Civil Justice News for CT Legislators- Week of Aug. 24

08/21/2015 // Hartford, CT, USA // cttriallawyers // Neil Ferstand // (press release)

Keeping Connecticut legislator aware of recent justice and civil justice news the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association continues to transmit a variety of news items reflecting the importance and extent to which civil justice and the civil justice system enters our lives. Legislators this week received an editorial featured in a recent edition of New England Journal of Medicine slamming the misinformation campaign behind the attack on Planned Parenthood. Additional news items highlighted this week include the approval by FDA of medical devices with “little” research, recalls by Volkswagen and Mazda of over a half million vehicles and the intervention by DOJ in a "medical testing" kick-back suit.


Planned Parenthood at Risk

It is shameful that a radical antichoice group whose goal is the destruction of Planned Parenthood continues to twist the facts to achieve its ends. We thank the women who made the choice to help improve the human condition through their tissue donation; we applaud the people who make this work possible and those who use these materials to advance human health. We are outraged by those who debase these women, this work, and Planned Parenthood by distorting the facts for political ends.


Volkswagen and Mazda Recall Over 600,000 Vehicles

Volkswagen and Mazda are recalling about 613,000 vehicles, several years after the automakers changed parts on new vehicles to fix the possible loss of steering or failure of airbags, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The automakers decided on a recall after the federal regulators opened investigations this year. The automakers said they were not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the problems. Volkswagen’s recall covers about 420,000 vehicles because the driver’s-side airbag may not deploy properly in a crash. They are the 2010-13 Eos and Jetta, the 2011-14 Golf GTI, the 2010-14 Passat and Tiguan and the 2010-14 CC. Mazda is recalling 2007-14 CX-9 family vans in some states because rust on a front suspension part could cause the loss of steering.

DOJ Intervenes In $80M Medical Testing Kickback Suit

Law360, New York (August 10, 2015, 1:34 PM ET) — The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday joined a whistleblower lawsuit accusing Berkeley Heartlab Inc. and BlueWave Healthcare Consultants Inc. of paying $80 million in kickbacks and conducting unnecessary medical testing.

DOJ attorneys filed an intervening complaint in federal court in South Carolina, alleging doctors were paid improper “processing and handling” fees to refer blood samples to Berkeley and other designated laboratories for expensive tests.

BlueWave, a marketing company, and its owners, Floyd Calhoun Dent and J. Bradley Johnson, are accused of entering into illegal contracts…

FDA Approval Of Medical Devices Involves Shockingly Little Research
A new report casts doubt on the rigor of even the agency's strictest approval processes. That's the suggestion of a new study that finds most medical devices go to market with little evidence that they work or are safe.

Groups like Consumer Reports and the Government Accountability Office have long criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approving medical devices that end up killingthousands of people a year. They've been most critical of the fact that the FDA allows 99 percent of new devices to go to market without any new clinical testing whatsoever.

But a team at the Yale School of Medicine found that even the 1 percent of devices that arestudied before getting FDA approval likely aren't being studied enough.
This 1 percent consists of so-called "high-risk" devices, which are very different from any others on the market and which are implanted within the body or directly support human life. The Yale researchers found that these devices are subjected to an average of just one major study apiece before being granted FDA approval. This means that doctors are implanting devices like coronary stents, replacement hips and intraocular lenses in thousands of patients after they've been tested on groups of just a couple hundred people each.


American doctors are over-reliant on medical tests and patients pay the price

As the availability and costs of medical technologies has grown, so has the indiscriminate use of expensive tests that are not needed.

Soaring medical expenditures in the United States are one of the most urgent problems of the American healthcare system and the American economy. Although innumerable commentators have made proposals for reducing expenditures and improving the quality of healthcare, very few have suggested tackling one of the sources of mounting costs: profligate doctors.

Doctors have a common tendency to obtain multiple imaging studies of the same organ when one would suffice, to obtain blood tests of hospitalized patients far more often than necessary, to overuse antibiotics and screening tests or to provide many unnecessary CT scans and back surgeries. The great majority of medical expenditures are under the control of physicians; no one forces doctors to order or do anything.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Doctors used to be trained to avoid unnecessary and costly tests. When the residency system was introduced at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1889, the faculty emphasized that the goal of residency training was to produce doctors who had razor-sharp problem-solving skills. Virtually every instructor taught that the essence of good problem-solving was to approach a patient’s problem as directly as possible, using the fewest possible tests and procedures, and thereby producing the least disturbance, discomfort and upset. The guideline for performing a test was whether the results would influence the management of the patient, not the mere fact that the test was available.

Feds target discrimination in child welfare system

The Obama administration on Monday released guidance to state and local child welfare agencies to prevent discrimination against parents, foster parents and adoptive parents with disabilities. The release follows complaints to the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) from parents who have had their children taken away from them and from individuals who have not been given equal opportunities to become foster or adoptive parents.

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