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February 2012 Archives

Seven Indicted in $375 Million Texas Health Care Fraud Scheme

A Dallas doctor and his office manager, along with five owners of Dallas-area home health agencies have been indicted on charges alleging they bilked Medicare and Medicaid for nearly $375 million dollars for home health services that were not medically necessary or were not performed.

Lower Hudson Valley nursing homes receive low state ratings

Whether you are looking at nursing homes in Albany, the Lower Hudson Valley or anywhere else in the state, it is important that you feel like your loved ones will be protected, well cared for, and won't be at risk of illness or injury. After two New York nursing homes have received some of the lowest ratings in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties, some families may start filing nursing home neglect cases against the facilities for their failure to supervise residents.

Canadian Via Rail Derailment Leaves 3 Dead, 46 Injured

A Canadian Via Rail train derailed outside of Toronto Sunday afternoon, killing three locomotive engineers and injuring 46 passengers.  A Via Rail Spokesperson confirmed 75 people were aboard the six-car passenger train that was traveling from Niagara Falls to Toronto when it derailed east of the Aldershot Station in Burlington, Ontario. 

Study finds some organic foods contain high arsenic levels

The people of Albany, much like the rest of country, are trying to eat healthier and cut out some of the chemicals and processed portions of their diet by switching to organic foods. While numerous studies have found benefits in eating organic, New Yorkers may be surprised to hear that some products containing organic brown rice syrup have been found to have higher levels of arsenic than what is safe to drink in water.

Alcohol linked as cause of multiple-car accident in New York

We all know being involved in any car or truck accident can be serious. Even more serious are those accidents caused by impaired drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A recent Rochester, New York area car accident involved a 38-year-old woman who is being charged with driving while intoxicated after she caused a three-car accident.

DePuy Email Discussed ASR Failures Prior to 2010 Recall

The New York Times reports that approximately one year before it recalled the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip in 2010, DePuy Orthopedics executives discussed Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") findings that the ASR Hip Resurfacing Device was failing in a significant number of patients. The Times obtained an internal email from August 21, 2009, in which a DePuy executive reported that the FDA refused to approve the device after clinical studies (which were "run by surgeons hand-picked by DePuy") showed that a significant percentage of patients required revision surgeries after being implanted. To read the full Times article, click here.

Federal government looks for location to store nuclear waste

Would you want a nuclear waste storage facility in your backyard? Most people in New York don't because of the risk of toxic exposure and all the illnesses and medical conditions that can arise from it. It is because many communities have rejected federal plans to build nuclear waste depots that the federal government is scrambling to find a safe location that the neighboring community's support.

Public Safety Group Calls for Ban of Drug-Resistant Salmonella

Business Week reports that The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit organization, is pressuring the Obama administration to ban sales of uncooked meat containing drug-resistant salmonella after the Hannaford Supermarkets outbreak that occurred across seven states and sickened at least twenty persons. The Center wants the government to ban four strains of salmonella, including Salmonella Typhimurium, the type found in ground beef sold at Hannaford stores that was recalled voluntarily by Hannaford in December 2011. The United States Department of Agriculture has yet to comment on the petition

DePuy Sold Hip Implants Overseas that the FDA Rejected

The New York Times reports that Johnson & Johnson, the maker of many medical devices and products including artificial hips, continued to marked a metal-on-metal hip overseas even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had prohibited its sale in the United States based on a review of the company's own safety studies. To read the entire article, click here.

Federal judge in New York refuses to dismiss sex abuse case

An accusation of sexual abuse carries a lot of weight, especially when it is leveled against a coach and the school that has covered up the sex abuse scandal. While not all allegations are completely true, it is important that judges carefully determine whether there is enough evidence to bring a civil sexual abuse lawsuit before dismissing a case altogether. In this story, a federal judge in New York has delayed his decision on whether to dismiss a lawsuit against Poly Prep Country Day School in New York.

New York elevator accident may have been caused by repairs

Albany residents may remember the tragic elevator accident that took a Manhattan woman's life in December, but new information is emerging about the tragic set of events that took her life. What may have originally just seemed like a dangerous safety issue may actually have been the result of faulty elevator repair work on the elevator right before the accident. The New York City Buildings Department commissioner is continuing to look into the accident, but he believes that the repair work is the contributing cause of the accident, according to NBC New York 4.

Victim Count of Hannaford Salmonella Outbreak Rises to Twenty

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports a new total of twenty (20) persons that have been infected with the strain of Salmonella Typhimurium that has been linked to ground beef sold at Hannaford Supermarkets.  For a full account of the CDC's latest report, click here.

New sex abuse allegations leveled against New York doctor

Many Albany parents spend considerable time researching and comparing pediatricians before they ultimately choose one for their child. Unfortunately, some physicians are so good at putting up a caring façade that parents may not notice a darker side to their child's pediatrician. It seems a 53-year-old physician from Long Island did just that, but was fortunately arrested in 2010 on suspicion of sexually abusing his minor female patients. Now, he has been charged with new, additional crimes.

Sexual Abuse Charges Lead to Dismissal of Entire School Faculty

The New York Times is reporting that an elementary school in Los Angeles will replace the entirety of its faculty after two teachers were arrested last week amid accusations of child sexual abuse.  Click here to read the full article.

Study Suggests Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants May Lead to Cancer

As reported by the Telegraph, a British study has reportedly found that one in five patients given a metal-on-metal hip implant experienced changes to bladder cells that could be precursors to cancer and may cause genetic damage. The company performing the study, which has yet to be published, said that analysis of the results was ongoing.

Mystery Illness Affects Upstate New York Teens

A mystery illness has been producing Tourette's-like symptoms in over a dozen upstate New York teen girls and one boy from LeRoy High School in Genesee County. The illness, which manifests in twitches and spasms, began affecting the high school teens at LeRoy last fall. Additionally, two teenage girls from Corinth, located in Saratoga County, are exhibiting similar symptoms, one of which whom traveled to LeRoy High School last year on a softball trip. It has also been learned that this same illness is also affecting a 36-year old nurse practitioner who has spent her whole life in Town of LeRoy.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Expanding its Investigation of Inadvertent Airbag Deployment in Jeep Liberty SUVs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") is expanding its investigation into approximately 387,000 Jeep Liberty Sport SUVs from model years 2002 and 2003 after dozens of reports of airbags deploying without warning.

Six Hotel Guests Sickened in Albany Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak

The Albany Times Union is reporting that six guests at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel in Albany were sickened by Legionnaire's disease, a bacterial infection. The infections are reported to have occurred from September to December 2011.

Tainted-Well Fracking Lawsuits Mount

Lawsuits against hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") companies are mounting according to a recent article published in Bloomberg.  Fracking is a process by which water, sand, and chemicals are injected underground in order to free natural gas that is trapped there.  According to the article, persons living close to active drilling wells have brought lawsuits asserting that fracking has caused contamination of their wells with methane gas and other toxic chemicals used in the fracking process.  At least twenty-three such cases have been filed since August 2009 across the country.

Many doctors, hospitals provide care with no proof of benefit

Going to a doctor can be a frightening experience, especially if you have already been diagnosed with a serious medical condition. What is even scarier, however, is that many doctors in New York and across the country have been pushing patients to undergo treatments or procedures that have no proof of providing medical benefit, inflating the cost and risk of health care.

Pfizer Recalls 1 Million Birth Control Packs

In a massive packaging "mix-up," Pfizer, Inc. is voluntarily recalling at least a million packs of Lo/Ovral-28 birth control pills and generic equivalents that contain an "inexact" number of active pills. The error could raise the risk of accidental pregnancy for women.

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