It’s an unfortunate reality that we all must face at some point: the time has come when you can no longer safely care for your senior parent at home. Realizing the need to place your loved one in a nursing home facility can be upsetting for you. Nursing homes get a lot of bad press for abuse and neglect. However, this does not have to be the fate of your loved one. Transitioning your loved one into full-time nursing care is sometimes the necessary step in the evolution of their care.

Your parents helped guide you through some of the most difficult times of your life, they were your rock, but now it’s your time to be theirs. However difficult this choice is, the safety of your senior parent should always be a top priority.

When is it time to put my loved one in long-term care?

Many organizations advocate for the 70-40 rule. When your parent is 70 or older, and you are 40 or older, it is time to start to discuss aging and the future.

In many cases, our aging loved ones don’t want to be seen as a burden.But the truth is as you age you will require a little more help. Whether be assistance getting to and from doctor’s appointments or help with cooking. If you decided to let your parents move in with you, then there were likely warning signs that they could no longer live on their own.

Similarly, the signs that caring for your aging loved one has become too much for you to handle will become apparent. You might notice that your loved one isn’t leaving the house as frequently as they used to. In other cases, they may require more of your attention to prevent them from wandering. Generally, if you’re having to balance your schedule to help your loved one complete everyday tasks such as managing medications, doing laundry, shopping or getting dressed, it may be time to talk to them about moving into a senior living center.

How should I bring up assisted living?

It may seem like an impossible task but open and honest communication is an important part of the process because the last thing you want is for your loved one to feel like they are being forced into an uncomfortable situation.

Know what your options are. Nursing homes aren’t the only choice for seniors. Alternate housing options can include:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Family group homes
  • Independent senior living communities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • In-home care
  • Intentional communities
  • Continuing care retirement communities

The housing option you choose may depend entirely on the level of care you feel your loved one needs.

Slowly start bringing up the topic of assisted living when they have a “close call”. For instance, if your loved one experienced a fall and wasn’t seriously injured use it as an introduction to the subject matter, once they have healed.

Keep the discussion ongoing. Sitting your aging parents down to talk one time can feel like the kids are ganging up on them. Instead, keeping the conversation ongoing can leave room for all opinions, wants, needs and desires to be heard and accounted for.

Be careful how you talk about housing options. Choosing to use words like “community”, “activities” and “social opportunities” will make moving into an assisted living facility a positive experience. Often, nursing homes or assisted living facilities are viewed as a place people go to die. However, with proper research and a caring family, these facilities can extend the lives of loved ones.

Choosing the right facility

Every nursing home promises to treat your loved one with the highest quality of care. Yet horror stories surface from facilities describing tales of neglect, sexual assault, and secret drugging—to name a few.

The search for the right facility can be overwhelming. Protecting your loved one starts with knowing what red flags to look for. It’s best to begin your search for a nursing home immediately in order to narrow down your list and find the perfect place for your loved one.

Try to stay local

The best way to protect your loved one from nursing home abuse and neglect is to keep them in a home near you. Visiting your loved one is crucial to ensuring they receive proper care because visiting your loved one holds staff accountable. If the staff knows that your loved one has consistent visitors, they will make sure to meet your loved one’s needs. This also does some good for other residents in the homes who may not have visitors. In addition to a regular visitation schedule, one of the best ways to keep staff accountable is to drop in unexpectedly.

Go online

You can start your research on nursing homes from the comfort of your home. State and federal agencies keep records of ratings and inspection reports. One of the best places to start is medicare.gov. Simply input your zip code for nursing home results. The site used a 5-star rating system and tracks:

  • Overall ratings
  • Health inspections
  • Staffing
  • Quality measures

Do not judge a nursing home based on privately-run businesses. The federal government or non-profits can assure a little more transparency in what might be wrong with the facility you’re looking at.

Another tip is to look for news articles about the facility you are looking into. When egregious events unfold in a facility, the press will usually get a hold of it.

Schedule in-person tours

In the information age, it’s easy to make decisions based upon what we see online. However, choosing a nursing home isn’t the same as reading reviews on Amazon. Viewing the facility in person and scheduling a tour will give you access to how the facility actually runs. Don’t be fooled by fancy decorations or heftier price tags. The cost of a nursing home doesn’t determine if the care is going to be better or worse.

Pay attention to how the staff interacts with one another

How the staff interacts with each other can be telling of how they will treat your family member. If the staff is continuously speeding through simple tasks so they have more time to chat, that could be a sign of poor quality resident life. If they’re speeding through tasks to hang out with each other they aren’t giving your loved one the care and interaction you were promised.

