Archive for July, 2019

30
Jul

5 Low Testosterone Treatments that Can Lead to Heart Risks

July 30, 2019

Since increased reports of low testosterone (particularly in men) is a relatively new concern in the medical community, solutions have sprung up quickly and come with unknown risks.

More and more men have begun using different forms of low T treatments, but some negative side effects are starting to emerge. The FDA and other accountability groups are demanding more tests and urging doctors and patients to proceed with caution.

Some of the more serious side effects include attacks on the cardiovascular system, such as blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. In rare cases, the extended use of testosterone-boosting drugs can lead to breast cancer in men.

If you or someone you love feels that they may be suffering from low testosterone, you should consult with your doctor to verify the condition before self-medicating with over-the-counter solutions.

If a doctor prescribes you testosterone to treat your symptoms, make sure to discuss the possible risks associated with the drug and any family history of heart conditions.

Here are some of the common forms of low T treatments that have been known to lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.

Oral

Often in pill form, oral low T treatments are common. They can also be consumed as a legal form of anabolic steroids.

While testosterone pills come with directions for how often you should take them, this kind of treatment is often abused or overused.

Injections

Also known as testosterone shots, these are considered the most potent form of low T treatment. Some men inject themselves in the thigh area, or a doctor can inject them on one side of the buttocks.

Those who are on low T therapy may be directed to take a shot once every 1-3 weeks.

Mouth Patch

Two times a day, patients can apply a patch to the top of their mouths, typically on the gums near the teeth, just to the left or right of the center of the mouth.

Throughout the course of the day, the patch releases testosterone orally into the blood.

Skin Patch

For skin patches, doctors typically prescribe the appropriate testosterone levels according to the amount of low T therapy required. Patients can wear them on their arms, legs, back, or abdomen (as directed by instructions).

Gels

Testosterone gels are perhaps the most common and easily-obtained low T treatment available. Patients apply the gel to parts of the arms covered by a short-sleeved shirt. Other gels recommend an application to shoulders, back, thighs, and abdomen.

While packages typically recommend one use each day, patients have been known to over-apply or apply directly to the penis. In addition to the negative side effects of low T treatments, testosterone gel misuse can lead to even more severe health complications.

Another danger of testosterone gel occurs when the gel comes into contact with others. Even a casual brush can cause another person to absorb testosterone from the gel. Women and children have experienced numerous negative effects, including unusual hair growth and accelerated puberty.

If anyone you know begins to demonstrate these symptoms after coming into contact with a testosterone-treated area, encourage them to seek medical attention and to inform their doctor that they came into contact with testosterone gel.

If you or someone you love has already experienced blood clots, stroke, or heart attack after using one or more of these treatments, you should consult with a drug injury attorney right away. You may be eligible for compensation for any medical bills and damages associated with your heart condition.

For more information about how an Indiana drug injury attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

25
Jul

I Got Bladder Cancer After Using Invokana – Now What?

July 25, 2019

If you or someone you love was prescribed Invokana to treat type II diabetes and have since been diagnosed with bladder cancer, it is crucial that you speak with a medical malpractice attorney right away.

One might think that the drug only recently showed signs of causing cancer, but unfortunately, clinical trials and testing revealed that the drug may have been known to do so over a year before Invokana even came to the US market.

In addition to bladder and kidney cancer, diabetics who were prescribed Invokana have suffered a wide array of other severe side effects. You should discuss your medical malpractice case with an attorney so they can help you take the next steps in seeking justice and compensation.

Why Was Invokana Prescribed?

Originally, Invokana was thought to be a new, special drug to help type II diabetics control glycemia levels. It showed promising signs by treating diabetic symptoms as an SGLT2 inhibitor.

Unfortunately, a number of SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana, have proven to do more harm than good.

