Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak Update: FDA Releases List of Customers Who Received Products from NECC


The FDA has published a list of customers who received products from the New England Compounding Center, which has been linked to the ongoing fungal meningitis outbreak. The list includes medications that were shipped by NECC and administered to patients on or after May 21, 2012.

To date, 317 patients have been infected in the outbreak, and 24 have died.

For more information visit the CDC's website:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tussey MountainBack 2012

A BIG thanks to Michael Casper, and all the wonderful volunteers who again helped put on this years Tussey MountainBack 50 mile Ultra Marathon and Relays. It was a superb day and this really is a special event. The logistics and support were incredible.  Course is beautiful, a little hilly. I managed to finish in 7:57:25, good for 29th place, and 6th Masters. This is a terriffic race, well run, and I highly reccommend it to anyone who is looking to do thier first ultra, or to any veteran.

Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak, failed to take crucial steps to ensure the safety of its products

Massachusetts health officials report pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak failed to follow safety rules.

The Wall Street Journal (10/24, Martin, Rockoff, Maremont, Subscription Publication, 2.08M) reports that New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak, failed to take crucial steps to ensure the safety of its products, according to state health officials. The Journal notes the firm neglected to sterilize its products for the minimum required time, failed to keep its manufacturing equipment sanitary, and operated a leaky boiler near the room in which drugs were being packaged. In addition, Massachusetts health officials said that NECC violated industry-backed guidelines for testing the safety of the steroid now linked to the outbreak.

        The New York Times (10/24, Goodnough, Subscription Publication, 1.23M) reports that according to the state health authorities, "one finding in particular stands out: the pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center, shipped some orders of the drug implicated in the outbreak without waiting for the final results of sterility testing. And while company records indicate the tests found no contamination, regulators said they were skeptical of the company's methods." The Times observes that Massachusetts officials painted "a harrowing picture of a company that flouted crucial rules as it hurried to ship drugs around the country."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ford Recalling 2011-2013 Fiesta Vehicles for Airbag Problems

 Ford is recalling certain model year 2011-2013 Fiesta vehicles, manufactured from November 3, 2009 through September 21, 2012. The vehicles fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, "Occupant Crash Protection." The passenger side curtain air bag will not deploy in the event of a side impact collision when the front passenger seat is empty. Although the side curtain air bag system was designed to suppress the side curtain air bag under this scenario, that information is not explained in the owner's guide for these vehicles as required by FMVSS No.208.
 An occupant in the right rear seating position will not have coverage from the side curtain air bag in a side impact collision when the front passenger seat is empty, increasing the risk of injury to the right rear occupant.
 Ford will notify owners and dealers will reprogram the vehicle's software free of charge so that it no longer suppresses the passenger side curtain air bag when the front passenger seat is empty, and consistent with the description in the owner's guide. The safety recall is expected to begin shortly. Owner's may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Focus on patient safety to address malpractice crisis.

McLarty: Focus on patient safety to address malpractice crisis.

In an opinion piece published on the CNN (10/12) website, Mary Alice McLarty, president of the American Association for Justice and a partner in McLarty Pope LLP in Dallas, writes that "preventable medical errors are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and cost our country $29 billion a year," adding that while medical malpractice lawsuits are a symptom of the problem, the root of the problem is medical malpractice itself. Writing that "the civil justice system gives families of patients who have died or have been injured by medical negligence an avenue to seek accountability," McLarty argues that proposals for medical malpractice reform are misguided because they only strip away patients' rights and remove accountability. She argues that the most effective way to address the medical malpractice crisis is to focus on patient safety efforts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