Observe how the staff interacts with the residents

If some residents have unexplainable bedsores that could be a sign of lack of care. Another thing to observe is if the residents seem secluded in their room watching TV and not out in the courtyard or interacting with each other.

Observe resident grooming

Something else that could raise another red flag is the odor of other residents. If they are emitting unsettling odors, they more than likely aren’t receiving the personal care they deserve. Look at hair, clothing, teeth and fingernails of other residents. These could all be signs of understaffing and neglect.

Talk to current residents

Don’t be afraid to talk to current residents about the care they receive. Ask how long it normally takes for someone to respond to a request.

Visitation rules

If a facility regulates their visitation hours there could be foul play going on during the hours you aren’t allowed to visit. Aim for facilities that will let you drop by whenever. If you want to stop by to visit your loved one try coming in unannounced to see if the staff really does provide the quality of care you pay for. In the state of Texas, nursing homes can not legally limit visitation hours so any facility that restricts these rights could be hiding something more serious.

What to expect after you choosing a facility

Once you’ve managed to find a facility that will tend to your senior parents’ needs and makes you feel secure about their safety, it’s important to be sure your loved one is getting the care you were promised.

The first day

The first day of any move can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. However, the move into a nursing home tends to be more emotionally draining than physical. It’s important to remember that your loved one is facing a difficult time as well. While their comments may seem to be rather negative the first day, this is only temporary. You should remember to be there for them on this difficult day.

The first week

The first week in a nursing home can be the hardest. Your loved one may speak about wanting to go home, so it’s important to make sure that you’re there to offer them the emotional support they need during this hard time. Offer to take them for coffee or spend more time with them.

During this first week you may be overwhelmed, so be sure to write down any questions you have during this time. Questions can be answered during care meetings that you and your loved one will attend to help you both get a better understanding of the services your loved one will receive during their stay.

The first month

The first month may go by fairly quickly but by this time you and your loved one will have settled into a routine. While you may still have doubts whether or not you are made the right decision, it’s important to remember that you provided your loved one with the best option for their specific situation. After the first month, take a moment to reflect on the past month. How did you feel about your visits? You should start to include other family members and friends into the mix at this point to ensure your loved one has a steady flow of phone calls and visitors.

If at any point, you feel that something seems off about their care, or lack of, investigate to see what problems could be lurking beneath the surface. More often, if your gut is trying to tell you something, then chances are something is going on.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

When nursing homes fail to implement proper precautions to address resident needs, family members should take action. Our team of nursing home neglect attorneys has handled many cases where residents have suffered serious injuries as a result of under-staffing in long-term care facilities. When staff cannot properly monitor residents, injuries are more likely to occur.

If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse you should take action quickly and contact us online or call us at 800-359-5690 to set up a free consultation.

We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Inadequate security lawsuits in Texas hinge on a business or property owner being aware of security risks that exist on their property but fail to take proper security measures to address such dangers. While no one is capable of predicting when an assault, robbery or other violent crime will occur, it is possible that a lack of security contributes to violent criminal acts. Because of this, security intended to deter violent crimes should be a top priority for property owners.

While it is true that property owners in Texas are generally not held liable for the criminal activities of a third party, under certain circumstances, a victim of a violent crime may be able to seek civil redress against a property owner. Property owners have an obligation to protect customers or guests from potential threats. When property owners fail to implement security measures to discourage foreseeable criminal activity, they can be held liable through Texas’ premises liability laws. 

In this week’s episode of The Verdict, The Carlson Law Firm’s Mike Erskine explains what foreseeability means for business security and how it can deter criminal behavior on their property.

What you’ll learn: 

  • When to contact an attorney.
  • The steps your attorney will take to preserve evidence.
  • Which businesses can be held accountable.
  • How businesses are held accountable.
  • The types of crimes victims can hold businesses accountable for.

If you are the victim of an assault or other crime, you may be able to seek compensation through an inadequate security lawsuit. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. 

In 2006, an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) began classifying cosmetic talc as “possibly carcinogenic” when women use it as a genital antiperspirant and deodorant. Unfortunately, women had been using baby powder for these reasons for decades before this news became available. In fact, it would be years before talc ovarian cancer gained the attention of the women who use the product. 