When Lawsuits Began Over Invokana

Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson over the adverse effects of Invokana only began in the last few years in New Jersey. At first, the lawsuits alleged that Johnson & Johnson did not disclose the drug risks associated with diabetic ketoacidosis.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Patients taking Invokana began complaining of pain in the stomach, followed by vomiting and dehydration. Additionally, patients began experiencing chest pain, breathing difficulties, and more.

These are symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication where the body produces too many blood acids. If left untreated, the condition can ultimately lead to death, but if diagnosed and treated promptly, the effects are manageable.

After more cases of diabetic ketoacidosis were reported, the FDA issued a warning, but Johnson & Johnson continued to market their product. Doctors continued prescribing Invokana in spite of the warnings.

Decreased Bone Density

There have also been reported cases where taking Invokana can lead to brittle bones, which can cause fractures.

The FDA promptly issued a new warning noting that patients taking Invokana could begin losing significant bone density within 3 months of use.

Acute Kidney Injury

The FDA issued another warning in 2016 stating that a number of cases had surfaced where Invokana users suffered acute kidney injury.

Johnson & Johnson continued selling the drug, and doctors were merely advised to look for symptoms of acute kidney injury before taking their patients off Invokana.

Risk of Amputation

One of the more recent (and disturbing) FDA warnings came out in 2017 when a number of Invokana-prescribed diabetics began experiencing pain and numbness in their limbs. Many of these patients had to have limbs amputated.

Cancer

Because clinical trials showed a strong possibility that the use of Invokana could lead to bladder and kidney cancer, lawsuits have increased against companies selling and doctors prescribing SGLT2 inhibitors.

Cancer has surfaced most commonly in older males who had been taking Invokana for a year or more.

If you or someone you love has been prescribed Invokana, consult with your doctor about the risks and FDA warnings. If you’ve already begun experiencing any of the side effects listed above, you must speak with a doctor and attorney right away.

For more information about how an Indiana Medical Malpractice attorney can help you with your Invokana case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

20
Jul

I Got an Infection from an Endoscope – What Can I Do Now?

July 20, 2019

An endoscopy is a useful medical procedure that can examine parts of the body that were once only accessible via exploratory surgery.

However, studies show the risk of infection from the equipment used in the procedure is higher than previously thought.

What is an Endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure that examines a person’s digestive tract. An endoscope is a flexible tube with a tiny camera attached to it that allows doctors to view your digestive tract on a monitor.

There are different types of endoscopies, depending on where the camera is inserted. In an upper endoscopy, the tube goes into the mouth and down the throat into the esophagus. From there, doctors get a good view of the esophagus, stomach and upper part of the small intestine.

If the endoscope enters the body through the rectum, the procedure is called a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy, depending on how far up the colon (large intestine) is examined.

Endoscopies can also be used to conduct biopsies or to place objects into the body to help treat medical issues.

Why Do Infections Occur After Endoscopies?

Several studies have concluded that current cleaning methods and guidelines do not effectively sterilize the endoscopes used for the procedure.

One particular study examined a number of cleaned endoscopes from three hospitals in the United States. It found that 71 percent still contained microbial growth, and 22 percent of endoscopes had signs of organic contamination. Two of the hospitals were found to be practicing substandard reprocessing and drying methods.

There are three levels of medical equipment that require different forms of cleaning, ranging from noncritical to critical. Noncritical devices like stethoscopes require low-level disinfection, while critical devices require sterilization. Endoscopes fall into the semi-critical category, where high-level disinfection is required but not sterilization.

How Common is an Infection?

It was thought that the risk of infection after an endoscopy was around one in one million cases. However, a study released in 2018 by Johns Hopkins University found that number to be up to 100 times higher. The rates are around one in one thousand for a screening colonoscopy. That number rises to around 45 in one thousand for people who were hospitalized within 30 days prior to their endoscopic procedure.

What are the Signs of an Infection from an Endoscopy?

The following symptoms are signs of a general complication from an endoscopic procedure:

  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bloody, black or very dark-colored stool
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Vomiting (especially if the vomit is bloody or looks like coffee grounds)

Call your doctor or go to the emergency room if any of these symptoms occur.

