Craniostenosis and Depakote

Jun 14

According to a 2001 research paper published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, there are indications that regular intake of valproic acid (i.e. Depakote) may result in trigonocephaly, or the premature closing of the metopic suture in an infant’s skull. The metopic suture usually closes when the child is between three and nine months old. This is a form of caniostenosis caused by craniosynostosis, which basically means the skull closes.

The authors studied 2,220 children, and of these, 17 had mothers that regularly ingested Depakote or other valproic acid-based medication to manage epileptic seizures. Considering that the incidence of craniostenosis in the general population is one in every 2,500 live births, finding 17 in this study population is significant. This indicates at least a 10-fold risk of having children with craniostenosis among the population of women that take Depakote compared to those who do not.

The growing infant’s skull had four sutures: metopic, coronal, sagiital, and lambdoid. The most common type of craniostenosis involves the sagittal suture, followed by the coronal suture. Metopic synostosis, or trigonocephaly, occurs a maximum of just 15% of all cases.

The human body is truly marvelous. In most cases where one skull suture closes before it should, and perhaps not leaving enough space for the brain, the skull expands in the orientation of the unclosed sutures to compensate. This can give the child an unusually shaped head.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, however, in some cases when the skull does not grow enough to accommodate the brain, the pressure can cause serious complications. This includes but not limited to blindness, sleep impairment, eating disorders, or cognitive development problem.

Aside from the physiological effects, the skull malformation may also affect the development of the face. It can change the shape of the face in noticeable ways. This can adversely affect the social and emotional development of the child, especially if it is accompanied by physiological complications.

If you or your child suffers from craniostenosis, it may be because of Depakote.

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Symptoms of Liver Failure

Mar 19

Liver failure is a life-threatening condition that usually results over a long period of time. It occurs when enough damage is sustained by the liver to cause parts or the entire vital organ to no longer function. Acute liver failure can occur within the short time span of 48 hours and be hard to miss. Reasons for liver failure vary from prolonged alcohol consumption to faulty medication that destroys the liver.

Xarelto, an anticoagulant released in 2011 by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, is one such medication known to cause acute liver failure. According to the website of lawyers at Williams Kherkher, drug manufacturers often do not list certain health hazards such as liver failure as a side effect, leading to serious injury and life-threatening situations for its patients prescribed the faulty medication.

Symptoms of liver failure include pain in the upper right abdominal region, yellowing of skin or eyes, abdominal swelling, and vomiting. Complications may arise from prolonged damage of the liver or lack of treatment for acute liver failure. Liver failure may cause excessive fluid in the brain that builds pressure in the cerebellum, displacing brain tissue and depriving the organ of sufficient oxygen. Bleeding, infection, and kidney failure may also arise as complications.

The treatment option for serious liver failure is a liver transplant. The costly and invasive procedure may take months or years for a viable liver donor to be matched. This time frame may lead to loss of life if a candidate is not found. In less severe cases of liver damage, medicine and constant monitoring may be enough for a full or partial recovery.

If you or a loved one experienced liver damage or failure after being prescribed Xarelto, contact a Xarelto lawyer in your state. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering due to the negligence of the drug manufacturers and producers.

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Nursing Home Abuse

Feb 22

In February of 2014, the U.S. News & World Report released its latest list of what it evaluated to be the best nursing homes all across America. About 16,000 nursing homes from all 50 states and about 100 major metropolitan areas were evaluated to help the millions of American families find the best nursing home (nearest them) for their loved one.

In evaluating almost all of the nursing facilities in the US, the following factors were considered: level and quality of safety and care; staffing; health inspections; performance in vital clinical needs; the time spent by nursing staff with the residents; and, cases of health and fire violations. However, despite their obligation to providing quality care, many nursing home facilities fail to do this, causing many residents serious harm.

The list of the best nursing homes, the sixth list released by the U.S. News & World Report, comes in the midst of widespread news regarding the frequency of nursing home abuses and neglect. These terrible and offensive acts committed against many of the residents of nursing homes (elders, physically or mentally incapacitated individuals and those needing rehabilitative therapy due to illness or accident) are most frequent where there is inadequate number of staff and where resources are not enough. An alarming circumstance as records from the American Association for Justice show that about 90% of nursing facilities in the US do not have enough staff to provide sufficient care to more than 1.5 million residents nationwide.

