Are you unable to work because of a disability? Get the answers you need on Social Security Disability to protect your rights

Keefe Disability Law has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions in response to the overwhelming number of people who need help with the Social Security Disability process in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. If you are disabled and need help with disability benefits, read on to learn how to protect your legal rights.

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  • I had a heart transplant a year ago or longer, and I still can’t work. Do I qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

    Beating Heart in the Chest CavityGetting a heart transplant is a significant procedure. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes how important it is that you make a full recovery, which is why it automatically approves heart transplant recipients to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for the first year.

    If you still can’t work after one-year post-surgery, then you may reapply for Social Security disability benefits. This time, however, there is not a specific heart transplant listing in the Listing of Impairments that applies to you. Instead, you will need to prove that you qualify for benefits pursuant to a different section of the Listing of Impairments or that you can’t work because of the severity of your disability.

    Heart Transplant Complications

    Complications may occur if your body rejects the new heart, if the new heart fails, or if you experience significant side effects from transplant medications. While some of these complications are acute and happen soon after heart transplant surgery, other complications occur over time. Even at one-year post-transplant, you are still at risk.

    Some of these complications are so severe and common that they are included in the Listing of Impairments. For example, you could experience:

    • Coronary artery disease (Listing 4.04). Coronary artery disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, occurs when blood flow to the heart is reduced because of narrowed arteries. Not everyone with coronary artery disease qualifies for benefits, but if you meet the qualifications of Listing 4.04, then you will qualify for benefits.
    • Heart failure (Listing 4.02). If you are diagnosed with chronic heart failure, you are on medication, and you meet the severity requirements included in the listing, then you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
    • Heart Arrhythmia (Listing 4.05). You may be eligible for Social Security disability if you have recurrent arrhythmias that occur despite treatment and meet the severity requirement of the listing.
    • Kidney Damage (Listing 6.00). Heart transplant medications can damage your kidneys. If you experience a kidney condition that falls under Section 6.00 of the Listing of Impairments because of your heart transplant medication, then you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
    • Thin bones, which may cause bone fractures (Listings 1.06 and 1.07). Heart transplant medication may cause your bones to thin. If you suffer a significant fracture of your femur, tibia, pelvis, a tarsal bone, or an upper extremity bone, then you may qualify for Social Security disability if you meet the requirements of Listing 1.06 or 1.07.
    • Diabetes (Listing 9.00). The medications that you are on to keep your body from rejecting your heart transplant may cause diabetes. If this happens to you and you meet the requirements of Listing 9.00(5), then you should qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
    • Cancer, especially skin cancer or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (listing 13.03 or 13.05). Anti-rejection medications can make you more susceptible to some kinds of cancer. If you suffer skin cancer or lymphoma from your medication, or for any other reason, and you meet the Listing of Impairments requirements, then your Social Security disability benefits should continue beyond one-year post-transplant or begin again once you are eligible for benefits.

    Other conditions such as high blood pressure or an infection may also result in a permanent disability.

    Even if your condition is not listed above, you may still qualify for benefits if you can prove that you can’t work because of your physical condition.

    Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    Our experienced Social Security disability lawyers will thoroughly review your claim and consider all of your legal options.

    If, at any point during your first year of Social Security disability eligibility, you think that you might be unable to go back to work, then we encourage you to contact us right away so that we can minimize any disruption in your benefits. Likewise, if you develop any complications after your first year of benefits expires, then you may still have a successful Social Security disability complication.

    To learn more, contact Keefe Disability Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your rights. Additionally, if you know someone on the heart transplant list or who is recovering from a heart transplant, please share this article with them as a way to show your support.

     

  • Will I qualify for Social Security disability benefits if I have atrial fibrillation?

    Beating Heart ImagingYou may or may not qualify for Social Security disability depending on your unique medical condition.

    Any time something prevents your heart from functioning normally, you risk side effects and complications. Atrial fibrillation, called “AFib” for short, impacts your heart rhythm. If your doctor has diagnosed you with AFib, the upper chambers of your heart might not be pumping blood normally, and you could suffer serious health complications such a stroke or heart failure.

    Symptoms of AFib

    You may have AFib without any symptoms, or you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

    • Dizziness
    • Palpitations
    • Fainting
    • Chest pain
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty with heavy manual labor

    If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor should give you medication to help. If that still does not work, you might need a pacemaker to keep your heart rhythm regulated.

    Getting SSDI With AFib

    If your treatment works to control the symptoms of AFib, you will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, if you have other symptoms that go beyond what the medication or a pacemaker can treat, then you might qualify to receive SSDI.

    Since AFib is a type of heart arrhythmia, it may be evaluated pursuant to Section 4.05 of the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book Listing of Impairments. To qualify for benefits pursuant to this section of the Blue Book, your AFib must:

    • Be irreversible, uncontrolled, and recurrent. In other words, your condition is not controlled by medication, a pacemaker, or other medical interventions.
    • Cause episodes of fainting or near fainting despite treatment. A near-fainting episode, also known as a near syncope, is not just a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. Instead, it is a period of altered consciousness.
    • Be documented by resulting or ambulatory electrocardiography or another appropriate medically acceptable testing that occurs at the time of fainting or near fainting to establish the medical connection between AFib and fainting or near fainting episodes.

    Section 4.05 Isn’t the Only Way to Qualify for Benefits

    Section 4.05’s requirements are precise, but they aren’t the only way you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You may also qualify for benefits if your Social Security disability application proves that:

    • Your AFib is equal in severity to another Blue Book listing. If you can prove that your AFib impacts your life to the same degree as another listing, then you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
    • Your AFib is expected to prevent you from working for at least 12 months or result in your death. To make this determination, the Social Security Administration will consider whether you can do any work, not just the work that you did before your AFib diagnosis.

    If you qualify for Social Security disability benefits in any of these two ways, then two things must happen before you receive benefits. First, you must fully complete an honest and accurate Social Security disability application. Second, you must provide appropriate documentation, which includes, but is not always limited to, information about your diagnosis, treatment plan, prognosis, work history, and education.

    Some of the medical documentation that you will need may include:

    • Chest x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, or CT scan results
    • Electrocardiogram results
    • Holter monitoring results
    • Echocardiogram results
    • Electrophysiological testing and mapping results
    • Blood test results
    • Exercise tolerance test or stress test results
    • Tilt table test results which show your blood pressure and heart rate respond to gravity
    • Detailed information about how your fainting episodes are connected to your AFib
    • A detailed list of every treatment you’ve treated and its effect on your body
    • Reports about any AFib related operations or hospitalizations you have had

    Additionally, you will need a detailed report from your doctor that describes how AFib impacts your life.

    Find Out If You Qualify for SSDI With the Help of an Experienced Disability Lawyer

    Remember, not everyone with AFib will qualify for Social Security disability. When applying for disability benefits with a complicated condition like AFib, it is especially important to work with a Social Security disability attorney on your application. Fill out our online contact form or call us directly, and we will be in touch soon with more information for you.

     

  • Will psychotherapy notes be considered if I apply for Social Security disability?

    Doctor Writing Down Psychotherapy NotesYou know what’s going on with your health. You know that your physical or mental condition prevents you from working. However, before you receive Social Security disability benefits, you have to convince the Social Security Administration that you are disabled.

    You Will Need Medical Evidence

    The Social Security Administration is not going to find you eligible for Social Security disability benefits just because you say that you are disabled. Instead, you must provide evidence to convince the Social Security Administration that you meet the requirements of a disability described in the Listing of Impairments, your disability is just as bad as one of the conditions in the Listing of Impairments, or you can’t work because of your disability.

    Some of the most important pieces of evidence that you must provide are medical evidence. The specific medical evidence depends on the nature of your disability. For example:

    • If you have cancer, then medical records from your oncologist may be crucial
    • If you have a heart condition, then medical records from your cardiologist may be essential
    • If you have a mental health condition, then medical records from your psychologist or psychiatrist may be critical to your disability determination

    While you may be willing to share the details of your diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis with the Social Security Administration, you may be reluctant to share your psychotherapy treatment notes with anyone.

    What Are Psychotherapy Notes?

    According to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), psychotherapy notes include notes recorded in any way by a mental health professional that document or analyze the contents of conversation during a private counseling session or a group, joint, or family counseling session. These notes must be separate from the rest of an individual’s medical record.

    However, psychotherapy notes do not include medication prescription and monitoring, the start and stop times of counseling sessions, the modalities and frequencies of treatment, clinical test results, or summaries of diagnosis, functional status, treatment plan, symptoms, prognosis, or progress. Instead, psychotherapy notes are limited to the therapist’s documentation or analysis of private conversations.

    Psychotherapy Notes Are Not Medical Evidence

    The Social Security Administration’s guidance to healthcare professionals about psychotherapy notes is clear. The agency states explicitly, “Social Security recognizes the sensitivity and extra legal protections that concern psychotherapy notes (also called “process” or “session” notes) and does not need the notes.”

    The Social Security Administration goes on to provide three options for mental health professionals. Mental health professionals who keep psychotherapy notes may:

    • Send medical records without psychotherapy notes, if psychotherapy notes are kept separate from medical records.
    • Disclose all records, including psychotherapy notes, if psychotherapy notes are not kept separate from other parts of the medical record. Alternatively, the medical provider may choose to blackout or remove parts of the record that would be considered psychotherapy notes and could be kept separately by the mental health provider.
    • Prepare a special report describing in detail the critical current and longitudinal aspects of the patient’s treatment and functional status.

    Your Social Security disability will advise you about the evidence needed to establish eligibility.

    Protect Your Privacy and Your Social Security Disability Eligibility

    You shouldn’t have to choose between protecting the privacy of your therapy notes and receiving Social Security disability benefits. Instead, we invite you to contact our experienced Social Security disability lawyers today for a free phone screening about your Social Security disability eligibility.

    If you qualify for Social Security disability, then our lawyers will gather all of the relevant evidence, complete your application, and advocate on your behalf throughout the eligibility process. The majority of initial Social Security disability applications are denied, and we can help you avoid preventable errors that prevent you from getting the benefits you’ve earned. Call us or complete our online contact form if you are applying for Social Security disability in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts and let’s talk about your rights and how we can help you.

     

  • What is the maximum amount I can receive in Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits?

    Workers' Compensation Claim FormMoney is tight. You can’t work because of your workplace injuries, and you are wondering how you are going to make ends meet.

    Workers’ compensation may be an option for you, but you may be wondering how much money you will receive. We can’t give you a specific dollar amount by answering an FAQ, but we can explain the maximum amount you can receive, the minimum amount you may receive, and how your particular benefits should be calculated. We can also encourage you to call us for a free consultation about your specific benefits.

    Minimum and Maximum Amounts of Workers’ Compensation

    Your specific workers’ comp benefits will depend on your injury and the income you made before you got hurt. We will discuss how workers’ comp is calculated below. However, first, we want to review the maximum and minimum amounts of workers’ compensation in Massachusetts.

    In Massachusetts:

    • The minimum amount of workers’ compensation an injured worker may receive is 20 percent of the average weekly wage in Massachusetts.
    • The maximum amount of workers’ compensation an injured worker may receive is 100 percent of the average weekly wage in Massachusetts.

    The specific dollar amounts change on October 1 of every year and are determined by the deputy director of the division of employment and training. For example, in 2019, the maximum rate was $1,431.66, and the minimum rate was $286.33. Therefore, everyone who is eligible for Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020, received no less than $286.33 per week and no more than $1,431.66 per week.

    How Your Workers’ Comp Benefits Will Be Determined

    Your workers’ compensation benefits are subject to the maximum and minimum amounts described above, but there is a wide range between the maximum and minimum amounts. The specific amount of workers’ compensation that you collect will depend on your wages in the year before your work injury. In other words, you will earn a percentage of your wages that may not be less than the minimum amount of workers’ comp set by law and not more than the maximum amount of workers’ comp set by law.

    The percentage of workers’ compensation that you can receive depends on how badly you are hurt. Specifically, you may recover:

    • 60% of your average weekly wages for the 52 weeks leading up to your injury if you suffer a temporary total incapacity. You may receive temporary total incapacity benefits for up to 156 weeks.
    • 75% of the amount that you could recover if you had a temporary total incapacity. You may receive temporary partial incapacity benefits for up to 260 weeks.
    • 66% of your average weekly wages if you are totally and permanently incapacitated by your work injury. These benefits may continue for as long as you are disabled.

    Additionally, important workers’ compensation benefits such as medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and scarring or loss of function benefits may be available to you and are not subject to the minimum or maximum amounts of workers’ compensation allowed by Massachusetts law.

    Make Sure You Get the Workers’ Compensation You Deserve

    There are so many factors that go into determining an injured worker’s workers’ comp benefits. You want to get the most you can get up to the maximum amount allowed by law, and we want to help you do that. However, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer does not want you to get the maximum allowed by law. Instead, the insurance company wants you to accept as little as possible in weekly benefits so that it keeps as much money as possible for itself.

    Our experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers know how to negotiate with insurance companies, and we will fight to get you the fair benefits that you deserve, up to the maximum allowed by law.

    Please contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers. We will review your claim, advise you of your rights, help you make the right decisions for your financial future, and fight to get you the benefits that you’ve earned. Call us, start a live chat with us, or fill out our online contact form to learn more.

     

  • Can I receive workers’ comp benefits if I have a pre-existing condition?

    Workers' Compensation Pre-Existing Condition StickerFew of us are lucky enough to get through life without any medical injuries or conditions. Even if our illnesses or previous injuries are under control, they may make us more likely to be hurt in future accidents.

    Your pre-existing conditions do not, however, prevent you from getting fair workers’ compensation benefits if you are hurt at work in Massachusetts.

    What Is a Pre-existing Condition?

    As the term suggests, a pre-existing condition is any illness or injury that you had before getting hurt at work. Some examples of pre-existing conditions that may be made worse by your regular work responsibilities or a workplace accident include:

    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Back injuries
    • Shoulder injuries
    • Neck injuries
    • Arm or hand injuries
    • Leg or foot injuries
    • Knee or elbow injuries
    • Mental health conditions including anxiety and depression
    • Hearing loss
    • Vision loss
    • Arthritis

    Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will likely try to deny paying you the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve if you have one of these, or any other, pre-existing condition.

    You Can Recover for Your Work-Related Injury

    Massachusetts law allows most workers to recover for work-related injuries. To protect your recovery, however, it is essential to understand your rights. Massachusetts workers have the right to recover for work-related injuries regardless of whether they have pre-existing conditions, but the cause of your pre-existing condition is important. Specifically:

    • If your pre-existing condition is a work-related injury that was compensable under Massachusetts workers’ compensation law, then you are eligible for workers’ compensation even if you aggravate that injury at a new job.
    • If your pre-existing condition is not a work-related injury, then you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if your subsequent work injury is a major cause of your current injury, disability, and need for medical attention. A major cause does not have to be a predominant cause. Workers’ compensation will pay only for your work-related injury and not for any disability or medical attention that you need because of your pre-existing condition.

    Figuring out how much of your current condition is due to the new work-related injury rather than a pre-existing condition is often challenging. You will need evidence, including medical records, to convince the workers’ compensation insurance company that you deserve compensation for your injuries.

    Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Massachusetts

    You have a lot at stake. Workers’ compensation may pay a portion of your lost income, all of your medical bills, and provide other benefits. Without workers’ compensation, you are on your own for all of these costs.