GM Recalls for Fuel Leaks

GM Recalling 40,859 Cars for Potential Fuel Leaks

General Motors Co. is recalling more than 40,000 cars sold in warm-weather states because a plastic part might crack and cause a fuel leak.
The company is recalling Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 sedans from the 2007 through 2009 model years and Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent SUVs and Saturn Ion sedans from the 2007 model year.
The recall affects vehicles sold or currently registered in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada or Texas. Owners in Arkansas and Oklahoma also are included in the recall of the 2009 Cobalt and G5.
The vehicles have plastic parts connected to the fuel pump which could crack. If the crack gets large enough, fuel could leak out of the vehicle and cause a fire.
GM says there have been no reports of fires or injuries related to the defect. The company began investigating the issue in 2011 after a dealer reported fuel leaking from some vehicles.
GM says its warranty data indicates that the problem is far more common in warm-weather states. It will repair the vehicles for free in those states. Owners will be notified of the recall by mail.
But the company also plans to send letters to owners in other states offering a free repair within a limited time period if the parts are cracked. That offer is valid for 10 years or 120,000 miles from the date the vehicle was sold, spokesman Alan Adler said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall on its Web site Saturday.


Medical Malpractice Insurance Premiums Continue to Fall

Medical malpractice rates dropped for fifth straight year.

Medscape (10/10, Lowes) reports, "undermining a talking point of organized medicine about tort reform, premiums for medical malpractice insurance for 3 bellwether specialties dropped for the fifth straight year in 2012, according to a new report published in Medical Liability Monitor (MLM)." According to the article, "the American Medical Association and other medical societies have argued that a broken medical liability system boosts insurance premiums for physicians." Medscape notes, however, that "rates for obstetrician/gynecologists, general internists, and general surgeons decreased on average by 1.7% in 2012, following declines of 0.2% in 2011, 0.5% in 2010, 2.5% in 2009, and 4% in 2008, according to MLM's annual rate survey." However, these declines are overshadowed by annual premium increases that topped 20% in 2003 and 2004.

Monday, October 8, 2012



          Wire grill cleaning brushes have commonly been used to clean barbeque grills.  However, recently, more and more instances are arising where wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes have fallen off the brush, unsuspectingly finding their way into peoples’ foods and down their throats.  This is potentially a very dangerous hazard. 
          The reported instances also seem to be on the rise since a number of major manufacturers have moved their manufacturing facilities to China.
          During the summer of 2012, it was reported that a number of people went to the hospital with internal injuries from wire bristles lodged in their necks or stomachs, according to the morbidity and mortality weekly report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (July 6,  2012) these metal grill brush wires may cause extensive internal damage either in the throat, or potentially the stomach or intestinal wall. 
          “Awareness of this potential injury among health care professionals is critical to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment,” says the report.
          CDC also warned retailers and urged retailers to examine brush designs to minimize the likelihood of pieces coming loose. 
          The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is currently studying data on injuries related to wire grill brushes.  Recently, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the CPSC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review whether metal grill brushes are safe for consumer use, after reports that some metal bristles broke off a brush and were swallowed sending people to the hospital.  Senator Schumer also asked these agencies to evaluate whether manufacturers or importers have failed to report product safety related information as required by law.
          Consumers should avoid using wire grill brushes because of the safety hazard of wires coming off and finding their way into peoples’ foods.  There are safer alternatives including such things as brillo or SOS pads or grill scrubbers that rely on synthetic pads to provide scouring or scrubbing action.



Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Faced with mounting complaints and multiple deaths involving uncontrolled acceleration of Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes, Ford and Mazda under mounting pressure recalled more than 500,000 Ford Escapes model years 2001-2004 and Mazda recalled more than 200,000 2001-2008 Tributes, the Escape’s sister SUV.  Sadly, it took multiple deaths and complaints over more than 7 years to bring enough public attention to this issue to get the government’s attention and then to compel Ford to issue a recall.  In August 2008 a young mother was killed when her 2003 Ford Escape accelerated out of control, unable to stop it, she jumped out, hitting her head on the pavement resulting in her death.