But it was just a year after WHO’s designation that a woman from El Paso, Texas who had been using the product since 1959 was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At the time, news connecting cosmetic talc to ovarian cancer had yet to reach her and her family. In fact, it wasn’t until seven years after her diagnosis in 2014 that her family even learned of the connection between her five-decade use of baby powder and the cancer she developed as a result. 

After a nine-year battle with ovarian cancer, she passed away in 2016. Despite aggressive cancer treatments from her medical team, her cancer metastasized and spread to her lungs and liver.

After her passing, the woman’s husband began looking into the connection between talcum powder and his wife’s cancer. It was unbelievable that for 55 years his wife used a product that might’ve been contaminated with asbestos. Looking for answers, he reached out to The Carlson Law Firm. Our compassionate attorneys explained the studies and the position of health organizations, like WHO. We are currently representing her husband in a wrongful death claim against three companies:

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 
  • Imerys Talc America, Inc.

Many of our clients share similar stories. 

To this day, many women remain unaware of the studies linking cosmetic talc and ovarian cancer. And for some, even when they learn about the link between talcum powder and cancer breaking the habit of using the product can prove difficult. Alternative products can be expensive and not readily available in their markets. Combined with cultural norms, J&J’s aggressive marketing tactics and the company’s position that its product is safe, it may be difficult to break away from using this dangerous product.

In fact, the acts of J&J have had devastating effects on minority populations. Internal documents reveal that in its marketing strategies, J&J targeted overweight women and women of color. 

For the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and the families of deceased loved ones, the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder lawsuit can mean the difference between significant medical debt and allowing the company to continue to endanger the lives of many others. 

In a strange turn of events, in 2019 a lab run by an expert witness hired by Johnson & Johnson found asbestos in a sample of the company’s baby powder. The finding led to a recall of baby powder products from J&J and several other companies pulled the products from its shelves.

Is asbestos in talc?

Both asbestos and talc are naturally occurring substances. Talc often naturally occurs near asbestos in the earth. Because of this, talc can easily become contaminated by asbestos while being mined.

It is important to note that the Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuit only includes the formula containing talc. The other formula, containing cornstarch has not been implicated in any lawsuits about ovarian cancer.

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

The Carlson Law Firm is accepting talcum powder lawsuit clients from all 50 states. If you’ve developed ovarian cancer and have used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, contact us today. We can help you navigate the complex legal system to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

In an effort to prove its Baby Powder products are safe, the company has cast doubt on one of its own experts. Reuters reports that the private lab that found asbestos in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder is run by a paid expert witness for the company. 

Andreas Saldivar, a laboratory director of AMA Analytical Services Inc., has served as a litigation expert on several occasions for J&J since 2017 in its defense against plaintiffs’ cancer claims. Saldivar runs the private Maryland-based lab that is under a contract with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled certain lots of its Baby Powder after the Food and Drug Administration announced the discovery of asbestos in one bottle of its flagship baby product. Since the announcement, the company has attacked the validity of the FDA’s finding and hired another lab to investigate.

The lab run by Saldivar began testing cosmetic talc products for the FDA. In September, it found asbestos in an unmarks sample that the FDA later identified as J&J’s Baby Powder. 

In 2018, Saldivar testified in a deposition that testing he did in 2010 for the FDA showed no evidence of asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder. His testimony helped the company maintain that its product is safe.

What does this mean for Baby Powder Lawsuits?

Experts say that a J&J paid expert that testified to the safety of Baby Powder finding asbestos in its product is really bad news for J&J. The company is now in a position where it has to discredit its own expert. The company is going to have a difficult time proving that this single test is erroneous without undermining the reputation of its own expert witness.

FDA officials, however, stand by the lab and its results.

J&J is currently facing more than 16,000 lawsuits from people alleging that Baby Powder contains asbestos and led to various cancers.

What is J&J’s response to the FDA finding asbestos in Baby Powder?

In mid-October, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 22-ounce bottles of talc powder after the FDA revealed finding trace amounts of asbestos. The company said that dozens of tests by two outside firms did not detect any asbestos in its product. While talc is mined from mineral deposits that can be asbestos-contaminated, J&J says that its product is routinely tested to ensure its product is pure. Over the last 40 years, the company has maintained that asbestos has never been detected in its talc products.

Several juries have reached multi-million dollar verdicts against the company. The company has appealed nearly every verdict.