The different forms of abuses most commonly suffered by nursing home residents include physical, emotional, physical, sexual and, in some instances, financial. Sexual abuse is the most cruel and humiliating form of these abuses, which are committed by the staff members themselves or by victim’s the co-resident, who is either coerced or bribed by the same staff members.

Residents often rather refuse to complain due to various reasons, including: threats by the abuser; fear of being accused of seeking too much attention; shame, especially if the abuse is sexual in nature; or fear and shame of being tagged as suffering from dementia.

Even with the absence of clear signs that acts of abuse or neglect are being committed against your loved one, sudden changes in him/her plus your gut feeling that something may be wrong should never be outrightly dismissed. And, to either authenticate or disprove the possibility of abuse, no matter how slight the signs, seeking the help of the highly-skilled personal injury or nursing home malpractice lawyers would be a commendable move.

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Unpaid Wages

Jan 16

Performing any type of work at any time even outside the office, but so long as it is asked by the employer and is, therefore, for the employer’s benefit, should merit compensation , according to the stipulations of the Portal-to-Portal Act. This decree was passed in 1947 as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. The FLSA, also called the Wages and Hours Bill, is a federal mandate that sets rules for the national minimum wage, the daily and weekly number of working hours and the legal pay for overtime work; it also strictly prohibits the hiring of minors or those under the age of 18 for hard labor and the requiring of those below the age of 16 to work during school hours.

Though the FLSA was intended to make sure that employees are paid what is due them and that no one is required or made to work longer than they should, it was never meant to put employers in the losing end. Thus, despite benefiting about 700,000 workers when it was passed into law, the US Congress saw the need to amend it to make clear its extents and limits.

Amendments centered on clearly defining which activities before, during and after work shifts are compensable and not compensable due to certain works wherein employees need to perform activities (related to work) before actually engaging in their principal activities.

The specific clarifications and amendments on the contents of the FLSA that were made through the Portal-to-Portal Act, include:

a. Activities that necessitate mandatory compensation:

  • Duties that are part of one’s regular work
  • Activities that are essential and, thus, indispensable parts of one’s regular duties

b. Some activities that are generally considered compensable (compensation to the following activities depends on one’s agreement with his/her employer):

  • Principal work or activities that are directly related to principal work but which are performed at home;
  • Putting on the required gears necessitated by the job
  • “Suffered or permitted” work which is performed before or after a work shift and which the employer knows (or should know) as being performed
  • Disaster drills and fire drills
  • Travel time spent during the work shift but which is required to be able to perform a job which
  • Periods of inactivity occurring during shift
  • Time spent waiting for work instructions and the distribution of required working gears
  • Meal periods, but only when one has been required to work while eating within the worksite or at the desk
  • “On-call” time wherein one is required to stay at or near the workplace

c. Activities that are generally not considered to be compensable:

  • Travel time to or from the place of work
  • Time spent in line to punch a time clock
  • Extra/waiting time before the actual start of shift
  • Meal periods, during which regular work is not performed
  • “On-call” time, but when responding only to a telephone call or an electronic message

According to the website of Cary Kane, despite the mandates and the strict enforcement of laws governing labor and employment, hundreds of lawsuits still get filed in courts all across the US. Employment laws, however, are complex, and the statutory limit set by the government in filing a lawsuit based on unpaid wages can only be a source of added pressure.

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Claiming Social Security Disability Benefits Getting Harder

Nov 05

As if it wasn’t bad enough before where 7 out of 10 claims for Social Security Disability Benefits were being initially denied, with the Social Security Administration (SSA) running out of funds, its belt is getting even tighter.

The SSA has been paying out progressively more disability benefits since the economic recession began, nearly $9 million in March 2013 which is an increase of 21% in the same period in 2007. The bill for disability benefits in 2010 was nearly $130 billion, compared to just $18 billion (inflation-adjusted for 2010) from just 40 years ago. The leapfrogging rate is rapidly draining the resources of the SSA, which estimates that at the present rate the SSA will be unable to pay full SS benefits by 2016.

Studies show that this sharply upward trend is not due to any significant deterioration of the average working American’s health. It is also noted that the increase in claims coincided during the time of the massive economic crisis. This indicates that many claims were made by people who were not really disabled at all.

