Archive for August, 2010

DePuy Orthopedics Recalls Replacement Hip Devices

Monday, August 30th, 2010

DePuy Orthopedics has issued a voluntary recall of the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASK Hip Resurfacing Systems due to these items requiring replacement more than expected only five years after hip surgery. Some patients also reported pain and symptoms that led to a second surgery. This recall affects about 93,000 devices that have been implanted around the world.

These issues were brought to light in part by an unpublished study for the National Joint Registry of England and Wales. The study found the revision rate after five years was 12 percent for the ASK Hip Resurfacing System and 13 percent for the XL Acetabular System. Replacements were highest among females and patients with replacement hip head sizes less than 50 mm.

Patients who have either of these devices should look for persistent pain, swelling, and problems walking. Patients and physicians should also watch for signs of the replacement hip loosening, bone fracturing around the replacement, or dislocation of the implant. Patients are advised to see their physician once a year after the replacement and physicians are advised to take blood tests to measure the level of metal particles in the patient’s blood to see if they require additional surgery.

If you’ve had a hip replacement, but not sure what was used, contact your physician for more information. If you have an ASR XL Acetabular System and/or the ASK Hip Resurfacing Systems, you should contact DePuy to submit a claim form for reimbursement of medical expenses.

Millions of Eggs Recalled Due to Salmonella

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa has recalled 380 million eggs for fear that they may contain salmonella. The eggs were shipped to 17 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas where outbreaks have occurred.

The eggs were sold under the names of Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Bayview, NuLay, Sun Valley, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps in six, 12, and 18 egg cartons. The suspected tainted egg packages are marked with the plant numbers 1026, 1413, and 1946, all beginning with the letter P and are followed by the Julian dates of between 136 and 225.

So far, at least 300 people in the states listed above have been sickened after eating the tainted eggs. That is four times the normal cases reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Salmonella can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and fever and can be fatal in certain cases.

The CDC is asking consumers to examine the packaging of all eggs purchased, especially those bought between May 16 and August 13.

Bouncy Houses Contain Lead – According to the State of California

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

A lawsuit was filed against the producers, distributors, and suppliers of children’s bounce houses by the Center for Environmental Health and the California attorney general. The plaintiffs state that the bouncy houses contain up to 70 times the federal limit of lead.

The bounce houses are often contains vinyl (polyvinyl chloride, or PVC). The vinyl may be made with lead, which can cause brain and nerve damage, stunted growth, learning disorders, hearing problems, and digestive problems.

The lawsuit states that the Center for Environmental Health conducted an investigation which found some bounce houses had lead levels which ranged between 5,000 parts per million and 29,000 parts per million. The federal limit is 90 to 300 parts per million. However, health experts say there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to lead and advise parents to wash children’s hands and faces after being in bounce houses.

The defendants have called the investigation a “witch hunt” which may damage their industry.

DirecTV Lawsuit for Misleading Customers

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

In the past three years, the Better Business Bureau has received 53,000 complaints against satellite TV companies such as DirecTV and DISH Network. Consumers have complained about being overcharged, having free trials turn into paid subscriptions without notice, early termination fees, and being charged for “free” installations.

The Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department (MDCSD) sued DirecTV a few weeks ago under the pretense that the company is using deceptive practices to trick consumers. It cites “false and misleading advertisements” about cost and equipment as well as failing to disclose the full terms of the contracts. MDCSD’s public relation specialist Sonya Perez said her office discovered that DirecTV’s ads didn’t give complete prices after reviewing them. She said that consumers who signed up for the $34.99 package were actually billed $55.99 and cited several other packages that were actually higher than stated in the ads.

In the lawsuit, DirecTV is accused of not “clearly disclose conditions and limitations to their service agreements in advertisements or in any other type of communication with customers.” For example, fine print stated a $5 charge for a second receiver and $6 for the HD DVD receiver upgrade that was listed as “free.”

In addition to the MDCSD lawsuit, the state of Washington has also filed suit against DirecTV after the state attorney general’s office received numerous complaints and DirecTV refused to change their practices.

Paula Selis, the senior assistant attorney general handling the case, said, “Their business practices are unfair and deceptive.” Among the complaints listed in the lawsuit were customers being automatically charged for premium movie channels after a free trial without notification, having to pay for “free” installation then being refused a refund by DirecTV, and being overcharged for packages. Selis also accuses DirecTV of using “mice type” – print so small in their terms of service contracts that humans cannot read it.

In their defense, DirecTV spokeperson Darris Gringeri said, “We have a regular dialogue with the states to address incoming customer issues, but beyond that we cannot comment.” Gringeri also said, “We make it clear about that agreement in the advertising and marketing materials. It is in readable print, not fine print. The customer is also told during a sales call or online ordering. There is a confirmation letter, confirmation e-mail and final review of the terms at time of installation. We make sure they are fully informed.”