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

The Carlson Law Firm is accepting talcum powder lawsuit clients from all 50 states. If you’ve developed ovarian cancer and have used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, contact us today. We can help you navigate the complex legal system to get the compensation you deserve. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

On this week’s episode of The Verdict, we sat down with Bryan Partner Kathryn Knotts to discuss slip and fall and premises liability. Premises liability is a tricky area of the law. Understanding your next steps in a slip and fall is crucial to securing justice. 

Episode highlights:

  • What premises liability is in relation to slip and falls
  • The conditions necessary to file a viable lawsuit
  • Injuries that often result from slip and falls or trip and falls
  • How slip and falls differ from other personal injury cases
  • Who can be sued in a slip and fall
  • When you should see a doctor

Client story

Carlson Law Firm client Cassie Kavanaugh filed a lawsuit against the Early Rudder Freeway Stripes in Bryan. Kavanaugh stopped at the store to use the restroom and purchase items. When she exited the restroom, an unmarked wet floor caused her to slip, fall and hit her shoulder against the floor. Just moments earlier a Stripes employee cleaned the restroom but left no visible wet floor sign in the location she fell.

Wet floor signs are important in warning people to step with caution on slippery and slick surfaces.

“I knew from my training in nursing that I needed to file an incident report with the store,” Kavanaugh said. “To them, if it’s not documented, then it never happened.”

Kavanaugh said the manager on duty asked her a series of questions in an attempt to shift the blame. She knew that she needed to ask for a copy of the incident report she filled out. The manager gave her a phone number to call to receive help for her injuries, however, her calls were never returned.

Unfortunately, Kavanaugh’s case isn’t the only incident that has occurred at this Stripes location. Carlson Law Firm attorney Kathryn Knotts is representing other clients with similar slip and falls.

“If you slip and fall, don’t assume you were just clumsy and fell,” Knotts said. “I find way too often that people don’t report their slip and fall properly. Without these reports, it makes it harder to prove the case.”

Knotts offers these tips if you ever slip and fall at business: 

  • Report your slip and fall to management immediately and request an incident report—even if you aren’t badly injured, soreness and pain may surface later that day or the next.
  • Identify what caused your fall and if possible, take photos of the spill, defect or condition before the business begins to correct the problem.
  • If other customers witnessed your slip and fall, ask for their contact information.
  • Keep the shoes you were wearing at the time of your fall.
  • If you’re hurt, don’t continue to shop. If you must get the item you were there for—ask an employee to get it for you so you can go home or to the doctor.
  • Seek medical care.

At the Carlson Law Firm, we love celebrating our employees with S-A-D day, Staff Appreciation Day. On Oct. 18, all 12 of our offices celebrated every member of our Carlson Law Firm family.

Each year, we have a theme. Some of the themes our staff continue to rave about include Mardi Gras, Camp Carlson and 80s rockstars. Our attorneys and salaried staff dress up in fun costumes and tend to our employees’ every need. 

This year we chose Carlson Air as the main theme for this special day and treated our amazing employees to a white-glove service. Our employees are the heartbeat for what we do and we’re so thankful to have so many incredible people that are a part of our team.

We’re not just a law firm, we’re a family.

Last week, on The Verdict we discussed medical malpractice caps with Carlson Law Firm partner, Todd Kelly. And over the summer, we released an episode with an exclusive interview with Of Counsel attorney to the Carlson Law Firm, Reed Morgan. This week, we sit down with Reed Morgan again to discuss just how tort reform has impacted your ability to file a lawsuit in your search for justice. 

It might seem as though we’re harping on this topic, but it’s really important to understand your rights. The simple fact is tort reform hasn’t really done a lot of good for the average American. In fact, many in the legal field would argue that tort reform has actually eroded the 7th Amendment.

For Texas, tort reform happened in 2003. One of it’s selling points from both national and state politicians was that it was supposed to help drive the costs of healthcare down. But it didn’t actually do anything to curb the rising costs of healthcare. Employer contributions have risen slightly, however, the cost of healthcare continues to climb each year. The reality is that the United States has one of the highest costs of healthcare in the world. 

While one of the most obvious effects of tort reform is the caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims, tort reform has actually had far-reaching implications.

Are frivolous lawsuits a concern?

There are a few truths about our legal system. First, if you have the money and time, you can sue anybody for anything. Secondly, there are litigious people and unethical attorneys who will bring lawsuits on their behalf in spite of the evidence. And finally, there are people out there who try to game and abuse the legal system for their own personal gain—whether it be to save face for their own bad actions or for monetary gain.

