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    Senate Democrats Working On judicial vacancies

    Opponents of the civil justice system have a great plan on how to deny victims their day in court.  First, force victims into federal court.  Second, make sure there are so many judicial vacancies that plaintiffs have months and year long delays.

    Senate Democrats are at least working to fix the second prong of the plan:

    Five federal judicial nominees got a nomination hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a sign that Democrats will continue to push aggressively to reduce the historically high number of vacancies on the federal bench.

    . . . . "President Obama is the first president in decades who ended his first term with more vacancies than when it began, and the first since Woodrow Wilson to complete a full first term without having a nominee to the D.C. Circuit confirmed," Leahy said in prepared remarks.

    Source: Senate Democrats Moving Quickly on District Court Nominees - The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times

    One wonders of course what vacancies will pop up in the Supreme Court, and how Obama will fill them.


    What should never happen actually happens 80 times a week

    In the medical profession, a “never event” is something that should never happen.  Doctors have to make judgment calls every day, and sometimes those judgments will be wrong.  Every wrong judgment is not medical malpractice.  But a “never event” is not a bad judgment call.  It’s blatant medical malpractice, no matter how you slice it.  And a new study claims it happens 80 times a week:

    About 80 times each week, U.S. patients undergoing surgery experience mistakes that safety advocates say never should happen.

    The types of errors being made: Surgical instruments such as sponges are unintentionally left behind in the patient; a wrong procedure is performed; a wrong surgical site is operated upon; and surgery is done on the wrong patient altogether.

    Source: Surgical errors: In ORs, "never events" occur 80 times a week -

    The study offers a number of disturbing statistics and conclusions.  What’s even more disturbing, but not discussed in this article, is the fact that legislatures around the country are trying to find ways to make it harder for patients who were victims of never events to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.


    texas tort reform punishes double amputee

    Connie Spears had to have both of her legs amputated after doctors ignored her past history of blood clots and sent her home despite her symptoms of severe leg pain.  Despite what to many medical professionals appears to be a clear cut case of medical malpractice, Connie Spears finds no justice in Texas.  Why?  Because of laws passed in 2003:

    The huge tort reform package that Texas lawmakers approved in 2003 capped noneconomic damages that a plaintiff could receive for medical malpractice at $250,000 and set a “willful and wanton” negligence standard — interpreted as intentionally harming the patient — for emergency care. It also required plaintiffs to find a practicing or teaching physician in the same specialty as the defendant to serve as an expert witness and to demonstrate evidence of negligence before a trial. Under the strengthened rules, if plaintiffs fail to produce adequate expert reports within 120 days of filing their cases, they are liable for defendants’ legal fees.

    Source: Even With Counsel, Texas Amputee Is Hindered by State Tort Laws -

    The creation of a “willful and wanton” standard was supposedly a mechanism to prevent frivolous lawsuits from hurting doctors who made the wrong choice in a time of crisis.  Instead, it protects doctors who do anything short of purposely hurting their patients.

    The real reason Texas passed the tort reform that it did had little to do with any lawsuit crisis in the medical profession.  Instead, this law rewarded Republican campaign contributors and financially hurt trial lawyers, which are traditionally a group of Democratic campaign contributors.

    Thanks to gerrymandering the Republican majority in Texas is not in danger of disappearing any time soon.  And because of that, neither is the oppressive medical malpractice package it put into place ten years ago.


    FDA May require more information from metal-on-metal hip makers

    Once again, the FDA arrives late to the party:

    Jan 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a proposal calling on companies that make all-metal hip replacements to provide additional information proving they are safe and effective before being allowed to continue selling them.

    The move follows years of concern within the medical community over the metal-on-metal implants, which the FDA said on Thursday can cause soft-tissue damage, potentially leading to further surgery to replace the devices.

    Source: UPDATE 1-FDA moves to tighten controls on all-metal hip implants | Reuters

    Recall of course that trial lawyers have for years been filing lawsuits against the makers of metal-on-metal hips.  DePuy, for example. faces over 2,000 lawsuits from individuals who received DePuy ASR hip implants that may be defective.


    Dangerous Drugs Blog Redesigned

    I was so happy with the way my Asbestos Lawyer blog turned out that I had the same design team develop a new look for my drugs and medical devices blog, Dangerous Drugs.   Take a look!

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