Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Pediatric Group Releases New Guidelines for Treatment of Concussions

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new set of guidelines for the treatment of concussions. The new guidelines have been published in the September issue of Pediatrics journal, and come just as a new study finds an increase in the number of children being rushed to emergency rooms for sports injury-related concussions.

According to the study, the number of children being taken to emergency rooms with concussions increased by more than 100% between 1997 and 2007. The study considered children aged between eight and 19, and found that overall, the children made more than half a million visits to hospital ERs for concussion treatment. Among children aged between 14 and 19, ER visits for concussions actually trebled during the ten-year period. California brain concussion injury lawyers suspect that the actual numbers of children suffering concussions are much higher, simply because many children with concussions are not taken to emergency rooms.

The study results have been published to coincide with the release of the new guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to the group, a child who suffers a concussion must be put through a treatment program that consists of little else but rest. There is a misconception that concussions are minor injuries, just because they don't always result in loss of consciousness. Nothing could be further from the truth. A concussion can lead to complications further down the line, especially if you have not taken care to prevent your child from suffering a second concussion.

A child who goes back to playing sports soon after a concussion, could suffer another head injury which could be harder to heal. The group is recommending that these children be given plenty of rest, and made to stay home from school while they recuperate after a concussion. Television time and homework must be avoided until the child has time to completely recover.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Should TBI Be Redefined As Chronic Disease?

A couple of researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have put forward an intriguing concept - since brain injury triggers a series of medical conditions which may present themselves over the person’s lifetime, it may perhaps be time to redefine TBI as a chronic disease that can be monitored.

Researchers Douglas Dewitt and Brent Massel have published their opinions in the Journal of Neurotrauma. According to them, a brain injury can kick off a disease process that includes medical conditions ranging from sleep apnea and epilepsy to sexual dysfunction and psychiatric illnesses. TBI has been found associated with the development of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. All this is not even counting new studies that emerge every month linking brain injury to other conditions, like depression and neuroendocrine disorders. Depending on the severity of the brain injury, patients can expect to face more complications as the years go by. The more severe the brain injury, the higher the number of complications that present themselves over the person’s lifetime.

Both the researchers are calling for redefining brain injury as a chronic and consistent disease. By doing so, doctors will be able to monitor brain injury patients, and track their symptoms in the same way that they currently do for patients with cardiac disease or diabetes. We don't treat persons diagnosed with diabetes as suffering from an injury. Instead, patients are monitored regularly for blood glucose levels, and symptoms of cardiac disease. They are also monitored for the development of kidney disease, deteriorating eyesight, and other complications arising from diabetes. If we redefine brain injury as a disease, we could do something similar for these patients too.

Doctors and California brain injury lawyers have always known of the impact these increasing complications have on a person's health and finances. It would lessen the financial impact on these people, because it would require insurance companies to reimburse these people more often, as more complications develop.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Federal Judge Blocks Obama's Stem Cell Therapy Policy

It is a major setback to California brain injury lawyers, brain and spinal cord injury victims, and scientists nationwide. A federal district judge this week blocked the Obama administration's 2009 executive order allowing embryonic stem cell research, on the grounds that it violated a ban preventing federal money from being used for destroying embryos.

US Chief District Court Judge Royce Lambert ruled that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is banned by the law that dictates that federal money cannot be used in research in which destroyed embryos are used. The judge did not buy into the Obama administration’s argument that embryonic stem cell research on its own did not warrant or call for the destruction of embryos.

According to Judge Lambert, if even one step of the research process involves the destruction of an embryo, then that entire research process is not eligible for federal funding. This definition of what kind of research is and is not eligible for federal funding is a much narrower one than the one that existed during the Bush administration. Ironically, the laws governing stem cell research were believed to be much more stringent and restrictive during the earlier White House administration.

Obviously, this has proved to be a major shock to scientists who are currently involved in varying phases of embryonic stem cell research around the country. The scientists are researching the potential of embryonic stem cells to treat a variety of conditions and illnesses. The benefits of stem cells arise from the fact that these are able to develop into any form of tissue. That is especially useful in research into diseases like cardiac disease and diabetes. Many spine injury lawyers in fact, have been building hopes on budding stem cell research in these areas.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Novo Nordisk Retaliation Court Decision Sends Wrong Message to Employees

A former sales rep for Novo Nordisk has lost the appeal of her retaliation lawsuit. California employment lawyers believe it's an unfortunate ruling, and sends the wrong message to millions of women who work in the pharmaceutical industry.