Fortunately, there are protections built into the law that protect you, me and businesses from lawsuits that are without legal merit. In this week’s episode, Reed Morgan explains:

  1. Why frivolous lawsuits aren’t a concern.
  2. The checks and balances that exist in the courts to keep meritless claims from receiving major payouts.

Attorneys have a duty to assess a case and keep meritless lawsuits out of the courts. If they fail to do so, attorneys can be sanctioned by the courts for helping these people abuse the court system and wasting the court’s time. Further, if a meritless case does manage to make it to trial and goes in the defendant’s favor, a defendant can file a lawsuit for malicious prosecution. For repeat offenders, judges can forbid a litigious person from filing lawsuits without court approval. 

For these reasons, the idea of the imaginary Frivolous Lawsuit monster is, well, imaginary. The checks and balances that exist in the American legal system keep these lawsuits from clogging up our courts. 

When a lawsuit makes it through these checks and balances and is heard by a jury of peers who then renders a verdict, it’s because that lawsuit deserved to make it there.

Resources:

On Friday, Oct. 18, Johnson & Johnson recalled a single lot of its Johnson’s Baby Powder after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found traces of asbestos in samples. The agency tested a single bottle purchased from an online retailer.

The voluntary recall affects 22-ounce bottles of Lot #22318RB of Johnson’s Baby Powder. The recall affects about 33,000 bottles of Baby Powder. Consumers who have this bottle should stop using it immediately. 

While the trace of asbestos was small, the company claims that it is initiating the recalls “out of an abundance of caution”. In a press release, the company maintains that its product is safe. Additionally, J&J says that it’s working to determine the integrity of the tested sample and the validity of results. The company says that at this point in the investigation it wants to confirm: 

  • Whether or not cross-contamination of the sample caused a false positive
  • If the sample was taken from a bottle with an intact seal
  • Whether the sample was prepared in a controlled environment
  • If the tested product is authentic or counterfeit

In its statement, the company claims that it regularly tests the talc used in baby powder to ensure that its product is safe. 

What does this recall mean for Talcum Powder Lawsuits?

The Baby Powder recall brings into focus the safety of the product. Currently, Johnson & Johnson is facing thousands of lawsuits claiming that its Baby Powder products caused ovarian cancer. In each trial, Johnson & Johnson has put expert witnesses on the stand to testify that its product does not contain asbestos. However, several juries have reached multimillion-dollar verdicts against the company. 

What is talc?

Talc is the softest mineral in the world. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined from deposits all over the world. Some talc contains asbestos while others are asbestos-free. While the science around talc containing asbestos recognizes the possibility of cancer, asbestos-free talc is less clear. 

Does talc cause ovarian cancer?

The American Cancer Society lists talcum powder as a risk factor for ovarian cancer. Several studies link ovarian cancer to talcum powder when a woman applies the product to the genital area, sanitary napkins, diaphragms or condoms. In fact, these studies show that talcum powder particles travel through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovaries. When this occurs, the particles embed into the walls of a woman’s reproductive organs which can lead to tumors or cancer.

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

The Carlson Law Firm is accepting talcum powder lawsuit clients. If you’ve developed ovarian cancer and have used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, contact us today. We can help you navigate the complex legal system to get the compensation you deserve. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Today, Halloween urban legends from the 20th century seem ridiculous and cliche. But the internet and the 24-hours news cycle have made it easy to scare parents in far more wicked ways compared to the days of old. Since the start of 2019, it seems like there is some new monster or drug to fear each month. For example, earlier this year news reports scared parents into believing the internet monster Momo was buried in every YouTube Kids video encouraging self-harm. While the Momo story was a hoax, it was easy for parents to believe because videos promoting self-harm spliced between clips of innocent kids videos on YouTube Kids were actually real.

Halloween is especially ripe to spread fear and panic among parents. Every other day of the year, we encourage our kids not to accept candy from strangers, look both ways when crossing the street and don’t go out after dark. But on Halloween night, all of this precaution disappears like an apparition. We dress our children up, take them out at dusk and chaperone them from house to house collecting candy from strangers. Essentially, Halloween is the epitome of the crisis of parenthood. How do you let your child enjoy childhood in a world where bad things happen to unsuspecting, innocent people? 