    Since you had a pre-existing condition at the time of your work-related injury, you should expect the following potential complications in your current workers’ comp case:

    • The workers’ compensation insurance company may request an independent medical examination. You must comply with the insurance company’s request, but you should not stop seeing your own doctor for treatment.
    • The workers’ compensation insurer may say that you have a combination injury. A combination injury is one that includes both a pre-existing condition and your current work-related injury. If this happens, then you have the burden to prove that your work-related accident was a major reason for your current disability and medical care so that you can receive compensation.
    • Your workers’ comp claim may be denied. If this happens to you, then you should be ready to file a workers’ compensation appeal. Appeals can be complicated and may include different stages such as conciliation, conference, hearing, Reviewing Board proceedings, and an appeal to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

    Our experienced Massachusetts workers’ comp lawyers will gather all evidence including but not limited to emergency room records, medical records, employment records, and incident reports. We will make persuasive arguments to help you get the benefits that you deserve either in negotiations with the workers’ comp insurer or through a formal appeal, if necessary.

    Call us or fill out our online contact form to have us contact you today. Let us schedule a free consultation and discuss how to protect your rights.

     

  • Why didn't the FDA prevent my asbestos-related cancer from Johnson & Johnson baby powder?

    We trust the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect us from potentially harmful substances that we put in our bodies. As the name of the agency suggests, the FDA regulates food, over-the-counter medications, and prescription drugs that are available to consumers in the United States. Specific safety standards must be satisfied before food or medicine can be sold.

    But Talcum Powder Is Not a Drug

    Instead, talcum powders, such as Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder, are classified as cosmetics.

    Two Hands Holding Johnson and Johnson's Talc-Based PowderThe FDA’s authority to regulate cosmetics is limited to the authority that the United States Congress explicitly gives the FDA. Currently, federal law does not require cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients (except for color additives) to have FDA approval before being sold in the United States.

    However, specific federal laws such as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act do apply to cosmetic products used in interstate commerce. For example, the FDA could take action against a cosmetic manufacturer if:

    • There is a contaminant that may make the cosmetic harmful
    • The cosmetic is improperly labeled or handled

    Therefore, while the FDA does not have to approve cosmetics that go on the market, it does have the authority to request a voluntary recall to get some dangerous cosmetics off the market.

    What Happened With Johnson & Johnson’s Talcum-Based Baby Powder?

    According to a Reuters investigation, the FDA has relied on the cosmetic industry to self-report on the safety of talcum-based baby powder for the last half-century. The agency claims that it does not have the authority to require manufacturers to conduct any asbestos tests or to report the results of any tests to the government.

    Instead of conducting its own tests, the FDA relied on the word of the manufacturers until recently. Recently the FDA did pay for its own tests of 11 different cosmetics that contain talcum powder. The tests included Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and resulted in the recall of 33,000 bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder.

    As of January 2020, however, the FDA has refused to issue warnings about potential asbestos contamination in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder or other cosmetics containing talc. The FDA has said, however, that no amount of asbestos is known to be safe and that it will encourage cosmetic product recalls even when only small amounts of asbestos are found in a product.

    The Reuters investigation indicates that the FDA had plans to require specific testing for talc powders and cosmetics, but abandoned those plans in the 1970s. If the agency had reached a different decision, then the public may have known about the potential asbestos contamination and the possible health risks earlier and lives may have been saved.

    Do You Have Cancer From Asbestos Found in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder?

    The FDA did not protect you. Johnson & Johnson did not protect you. Now, you are suffering from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

    While no one can undo the harm that you’ve already suffered, your doctors may help treat your cancer, and our experienced lawyers will fight hard to help you with your legal and financial recoveries.

    It may be challenging to prove that Johnson & Johnson's baby powder caused your cancer. However, other people with ovarian cancer and mesothelioma have successfully sued Johnson & Johnson and recovered millions of dollars for their injuries. Their recoveries often include compensation for past and future medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, and punitive damages that are designed to punish Johnson & Johnson for what happened.

    Our New England baby powder injury lawyers are here to make sure that your rights are protected. We will gather all of the necessary evidence and fight hard to help you make a fair recovery. Call us today or fill out our online contact form to have us contact you.

     

  • What is Fournier’s gangrene?

    Fournier Gangrene Text and StethoscopeGangrene is a medical condition that occurs when your body’s tissue dies. Fournier’s gangrene is a rare type of gangrene that begins in your genitals and the area around them, but that can spread to other parts of the body. Men, women, and children can develop Fournier’s gangrene, but it is most common among men.

    Immediate medical treatment is required to treat Fournier’s gangrene. Without it, the condition can be fatal. Therefore, there are some essential facts that you should know about Fournier’s gangrene—especially if you take an SGLT2 inhibitor such as Invokana to control your diabetes.

    Fournier’s Gangrene Symptoms and Diagnosis

    Fournier’s gangrene begins as an infection of the scrotum, penis, or perineum, which can spread to other areas like the thighs, stomach, chest, and bloodstream.

    Symptoms of Fournier’s gangrene which require immediate medical attention include:

    • Pain
    • Fever
    • Swelling
    • An unpleasant or rotten smell
    • Skin that turns a reddish-purple or a blue-gray color
    • Popping or crackling of the skin when it is touched
    • Rapid heartbeat

    If your doctor suspects Fournier’s gangrene after a physical exam, then your doctor will likely take a tissue sample that will be sent to a lab for testing. Additionally, blood tests and medical imaging tests, such as an MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, or x-ray, may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

    Fournier’s Gangrene Treatment and Prognosis

    Treatment for Fournier’s gangrene includes:

    • Antibiotics. Antibiotics are a necessary part of treatment for Fournier’s gangrene, but antibiotics are not enough to resolve the condition on their own.
    • Surgeries. Surgery, and often multiple surgeries, are required to remove the dead tissue. Reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts may also be necessary.

    Even with treatment, however, the condition may be fatal. Many people who survive the infection will live with chronic pain and sexual difficulties.

    Warnings Issued About Some Diabetes Medications

    Most people live their entire lives without ever getting Fournier’s gangrene. When the condition does occur, it can happen because of a bladder infection, urinary tract infection, or hysterectomy.

    In December 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned the public that Fournier’s gangrene occurs more frequently among people taking SGLT2 inhibitors than other diabetes medications. Specifically, the FDA received:

    • Twelve reports of Fournier’s gangrene among patients taking SGLT2 inhibitors over a five-year period, from March 2013-March 2018. Seven of the 12 reported cases were men and five were women. All 12 patients developed Fournier’s gangrene within months of starting an SGLT2 inhibitor. Additionally, all 12 patients were hospitalized and required one or more surgeries. One patient died.
    • Six other cases of Fournier’s gangrene among people taking medication to treat diabetes over a thirty-year period. All six patients were men.

    Accordingly, the FDA required that a new warning be added to the prescribing information and patient medication guide of all SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana.

    A study published in the June 4, 2019, Annals of Internal Medicine, also found an increased risk of Fournier’s gangrene among people with diabetes who were taking SGLT2 medications. Researchers identified 55 cases of people who developed Fournier’s gangrene while taking SGLT2 inhibitors from March 1, 2013 through January 31, 2019. In comparison, only 19 cases of Fournier’s gangrene were reported among people who took other drugs to control diabetes from 1984 through January 31, 2019.

    Fournier’s Gangrene Lawsuits

    If you have been diagnosed with Fournier’s gangrene or if your loved one has died from this disease while taking Invokana or another diabetes medication in the SGLT2 family, then you may be entitled to a legal recovery.

    You may be able to recover for all of your medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other costs. However, you will have to fight for your fair recovery, and your time to pursue a drug injury lawsuit is limited by law.

    We don’t want you to leave any compensation on the table. You’ve already suffered enough. Let our experienced attorneys provide you with a free and honest review of your claim. Schedule your free consultation by starting a live chat with us now or calling us at any time.

     

  • When should I call a Roundup® injury lawyer?

    Lawyer Working on a Roundup Cancer CaseNot everyone who used Roundup® needs to contact a Roundup injury lawyer. However, if you have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another type of lymphoma, or leukemia and you used Roundup, then now is the time to call an attorney.