Most infections are treated with antibiotics and will resolve on their own. However, there is a risk of contracting a “superbug” infection, especially in those with weakened immune systems. These infections can have severe complications and can even lead to death.

What Are My Options?

While the FDA is releasing more rigorous guidelines for cleaning these devices, faulty practices can leave medical facilities and healthcare professionals open to medical malpractice cases.

When you go to a hospital or other medical facility for a procedure, it’s supposed to make you better or lead to better health, not make you sick or worse.

If you had an experience where an endoscopic procedure left you with a serious infection, you need to contact an attorney to see if a medical malpractice suit is an option for you. Stewart & Stewart is the home of the best medical malpractice attorneys in the state of Indiana, and they will be happy to discuss your situation with you and let you know if you have a case. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you – call 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.

15
Jul

What Can I Do if I have Hernia Mesh Complications

July 15, 2019

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than one million hernia repair procedures are performed in the United States each year.

What is a Hernia?

Most hernias are caused by a combination of pressure (or straining) and an opening (or weakness) of muscle or connective tissue. That pressure can push the organ or tissue through the opening.

Common causes of a hernia include obesity, lifting heavy objects, diarrhea or constipation, and persistent coughing or sneezing. Sometimes, muscle weakness is present from birth, but it usually becomes more of an issue as we age. Additional risk factors include poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion.

How do You Treat a Hernia?

Occasionally, a surgeon will elect to monitor a hernia instead of performing surgery if it isn’t causing pain or any other problems for the patient. If surgery is required, it can be done in two ways:

  • Laparoscopic: Several small incisions are made in the abdomen that allows surgical tools into the opening to repair the hernia.
  • Open Repair: The incision is made near the hernia and the weak muscle area is repaired.

When is Surgical Mesh Used?

Both methods can be done with or without surgical mesh. The mesh is designed to strengthen the repair and reduce the risk of reoccurrence since hernias have a tendency to come back.

Most mesh devices used today are made from animal tissue or synthetic material. Mesh from animal tissue (biologic mesh) will gradually be absorbed by the body, while the synthetic mesh is considered a permanent implant.

Are You Having an Adverse Reaction to Surgical Mesh?

According to one study in England, surgeons believe the complication rate for hernia procedures with surgical mesh is between 12 and 30 percent.

Symptoms of complications with a hernia repair using mesh include pain, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesion, and bowel obstruction. Many products that have already been recalled by the FDA caused bowel perforation and obstruction complications.

Mesh infections have been found to lead to typical symptoms of infection – lack of healing, warmth at the incision site, fever, chills, and nausea. However, there are also unique symptoms that have been reported, such as dental problems like weak and chipped teeth. Nerve damage and scar tissue have also led patients to complain about chronic pain, especially when standing or trying to bend over.

Given the high rate of complications, the FDA has recalled several surgical mesh devices over the past several years. Despite that, people are still ending up in worse shape due to complications from surgical mesh that was used in their hernia procedure.

What Options Does Someone Suffering from Surgical Mesh Issues Have?

Given the unstable nature of the product, several questions need to be answered. You must know what kind of mesh was used, how it was applied, and if mesh should have been used in the first place.

It’s difficult to tell without deeper investigation if the pain was part of the accepted risk of surgery or if a defective product was used. To help you with these concerns, we invite you to contact the attorneys of Stewart & Stewart for a free initial consultation.

Stewart & Stewart has some of the most experienced attorneys handling defective product cases in the state of Indiana. We would be honored to help you get what you deserve for having to suffer from the negligence of a manufacturer. Please call us at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today so we can start to get to work.

10
Jul

What Can I Do if I am Injured by Farm Equipment

July 10, 2019

You may not think that working on a farm could be a dangerous profession, but the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) considers agriculture one of the most hazardous industries in the United States. The NIOSH found that around 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury every day.

In 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, most of which were in transportation accidents like tractor overturns. A device called a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) with a seatbelt is the most effective way to prevent tractor overturn deaths, but in 2014, the NIOSH reported that only 62 percent of tractors used on farms were equipped with ROPS.

Types of Accidents Involving Farm Equipment

  • Tractors – Besides rollover accidents, tractor accidents can occur on public roads when a faster vehicle may not notice the tractor moving slowly. These vehicles should be equipped with a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) symbol, which is an orange triangle. It’s also recommended that flashers are used whenever farm equipment is traveling on a public road.
  • Other Vehicles – Accidents involving equipment like hay balers, grain augers, corn pickers, combines, and brush hog mowers are common. Many do not display proper safety warnings in visible locations.
  • Exposure to Pesticides and Other Toxic Chemicals – Both short- and long-term exposure can result in poisoning, respiratory problems, and skin damage.
  • Structures – Places like grain storage bins and silos can cause several different types of accidents. Gases can build up, causing asphyxiation or an explosion. Structure collapses can also trap, injure, and kill workers.

If I’m Injured in a Farming Accident, What Should I Do?

The first thing you should do when injured is to seek medical attention for your injuries.

You will also need to notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible, and get the names and contact information of anyone who was a witness to the incident.

If possible, you should take photos of the area where you were injured, the injuries themselves, and the equipment involved in your injury. You should also see if it is possible to retain the equipment from the injury.

Personal injury cases stemming from farm equipment injuries are unique because, often, there are more people and companies involved than in a standard worker’s compensation case.

You may be entitled to worker’s compensation from your accident. However, farm vehicles and equipment are operated by subcontractors or other companies, and they each carry different types of insurance designed to deflect personal injury complaints. Farm equipment manufacturers may also be on the hook in a personal injury case, and they will have their insurance companies working against you as well.

If you’re struggling with either worker’s compensation benefits or dealing with insurance companies of a manufacturer or subcontractor, you need representation. Anyone – regardless of age or citizenship status – is entitled to representation in the wake of a farm equipment accident.

The lawyers at Stewart & Stewart are among the most experienced in the state of Indiana when it comes to personal injury lawsuits – especially when it comes to protecting farm workers. We’ll take on companies (both large and small) and hold them responsible, so you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you – call 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information. Our consultations are no-risk – our experts will lay out the prospect of your case so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

5
Jul

What Are the Hernia Mesh Products that are Linked to Injuries

July 05, 2019

Over one million people undergo a hernia repair procedure in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A hernia is generally caused by a combination of pressure (or straining) and an opening (or weakness) of muscle or connective tissue. That pressure pushes an organ or tissue through the opening, causing the hernia.

Lifting heavy objects is generally associated with a hernia, but other causes include obesity, diarrhea or constipation, and persistent coughing or sneezing. Some people are more susceptible to hernias than others from muscle weakness being present at birth. However, it usually becomes more of an issue as we age. Poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion are cited as additional risk factors.

Hernias do not heal themselves, but sometimes a surgeon will wait to see if the hernia causes a problem for the patient as some are harmless. If a surgeon determines that a hernia needs to be repaired, it can be done in one of two ways:

  • Laparoscopic: Several small incisions are made in the abdomen that allows surgical tools into the opening to repair the hernia.
  • Open Repair: The incision is made near the hernia and the weak muscle area is repaired.

When is Surgical Mesh Used?

Both methods can be done with or without surgical mesh. Hernias have a tendency to recur, so the mesh is designed to strengthen the repair and reduce the risk of it happening again.

Most mesh devices used today are made from animal tissue or synthetic material. Mesh from animal tissue (biologic mesh) will gradually be absorbed by the body, while the synthetic mesh is considered a permanent implant.

According to one study in England, surgeons believe the complication rate for hernia procedures with surgical mesh is between 12 and 30 percent.