Halloween Urban Legend Origin Stories

After trick-or-treating, parents dump the buckets of Halloween candy collected by their kids and begin the tedious job of inspecting each individual piece. During these checks, parents are looking for anything that looks suspicious. To kids, this often seems like an overreaction when they’re ready to dig into their goodies. However, the steps parents take to keep their kids safe are necessary because of the malevolent work of a few bad, but isolated Halloween incidents. Whether we know it or not, much like the Momo hoax, parents’ fears around Halloween are based on some truth. 

Halloween of 1982: A Year of Product Tampering

Many parents’ Halloween fears are rooted in true stories and there is one year encapsulates the sensationalism of bad actors on Halloween. In 1982, Halloween went completely off the rails. Several scary, but isolated incidents happened in secession and paralyzed the country with fear. Halloween costume and candy sales plummeted, as many parents kept children home that year. Halloween of 1982 was basically canceled. Some cities actually canceled Halloween that year.

The first nightmare of 1982, was the Chicago Tylenol murders. In September and October of 1982, seven people died after taking Tylenol acetaminophen tablets. The unknown assailant used cyanide to poison the tablets taken by unsuspecting victims, including a 12-year-old. The Chicago Tylenol murders led to the complete overhaul in the packaging of over-the-counter substances. No one was ever arrested for the crime and hundreds of product tampering cases were recorded in the month following the attack. 

Another instance occurred on October 29, 1982, when a straight pin hidden in a chocolate bar cut the cheek of a 28-year-old Long Island resident. That same day, a group of New Jersey schoolchildren were hospitalized after ingesting Tootsie Rolls at a school party that had been sprinkled with phencyclidine, more commonly known as PCP. 

Also in October 1982, a man in New Hampshire was arrested over suspicion of attempting to insert broken glass into an apple. 

1982 was such a bad year for product contamination, that the director of the New York City Department of Health’s Poison Control Center said, “we are approaching an epidemic in the contamination of products” resulting in “extreme” caution “almost bordering on paranoid.”

Sharp objects in treats

There is very little evidence that razor blades in candy or apples are a widespread issue. However, there have been isolated cases of children biting into a chocolate bar and being surprised with a sharp metal object. In 2000, a Minneapolis man named James Joseph Smith was arrested for sticking needles into the Snickers bars he handed out. While no serious injuries were reported, there have been real documented cases of pins, needles and razors found in chocolates, but none have resulted in serious harm.

Poison coated candies

The first and only documented instance of chemically tainted treats occurred 60 years ago this year. In 1959, a California dentist named William V. Shyne ruined Halloween by handing out 450 laxative coated candies. At least 30 kids got sick, but no severe injuries or deaths were reported. 

The Candy Man 

A prevalent candy urban legend that persists to this day is a fear of poison-laced Pixy Sticks. While it has become a bloated myth, it actually has its roots in a true story. The Candy Man wasn’t an evil stranger wanting to kill neighborhood children. It was Ronald O’Bryan, a father in Deer Park, Texas whose goal was to collect insurance money. 

In 1974, O’Bryan devised a plan to add cyanide to 21-inch Pixy Sticks and give them to children. O’Bryan added cyanide to five Pixy Sticks to make it look like all children in his community were at risk of ingesting tainted candy, but he only intended to kill his own children. Police theorized that he had given candy to the other children to cover up his crime. 

O’Bryan’s eight-year-old son Timothy was the first child to ask for candy and chose the Pixy Stick. An hour later, Timothy was dead from what doctors discovered was cyanid poisoning. News of the death sent panic through the Houston suburb. Luckily, none of the other children consumed the candy. Eventually, officials determined that O’Bryan, not a nearby neighbor, was responsible for his son’s death. O’Bryan was executed in 1984 but maintained his innocence.

Laced tattoos

Teal pumpkin trick-or-treaters are just as at risk for the scary Halloween tales. Laced tattoos are the only urban legend on our list that there is zero proof of ever occurring. As the story goes, drug dealers hand out temporary skin tattoos containing LSD. Why would drug dealers do this? Apparently to create a new crop of drug-addicted customers. Another incarnation of this story is that some malevolent stranger is handing out tattoos laced with rat poison. The rat poison story is also unproven. While this story first began circulating in the 1970s and continues to persist, there are no verified cases of LSD or rat poison-laced tattoos actually happening.

How to Check for Product Tampering

While it’s unlikely that your neighbors will hand out dangerous or deadly treats, there is no such thing as being too safe. Child injuries occur when parents let their guard down. For that reason, looking out for dangers in even the most innocent of activities will keep your children safe. 