The case involves Vivian Garriga, a former sales rep at Novo Nordisk. In 2007, Garriga was assigned to a new supervisor, Brian Taylor. Taylor soon began a pattern of sexual harassment that included leering Garriga, and making offensive sexual comments. At a meeting, Taylor, much to Garriga’s amazement, started a game of “which employee would you most like to have sex with?” In her lawsuit, Garriga claims that he frequently made sexual comments, spoke to her about sex frequently, and called Garriga and one of her partners sexually demeaning names. She also claimed there was verbal bullying that was designed to drive Garriga to tears.

Garriga soon filed a sexual harassment complaint against Taylor. Two weeks after Taylor got wind of that complaint, she was put on a coaching program for low performance employees. The coaching program actually had her participating in more one-on-one time with Taylor.

Soon after the complaint, Garriga and her work partner Shannon Duffy, agreed to host a dinner for a physician and his wife as well as their boyfriends, which the two women paid for. It was a violation of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) rules, and as soon as Taylor found out about it, he recommended to the Nordisk HR department that Garriga be fired. Garriga’s services were terminated.

Her retaliation lawsuit was first dismissed by a federal district court, and now, a federal appeals court has also upheld that ruling. According to the company, the fact that she paid for a non-educational dinner was a violation of PhRMA rules, and therefore, her termination was justified.

It seems like Nordisk has gotten away with excusing Taylor's harassment by finding a way to fire Garriga for a practice that is widespread in the pharmaceutical industry. There's no doubt that Garriga violated PhRMA rules, but as she said, she told Taylor about the dinner about 10 days before she was fired, and he seemed to have no problem with it.

It is the wrong message to send to male supervisors in the pharmaceutical industry - that it's okay to put on your most boorish behavior with female subordinates, as long as you can find a technicality on which you can get them fired when they complain of sexual harassment. It sends an even worse message to the thousands of women employed in this industry, who will now think twice before complaining about sexual harassment.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Wyeth Workplace Retaliation Lawsuit Revived

Wyeth is having a ghost from the past come back to haunt it. Two years ago, the company had a retaliation and discrimination lawsuit filed against it thrown out by a court. Now, a federal court has overturned the verdict, clearing the way for a possible new trial.

In 2008, a jury in New York found for Wyeth in a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former employee Howard Henry. Henry was a production engineer and chemist at Wyeth. His lawsuit alleged the company subjected him to racial discrimination. He also alleged the company denied him promotions, and he was given unfair performance reviews. His lawsuit was one of seven filed by other current and former African-American employees of the company’s Pearl River New York Campus, all alleging racial discrimination and retaliation. However, a jury decided against Henry.

The retaliation verdict has now been overturned by a federal appeals court. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the District Court judge in charge of overseeing Henry's trial wrongly instructed the jury. In the trial, the jury had been instructed that Henry needed to prove that the supervisor who retaliated against him, did so knowing that Henry had filed a discrimination complaint against the company. According to the Appeals Court judge, the evidence of retaliation that Henry provided might have been strong enough for a decision to go in his favor, if the jury had not been so instructed.

That means that Wyeth is likely to face a new trial. Obviously, Henry and his lawyers are very pleased with the verdict. Los Angeles labor lawyers however must make clear that this decision doesn't establish that there was retaliation in this case. Wyatt continues to insist that there was no retaliation of any sort in Henry's case.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Eight People Injured in Los Angeles Metro Train-Bus Accident

Eight people have been injured in an accident involving a Metro Blue Line train and a bus in downtown Los Angeles. According to Los Angeles fire authorities, the Blue Line train slammed into a bus near the intersection of Broadway and Washington Blvd. The train remained on the tracks, but the bus jumped the sidewalk. Eight people were injured, six of them on the bus. The injuries have been mainly non-life-threatening, but four of the injured victims had to be taken to the hospital for an assessment of their injuries.

There are no details about the collision, and investigations are on. Investigators are likely to look into the speed of the Blue Line train at the time of the accident. They are also likely to consider whether driver error or inattention contributed to this accident. Other possible factors could have been mechanical malfunction of the braking systems.

Considering the amount of attention that Los Angeles train accident lawyers and transit systems around the country have been paying to distracted driving, driver inattention and distraction could be one of the major factors that investigators consider in this Los Angeles bus-train accident. In Los Angeles, we have had an especially close look at the devastation that can occur when train operators are distracted at the controls. The 2008 Chatsworth Metrolink train accident in Los Angeles was ultimately traced to the inattention of the train operator. Robert Sanchez had been found to have exchanged several text messages with a young rail fan in the minutes before the train crashed head-on into a United Pacific freight train. As a result of his inattention, Sanchez missed a stoplight, and the train ended up on the same tracks and in the opposite direction as the freight train. The resulting collision killed 15 people and led to an overhaul of SoCal’s transit system.