Above and beyond our past successes, and current cases and practice areas, the attorneys at Lopez McHugh have been involved in a wide variety of litigation. Examples include the following:
Bard Kugel Composix Mesh Patch: Manufactured by Bard, these patches are used in the treatment of ventral hernias. They have flexible recoil rings that allow the device to be folded for insertion through a small incision and then spring back into shape once in place, but there have been numerous reports of these devices breaking and causing severe internal injuries.
CellCept® and Myfortic: The FDA issued an alert in 2008 that CellCept and Myfortic — commonly prescribed after organ transplants to prevent organ rejection — have led to reports of infants born with serious birth defects, including microtia (deformity of the outer ear) and cleft lip and palate. Other instances of internal deformities (incomplete heart, intestines) and external deformities (oversized hands, feet, jaw) have also been reported. The National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR) reported a rate of 45% spontaneous abortions and 22% with structural malformations (compared with a background rate of 4-5% among babies born to organ transplant patients using other immunosuppressive drugs). These drugs have also been linked to nerve damage among adults caused by activation of the JC virus.
Crib Defects & Recall: On December 28, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced final rules including a ban of drop-side rail designs for consumer cribs. Yet manufacturers and retailers appear not to have taken the rules to heart. Since the new rule was announced in July, 2010, there have been approximately 1 million cribs recalled with hundreds of injuries and 5 infant deaths reported. As recently as March 26, 2013, a manufacturer recalled about 73,000 drop-side cribs sold at JC Penny because the drop-side could malfunction and lead to strangulation, suffocation or falls.
Darvon/Darvocet/Propoxyphene: Propoxyphene is a pain reliever that can be found in the drugs Darvon, Darvocet and PP-Cap. On November 19, 2010, the manufacturers of these drugs agreed to recall them because drugs containing propoxyphene put patients at risk of serious, even fatal, heart rhythm abnormalities including arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrest, heart attack, and death.
Fosamax: Fosamax is a brand name for the drug alendronate, a bisphosphonate. Biphosphonates are used to help thicken bones. Fosamax is taken by millions of women who are prone to osteoporosis, to build up their bones. It can cause a disorder called osteonecrosis of the jaw, a condition marked by pain, numbness, swelling, infection, loss of teeth, and exposed bone. Osteonecrosis slows blood supply to the bone marrow, leading to lack of nutrients and creating an environment where bacteria can more easily grow. Therefore, people with dental disease are more likely to develop severe cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw. The condition cannot be reversed, so treatment may require surgical removal of the affected bone.
Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Defibrillator Lead: Medtronic, Inc., began making defibrillator electrodes out of thinner wire than they had in the past. These thinner wires are prone to fracturing within a person’s blood vessels, causing the defibrillators to misread heart rhythms and deliver unnecessary shocks or fail to delivery life-sustaining shocks.
Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling: Released in 2003, this device was designed to treat stress urinary incontinence. Many women have had adverse reactions to this device, including impaired healing, vaginal extrusion, and breakdown of the tissue making up the vaginal wall and urinary tract. This tissue erosion manifests as extreme vaginal pain, vaginal discharge, and infections.
Mirapex: The most popular dopamine agonist drug prescribed to control tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome has been linked to excessive gambling and other obsessive compulsive behaviors. The link between Mirapex and gambling was first recognized in August 2003. Researchers at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Research Center evaluated 1,800 Parkinson’s patients — 529 of which took Mirapex — for a duration of one year. They found that 1.5 percent of study participants taking the drug developed a serious gambling addiction that cost them significant financial losses.
Stryker’s Custom Cranial Implant: Stryker’s Custom Cranial Implant Kit is used during surgical procedures, such as cranioplasties, to repair deformities or defects in the skull.
Sexual abuse lawsuits: Unfortunately, allegations of sexual abuse keep coming to light in the media. Particularly disturbing are the allegations that officials and organizations – who have a duty to respond to such allegations – knew about the alleged abuse, yet failed to act appropriately. In some cases, these organizations can be held responsible and/or made to change their practices to prevent future victims.
Terbutaline: This is a drug used primarily as a bronchodilator (in oral/inhalant form), to prevent and treat asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. It has also been used in an injectable form to stop contractions during premature labor, but this is not an FDA-approved use.
On February 17, 2011, the FDA issued a safety alert warning against using injectable terbutaline to prevent or treat preterm labor because of a potential risk of serious maternal heart problems (such as cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial ischemia, pulmonary edema) and death. The oral form of terbutaline has raised similar safety concerns, and has not been shown to be effective in preventing preterm labor.
Topamax: This is the brand name of Topiramate, an anticonvulsant drug prescribed for the control of epileptic seizures in children and adults. A secondary use is the prevention of migraines. The FDA has announced that women who use Topamax while they are pregnant are at an increased risk of giving birth to babies with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate.