Monthly Archives: August 2010

Hospital Fights Claims of Unnecessary Stents

Here’s an interesting story out of Baltimore — a hospital admitted that one of its cardiologists unnecessarily placed stents in hundreds of heart patients. But now that some of those patients have retained lawyers, the hospital seems to be changing its story and may deny any negligence. At first thought you might say, so what […]

Toyota Recalls Corolla and Matrix Models as NHTSA Investigates Engine Stalls

The AP reports, “Toyota recalled 1.33 million Corolla sedans and Matrix hatchbacks in the US and Canada Thursday because their engines may stall,” noting that this is one of the largest Toyota recalls since its safety crisis began last year. Meanwhile, GM “is recalling 200,000 Pontiac Vibes in North America due to the same problem, GM […]

Circuit Breaker Model is Defective and Potentially Dangerous

Here is a very short summary of a very important article from the Dallas Morning News. If you live in an older home in North Texas you need to check your circuit breaker box to make sure it’s not a Federal Pacific Stab-Lok model. I checked ours, and we’re safe, but if you do have […]

Friday Fun

Can you have a play on words without using words? Yes. This is a marvelous “visual poem” from NPR:

Compatibility of Hospital Tubes Creates Danger for Patients

I just wrote yesterday about hospital errors causing injuries and deaths needlessly. Now an article from the New York Times brings up a point that most hospital patients would never even consider — you can die because a nurse or aide hooks up your feeding tube to your medication IV, or vice-versa. The article is […]

Preventable Errors Killed 32 Patients in Oregon Hospitals Last Year

This article from is specific to Oregon, but I have no doubt that it would apply to the entire country, probably in proportion to the number of hospital beds in each state. Hospitals are trying to improve their safety records, partly because of the work of medical malpractice trial lawyers, partly because of high […]

Texas to Require Insurers to Justify “Unreasonable” Premium Increases

Will Texas really start to crack down on insurance company abuses, or is this just more empty talk from the Texas Department of Insurance? An article in the Dallas Morning News this week quotes state officials as saying they will now question “unreasonable” rate hikes from insurance companies. This change is being forced on the […]

Bill Introduced to Provide One-Time $250 Payment to SS Recipients

The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), has introduced H.R. 5987, The Seniors Protection Act of 2010, that would provide a one-time $250 payment to retired and disabled Social Security and SSI beneficiaries (and to veterans) if there is no cost-of- living adjustment (COLA) announced for 2011. Any COLA for 2011 will be […]

Friday Fun

What are you willing to do for $5.00? Oh, grow up — that’s not what I meant. What legitimate skill or talent would you share for five bucks? Find out what other people will do at

FDA Raises Safety Concerns About Potential Fibromyalgia Drug

Wall Street Journal reports that the FDA revealed safety concerns about Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s potential fibromyalgia drug Rekinla (sodium oxybate), which faces a review on Friday from the FDA’s arthritis and drug-safety advisory committees. The drug is currently approved to treat narcolepsy under the brand name Vyrem, but would be dosed in a different way […]

Featured Link – Dallas County Criminal Background Search

Are you a little suspicious of that guy who just moved in across the street from you? There are several Web sites where you can do a criminal background search for a small fee, but now in Dallas County you can do a search for free. This is a service of the county, and you […]

TxDOT Debuts New Travel Information Line

The Texas Department of Transportation has just set up a travel hotline to give drivers real-time information on traffic conditions throughout the state. The phone number is 800-452-9292. The system is based on interactive voice response, in which the caller asks questions, and the automated system responds. This is an excellent idea, and I look forward […]

Featured Link – Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

Our Social Security disability department sees a lot of Crohn’s disease and colitis cases. There is an excellent resource site for people suffering from these diseases, by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Here is a description from the site: About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is a non-profit, […]

Study Puts Cost of Medical Errors At $19.5 Billion

Medical errors and the problems they can cause — including bed sores, post-op infections and implant or device complications — cost the U.S. economy $19.5 billion in 2008, according to the Health Blog of the Wall Street Journal, which cited a recent study by the Society of Actuaries based on insurance claims data. Here are excerpts […]

Consumer Groups Ask FTC to Force Rental Companies to Fix Recalled Cars

Here’s one more thing for you to worry about on your next vacation or business trip — car rental companies are apparently not bothering to repair vehicles that have been recalled for safety defects. As reported in the “Wheels” blog of the New York Times: “Two consumer safety groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to order […]

Drug Company Efforts to Outmaneuver the FDA Disturbingly Common

Time Magazine reports that the FDA panel’s recent decision to recommend keeping Avandia (rosiglitazone) on the market is “a move worth billions of dollars to GSK but that also may have put millions of patients at risk.” The move is also an example “of the drug industry’s outmaneuvering FDA regulators,” which is “disturbingly common, say […]

Friday Fun

Why haven’t the airlines already thought of this…? PAY & SIT: the private bench (HD) from Fabian Brunsing on Vimeo.

Preliminary NHTSA Report Finds No New Defects in Toyota Electronic Systems

The Department of Transportation’s preliminary findings from investigation into the data records of 58 Toyotas involved in unintended acceleration incidents received heavy media coverage, including over two minutes of airtime, total, between segments on all three major networks, as well as articles in major national papers, including one front-page article. The reports focused on the […]

Honda’s Recall Could Signal An Industry-Wide Problem

Honda Motor Company has announced a recall of almost 400,000 vehicles that have potential problems with their ignition interlock systems. The recall includes about 200,000 Accords and more than 100,000 Civics from 2003 and about 70,000 Elements from 2003 and 2004. The ignition interlock on any vehicle is supposed to keep the driver from removing the ignition […]

Medicare’s Private Eyes Let Fraud Cases Get Cold

The government is doing a poor job of policing the Medicare system for fraud. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, Medicare investigators routinely take months before referring fraud cases to law enforcement, and in that length of time the cases can go cold — with records destroyed, witnesses lost, etc. Taxpayers are getting […]