    What Happens When You Call a Roundup Lawyer

    Once you contact a Roundup lawyer claiming that you have cancer from Roundup exposure, you can expect the attorney to schedule a free initial meeting with you. At that meeting, the lawyer will ask you questions, such as:

    • How or where did you use Roundup?
    • How long, or over how many years, did you use Roundup?
    • What is your medical diagnosis?
    • How has your cancer impacted your life?
    • What is your prognosis?

    Additionally, you can ask the lawyer your own questions at this meeting. Your questions may include:

    • How long have you been practicing law?
    • Why do you think I should pursue a Roundup lawsuit?
    • How will my case work?
    • What will be expected of me during litigation?
    • What could be included in my recovery if my case is successful?
    • Do you have any client reviews or testimonials that I review?
    • What do you know about Roundup safety studies and warnings?

    The goal of the meeting is for you and your lawyer to get to know one another, for your lawyer to assess your potential claim, and for you to decide whether you trust this lawyer to represent you.

    Don’t Wait Too Long to Make the Call

    Every state, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, has a statute of limitations that gives you a time by which you must file a lawsuit. If you file a Roundup cancer case after this deadline expires, then the defense can file a motion with the court to dismiss your case and you won’t recover any damages.

    Don’t take this risk. Instead, contact the local lawyer of Keefe Disability Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can reach us any time by phone, by starting a live chat, or by filling out our online contact form.

     

  • What is preemption?

    Blue Preemption Button on a KeyboardAccording to the United States Constitution, federal law must be followed by every state in the nation. That means that states can only enact laws that do not contradict federal law. This frequently complicated and nuanced legal concept is known as preemption, and it is often relevant in medical device injury cases.

    Preemption in Medical Product Injury Cases

    Preemption is a defense raised by medical device manufacturers in some medical device injury cases. The medical device makers argue that they cannot be sued if they followed the requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Specifically, the preemption defense is often used when the medical device in question was approved through the FDA’s premarket approval (PMA) process. Before marketing a Class III medical device, the medical device manufacturer can get premarketing approval from the FDA. The medical device makers argue that as long as they follow all of the FDA’s requirements, they should not be legally responsible for injuries that result from their products.

    A 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case established that the preemption doctrine applies to medical devices that the FDA decides are safe and effective during the PMA process. According to the court, once a medical device has PMA approval, state safety regulations that are different from or more stringent than federal safety regulations cannot be enforced. However, the court left open the possibility that state regulations that are the same as federal regulations may be enforceable if someone is hurt by a defective medical device.

    Preemption of Essure Claims

    In 2002, Essure got conditional pre-market approval from the FDA, and many women were given the option of a permanent form of birth control without surgery. Instead, during a doctor’s office visit, a woman could have a coil implanted in each fallopian tube. Over a few months, scar tissue would develop around the coils and prevent pregnancy.

    Unfortunately, Essure had potentially dangerous side effects that many women didn’t know about before they consented to the procedure. Some of these women suffered significant pain, perforation of the uterus or fallopian tubes, migration of the coils into other parts of the body, and unintended pregnancies.

    Some women began to file injury lawsuits. Bayer argued, however, that their claims should be preempted and not heard because Essure had PMA approval from the FDA.

    Judges in California and Pennsylvania held that some claims against Bayer could move forward according to state laws because the state laws were the same as federal laws. These decisions allowed women to bring lawsuits against Bayer claiming negligent failure to warn, breach of warranty, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.

    Does Preemption Apply in Your Case?

    Preemption is a powerful defense that could prevent you from making a fair legal recovery in your medical device injury case. Before you pursue a claim, you deserve to know about the strengths and weaknesses of your potential claim so that you can decide whether or not to seek justice.

    The lawyers of Keefe Disability Law are committed to providing you with a thorough and honest review of your Essure or other medical device claim. The medical device manufacturer did not give you all of the information that you needed to consider all of your options and make a sound decision that was in your best interest—that shouldn’t happen to you again.

    Therefore, we will provide you with an honest review of your potential claim so that you can decide whether you want to join or move forward with a mass tort medical device lawsuit. If you do have a case against a medical device maker, then we will fight hard to get you the compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages that you deserve.

    Call us or start a live chat with us at your earliest convenience to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney in our Natick law office.

     

  • Who takes Invokana?

    Invokana Pills and Medication BottleInvokana® is an oral medication used to treat adults with type 2 diabetes. A doctor may prescribe Invokana for one of three reasons:

    • To regulate blood sugar
    • To reduce the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular-related death in adults with type 2 diabetes who have cardiovascular disease
    • To reduce the risk of end-stage kidney disease and decreased kidney function in adults with type 2 diabetes and diabetic kidney disease, or nephropathy, who have a certain level of protein their urine

    Before taking Invokana, you should thoroughly review the benefits and potential risks of the medication with your doctor. It is especially important to discuss:

    • Your other medications
    • Over the counter medications that you take, including vitamins
    • Your medical history including amputations, heart disease, risks for heart disease, blocked or narrowed blood vessels, nerve damage in the leg, diabetic foot ulcers, kidney problems, liver problems, urinary tract infections or urinary problems, diet, pancreas problems, alcohol use, and allergic reactions to medications

    Who Should Not Take Invokana

    According to Invokana’s website, Invokana should not be taken by people:

    • With type 1 diabetes
    • With diabetic ketoacidosis
    • Who have severe kidney disease and are taking Invokana to lower their blood sugar
    • Who are on kidney dialysis
    • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

    Additionally, Invokana is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat people under the age of 18.

    How to Know If Someone Is Taking Invokana

    You likely know if you are taking Invokana. If you have any questions about your own prescriptions, then you can contact your doctor or pharmacist to confirm your medications.

    If your loved one is conscious and alert, then you can ask your loved one about his medications. However, if your loved one is seriously ill or has died, then you will need to get the information another way. Your loved one’s power of attorney may be able to talk to the doctor or pharmacist or request a copy of your loved one’s medical records so that you can confirm his medications.

    Invokana Injuries and Recoveries

    Invokana helps many people manage the health risks of type 2 diabetes, but like most medications, it also has risks. When medication risks are fully disclosed to doctors and patients, then patients can make informed decisions about whether they want to accept the risks.

    However, many people have sued Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Invokana, alleging that they were not warned about potentially serious or fatal side effects, including:

    • Amputations. People with diabetes have an increased risk of amputation. However, the risk of amputation is even higher for people taking Invokana. Johnson & Johnson first warned people of this risk in May 2016 and added a black box warning about it a year later in May 2017.
    • Fournier’s gangrene. This serious condition is caused by an infection around the genitals. It can occur in both men and women. In some cases, Fournier’s gangrene can be fatal. Johnson & Johnson warned the public of this risk in August 2018.

    The plaintiffs in Invokana cases allege that they were hurt by Johnson & Johnson’s failure to warn them of these risks before they suffered from them. They are fighting for fair recoveries of past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other losses, and if you’ve been hurt by Johnson & Johnson’s failure to warn about Invokana side effects, then you may be able to pursue a similar recovery.

    If you or a loved one suffered a serious Invokana side effect before a warning was added to the drug’s label or insert, then we encourage you to contact Keefe Disability Law today for an honest case review. We will thoroughly review your claim and provide you with all of your legal options so that you can make an informed decision about your next legal steps. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

  • Why are women filing Essure lawsuits?

    Doctor Explaining the Birth Control Essure to a PatientEssure seemed like the best option for many women. Without surgery and without taking daily medication, women could enjoy the benefits of birth control. A doctor could insert two small coils into a woman’s fallopian tubes during an office visit. Over time, the coils would cause scar tissue that prevented sperm from reaching an egg and thereby prevent pregnancy.

    Unfortunately, for some women, Essure caused significant health problems due to Bayer’s alleged negligence, and, for these reasons, they are now seeking legal relief.

