Friday, May 27, 2016

Senators raise concerns about car seat collapses.

In continuing coverage, USA Today (5/26, Spangler, 6.31M) reports that Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent letter to 17 automakers writing, “There has been a long-standing concern that the (standard) ... is not sufficient to mitigate injury or death of a rear-seat occupant due to seat back collapse in a rear-end collision.” Markey and Blumenthal highlighted that children are particularly vulnerable to front seat back failures. The senators also “said the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration proposed changing the rules for seating system standards in 1974, but it was never finalized.” 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ford recalls 2013-14 F-150 pickups due to faulty brakes.

News outlets report that Ford is recalling 2013-14 F-150 pickups with 3.5-liter V-6 engines due to a fluid leak in the brake master cylinder that may cause the front brakes to malfunction. The New York Times (5/25, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 14.18M) reports that the Ford said it was aware of nine accidents related to the recall but no injuries. The Times writes that Ford said that the loss of too much fluid would prompt a warning, but more than 120 pickup owners told the NHTSA that they did not receive any warning. The Times mentions that the NHTSA had been investigating recalls related to the brakes since February, including “complaints of one brake failure on a 2015 and another on 2016 model F-150, neither of which is covered by the recall.” Automotive News (5/25, Bunkley, 189K) reports that initially NHTSA looked into 33 complaints However, since February, 74 more complaints about the 2013 and 2014 F-150 pickups were posted on the NHTSA website.
        The Los Angeles Times (5/25, Fleming, 4.12M) adds that the recalls includes “225,012 trucks sold in the U.S., 43,682 sold in Canada and 402 sold in Mexico.” The Times adds that this recall marks Ford’s 14th recall this year.
        The AP (5/25) explains that dealers will replace the pickup’s brake master cylinder, as well as the brake booster if there is a leak. The AP adds that Ford “says the problem is not related to an investigation by federal safety regulators into power brake assist failures in F-150 pickups.” The NHTSA closed that investigation earlier this month.

        The Detroit Free Press (5/25, Gardner, 1.03M), Reuters (5/25), the Car Connection (5/25, Add, 169K), the WXYZ-TV Detroit (5/25, 153K) website, the WWJ-TV Detroit (5/25, 34K) website, the WDIV-TV Detroit (5/25, Haddad, 239K) website, and the WRTV-TV Indianapolis (5/25, Hider, 107K) website. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fiat Chrysler recalls 500K Jeeps.

The AP (5/19) reports that Fiat Chrysler “is recalling about a half-million Jeep Wrangler SUVs worldwide because the driver’s air bag may not inflate in a crash.” According to the article, the recall affects “Wranglers from the 2007 through 2010 model years, including 392,000 in the U.S.” 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fiat Chrysler recalls Jeeps over airbag malfunction.

The New York Times (5/18, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 14.18M) reports that Fiat Chrysler is recalling 392,000 2007-10 Jeep Wranglers in the US because of a possible airbag malfunction. In addition, Fiat Chrysler will recall 7,400 2011-16 Wranglers with right-hand drive, typically used for mail delivery in the US. The article writes that the recall was prompted by a NHTSA and Transport Canada investigation.

        Fiat Chrysler recalls trailer light controls over software problem. AP (5/18) reports that the Fiat Chrysler is recalling 2,185 trailer light modules, which are accessories for commercial vans. According to the company, some of the modules have a software problem that may prevent the brake light from working. According to the company’s documents posted by the NHTSA, 2,185 of its 84,000 modules have the software problem. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Subaru recalls more than 48,000 vehicles with steering problems.

The New York Times (5/12, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 14.18M) reports that “Subaru is recalling about 48,500 2015-17 Outback and 2016-17 Legacy models because the steering may fail.” The automaker told federal regulators that “turning the steering wheel may have no effect on the direction of the wheels.” According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Subaru’s investigation began on May 3 after receiving notice of “an issue” with the steering. No accidents or injuries have been reported. Subaru spokesman Michael McHale said 22,000 of the vehicles were sold.