It is unfortunately true that a good number of the unemployed are drawing disability payments in lieu of a paycheck for actual work, which is why the SSA has become much more discriminating about what applications warrant an approval. This is a big problem for workers who have a genuine need for financial need because of their disabilities but are at a loss about how to go about filing a successful claim. As characterized on the website of Hankey Law Office, the SSA is no longer the safety net it was designed to be at inception. Currently, the SSA is just another bureaucratic hurdle that deserving people need to traverse to receive the benefits they were promised and paid for when they were able-bodied.

If you are having difficulty in making a disability claim, you will need some professional assistance. Contact a Social Security disability claims lawyer in your area to help you get what you need and deserve.

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Being Arrested for Drunk Driving

Nov 02

Drunk driving is definitely a crime in any state, and rightly so. An impaired driver has an 11-fold risk of an accident compared to a sober driver, and presents a danger to themselves as well as others in property damage and personal injury. A Racine car accident lawyer, for example, would point out with complete accuracy that an injury to a third party resulting from driving under the influence (DUI) is completely preventable and constitutes a breach in the duty of care that every individual takes on when he or she gets behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle.

But while it is understandable why the enforcement of DUI laws in most states are stringent, there are instances when zeal takes the place of common sense and an appreciation of the facts. Take for example the case of an Arizona man who was pulled over for what appeared to be impaired driving and the police officer actually said he could tell the man was drunk “by looking into his eyes.” The man was brought into the police station to take a breathalyzer test which came back 0.0 blood alcohol content (BAC). Under most state laws, this would have earned him a walk there and then. Instead, his car was impounded and his license suspended. When all was said and done, he should not have been arrested in the first place.

According to the website of Austin criminal defense attorney Ian Inglis, it is possible for law enforcement to make a mistake; unfortunately, not all of them are willing to admit to it. If you have been charged with drunk driving, it would be in your best interest to insist on consulting a lawyer before saying or doing anything to protect your rights. You will avoid a whole lot of trouble later on if you take any arrest, false or otherwise, seriously.

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Construction Accidents at 1 World Trade Center

Nov 01

Hot on the heels of the announcement by mass media published Condé Nash that they would be occupying roughly a third of the new 1 World Trade Center (WTC) was the news that at least 34 workers were seriously injured in the building’s construction that went unreported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many of the cases were allegedly caused by safety violations, a fact that lawyers from the Hach & Rose, LLP in New York are all too familiar with, based on information from their website.

The building, also called the Freedom Tower is one of several buildings to be built on Ground Zero. It was the site of the Twin Towers that was leveled by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and its construction was understandably of intense interest to the community. Despite this scrutiny, however, the Daily News states that most of the construction accidents on the site went unreported. The Port Authority, which controlled the worksite, insisted that safety regulations were strictly enforced and that only two serious incidents occurred during construction, both fatal and reported to the OSHA.

Records show that many more injuries occurred that did not reach the ears of the regulatory body, and in numbers that exceeded the national average for construction accidents for three years running. It was noted that as the construction went higher, more injuries occurred, and as stated on the website of Abel Law Firm, such personal injuries can have long-term and permanent consequences. These include partial and full paralysis, lost limbs, or even death. Some attribute it to the pressure to get the job done as quickly as possible, and shortcuts were made that proved life-changing for some workers, a few of whom will never work again.

Among those who have been permanently injured in a construction accident at the WTC projects include Dennis Charlemagne and Robert Deacy. Both their accidents had not been reported to the OSHA and have cases pending against their employers and the Port Authority for personal injury compensation.

If you have been seriously injured on a WTC project or any other construction site through no fault of your own, you have a right to seek compensation. Ask an experience construction accident lawyer for their assistance in this matter. Getting the right professional assistant in these matters, can often determine the amount and speed of compensation.

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Smart Home Repair and Improvement

Oct 29

The home is where the heart is, and a significant portion of the typical American household’s income is spent on making the home beautiful, comfortable and safe. But there are many ways to get this done, and the smart way is to have a professional do it for you.

Do-it-yourselfers may not agree, and there is no denying that professional home repair services can be expensive. However, unless the DIYer already has the skills to do the work on their own, home repairs can often end up costing more than if the professional had been hired to do it in the first place.