Symptoms of complications with a hernia repair using mesh include pain, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesion, and bowel obstruction. Some people have so much pain that they have trouble standing or bending over. Many products that have already been recalled by the FDA caused bowel perforation and obstruction complications.

Given the high rate of complications, the FDA has recalled several surgical mesh devices over the past several years. Despite that, people are still ending up in worse shape due to complications from surgical mesh that was used in their hernia procedure.

What Mesh Products Are Most Linked to These Complications?

Certain types of mesh products are causing more problems for patients than others. One is called composite mesh. This is synthetic mesh with a special coating applied. Popular brands include ST Hernia Mesh, Composix Kugel Hernia Mesh, 3DMax, PerFix Plug, Proceed Hernia Mesh, Prolene Hernia System, and ProLoop Plug. Several of these composite meshes have had issues with the FDA, but it is possible there are even more complications as many are never reported.

When used properly, the surgical mesh can be beneficial to those suffering from a hernia, but if you are having complications, you must answer several questions. You must know what kind of mesh was used, how it was applied, and if mesh should have been used in the first place.

It’s difficult to tell without deeper investigation if the pain was part of the accepted risk of surgery or if a defective product was used. To help you with these concerns, we invite you to contact the attorneys of Stewart & Stewart for a free initial consultation.

Stewart & Stewart has some of the most experienced attorneys handling defective product cases in the state of Indiana. Put our experience to work for you today by calling us at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.

1
Jul

What Diabetes Drugs are Linked to Cancer?

July 01, 2019

More than 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and another 80 million are labeled as prediabetic, meaning if they don’t change their lifestyle, they will end up with the disease.
Diabetics are generally tied to a lifetime of drug use to manage their condition, but what happens when those drugs cause further problems for the body?
Bladder Cancer Concerns
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release in 2016 that states medication containing pioglitazone could carry with it an increased risk in developing bladder cancer. According to the FDA, diabetes medications containing pioglitazone include Actos, Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR, Duetact and Oseni.
The press release says that studies did not definitively conclude that pioglitazone – which works for type 2 diabetes patients by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin – increases the risk of bladder cancer, but the FDA believes there has been enough research to suggest a possible link.
Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Researchers at UCLA have found an increase in pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer in people with type 2 diabetes who take the following drugs:
Januvia
Janumet (a combination of Januvia and metformin)
Byetta
Victoza
Bydureon
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that is often a precursor for pancreatic cancer.
Studies conducted in the United Kingdom found that insulin not produced by the body may also bring an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. However, others say the findings would not cause them to recommend a change in treatment for people using insulin.
Doctors believe the link between diabetes medications and pancreatic cancer comes from how these medications work. They reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics but can overstimulate the pancreas, which results in inflammation.
Healthy bodies produce a proper amount of insulin to help with digestion, as it converts glucose into energy for the body to function. Hormones make sure the body is producing the correct amount of insulin to accomplish this task. In diabetics, these hormones deactivate and halt insulin production, which results in a buildup of sugar in the blood. When the pancreas is damaged to the point where it cannot produce insulin as it is designed to, a person is diagnosed with diabetes. Taking certain prescription drugs can also add to this process, so you can see how it could overstimulate the pancreas.
Another factor that makes researchers less confident that specific diabetes medications can cause cancer is that patients typically don’t follow healthy habits to begin with. A poor diet and lack of exercise are two major causes of diabetes, and those factors can also lead to other health problems, including cancer.
However, while many of these drugs are linked to possible increases in cancer, the drug companies are not formally warning users of such risks on labels or in other correspondence to potential users.
If you or someone you love is diabetic and was later diagnosed with bladder or pancreatic cancer, a thorough examination of your case is required. A drug company’s negligence should not be tolerated, and we can hold them responsible. You could be entitled to damages to cover medical bills, transportation, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Stewart & Stewart’s attorneys aren’t afraid to hold the drug companies responsible, and our lawyers are some of the most experienced at handling drug cases in the Indianapolis area. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you – call 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.