    Essure Injuries

    Some of the injuries suffered by women after Essure implants were caused by:

    • Migration of the coils. Women allege that the Essure coils moved out of their fallopian tubes and cut into other organs.
    • Breaking of the coils. Women allege that the Essure coils broke after implant, and the broken pieces caused them injury.
    • Corrosion of the coils and nickel allergies. Before July 2011, it was recommended that women be tested for nickel allergies before an Essure implant. However, the medical device maker presented studies to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that showed a minimal amount of nickel and the warning was removed. The medical device label was changed to indicate that Essure could be an option for women with nickel sensitivity. Yet, women with nickel allergies have suffered injuries when the Essure coils corrode and release nickel into the bloodstream.
    • Corrosion of the coils and autoimmune conditions. Metal exposure may cause a dangerous autoimmune reaction.

    These injuries caused severe physical pain, significant emotional suffering, unwanted pregnancies, and in some cases, death. Women who have filed lawsuits allege that their health, jobs, and marriages have suffered due to Essure injuries.

    Lawsuits Claim Negligence Caused Essure Injuries

    Women who suffer Essure injuries are filing lawsuits against Conceptus, the company that originally manufactured Essure, and Bayer, the company that bought Conceptus in 2013.

    The lawsuits claim that Conceptus and Bayer were negligent and that their negligence caused injuries. Specifically, the women filing lawsuits allege things such as:

    • Negligent training. Essure lawsuits allege that Bayer failed to provide adequate training for doctors. Specifically, it is alleged that Bayer used Essure Simulator Training rather than hands-on training and did not verify that doctors completed any training before using Essure on patients.
    • Negligent consideration of adverse events. Essure lawsuits also allege that Bayer failed to notify the FDA of adverse events and failed to consider adverse events when it marketed Essure.
    • Negligent failure to warn about potential problems. Essure lawsuits further allege that Bayer failed to warn doctors and patients of known risks or risks that should have been reasonably known when it marketed Essure to the public through its website and other marketing methods.

    Take Action Quickly After an Essure Injury

    Essure is no longer sold in the United States. However, Bayer did not admit any wrongdoing or acknowledge any safety issues when it took Essure off the market, and women who suffer Essure injuries may still pursue legal recoveries.

    All lawsuits, including Essure lawsuits, must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. To protect your rights, we encourage you to contact a mass tort lawyer as soon as possible for a free and confidential review of your potential claim.

    Our mass tort lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of women hurt by Essure in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. To us, you will never be just another number on a long list of women hurt by Essure. Instead, we will get to know you, and we will fight hard to get you the unique medical device injury recovery that you deserve.

    You did not have all of the facts about Essure before you decided to use this form of birth control. Now, we want you to have all of the facts so that you can make an informed decision about whether to pursue legal action. Call us, or contact us via this website, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • Why should I hire a local lawyer for my mass tort case?

    Lawyer Shaking a Clients HandNo one you know has been in this situation before, and you don’t know whom to trust. To recover damages from the pharmaceutical company that hurt you, you are going to need the help of a mass tort attorney, but whom are you going to hire? Without a personal recommendation, do you go with the attorney advertising on television or with someone else?

    Choose a Local Mass Tort Lawyer Dedicated to Your Success

    A mass tort case isn’t an individual personal injury case or a class action case. Instead, it has benefits of both types of legal actions. When you pursue mass tort litigation against a pharmaceutical company, you get to share in discovery and litigation costs, as you do in a class action case. However, your lawsuit will be decided independently as it would in a personal injury case.

    In a mass tort case, you also have control over your own settlement or court case. Therefore, it is essential to hire an attorney whom you’ve met face to face and whom you trust to provide you with the legal representation that you need.

    At Keefe Disability Law, we:

    • Answer our clients’ phone calls. You won’t be frustrated by leaving a message that is not returned. We do everything possible to have a member of our legal team answer your call and talk to you. If that is not possible, then you will receive a call back quickly. Nationwide, one of the biggest frustrations with lawyers is the lack of return phone calls. We never want you to feel that frustration with our law firm.
    • Partner with you. The more that we know about you, your medical condition, and your medical treatment, the more we can help you with your recovery. We want to know exactly how the medication or medical device hurt you so that we can fight for your full and fair recovery.
    • Fight for your just recovery. We won’t stop fighting until you have received compensation for all of your past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering. Additionally, we will fight to hold the pharmaceutical company accountable by advocating for punitive damages, when appropriate.

    Beware of Some National Mass Tort Attorney Advertisements on TV

    A 2018 study found that pharmaceutical injury lawyer television advertisements that look like health warnings could mislead consumers. Some consumers stop their medications without the advice of their doctors after seeing these ads.

    Additionally, many mass tort attorneys who advertise on TV have large national legal practices. Their size provides them with a large marketing budget to reach potential clients, but it does not give them the opportunity to provide clients with the personal attention they deserve.

    Call Our MA NH RI Mass Tort Law Firm for a Free Consultation

    You may never meet your attorney if you decide to hire someone who advertises nationally, but if you have been hurt in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire, then you have the opportunity to meet with a mass tort lawyer close to home.

    Our mass tort law firm represents people in all kinds of pharmaceutical mass tort cases, including cases where people were hurt by potentially dangerous medications, such as:

    • Zostavax
    • Uloric
    • Valsartan
    • Proton Pump Inhibitors
    • Taxotere
    • Invokana

    Our mass tort lawyers also represent people injured by defective medical devices, such as:

    • Defective hip replacements
    • Defective knee replacements
    • IVC filters
    • Hernia mesh
    • Essure

    Additionally, our mass tort attorneys will represent people hurt by personal care products, such as Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder and Monsanto’s Roundup® weed killer.

    If you have been hurt by any of these medications, medical devices, or products, and you are a Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island resident, then we encourage you to contact Keefe Disability Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your rights. Your time to file a mass tort case is limited by law. Talk to a local lawyer directly before you decide who to hire to represent you in a mass tort action.

     

  • What is the difference between a class action case and a mass tort case?

    A Lawyer Comparing Paperwork for Class Action and Mass Tort CasesMass tort and class action cases are not the same. While both types of legal cases involve many plaintiffs with similar injuries from the same product, class actions and mass tort cases work differently, and the potential outcome for plaintiffs in each case is different. If you are injured by a defective medical device or dangerous medication, then it is important to know which kind of case might bring you the financial recovery that you deserve.

    How Class Action Cases Work

    A class action case allows all of the people with similar injuries from the same product to work together as one plaintiff. Class action cases must be established by the court. According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a class action may be established if the following four criteria are met:

    • There are so many potential plaintiffs that joining them is impractical
    • There are questions of law or fact that are common to all of the plaintiffs
    • The claims and defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims and defenses of the whole class
    • The representatives of the class will represent the interest of the class fairly

    Individuals can opt-in or choose to be part of the class of plaintiffs. Acting together as one plaintiff, the individuals with injuries can share in the costs of discovering evidence, hiring legal counsel, hiring expert witnesses, and other litigation costs.

    Since there are often many people in the class of plaintiffs, a representative plaintiff, also known as a lead plaintiff, may represent the group’s legal interests, but all plaintiffs will share in the damages awarded by the court or negotiated in settlement talks just as they share in litigation costs. A plan of distribution is typically developed and approved by the court to determine how much the plaintiffs will receive and the order in which they will be paid.

    How Mass Tort Cases Work

    Mass tort cases are different. In mass tort cases, like in class action cases, many injured people come together to sue a defendant for their injuries from the same product. However, in mass tort cases, the plaintiffs do not join together as one class.

    Each plaintiff must file an individual lawsuit, and each plaintiff will obtain a personalized recovery.

    Mass tort cases may be consolidated before one judge in a process known as multidistrict litigation (MDL). MDL allows one judge to preside over discovery and pretrial matters in cases that are alike. If a settlement is not reached, however, the case may go back to its original court for trial.

