Early Bird Talcum Powder Lawsuit Caught No Worms–Yet

The first successful talcum powder lawsuit in the US against a drug company was not the slam dunk it appeared to be at first. The case was filed in 2009 on behalf of Deane Berg, who diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. She was a long-time talcum powder user for feminine hygiene, believing that it was a safe product because the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) encouraged its daily use for that purpose. When studies indicating that genital use of talcum powder increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer in women began to gain prominence, Berg realized that she may have unwittingly paved the way for the disease with the scented white powder.

Berg succeeded in proving that J&J was negligent in failing to include a warning about the potential dangers of the genital use of talcum powder and other talc-based products, but the victory was short on one crucial element: damages. The South Dakota jury found for the plaintiff but declined to award any compensation, which is allowed under state law. Even the denial of the court of the motion for judgment as a matter of law by J&J failed to even the score for the plaintiff, who appealed for a new trial to address the award decision on April 28, 2014. That appeal was likewise denied.

The product liability costs to J&J so far is zero in terms of awards, but the drug company may dread the day when another judge or jury decides that with liability comes compensation. Its talc-based powder line of products was used by millions of women over the decades; the drug company could soon be facing an unprecedented number of litigants for substantial awards.

Berg may not have received any compensation for her injuries so far, but hers is the first talcum powder lawsuit of many more to come. It is entirely possible that she will someday get the financial awards she deserves in the future. If you have been in a similar situation, make sure to contact a talcum powder lawyer who knows the ins and outs of product liability laws in your state to address the issue of your own injuries.

The Pressure to Sell Could be Behind da Vinci Surgical Errors

Any surgical procedure carries some risk, even something as routine as an appendectomy. This is a given and acceptable provided that negligence or recklessness on the part of the hospital staff did not cause a patient’s injuries. However, when surgical errors occur that lead to injury or death because the surgeon did not know how to use the tools provided, that would be considered an actionable case.

In the cases against Intuitive Surgical Inc., manufacturer of the famed robotic surgery system da Vinci, one of the main problems with its use is the fact that many surgeons who use it did not have enough training to do so effectively and efficiently. As a result of this lack of training, surgical errors that would have a significant impact on a patient’s health and life occur.

It could be argued that hospitals are required to verify the credentials of a surgeon to use new technology such as da Vinci in surgery prior to an operation. However, since the robotic system is something new to the playing field, hospitals tend to follow the lead of the manufacturer in what would constitute a sufficient number of supervised operations before the surgeon is allowed to go solo. And since Intuitive would like to see more surgeons switching over to da Vinci, which would help drive sales in the future, the faster the surgeon is given credentials for its use, the better.  As a result, instead of being supervised by a more experienced surgeon for 5 operations, some new users get credentials after only three.

There are some indications that this short-cut was being urged on hospitals by Intuitive sales representatives, although the company denies any involvement in hospital credentialing policy. In light of the number of botched surgeries associated with the use of da Vinci, it is important to establish just how far Intuitive is responsible for quite serious surgical errors by otherwise well-trained surgeons with wide experience in the operations in question.

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