Take the roof, for example. Roofs need regular maintenance and repair because it is the first bastion against the elements, especially in Texas where the sun and wind can do a lot of damage. A professional roofing repair company will not only patch up that noticeable hole in the roof or replace old, worn, or missing shingles. They will be able to trace the source of that persistent leak and seal it up once and for all as well as detect areas that may cause potential problems. In the course of a professional roof inspection, you can prevent bigger problems that will cost you more in the end.

The same goes for home improvement. Water is an important part of a household, from drinking water to water that flows into the water heater. A properly maintained and installed water filtration system will prevent health problems and keep your pipes corrosion- and clog-free. Whole house filtration systems can make water use efficient and safe from any tap in the house.

When thinking about home repair and improvement, there are certain situations where it is better to fork out the cash for a professional consultation rather than trying to wing it. In the long-run, it is just the smart way to do it.

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It is Safer to Stay Onboard: The Dangers of Shore Excursions

Oct 26

Going on a cruise is perhaps one of the more exciting things on anyone’s bucket list that doesn’t entail taking out a mortgage on your home, although a moderately luxurious cruise isn’t dirt cheap either. Aside from the lure of the sea and the heady feeling of being cut off from everyday cares, cruises are often made more attractive by the prospect of going onshore to do a little sight-seeing and shopping as well as to sample local pastimes such as parasailing or going on a catamaran ride. You also have the option to go on an organized shore excursion for an additional fee, something that cruise ship liners aggressively market to their passengers because they earn a substantial amount from these bookings.

However, it may be better to simply enjoy the amenities onboard than to venture on a shore excursion mainly because too many things can happen. As mentioned on the website of the Vucci Law Group, P.A., even getting off and on a tender (small boat to carry passengers from ship to shore and back) can be dangerous. There have been a number of shore excursion accidents that are currently being litigated right now for causing serious and often irreparable harm to excursionists. Some examples include the diving accident in Cabo San Lucas that left the victim quadriplegic or the shooting death in Coki Beach in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

But if a shore excursion is something you don’t really want to pass up, you should check if the excursion operator has proven reliability and insured and if the cruise liner urging you to book will be liable for any resulting injuries or deaths. These details are contained in the cruise ticket.

Even if the cruise liner or excursion operator disclaims liability, there are legal theories that may still apply such as failure to warn, negligent selection of operator, or third party beneficiary. Under any or all of these theories a passenger or family members can sue for compensation. Consult with a cruise ship accident lawyer to understand what these theories mean and what applies to your situation.

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Signs to Look for in Nursing Homes

Oct 25

In any institution you walk into, you look at certain things to indicate the level of professionalism. In a restaurant, you note if the napkins are stained or dirty; in a hotel you check the carpet to see if it is cleaned regularly; in a preschool you check out the ratio of adults to children. In a nursing home, you need to be just as vigilant as this is for long-term care. Here are a few things that should send up red flags in your head when assessing a facility.

The staff appears aloof. In a nursing home, it is important that the staff is on good terms with the residents because this signals a level of personal commitment needed for long-term care. If a staff member doesn’t even call the residents by name, or use a condescending tone or language when addressing them this could mean imminent neglect or even abuse down the road.

Residents look cranky. This could merely be a sign of some mental illness, but in many cases residents are just old or unable to care for themselves physically, and should be able to interact socially. If the facility unreasonably restricts residents, such as preventing them from hanging pictures or adding any personal touches to their rooms, it is more likely to manifest as bad temper.

There is an unusual number of new staff. It is easy to spot someone who is new to a place; they don’t know where anything goes or seem a little confused when navigating the facility. This could mean high staff turnover, and that’s not a good sign. According to the website of Wisconsin law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® poorly trained staff is a common cause of neglect.

The facility where you see these signs in most cases has been cited for several violations if you do a search. Even if it hasn’t, you should give a facility a miss if you don’t feel comfortable about leaving a family member there. It does happen, though, that there aren’t a lot of options available, so the best you can do is be vigilant for any sign of abuse, neglect, or other types of maltreatment.

If you suspect that a nursing home has breached its duty to a family member, it is your duty to report it to the proper authorities. You may also be eligible to sue the facility for nursing home abuse. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in your area to find out if you are.

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