    Benefits of Mass Tort Lawsuits

    There are several benefits to joining a mass tort lawsuit rather than bringing your own case against a pharmaceutical company or another defendant. In a mass tort case, you:

    • Get an individualized recovery. Your potential damages will be based on your own losses.
    • Share in the costs of discovery and litigation. By sharing costs with others who have been hurt, you may have the financial resources to get the information you need from a large and well-funded defendant.
    • May get a quicker recovery. Mass tort cases often move through the courts faster than individual cases.
    • Can have your own attorney. You hire the lawyer whom you want to represent you and not the attorneys hired by other plaintiffs whom you’ve never met.

    Contact a Mass Tort Lawyer If You Suffer a Pharmaceutical Injury

    There are a lot of complicated legal decisions that need to be made to protect your recovery if you have been hurt by a medication, medical device, or another product.

    Our dedicated legal team is here to help you if you have been hurt in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire. We will thoroughly review your claim and advise you of your rights—free of charge. In addition to providing free consultations, our mass tort attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you only owe legal fees if your claim is successful.

    To learn more about your rights, your legal options, and your possible recovery, please fill out our online contact form or call us directly to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.

     

  • What are the Monsanto Papers?

    Declassified Stamp on the Monsanto PapersOne of the key issues in Roundup® lawsuits is what Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup®, knew about the product’s safety and when it knew it. The Monsanto Papers is a collection of texts, emails, memoranda, studies, and other documents that were discovered during Roundup® litigation that identify what Monsanto knew about the possible dangers of Roundup® and when the company knew this critical information.

    What Is in the Monsanto Papers?

    In 2017 and again in 2019, information from the Monsanto Papers became declassified, and they are now available to the public.

    In 2018 an article entitled The Monsanto Papers: Poisoning the Scientific Well was published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine. The study’s author looked at 141 declassified documents in the Monsanto papers to see if Monsanto was influencing how scientific studies about the safety of glyphosate were reported. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup®. The study found that:

    • Monsanto sponsored ghostwriting of articles published in toxicology reports and the media.
    • Monsanto interfered with the peer-review process of its research.
    • Monsanto created a website that appeared to be an academic website, but that was not an academic website to defend its products.

    Additionally, the Monsanto papers reveal:

    • Monsanto wrote articles and claimed that they were written by research scientists who did not write them.
    • Monsanto was informed that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) would issue a finding that glyphosate is potentially carcinogenic before the IARC’s finding was public. This allowed Monsanto to prepare a response before the news became public.
    • Monsanto may have influenced the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review of glyphosate safety.
    • Monsanto failed to disclose information about how the human body absorbs glyphosate.

    Together, the information in the Monsanto Papers indicates that Monsanto knew Roundup® could be a serious health risk and took steps to hide the risk from government regulators and the public.

    Why the Monsanto Papers Matter

    The Monsanto Papers may provide valuable evidence in your case if you have developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Roundup® exposure. Specifically, the texts, emails, memoranda, and other documentation may show that Monsanto knew of the Roundup® risks and failed to warn the public about those risks.

    However, the Monsanto Papers alone will not be enough to prove your case. To recover damages, you will need to prove that Roundup® caused your cancer. Your attorney may use documentation of your history of Roundup® exposure, your medical records, other documentation, and expert testimony to make this critical connection for the court.

    Fight for the Recovery You Deserve

    Several people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Roundup® use have successfully pursued lawsuits, and they have been awarded millions of dollars—or more—in damages.

    Now, our lawyers and the public know more about glyphosate safety and Monsanto’s actions than we did a few years ago, and our Roundup® injury lawyers will fight hard to get each of our client’s the fair recoveries that they deserve.

    If you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Roundup® exposure, then your damages should include compensation for past and future:

    • Healthcare costs. All medical costs including but not limited to medications, surgeries, doctors’ appointments, and hospitalizations should be included in your recovery.
    • Lost income. Any income that you cannot earn because of your non-Hodgkin lymphoma should be part of your recovery. This includes wages, benefits, bonuses, and income from self-employment.
    • Physical pain and emotional suffering. Your physical pain and your emotional suffering are likely among your most significant damages. These damages can be hard to quantify because there are no receipts or pay stubs to present as evidence. However, your lawyer can offer the right evidence to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your pain and suffering.
    • Other compensatory damages. Any other out-of-pocket expenses, including things like transportation costs or funeral costs that are directly associated with your injuries, should be compensable.
    • Punitive damages. Monsanto should be held accountable for its actions. Punitive damages seek to punish the defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff for injuries. However, the practical effect of punitive damages is to provide the plaintiff with additional financial damages. Many of the Roundup® non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases have resulted in significant punitive damage awards.

    To learn more about your rights and to protect your recovery, please contact our Roundup® injury lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • Should valsartan have been recalled sooner?

    Valsartan Pills That Injured Some PatientsThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled some lots of valsartan in July 2018 because of reported contamination with the carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The recall surprised and frightened many patients who were taking valsartan to treat high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. The recall alerted them to the fact that their possible exposure to NDMA could put them at an increased risk of developing liver problems or cancer.

    While the valsartan recall surprised patients, it did not surprise everyone. Twenty-two other countries recalled valsartan before the United States took action, and at least one FDA inspector had concerns long before the FDA recall.

    A Former FDA Inspector Comes Forward

    In May 2019, a former FDA inspector told NBC News that he knew of potential problems with valsartan more than a year before the recall occurred. Massoud Motamed worked as an FDA inspector for three years and spent much of his FDA career inspecting drug manufacturing facilities overseas.

    By the spring of 2017, Dr. Motamed had more than two years of experience with the FDA. In May 2017, he traveled to Linhai, China to inspect the Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical plant. Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical manufactures the main ingredients in the valsartan that was eventually recalled. Dr. Motamed spent four days inspecting the plant and filed an official report with the FDA that included the following information:

    • Facilities and equipment were not properly maintained
    • Testing anomalies were not investigated
    • “Unknown impurities” were dismissed as lab errors without investigation

    Dr. Motamed reportedly recommended that the FDA issue a warning letter to Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical. The FDA refused and instead allowed Zhejiang Huahai to fix its problems independently.

    The FDA’s recall didn’t come until July 2018—more than one year after Dr. Motamed’s May 2017 visit to Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical. In January 2019, the FDA issued a press release saying, “… our inspections did reveal systemic problems of supervision that could have created the conditions for quality issues to arise.”

    There is a concern that what happened with valsartan at the Linhai, China facility could happen to with other medications made in foreign countries. Approximately 85 percent of the facilities that make ingredients found in U.S. medications are outside of the United States. While manufacturing medication overseas is less expensive, there is also less government oversight, which may make it riskier.

    You Can Come Forward If Your Hurt by Valsartan​

    It is possible that the FDA should have known about the risks and issued a recall of valsartan before July 2018. Either way, it is essential that all valsartan users and their loved ones understand their rights now.

    If you develop a liver condition or cancer, or your loved one dies from a liver condition or cancer, after taking valsartan, then you need to know whether the medication that you took was contaminated with NDMA. Your doctor and pharmacist can help you get the necessary information, and an attorney can help you protect your legal rights.

    Dozens of lawsuits have already been filed, and many more are expected in the coming months and years. People who took valsartan may not yet be diagnosed with cancer or liver injuries, and their lawsuits may come later.

    You took valsartan to improve your health. You were not warned that cancer from NDMA exposure could be a potential side effect. Accordingly, if you do develop cancer after taking a contaminated batch of valsartan, then it is important to contact a mass tort injury lawyer as soon as possible.

    Keefe Disability Law is committed to helping every client make a full individualized recovery. We will fight hard for your compensation for medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages. While mass tort cases consolidate some litigation expenses, your recovery will remain unique, and you will remain in control of your case. To learn more, please contact us via this website today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • Is Zostavax safe?

    Zostavax Single Dose Shingles VaccineYou need to prevent shingles, but you also need the vaccine that you take to prevent shingles to be safe. Zostavax has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more than a decade. However, lawsuits have been filed against Merck, the make of Zostavax, alleging that Zostavax is ineffective at preventing shingles and that the vaccine may cause shingles.

