Hospital Safety Scores Updated

health care providers washing handsLeapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit organization, recently concluded a study on Hospital Safety. With a focus on quality and affordable healthcare, the group launched the Hospital Safety Score project in June 2012. Hospitals were graded based on “preventable medical errors, injuries, accidents, and infections”. Of the 2618 hospitals studied, 790 received an A, 678 earned a B, 1004 earned a C, 121 earned a D, and 25 received a failing grade. Both Massachusetts and Maine demonstrated exceptional safety results with 83% of Massachusetts hospitals and 80% of Maine hospitals earning an A score.

Consumers are able to check the safety score of their local hospitals at Hospital Safety Score. For a summary of the Leapfrog Group study go to : http://www.leapfroggroup.org/policy_leadership/leapfrog_news/4971031

The Leapfrog Group encourages people who have been hurt by errors or accidents at a healthcare facility to share their stories with ProPublica, an independent organization that investigates patient safety concerns. People who wish to contact ProPublica may call the organizations hotline at (917)512-0241 or visit the online interactive web survey at: http://www.propublica.org/article/patient-harm-questionnaire.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Medical Malpractice, Medical News | No Comments »

Chrysler Recalls Jeep Sport Utility Vehicle Due to Airbag Defect

Jeep Grand CherokeeAccording to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Chrysler has announced a recall of 744,822 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs due to a defective airbag control module. A component within the module may fail and cause the front, side curtain air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy during normal operation of the vehicle. “Inadvertent deployment of the airbags may increase the risk of injury and the possibility of a vehicle crash.” The recall pertains to model years 2002 through 2004.

The NHTSA investigation of this problem has revealed 215 cases where the airbags inflated inadvertantly, resulting 81 minor injuries.

Chrysler plans to correct the problem by installing a supplemental jumper harness to the control module, at no cost to the vehicle owner. The recall is anticipated to begin in January 2013. Owners of 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty SUVs who have questions should contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753 and reference recall #M35. Owners may also contact the NHTSA hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov and enter NHTSA ID No. 12V527000.

Posted in Car Accidents, Consumer Protection, Defective Products | No Comments »

Death Toll for Meningitis Outbreak Reaches 23

NECC injection bottlesOn Monday, October 22nd, the CDC announced that 3 more people have died from the national meningitis tragedy, bringing the total deaths to 23. There have now been 297 non-fatal cases, and of the approximately 14,000 people who received the contaminated steroid, 12,000 have been contacted.

The FDA is currently investing two additional drugs made by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) that appear to be linked to the fungal meningitis outbreak. They have received reports of two heart transplant patients who developed fungal infections after being given one of these drugs during surgery. The NECC has recalled all of the drugs produced at the facility and has surrendered its state license.

According to recent press reports, a 2006 investigation of the NECC revealed inadequate contamination controls along with other insufficiencies related to operation procedures. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has requested up to 10 years of records from the drug company. Furthermore, two members of the House Oversight Committee appealed to the Government Accountability Office to investigate the pharmacy compounding industry with a goal to reforming state and federal rules so as to prevent this type of tragedy in the future.

On Tuesday, October 23rd, Massachusetts launched a criminal investigation into the specialty pharmacy. The Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services started investigating the pharmacy on September 26 and the “Preliminary Investigation Report of NECC” is now available online.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Drug Warnings, Medical News | No Comments »

Contaminated Steroid Linked to Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

aspergillus fumigatus fungasAs many as 119 patients who received epidural steroid injections have developed fungal meningitis. As of October 9, 2012, 11 people have died from the outbreak. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a vial of the steroid called methylprednisolone acetate was found to be contaminated with a fungus. In several of the patients, the meningitis was caused by the fungus aspergillus. New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts is believed to be the source of the contaminated steroid. NECC has recalled three lots of the drug and is no longer in operation.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention along with the Food and Drug Administration are conducting and a multi-state investigation focusing on cases of meningitis where the patient was given an epidural spinal injection. The injections are given to help relieve back pain. Up to 75 clinics in 23 states received the recalled lots of the steroid.The potentially contaminated injections were given staring May 21, 2012.

The States that received the NECC steroid include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Giorgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia. A complete list of the Healthcare facilities which received lots of the recalled drug is available on the CDC website.

The CDC is advising patients to find out if they received a potentially contaminated medication by contacting the health care provider who performed the procedure.

“If you have received a potentially contaminated medication, seek medical attention if you have symptoms. It is important to note that infected patients have had very mild symptoms that are only slightly worse than usual. For example, many infected patients have had slight weakness, slightly worsened back pain, or even a mild headache. Patients have had symptoms generally starting from 1 to 4 weeks after their injection.”

People who received an epidural steroid injection since May 21, 2012 should seek medical attention should they have any of the symptoms listed below:
New or worsening headache
Fever
Sensitivity to light
Stiff neck
New weakness or numbness in any part of your body
Slurred speech
Increased pain, redness or swelling at your injection site”

Updates about the investigation as well as patient guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions are available at the CDC website.

Posted in Drug Warnings, Medical News, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Recall of Sears Kenmore Elite & LG Gas Dryers

Kenmore & LG dryersOver 20,000 LG and Kenmore Elite gas dryers have been recalled due to a defective gas valve. The dryers fail to shut off when the cycle is complete, posing a burn and fire hazard. The high temperatures on the interior and exterior surface of the dryer can lead to burns, fire and smoke inhalation. Sears and LG Electronics have received 141 complaints from consumers. 3 of the complaints reported burns to hands and arms and 50 complaints reported scorched clothing.