          In 2007 a 43 year old mother died outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when her 2000 Ford Escape accelerated out of control through busy city streets and intersections, finally flipping and hitting a school bus causing the driver’s death.  Atlee Hall, LLP attorney, Jaime Jackson, represented the family of the woman killed in a crash that occurred in a suburb of Philadelphia.  For years now, Mr. Jackson, along with other trial attorneys and safety organizations have been trying to bring public awareness to these safety problems with the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute.  Sadly, recently 17 year old Sage Bloom’s 2002 Ford Escape flipped and crashed in Arizona in January of 2012 bringing further attention to this issue.

          Inspections of all three wrecked Ford Escapes in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Arizona found the same issue:  the speed control cable’s plastic cover broken, the cable stuck under the engine cover, forcing the throttle open – and the SUV to accelerate at very high speeds.

          Safety experts recommend that the only thing a driver can do to effectively stop the car when this happens is to put it in neutral, and steer it to the side of the road safely.  However, this is easier said than done when a driver is faced suddenly with a totally unexpected acceleration of the vehicle, not knowing what is going on and trying to control the vehicle in an effort to avoid harming people around them.  Ford had originally issued an earlier recall on the accelerator cables for 2002-2004 model year Escapes.  However, what quickly became evident was that various technicians at Ford dealers may be performing the recall repair incorrectly by lifting up on the cruise control cable to gain access to the accelerator cable.  By manipulating the cruise control cable this may cause damage or kinking in the cable that leads to the speed control or accelerator cable’s plastic cover becoming stuck under the engine cover, forcing the throttle open.  Two months after the Missouri crash, Ford sent a warning to its dealers as an update to the earlier recall on the accelerator cables for the 2002-2004 model year Escapes, advising an incorrect repair on the accelerator cable, Ford said, could cause damage to the speed control cable, which sits next to it in an Escape’s engine.

          When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating this problem earlier this year, the agency identified 99 complaints from owners of struck throttles in 2001-2004 Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes equipped with V6 engines.  It is critically important that anyone who owns a Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute that has received notice of the recall, that they immediately bring the vehicle in to a dealer to have this work performed, even if you have not received notice of the recall because these car companies have not been able to contact you, and you own a 2001-2004 Ford Escape or 2001-2008 Mazda Tribute, you should bring your vehicle into the dealership immediately to have this recall repair work performed.

Honda recalls 600,000 Accords to fix faulty hoses

Honda recalls 600,000 Accords to fix faulty hoses

Tue, 10/02/2012
Honda is recalling 600,000 Accord midsize cars in the U.S. and Canada to fix a faulty power steering hose that can leak fluid and cause a fire.
The recall affects Accords with V-6 engines from the 2003 through 2007 model years. Honda has a report of one fire but no injuries or crashes.
The five-passenger Accord is consistently among the top-selling vehicles in the United States, mainly because of its reputation for reliability and fuel economy. For years it has been the nation's second-best-selling car, beaten only by the Toyota Camry.

Thanks to the Keystone Trail Association for the Susquehanna Superhike

Another superb job, to the KTA for putting together a highly successful 2012 Superhike. A very tough, but rewarding race. A punishing course, I was very happy to survive the race and finish 8th overall in 5:32:34 ( Thanks to all you put this together, and look forward to doing it again next year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

GM Recalls Vehicles for Fuel Leak Problems

General Motors recalling more than 40,000 cars due to fuel leak concerns.

WDIV-TV Detroit (10/1) reported, "General Motors is recalling more than 40,000 vehicles, citing concerns that a fuel pump module could crack and cause a fire in the event of a fuel leak." According to the story, this recall "affects five models from 2007 through 2009: the Chevrolet Cobalt (2007-2009), Chevrolet Equinox (2007), Pontiac G5 (2007-2009), Pontiac Torrent (2007) and Saturn Ion (2007)." The piece added, "GM said the models were originally sold or registered in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas."

Texting and Child Endangerment--Parents Should Read this Article in the Wall Street Journal