        USA Today (5/12, 6.31M) reports that “the recall involves 2016 and 2017 Legacy and Outbacks, which now need to be checked by mechanics to see if they have the glitch that occurred during manufacturing.” Subaru told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that “the machining in the creation of the steering columns may not have been done properly because of an incorrect setting on the tool used to make them.” 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Essure® is a procedure involving permanent fallopian tube implant that has reportedly caused a host of serious side effects and complications in women ranging from chronic pelvic pain to even death.
Essure is a hysteroscopic sterilization procedure, a type of tubal sterilization that does not require an incision. If a woman undergoes the Essure birth control procedure, a softmetal spring-like device wound with synthetic fibers is implanted in her fallopian tubes. The metal part of the device consists of a stainless steel inner coil and an expanding nickel titanium outer coil. The fibers are used to encourage the surrounding tissue to adhere to the device, ultimately creating a barrier of scar tissue intended to block sperm from reaching the eggs.

After thousands of people report complaints and call for Essure to come off the market, the FDA announced it will require Bayer to conduct a clinical study and potentially add a black box warning to Essure boxes. Black box warnings are the FDA’s highest level and indicate that a product may cause death or serious injury.Read more about the FDA’s announcement.
Essure Side Effects
Reports of severe complications following the Essure procedure include:
·         Additional surgeries, including hysterectomy to remove the device and repair internal organs 
·         Autoimmune response to the device, including fatigue, rashes, hair loss and weight gain
·         Chronic pelvic pain
·         Death
·         Life-threatening ectopic pregnancy
·         Migration of the device or a device component (in some cases, the device may even ‘disappear’ in the body, becoming undetectable even through standard scanning)
·         Expulsion of the device
·         Perforation or tear of pelvic organs, including uterus or colon
·         Severe migraines and allergic reactions to the device or device components
If you or a loved one has suffered similar injuries related to an Essure® , procedure please contact Atlee Hall, LLP for a free consultation. We have offices in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but represent clients across the state.

Friday, May 6, 2016

NHTSA announces expansion of Takata airbag recall.

In continuing coverage, news outlets report that the NHTSA announced the expansion of the Takata airbag recall. Bankrate (5/5, Mello, 650K) writes that the expansion will add 35 million to 40 million cars to the recall list. The article explains that due to the large scale of the recall, the NHTSA has developed “an updated schedule for the order in which cars will be repaired, with the highest-risk cars being the priority.” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said, “The science clearly shows that these inflators become unsafe over time, faster when exposed to humidity and variations of temperature.” Rosekind added, “This recall schedule ensures the inflators will be recalled and replaced before they become dangerous, giving vehicle owners sufficient time to have them replaced before they pose a danger to vehicle occupants.”
        AutoWeek (5/5, Ramey, 2.12M) writes that the expanded recall adds three new automakers (Jaguar-Land Rover, Tesla and Fisker) to the recall list, which already includes Honda, Toyota, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Fiat-Chrysler, BMW and others.
        Manufacturing (5/5, Szal, 5K) adds that the NHTSA also ordered Takata “to determine the safety of ammonium nitrate inflators that include a drying agent. Without proof of their safety, those inflators could also be added to the recall in the future.” The article mentions that DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “Today’s action is a significant step in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s aggressive oversight of Takata on behalf of drivers and passengers across America.” InAutoNews (5/5, Petcu, 5K) adds that Foxx also said, “The acceleration of this recall is based on scientific evidence and will protect all Americans from air bag inflators that may become unsafe.” The Waukesha (WI) Patch (5/5, Anderson, 1K) also features Foxx’s comments.
        Digital Trends (5/5, Brown, 354K) notes that drivers can check if their car is affected by the recall on the NHTSA SaferCar site.

        The South Florida Sun Sentinel (5/5, Trishitta, 668K), Edmunds (5/5, Lienert, 354K), Cars (5/5, Schmitz, 876K), and the WSET-TV Lynchburg, VA (5/5, Crowe, 61K) website also report on the story. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

NHTSA announces expansion of Takata airbag recall.