The dryers were sold nationwide at various department stores from November 2009 to August 2010. A complete list of the model numbers included in the recall is available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Consumers who purchased LG dryers at stores other than Sears should contact LG Customer Service (866-223-5355) for a free gas valve replacement. For LG or Kenmore Elite dryers purchased from Sears, consumers should contact Sears Customer Service (888-375-9741) to schedule a free replacement valve service.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Defective Products, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Bosch Skilsaw Recalled Due to Laceration Hazard

Recalled SkilsawThe Robert Bosch Tool Cooperation announced a voluntary recall of the Skilsaw 10-inch compound miter saw due to a defective safety guard. The lower guard can break and come in contact with the blade, posing a risk of laceration to the user. The product was sold at Lowes Home Centers and OC Tanner Cooperation from January 2012 to April 2012. More than 22,000 of the saws were purchased. The model number of the recalled miter saw is 3316, and has date codes of 111, 112, 201, 203, and 204.

Full text of the recall announcement is available on the CPSC website. Consumers should stop using the saw immediately and contact Bosch Tool Cooperation to request a guard replacement kit. Call toll free (888) 727-6109, between 7 a.m and 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, or visit their website at www.skiltools.com.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Defective Products, Tool Injuries | No Comments »

Flexible Flyer Swing Set Recalled Due to Fall Hazard

Flexible Flyer Swing SetAfter receiving over 1200 reports of the seat breaking, and 13 incidences of children being injured, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the Troxel Co. of Moscow, Tennessee, announced a voluntary recall of Flexible Flyer Swing Sets. The sea saw seat can break away from the bolt fasteners posing a fall hazard. The swing sets were available at Walmart, Toys’R Us and other specialty stores from December 2011 to May 2012. Over 100,000 were purchased in the United States and 4900 in Canada.

Consumers are advised to stop using the swing sets and to contact Troxel for a free repair kit: 888-770-7060. For a list and images of the 11 models included in the recall visit the CPSC website.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Defective Products | No Comments »

223,000 Strollers Recalled Due to Strangulation Risk

recalled strollerPeg Perego USA Inc. has recalled two older model strollers due to risk of child entrapment and strangulation. When not harnessed into the stroller, a child might slip out of the seat and get their head caught between the seat and the stroller tray. According to one report received by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a 6-month old baby boy from California died after being trapped by the tray and strangled. In another incident, a 7-month old girl nearly died when her head became trapped between the seat and tray.

The CPSC, together with Peg Perego USA Inc., of Indiana, announced the voluntary recall on July 24, 2012. The Venezia and Pliko-P3 models were manufactured between January of 2004 and September of 2007, prior to the 2008 voluntary industry standard requiring all strollers to have openings large enough to prevent this type of accident. The CPSC and Peg Perego urge consumers to stop using these strollers immediately. Anyone who has purchased this product should contact Peg Perego, not the retailer, to request a free repair kit. To reach the company call 888-734-6020, or visit their website at www.PegPeregoUSA.com.

The CPSC warns consumers that the recalled strollers may still be available at thrift stores and yard sales. Consumers should not sell or purchase the stroller unless the repair kit is installed.

For more information about the Peg Perego stroller recall and a complete list of model numbers visit the CPSC website. To learn more about stroller safety read the CPSC safety alert.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Defective Products | No Comments »

At-Home Carbonation System Recalled

iSi Twist 'N SparkleThe iSi Twist ‘N Sparkle at-home carbonation system has recently been recalled after causing injuries to several consumers. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and iSi of North American, Inc., announced the voluntary recall on July 5, 2012.

The Twist ‘N Sparkle comes with two reusable plastic bottles and a carbon dioxide charger. The cusumer fills the bottles with their choice of drink, then inserts the carbon dioxide charger to create a carbonated beverage at home.

However, the BPA-free bottles that come with the iSi starter kit don’t stand up to the pressure that the carbonation creates.There have been several incidences of exploding bottles; three people have been injured by exploding carbonation systems and sustained severe cuts from the shattered plastic. There have been nine explosions reported involving the Starter Set model number 1005.

The recall includes the following Twist ‘N Sparkle Starter Set Models: 1005, 1005-12, 1005-BJ, 1005-QVC, 1006-00, and 1006-12.The product was sold at Williams-Sinoma, QVC, and other national retailers from June 2010 to March 2012. The CPSC has urged consumers to stop using the product immediately and contact iSi or the retailer for return instructions. For more information call iSi at (800) 645-3595 or go to their website www.twistnsparkle.com.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Defective Products | No Comments »

Recall of Bel Air Outdoor Wall Mount Lanterns

Bel Air outdoor wall mount lanternThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on June 19, 2012 a voluntary recall of Bel Air outdoor wall mount lanterns due to fire and safety hazards. The potential for an electrical short circuit in the internal wiring can lead to fire, burn, or electric shock. The company has received seven reports of incidents, two where the lantern caught fire. No injuries have been reported.

The lanterns are designed out of cast aluminum in a rust color and beveled glass. They were distributed from June 2006 to May 2012 and sold at Lowe’s stores and Lowe’s website under the Portfolio brand name. The item number is either 253366 or 44181. Consumers are urged to stop using the lanterns immediately and contact Bel Air for a replacement. The full text of the CPSC announcement is available on their website.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Defective Products | No Comments »