
• Speech difficulties
• Loss of consciousness
• For infants, developmental delays

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August 16, 2010

Senator Questions Company's Response To Paid Consultant's Complaints About Zimmer Durom Cup

In a recent letter to Zimmer CEO David Dvorak, Senator Charles Grassley raised questions regarding how the company responds to criticisms concerning joint replacement products, including the Zimmer Durom Cup (also known as the Zimmer Durom Acetablular Cup), by physicians who are paid company consultants. Grassley has a history of seeking legislative transparency and cooperation concerning medical devices.

The Zimmer Durom Cup was introduced in the United States in 2006 as a hip replacement component. Intended to be an improvement, the cup has caused serious problems for many total hip replacement patients, including extreme pain and discomfort, and the need for additional surgeries. As a result, lawsuits have been filed across the country seeking damages - often claiming that that the hip replacement component is defective, and that Zimmer failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions about the proper use and surgical techniques for proper implantation.

Citing a recent New York Times article exposing growing disputes between physicians and orthopedic implant manufacturers, Grassley seeks answers about how problems are investigated. Many of these devices are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for sale without testing.

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August 8, 2010

New Reports Cite Safety Concerns Regarding Use Of Shoulder Pain Pumps

A recently issued report indicates that shoulder pain pumps - pumps used to deliver intra-articular pain medication during surgery - may be causing more harm than good. Anesthesiology News joins the New York Times, the FDA and hundreds of patients nationwide citing the potential for devastating and long-term shoulder injuries as the result of physician's using pain pumps during arthroscopic surgery.

Intra-articular injections have become increasingly common - as a way of providing post-operative pain management to shoulder and knee surgery. However, use following shoulder surgery is unapproved.

As early as 2007, reports of "post arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis" (PAGCL) began emerging. PAGCL is a "severe, life-altering complication" involving significant shoulder pain and loss of shoulder motion in patients following arthroscopic shoulder surgery. PAGCL may cause permanent shoulder damage.

Last November the FDA warned, "The significance of injury to otherwise healthy young adult warrants notification to health care professionals." In January, an Oregon jury awarded $5.5 million to a patient who suffered chondrolysis.

Now, Anesthesiology News reports that the safety and efficacy of shoulder pain pumps "is anything but clear cut." As noted in the article, the effect of combining a well-established drug with a new application is a "new, untoward outcome."

Currently, at least 150 lawsuits have been filed linking the shoulder pain pumps and chondrolysis.

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