National and local outlets are reporting that the Takata recall has been expanded to an additional 35 to 40 million airbag inflators due to a deadly defect. The CBS Evening News (5/4, story 4, 1:55, Pelley, 11.17M) reported that NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said, “This issue is urgent. On March 31, we had the 10 confirmed fatality in the United States.” CBS added that Rosekind wants Takata to speed up efforts to replace the airbags. Rosekind said he understood customers’ frustration as his own family has “a vehicle with a Takata inflator sitting in our driveway.” CBS explained that the expansion includes all Takata airbag inflators with ammonium nitrate, “a volatile chemical the Takata Corporation started using 15 years ago to cut costs. Ammonium nitrate breaks down over time, especially in high heat, high humidity climates, and can cause the air bag inflator to malfunction, potentially sending shrapnel through the vehicle.”
        The New York Times (5/4, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 14.18M) writes that Rosekind was “blunt in his criticism of Takata and blamed its efforts to manipulate testing data and mislead regulators for the snowballing recalls.” The Time writes that both Takata and Honda were aware of the flawed airbag since 2004. Former Takata engineers have also “said that Takata conducted secret tests on inflaters it retrieved from scrapyards that year, but ordered the data destroyed after the two inflaters cracked under testing.” The Wall Street Journal (5/4, Spector, Subscription Publication, 6.27M) reports that Rosekind said Takata was cooperative in the latest recall expansion and has made efforts to implement better safety and regulatory compliance measures. However, Rosekind said the NHTSA has not forgotten that the company manipulated and withheld information from consumers, automakers, and regulators in the past.
        CNBC (5/4, Imbert, 2.45M) adds that DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “Today’s action is a significant step in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s aggressive oversight of Takata on behalf of drivers and passengers across America.” Foxx added, “The acceleration of this recall is based on scientific evidence and will protect all Americans from air bag inflators that may become unsafe.”
        CBS News (5/4, Gibson, 3.67M) reports on its website that the NHTSA says the recall expansion will take place in five phases between May 2016 and December 2019. Rosekind explained, “The most dangerous inflators are targeted first;” however, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) “said the expanded recall was not enough, and reiterated that all devices using ammonium nitrate should be replaced.” The article mentions that NHTSA has developed an online portal for consumers to check if their car has the recalled Takata airbags. USA Today (5/4, Bomey, 6.31M) adds that the car owners will receive notices when it’s time for their phase of repairs.
        The NBC Nightly News (5/4, story 7, 0:30, Holt, 16.61M) reported that the recall already included 29 million cars. NBC said the expanded recall now affects “one in every four or five cars on the road.” NBC News (5/4, Eisenstein, 2.97M) adds online that Rosekind said, “This is the largest recall in American history.” NBC reported that it is unclear how many vehicles will be effected by the recall, “because some vehicles use more than one of the Takata devices, the total number of vehicles will likely be somewhat smaller.” Furthermore, NBC reported that the major challenge will be the delivery of replacement parts. According to the NHTSA, just over 8 million vehicles have been fixed, which is less than a third of the initial recall. Following the recall expansion announcement, Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada said, “This agreement with NHTSA is consistent with our desire to work with regulators and our automaker customers to develop long-term, orderly solutions to these important safety issues.”
        The AP (5/4, Krisher, Lowy) writes that while Rosekind admits that the replacement pace has been slow. He explained, “We don’t want to introduce new safety risks by pushing too fast.” The AP mentions that the NHTSA “said the inflators have to be replaced before they reach six years old, when the risk of rupture increases.” The AP adds that other inflator manufacturers are working with Takata to make replacements. Bloomberg News (5/4, Plungis, 2.07M) writes that the NHTSA “believes the Takata air-bag issue is an industrywide responsibility, and it will rely on other air-bag suppliers and the automakers themselves to address parts supply and ensure the faulty inflators are replaced as soon as possible.”
        ABC News (5/4, Dooley, Steinberger, 4.15M) reports that the recall already included over a dozen automakers, “including Honda, Nissan, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen.” The article writes that the expansion will add three automakers not previously included in the intial recall, Tesla, Jaguar Land Rover, and Fisker.
        The Hill (5/4, Zanona, 884K) reports that the expanded recall will increase financial pressure on Takata. The article mentions that Takata has seen its stock decline and announced $189 million in losses due to the recall.

        The Washington Post (5/4, Halsey, 9.23M) writes that Takata said it will phase out the use of ammonium nitrate in all of its airbag systems by 2018. The Post adds that this will mean that “some drivers may have to have their air bags replaced twice, once with a newer ammonium nitrate bag and a second time when air bars that don’t use the problematic chemical become available.” The Post mentions that Takata was recently ordered to also assess the safety of its desiccated inflators, which if not proven to be safe, will also be recalled. 

