Monthly Archives: July 2008

Hillsborough County Pastor Charged with Sex Abuse of Minor

Rev. Daniel A. Gomez has been arrested and charged lewd or lascivious battery — eight months after facing similar charges in Tampa. Gomez was pastor of the Center of Unction Church of the Nazarene in Brandon. He has been placed on unpaid leave by Nazarene Church officials. The victim, 12 years old at the time of the sexual molestation, let Gomez into her home because she knew him as a minister. That’s when Gomez attempted to have sex with the minor.
Unfortunately, many of these clergy abusers, whether they are Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, youth ministers, or Jewish rabbis gain access to their victims because of their role as religious leaders in the community. There is an unquestioned trust that accompanies the spiritual role they play in the lives of people, especially the young. When that trust is subverted for criminal sexual behavior as in this case, the public has a right to know about the sexual predator and the predator deserves to be removed and go to jail.

Zimmer Hip Problems Prompts Call for Warning System

The NY Times is running today a front page, above the fold story about the growing clamor for a national registry for artificial limb patients so that their progress or lack thereof can be tracked via a national database. Other countries have adopted the system, yet the United States stubbornly refuses to do so. After the recent problems with Zimmer hips, proponents of such a registry have a more vocal ally. Dr. Lawrence Dorr, a well-respected orthopaedic surgeon of more than 30 years has lent his voice for the database. Dorr, if you recall, was the orthopaedic surgeon who sounded the alarm on Sulzer hip implants eight years ago. Sulzer withdrew the device six months later and 3,000 revision surgeries were performed due to the Sulzer hip implace defects.
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So when Dr. Lawrence Dorr, a highly paid consultant of Zimmer Holdings, began hearing complaints from his hip replacement patients of excruciating pain and difficulty with the artificial hip he had just implanted, Dorr began looking into the root of the problem. What he found was that in each of the patients who had complained, a Zimmer Durom cup had been implanted. It so concerned Dr. Dorr that he told Zimmer officials about his findings. Yet nothing was done to address the issue. So, Dr. Dorr spoke about it to one of his professional associations and discovered he wasn’t the only orthopaedic surgeon to encounter such problems with the Zimmer Durom cup.
A national database of artificial limb implants would give surgeons an opportunity to share information, experience, diffuculties, and possible solutions. It would also provide consumers with the information they need to make proper decisions in consultation with their surgeon. The database seems like a no-brainer to me but thus far it hasn’t happened.
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Company to Cleanup Mississippi River Oil Spill

A collision on the Mississippi River last week involving a tanker and a barge resulted in 420,000 gallons of industrial fuel being spilled into the nation’s busiest waterway. The spill involved has affected 98 miles of the river. American Commercial Lines, Inc. has said it’s not responsible for the oil spill but has taken responsibility for the cleanup. The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident and will eventually determine who was at fault. It is known that The tug Mel Oliver, which had been hired to push the barge upriver, had no properly licensed crew on board, Coast Guard officials said. The tugboat pilot had only an apprentice mate’s license instead of the required master’s license.

Zimmer Durom Hip Recall?

The NY Times article a few days ago concerning problems with Zimmer Holdings’ artificial hip device was not the first time news of issues with the hip had grabbed the media’s attention. A Reuters article in May of 2008 detailed complaints from a prominent orthopaedic surgeon about the Zimmer hips. At the same time, Zimmer phased out the position of chief marketing officer as shares of Zimmer stock took a tumble. A financial analyst who spoke with Reuters linked the stock tumble to problems with the hip device Durom. According to the report, there was speculation that the Durom hip device may be subject to a recall due to problems. Reuters reported at the time that even Zimmer acknowledged the possibility of a possibility of a Zimmer Durom hip recall.
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The Durom hip had been sold and marketed to younger, more active patients but may be prone to premature failure leading to revision surgery.

Feds Charge Hong Kong Company in Toxic Oil Spil

The federal government has charged a Hong Kong based shipping company with falsifying documents relating to the investigation of an oil spill in San Francisco Bay last year. Accoring to an Associated Press report, “Unidentified “senior ship officers and shore-based supervisory officials concealed and covered up documents with an intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation of the spill,” according to a Department of Justice summary of the indictment. The indictment also charges Fleet Management with two counts of misdemeanor crimes under the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for negligently causing the crash, which dumped 53,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel into the bay. The spill killed and injured thousands of birds and fouled beaches throughout Northern California.