Keep your children safe this Halloween by using the following candy safety guidelines: 

No snacking

Your kids may be desperate to get into their candy buckets and start eating their treats right away. However, tell your children to wait until they get home so that you can properly inspect the candy and ensure their safety.

Inspect all wrapped treats

This includes commercially wrapped treats. As demonstrated above, while product tampering rarely occurs, it can happen. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that parents look for the following to determine whether or not they are safe to consume:

  • Unusual appearance
  • Discoloration
  • Tiny pinholes
  • Tears in wrappers
  • Packing that looks like it has been opened

Parents should throw away anything that looks suspicious. 

Toss the homemade goodies

Most people participating in Halloween activities know better than to give out homemade treats. However, if your children receive a homemade treat, it’s better to just throw it away. You don’t know what ingredients the treat contains. This includes candy apples. 

Small, hard candies and gum

If you have very young children, be sure to remove candy that can be choking hazards. This includes, gum, peanuts, hard candy and small toys. 

The Carlson Law Firm Cares

Every year, children are annoyed when they get home with their Halloween loot and have to wait for their parents to examine each and every piece. Exercising an abundance of caution around the Halloween season is necessary. Holidays often involve people letting down their guard to enjoy the moment. No matter how you choose to celebrate Halloween, allowing your children to enjoy the day should involve a level of hyper-awareness to keep them safe. After all, there really are adults in the world who want to ruin Halloween.

Inspect candy, look both ways, wear reflective gear or glow sticks and have fun. 

Happy Halloween from The Carlson Law Firm!

No one plans to experience a catastrophic injury. This is especially true for injuries resulting from the negligence of someone you trusted with your health. Unfortunately, medical errors lead to thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Medical malpractice injuries often leave the victim permanently damaged and unable to take care of themselves. In most situations, medical errors generate difficulties for not only the victims but their families as well. Additionally, the extra help a loved one may need with daily tasks, there is a possibility they will face lifelong medical debt arising from the catastrophic injury. In many cases, this will lead to a decrease in their quality of life.

Examples of Medical Errors Resulting in Catastrophic Injuries

Medical malpractice that leads to catastrophic injuries is preventable. According to Medical Malpractice Attorney L. Todd Kelly, patients injuries occur often occur for one of two reasons:

  • Negligence as a result from understaffing
  • Incompetence

Regardless of if the injuries were intentional or not, hospitals, physicians and attending staff still have a duty to provide the utmost patient care. If this duty is breached for any reason, you may be able to hold a medical professional or facility liable for damages. But, what is considered a medical malpractice catastrophic injury?

Birth Injuries 

The birth of a child should be the happiest moment of any new parent’s life. However, for some, a doctor or other medical professional’s action can turn this into a traumatic experience. For example, birth injuries may arise due to the doctor’s failure to provide appropriate prenatal care. Or birth injuries may be the result of a doctor’s inappropriate response to a condition that arises during delivery of the baby. Medical mistakes made during pregnancy, labor, and delivery have the potential of causing lifelong physical, cognitive and developmental challenges.

If a baby is hurt during the delivery process, his or her injuries can be permanent. This one moment in a child’s life can affect their quality of life for years to come and, in some cases, the rest of their life. Additionally, parents may need to pay for costly specialized care,  rehabilitation or other unanticipated therapies for their child. Many times, recovering compensation through a birth injury lawsuit may be the only way parents can pay for the added care.

Birth injuries resulting from medical malpractice include:

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that results primarily from the lack of oxygen to the brain. Children can develop cerebral palsy during a traumatic delivery. It is one of the most devastating birth injuries caused by medical malpractice. This group of neurological disorders affects muscle coordination, body movement, and brain function. Delivery mistakes that may cause Cerebral Palsy include the medical providers failing to:

  • Notice signs of complications
  • Monitor fetal Heart rate and respond to fetal distress
  • Properly detect and treat maternal infections
  • Schedule and perform an emergency C-section
  • Use birth-assisting tools such as forceps or a vacuum properly

It is important to note that children affected with cerebral palsy may not display any symptoms until months or even years after birth.

Brachial Plexus 

The brachial plexus nerves provide movement and sensation to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. When these nerves are damaged during vaginal delivery, brachial plexus injuries occur. Brachial plexus injury occurs in 1.5 of every 1,000 live births. Serious and permanent damage including paralysis can be a consequence of a brachial plexus birth injury.