Cook Medical recalls more than 4 million catheters due to polymer degradation.

Medscape (5/4, Brooks, 302K) says Cook Medical “has voluntarily recalled 4,146,309 catheters with Beacon Tip technology because of reports of polymer degradation of the catheter tip,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. The polymer degradation can result in “tip fracture and/or separation,” which can cause “loss of device function, separation of a device segment leading to medical intervention, or complications resulting from a separated segment.” So far, Cook Medical has received 30 reports about the defect. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Takata to expand recall of air bag inflators.

News outlets report that according to some sources, Takata may soon announce the recall of 35 million to 40 million additional airbag inflators in the US. CNBC (5/3, 2.45M) reports that the recall expansion will be “phased in over several years and more than double what is already the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history.” The article writes that the NHTSA “told Takata they need to expand the recall based on the government’s determination of the root cause of the problems.” NHTSA spokesperson Bryan Thomas did not confirm the expanded recall. Thomas said, “NHTSA has reviewed the findings of three separate investigations into the Takata air bag ruptures. The recall of Takata air bag inflators... continues and the agency will take all appropriate actions to make sure air bags in Americans’ vehicles are safe.” Takata spokesman Jared Levy also did not confirm the expanded recall, but said Takata is “working with regulators and our automaker customers to develop long-term, orderly solutions to these important safety issues.”
        The AP (5/3, Krisher) notes that last year, NHTSA and Takata reached an agreement requiring the company to “prove that the inflators are safe or begin recalling them in 2018.” The AP notes that an expansion of the recall “would cost Takata billions on top of what it already has spent replacing inflators, raising concerns about the company’s financial health”.
        The Wall Street Journal (5/3, Spector, Subscription Publication, 6.27M) reports that Takata recently disclosed $189 million in financial losses for year end because recall costs and legal claims. The Journal also mentions that Takata was fined $70 million for failing to alert the US government of the airbag defect. The Journal estimates that the fine could increase to $200 million.
        The New York Times (5/3, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 14.18M) reports that due to the large scale of the recall, “there has been a persistent shortage of parts in many areas of the country, forcing many car owners to ask for loaners if they can get them or drive their cars knowing of the danger.”
        Reuters (5/3, Shepardson) reports that the growing cost of the recalls have prompted Takata to seek a financial backer.

        USA Today (5/3, della Cava, 6.31M), Bloomberg News (5/3, Plungis, Lippert, 2.07M), International Business Times (5/3, Young, 670K), AFP (5/3), and Engadget (5/4, Fingas, 844K) also report on the story. 

Study: Medical errors third-leading cause of death.

ABC World News Tonight (5/3, story 10, 0:30, Llamas, 14.63M) reported John Hopkins researchers say medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the US, with an estimated 250,000 fatal medical mistakes in 2013. Only heart disease and cancer cause more deaths.

        The CBS Evening News (5/3, story 7, 1:35, Pelley, 11.17M) reported that medical errors can include mistakes in diagnosis, poor discharge instructions, “and preventable complications such as infections picked up in the hospital.” Dr. Martin Makary of John Hopkins School of Medicine said such mistakes “shouldn’t happen in a sound health care system.” Dr. Jon Lapook added that “patients can only do so much” to defend themselves, and ultimately, it is up to hospitals and medical centers to “shine a light on the problem.” 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dodge Charger, Jeep Cherokee, Chrysler 300 recalled for shifter replacement.

Christian Science Monitor (5/2, Read, 459K) reports a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation of rollaway complaints related to the 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2012-2014 Dodge Charger, and the 2012-2014 Chrysler 300 has resulted in a recall of those models to fix a problem with their shifters, which rely on indicator lights, not the position of the shifter itself, to convey the gear of the vehicle, and has caused drivers to exit the vehicles without putting them in “PARK”. The recall affects over 1.1 million vehicles, including 811,586 vehicles in the US, 52,144 in Canada, 16,805 in Mexico, and 248,667 outside North America. According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, 41 injuries related to this issue have been reported.