Complaints About Another Artificial Hip Implant

This time the implantable hip device is manufactured by Zimmer Holdings. Most recently, Stryker hips were recalled because of manufacturing and design issues. The Zimmer hip, although not recalled, has received complaints from surgeons and patients who state that the design is flawed causing many patients to undergo revision hip surgery. Zimmer officials claim that the design is not defective but admits that some surgeons have found the device difficult to implant. Zimmer’s comments come on the heels of its own investigation into the implant after some surgeons had complained to them about the medical device. Since it was first sold in the United States in 2006, the Durom cup has been implanted in more than 12,000 patients.
According to a report in the NY Times, “The issue with the device surfaced in April when a surgeon in Los Angeles, Dr. Lawrence Dorr, publicly warned other orthopedists about cup failures his patients were experiencing. In response, Zimmer said it would start an investigation but said it saw no reason to take added action like halting sales.” Dorr has said that he won’t start using the hip device again, “It is a bad design.”

Digitek Draws Fire and Lawsuits

Digitek, a drug manufactured by Actavis Totowa to treat irregular heartbeats, has been recalled by the FDA after reports of severe life-threatening drug reactions. The problem with Digitek concerns the amount of its active ingredient digoxin in the pill. Digitek contains more than the amount set forth on the label causing adverse reactions such as a plummeting heart rate, blindness, confusion and incoherent speech.
On April 25, 2008 the FDA announced a nationwide recall of all Digitek tablets because of the potential that the tablets were double the appropriate thickness and contained up to twice the approved level of the active ingredient.

Love in the Rectory Bashed by Rhode Island Bishop

Bishop Daniel O’Reilly knew in 1971 that one of his priests Robert Marcantonio, had abused several young boys yet Marcantonio left for Ames Iowa in 1970 for treatment. He also apparently abused again in Dubuque Archdiocese where he was released for “service” to the Archdiocese of Dubuque. He continued to abuse there as well. Yet, when a television report reveals the abuse the new bishop is outraged at the tv station and not the abuser Marcantonio. Bishop Louis Gelineau cancelled all programs with the station including televised masses for the cavalier attitude of the station.
Unfortunately, this has been the typical reaction of the bishops. They would rather shoot the messenger than deal with the problem of sexual abuse of children. This is not new and it continues to this day. In dealing with archdioceses and dioceses throughout the country, they would rather blame the victims, their advocates, their lawyers, and the media for the problem. they call it Catholic bashing. I call it covering up criminal behavior.

Pope In Australia: Abuse Tragedy Continues to Dog His Every Step

In case you missed it, the Pope has spent the last few days in Australia for the World Youth Day celebrations. By most accounts, the trip was not as successful as his trip to the United States. The abuse saga in Australia continued to shadow everything the Pope did during the trip, including secretly celebrating a private mass with hand picked victims prior to leaving Australia. In my opinion, this is precisely the problem with the Catholic Church’s handling of the abuse crisis (other than the fact that they’ve covered up the abuse for hundreds of years). The Church, in seeking to deal with the situation, continues to insist on dealing with it on their terms instead of the terms dictated by those victimized by the criminal sexual behavior of its priests. You can’t handpick victims to meet with if you are seeking healing and reconciliation for the masses of victims who’ve been abused by priests. It just doesn’t work that way. You can’t decide to meet with a select few who happen to be ok with the way you handled the abuse crisis if you’re trying to reform the church and deal with the massive public relations problem created by the bishops. It just doesn’t work that way, not in the real world anyway.

Merck to Cut Checks for Vioxx Claimants

Merck will start issuing checks to Vioxx claimants who’ve been injured by the drug. Merck has stated that nearly 97% of eligible claimants have enrolled in their settlement program and as a result, Merck will waive its right to “walk away” from the agreement reached last fall with plaintiffs’ attorneys. As a result, the Enrollment Deadline Date is now October 30, 2008, pursuant to Section 17.1.26 of the Settlement Agreement. Claimants may continue to Enroll in the Settlement Program until October 30, 2008.
The settlements will range from $5,000 to a few million dollars depending on the usage and severity of injury. The settlement agreement should resolve approximately 50,000 lawsuits at a cost to Merck of $4,85 billion.
Former Vioxx users, or their survivors, are eligible for part of the settlement if the patient suffered a heart attack, stroke or death. They must have had pending lawsuits or tolling agreements, which suspend the statute of limitations, as of Nov. 9, 2007, the date the settlement was reached.