    Zostavax FDA Approval

    In 2006, Zostavax was approved by the FDA as a shingles vaccine. Zostavax contains the live chickenpox virus that causes both chickenpox and shingles. It is a one-shot vaccine that may be available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies, but it is not the preferred shingles vaccine.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Shingrix is the preferred shingles vaccine even though it is a two-shot vaccine rather than a one-shot vaccine. While there is a preference for Shingrix, Zostavax may still be used for healthy patients who are 50 or older if:

    • A person is allergic to Shingrix
    • A person requests Zostavax
    • Shingrix is unavailable, and the person needs or requests an immediate shingles vaccination

    A Zostavax vaccine is supposed to prevent shingles for about five years.

    Shingles Risk After a Zostavax Vaccine

    While Zostavax may be given to people who are at least 50 years old, it is recommended for patients aged 60 years and older. According to the CDC, the vaccine is most effective in people age 60-69, but it also provides some protection from shingles for people who are 70 or older.

    Overall, Zostavax is only about 51% effective at preventing shingles and 67% effective at preventing a shingles complication known as post-herpetic neuralgia. Additionally, people may be at risk of developing shingles from this live-virus vaccine.

    Shingles Is a Serious Health Risk

    It is recommended that every adult age 60 or older receive a shingles vaccine to prevent the pain of a shingles infection and the possibility of serious medical complications.

    The CDC estimates that more than 99% of Americans over age 40 have had chickenpox. Shingles develops from the same virus as chickenpox. Thus, even if you don’t remember having chickenpox, it is important to assume that you did have this illness as a child and that the virus is still in your body. After being dormant for many years, the virus can come back as shingles.

    Shingles shows up as a painful rash that is often along one side of your torso or your face. Some people also experience fever, headache, and fatigue. The pain may continue long after the rash clears up in a condition known as post-herpetic neuralgia. Shingles can also result in other complications such as blindness if it occurs near the eye, neurological problems if certain nerves are affected, and skin infections if the rash blisters aren’t treated.

    Zostavax Lawsuits

    People around the country are currently filing lawsuits claiming that they developed shingles after receiving the Zostavax vaccine. Specifically, people who have been hurt are alleging that:

    • Zostavax can result in serious injury
    • Merck knew that Zostavax could cause shingles during its premarket studies but did not add shingles as a potential side effect on the vaccine’s label for many years
    • Recipients of the vaccine were not adequately warned of Zostavax risks

    If you were diagnosed with shingles within one year of receiving the Zostavax vaccination, then it is important to find out more about your rights. You could have a potential case against Merck, but your time to file a lawsuit is limited by law.

    Keefe Disability Law is currently evaluating Zostavax cases. If you experienced shingles after getting the Zostavax vaccine or if your loved one died from shingles complications after receiving the Zostavax vaccine, then we encourage you to contact us for a free case evaluation. Other people in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire may have suffered similar injuries and we may be able to help you. Your time to pursue an injury case is limited. Call us or start a live chat with us today to learn more.

     

  • What is it like to live with ovarian cancer?

    Woman Holding Her Abdomen in Pain From Ovarian CancerIf you have recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, then your first concern may not be potential legal action against Johnson & Johnson. Instead, you want to know what your life is going to be like now.

    Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

    You already know how your current symptoms feel. While your disease may have been asymptomatic in its early stages, you may now be or may soon be experiencing:

    • Bloating or swelling in your abdomen
    • Discomfort in your pelvis
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • A change in your bowel habits
    • Frequent urination

    If cancer spreads from your ovaries to other parts of your body, additional symptoms may occur. Additionally, ovarian cancer treatments can significantly impact your health and your everyday activities.

    Ovarian Cancer Treatment

    Treatment for ovarian cancer may include:

    • Surgery. One or both ovaries may need to be removed. Additionally, one or both fallopian tubes may need to be removed, and your uterus may need to be removed. If your ovarian cancer has spread to other parts of your body, such as your lymph nodes, then additional surgical procedures may be necessary.
    • Chemotherapy. Chemo drugs may be taken by IV transfusion or as oral medications, depending on the specific prescription. Chemotherapy may be used on its own to fight ovarian cancer, or it may be used with surgery.
    • Clinical trials and targeted therapies. These treatments may be used if surgery and chemotherapy are ineffective or if your cancer returns.
    • Palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to improve or maintain your quality of life. Your palliative care doctors will try to reduce your pain and symptoms. This may be done with other treatments or on its own.

    These treatments may leave you:

    • Tired and anemic
    • Constipated or with diarrhea
    • Anxious and depressed
    • More susceptible to infection
    • Infertile
    • Nauseous
    • With mouth or throat problems
    • With muscle and nerve problems
    • In pain

    You may be unable to work, to take care of yourself or your family, or to do any of the things that you enjoy.

    Ovarian Cancer Prognosis

    Ovarian cancer that is caught at an early stage has a better chance of being successfully treated. Unfortunately, most women with ovarian cancer do not receive early diagnoses because the symptoms of this disease are so vague and so similar to other more common and benign conditions.

    According to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, about 80% of women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at stage III or higher. The survival rate for women diagnosed at stage III or higher may be as low as 28%.

    Ovarian Cancer Litigation

    The impact of ovarian cancer on your everyday activities and life expectancy are your most important concerns. However, you may also have financial concerns and a desire to hold the company that is responsible for your cancer diagnosis accountable.

    If you regularly used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder on your genitals, then you may have the right to pursue legal action against the company. Other women have successfully filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, and you may be able to do the same.

    You can join with other women who have developed ovarian cancer from Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder in a mass tort action, and you can fight for your fair recovery of past and future medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain, suffering, and other damages. Together, you and others who have been hurt can join in the expenses of discovery and litigation, but you will maintain the individual right to settle your claim at all times.

    For more information about how to protect your rights in a Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder mass tort action, please contact our Massachusetts mass tort lawyers today via this website or by phone. We would be pleased to schedule a free consultation with you to discuss your rights and possible recovery.

     

  • Have any warnings been issued about Johnson & Johnson's baby powder?

    Talc-Based Powder on a Woman's HandThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not issued any formal warnings about the risk of talcum powder but is currently reviewing scientific studies and reports of asbestos contamination in talcum-based products. Talcum powder is not a drug that is regulated by the FDA. Instead, it is classified as a cosmetic under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

    How the FDA Regulates Cosmetics

    The FDA:

    • Does not review or approve cosmetic products before they are sold to consumers in the United States
    • Requires cosmetics to be properly labeled with all ingredients
    • Requires cosmetics to be safe when used according to the directions on the label or consistent with customary use
    • Monitors for safety problems with cosmetics and takes action when necessary to protect the public. However, any action may only be taken if the FDA has, “… sound scientific data to show that it is harmful under its intended use.” 

    Therefore, as a cosmetic, talcum powder is regulated in a very different way than prescription medications.

    The FDA Has Not Issued a Talcum Powder Warning... But Others Have

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that repeatedly inhaling talc could hurt the lungs.

    The World Health Organization through its International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) claims that talc-based products are generally non-carcinogenic, but maintains that there could be a small risk of cancer when a talc-based powder is used on the genitals.

    Additionally, the European Union has banned talc as an ingredient in cosmetic products. However, talc can still be used in cosmetic products in the United States and, to date, no agency has issued a strong warning about its safety.

    What Johnson & Johnson Knew and When It Knew It

    In the past, including in a lawsuit brought by a woman with mesothelioma in the late 1990s, Johnson & Johnson claimed that its baby powder was asbestos-free. However, the results of a Reuters investigation released in December 2018 found that Johnson & Johnson knew otherwise.