Symptoms of brachial plexus injuries can be detected soon after delivery. Such symptoms include:

  • Little to no movement in the affected arm
  • Claw-like hand
  • Absence of spreading the arms
  • Frequent crying

Spinal Cord Injuries 

Surgical mistakes or misdiagnosis may result in debilitating spinal cord injuries. Many times, an injury to the spinal column results from a doctor’s error when treating the patient for a condition not related to the spinal cord. Examples of medical errors that lead to spinal cord injuries include:

  • A medical error in administering a spinal block or spinal anesthetic
  • A failure to diagnose a tumor that ultimately injures the spinal cord
  • A medical error during orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery
  • An undiagnosed spinal cord infection or epidural abscess

Surgical Errors

It may seem far-fetched but surgeons do make mistakes. For example, a surgeon may remove the wrong organ or even perform an operation on the wrong patient. How does this happen? Poor communication, fatigue, insufficient preoperative planning, drug or alcohol use, and neglect may all be causes of surgical errors.

Other errors seen in surgical malpractice cases that can be life-altering include:

  • Punctured organs
  • Anesthesia failures and miscalculations resulting in lack of oxygen, brain damage and death
  • Injuring a nerve during surgery
  • Infection

Loss of Limb

An amputation caused by medical malpractice may be the result of many errors. For example, a sponge left inside a patient’s body after an operation can turn into an untreated infection resulting in the need for amputation.

A wrongful amputation will leave patients with lifelong physical, emotional and financial burdens. They will need to undergo expensive physical therapy to help with basic but important needs such as getting positioned in a bed, balancing when standing and pain control to name a few.

It is important to understand that physical therapy is not just for new amputees. In fact, many who have had to undergo an amputation will need to be evaluated every one to two years. Depending on the limb that was amputated, the patient may not be able to participate in the same activities they did prior to their catastrophic injury. This can lead to a decrease in their enjoyment of life. Additionally, wrongful amputees will likely face the costly expense of a prosthetic limb or other walking aid.

Medication Errors

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prescription errors cause at least one death every day. These terrifying errors are many times due to poor communication, mislabeling and providing the wrong directions for use.

Misdiagnosis

The failure to diagnose life-threatening conditions can have devastating consequences including death. The conditions most commonly misdiagnosed are a heart attack and cancer. Doctors have a responsibility to diagnose and treat cancer both aggressively and properly. The earlier the cancer diagnosis, the better the prognosis for a patient. Delaying the treatment allows cancer to grow stronger which may lead to the wrongful death of the patient.

Wrongful Death

Medical errors are the third-leading cause of U.S. deaths claiming 251,000 lives annually. This accounts for nearly 700 preventable deaths every day.

 

Most Common Cause of Death in the US - By The Numbers

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Catastrophic Injuries 

Many times, medical malpractice may not be clear to a patient or their survivors due to its complexity. It doesn’t make it easier when providers are not forthcoming when their errors are responsible for a patient’s catastrophic injury or death. If you or a loved one has experienced the nightmare of a catastrophic injury due to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to damages.

To recover damages and hold the provider responsible, victims of injuries caused by a health provider’s negligence will need to prove the four essential elements of a medical malpractice claim:

  1. The healthcare provider had a duty to the patient.
  2. The healthcare provider breached the duty.
  3. This breach of duty was the direct cause of some kind of harm.
  4. The harm directly caused an injury for which the patient may receive compensation.

Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases 

Aside from holding the responsible party accountable for their actions, you deserve fair compensation. The compensation you may receive from a medical malpractice catastrophic injury lawsuit can help you overcome the stressful financial hardship arising from costs related to the injury caused by the negligence.

Similar to most states, Texas has passed a law that caps the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive in a medical malpractice case. When it comes to non-economic damages, there is a cap of $250,000 in Texas. Non-economic damages may include:

  • Pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Humiliation
  • Reputational damage
  • Loss of enjoyment in life

However, in Texas, there is not a cap on economic damages in a medical malpractice claim. Economic damages consist of payment for past and future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, compensation for lost earning capacity and other financial losses that can be attributed to damages caused by medical malpractice.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or death and suspect it was the result of medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our team has the knowledge and resources required to establish legal fault and protect your rights. It is important to consider both the short and long-term costs associated with catastrophic injuries. We will advocate relentlessly until you receive the justice you deserve. Contact us to discuss your situation and explore your legal options for maximum compensation. Our legal team strives to help victims of medical malpractice and will protect you any way we can. We care, we can help.

Hablamos español.


Back to Top