    Specifically, the Reuters investigation found that from 1971 through the early 2000s:

    • The talc used in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and the finished baby powder itself sometimes contained small amounts of asbestos
    • Johnson & Johnson executives and others including scientists and lawyers knew about the test results
    • Johnson & Johnson executives and others including scientists and lawyers worried about how to handle the asbestos problem without disclosing the information to federal regulators or the public
    • Johnson & Johnson successfully attempted to influence scientific research about the potential health concerns associated with talc and U.S. regulators efforts to limit talc in cosmetics

    Johnson & Johnson maintains that it never hid any evidence regarding the safety of its talcum-based products and the Reuters report is “false and misleading.”

    You Can Take Action If You’ve Developed Cancer From Talcum Powder

    Despite the lack of official warning about the dangers of using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder, it is possible to pursue a legal recovery if you’ve developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after regularly using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.

    Thousands of other people have already filed baby powder cancer lawsuits, and a few of these cases have already been heard in court and decided. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits are claiming that they have developed cancer or their loved ones have died from cancer because they used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder. They further allege that they were not warned about this potential risk before they used the product.

    It can be challenging to go up against a big company like Johnson & Johnson on your own, but you don’t have to do this by yourself. You can join with other people who have suffered similar injuries to pursue a mass tort action. Our mass tort lawyers would be happy to meet with you, free of charge, to discuss whether you may have a claim against Johnson & Johnson and how a mass tort case works. Please contact us today to learn more about your rights and your possible recovery.

     

  • How long should hip and knee replacements last?

    Hip and Knee Replacements With HardwareBefore you consented to knee or hip replacement surgery, you carefully considered whether the chance to be pain-free and active outweighed the risks of surgery. One of the critical factors that you likely considered was how long the benefits of the replacement surgery would last.

    New Study Finds Many Hip and Knee Replacements Last a Long Time

    In February 2019, the results of a large study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom were published. The study looked at more than half a million people who had knee or hip replacements over a 25-year period.

    The information from the study gave doctors and patients actual information about the amount of time knee and hip replacements truly last compared to how long they are designed to last, and the study’s conclusions were encouraging. Specifically, the study found that:

    • 89% of hip replacements, 93% of total knee replacements, and 77% of partial knee replacements lasted 15 years after surgery.
    • 70% of hip replacements, 90% of total knee replacements, and 72% of partial knee replacements lasted 20 years after surgery.
    • 89% of hip replacements, 93% of total knee replacements, and 77% of partial knee replacements lasted 25 years after surgery.

    This data includes patients from Australia, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden, but not from the United Kingdom or the United States. While U.S. patients were not specifically considered in this study, it is reasonable to conclude that it is possible for U.S. patients to enjoy the benefits of replacement surgeries for many years just like people in other developed countries. U.S patients can enjoy a pain-free and active lifestyle for many years after hip or knee replacement surgery.

    Unless the Hip or Knee Replacement Is Defective

    The benefits of a long-lasting hip or knee replacement can only be realized if the knee or hip replacement device is safe. Unfortunately, if the manufacturer of the hip or knee replacement was negligent in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of the medical device, then serious injuries could result.

    Premature failure of a hip or knee replacement device could result in:

    • Serious pain
    • Infection or metal poisoning
    • Broken bones or joint issues

    These problems could require additional surgeries known as revision surgeries. Revision surgeries are often more difficult than initial hip or knee replacement issues because it can be hard to remove the replacement device once it is implanted in the body. In addition to the pain you experience with a defective device and the risks of additional surgeries, you may face lifelong disabilities.

    This was not what you signed up for when you consented to surgery. Instead, you expected that the pharmaceutical company would produce a safe product that would allow you to live your life on your terms without worrying about pain.

    Take Action If Your Knee or Hip Replacement Fails Prematurely

    A full investigation will need to be done to determine the cause of the hip or knee replacement’s premature failure. If the device failed because a pharmaceutical company, such as DePuy, Zimmer, or Stryker, was negligent, then you may have the right to pursue legal action.

    It can be challenging to pursue a successful legal case against a large pharmaceutical company. The pharmaceutical company has the information that you need to prove your claim in its control, and it will likely fight hard to keep that information from you. Pursuing a case on your own can be expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming, but you don’t have to do it alone.

    Instead, you have the right to contact a lawyer who will fight for you. If other people have suffered similar injuries from the same hip or knee replacement, then you may be able to join together in a mass tort lawsuit to gather evidence and pursue legal action. However, even in a mass tort case, your recovery is unique and yours alone.

    To learn more, please contact us via this website or by phone to schedule a free consultation.

     

  • Are there different types of IVC filters?

    Microscopic View of a Blood Clot FormingDifferent kinds of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are designed to do the same thing. An IVC filter is supposed to prevent a blood clot from entering your lungs and causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism. However, while IVC filters serve the same purpose, they are not all the same.

    Permanent IVC Filters

    The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first permanent IVC filter several decades ago. Since then other permanent IVC filters have been approved. Some examples of permanent IVC filters include:

    • Vena Tech LP made by B. Braun
    • Vena Tech LGM by B. Braun
    • Titanium Greenfield made by Boston Scientific
    • Trap Ease made by Cordis
    • Simon Nitinol made by Bard Peripheral Vascular Inc
    • Bird’s Nest Made by Cook Group
    • Recovery by C.R. Bard
    • G2 by C.R. Bard
    • SafeFlo vena by Rafael Medical Technologies

    Retrievable IVC Filters

    Retrievable IVC filters may be permanently implanted in a person’s body even though they are designed by the manufacturer to be retrievable. Over the years, there has been a higher rate of complications associated with retrievable IVC filters than with permanent IVC filters. Some examples of retrievable IVC filters include:

    • Celect made by Cook Medical Inc
    • Gunther-Tulip made by Cook Medical Inc
    • Option made by Argon Medical Devices
    • ALN made by ALN Implants
    • Denali made by Bard Peripheral Vascular Inc
    • Crux made by Volcano Corp
    • Eclipse made by C.R. Bard
    • Meridian made by C.R. Bard

    Lawsuits have been filed against retrievable IVC filter manufacturers such as C.R. Bard and Cook Medical. Some of the alleged complications include:

    • Device migration. IVC filters may move from their implanted location and migrate to the heart, lungs, or other parts of the body.
    • Device erosion. IVC filters have fallen apart. This can result in a blood clot traveling to the lungs and causing the pulmonary embolism that it was supposed to prevent. Additionally, the broken pieces of the IVC filter can pierce internal organs and cause dangerous, potentially life-threatening injuries.

    Since 2010, the FDA has reminded doctors that retrievable IVC filters are meant to be temporary and that they should be removed as soon as the risk for a pulmonary embolism has passed and the procedures can be safely performed.

    IVC Filter Injuries and Lawsuits

    If you have an IVC filter and you experience shortness of breath, pain, abnormal heart rhythm, or hemorrhaging, then it is important to get immediate medical treatment. A doctor can determine whether the IVC filter is still intact and whether it is still located in its original implantation location. If it has moved or broken apart, then your doctor can suggest treatment options.

    Even if you get prompt treatment, however, you may have already suffered a serious injury. You may suffer temporary or permanent physical problems, you may be unable to work, you may incur high medical expenses, and you may suffer emotionally.

    Our experienced IVC filter injury lawyers can evaluate your claim and help you get the fair recovery that you deserve if a defective IVC filter caused your injury. If Cook Medical, C.R. Bard or another pharmaceutical was negligent in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of their product, then we may be able to pursue a mass tort action on your behalf.

    A mass tort action allows you to join with other people who have been hurt by the same type of IVC filter to pursue legal action. Together, you can share in the discovery requests and litigation costs so that you have the resources necessary to fight a large pharmaceutical company for damages. However, in the end, your recovery will be based on your own injuries, and you will decide whether or not to take any proposed settlements.

    If you would like to learn more about your rights or about the possibility of joining an IVC filter mass tort action, please contact Keefe Disability Law today to schedule an initial consultation. We welcome your inquiry by phone or via this website at any time.