Currently in Pennsylvania, a medical malpractice lawsuit may only be filed in the county where the alleged malpractice occurred. This more restrictive than the venue rule for other types of civil cases, which provides more flexibility and gives plaintiffs more control over where their lawsuit is filed.
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled this month that a man from Pittsburgh is not entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and court costs from litigation he won against his homeowners association. Matthew Serota filed suit against the London-Towne Homeowners Association in 2015 after the association amended its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (the “Declaration”) to allow only one vote per owner rather than one vote per home.
The June 2017 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control included a report from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) which described 23 infants in their intensive care unit (ICU) who contracted eye infections after eye examinations. In the report, CHOP attributed the cause of the outbreak to some medical staff not wearing gloves, and a “lack of standard cleaning practices” of equipment used in the exams.
This outbreak occurred in August 2016, and a recent lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a family who alleges their premature baby died as a result of her contracted infection at CHOP in September 2016. The premature infant had been transferred to CHOP in July, and by mid-August had tested positive for infection with an adenovirus and was suffering from respiratory symptoms. She eventually developed a bacterial infection on top of the viral illness, and died on September 11, 2016.
One of the topics generating a great deal of attention in zoning relates to people leasing their residential homes via Airbnb.
This issue came up in Reihner v. City of Scranton Zoning Hearing Board No. 256 C.D. 2017 (PA Commw. Ct. Dec. 8, 2017). The owners of a single family residential dwelling rented the three bedrooms on the second floor of their house via the Airbnb website.
The City filed a notice of violation alleging that the use was a “Bed and Breakfast” which was not allowed in the property’s zoning district.
Scranton’s ordinance defined a “Bed and Breakfast use” as follows:
“The use of a single family residential dwelling and/or accessory structure which includes the rental of overnight sleeping accommodations and bathroom access…and which does not provide any cooking facilities or provision of meals for guests other than breakfast…”
Winter is coming – and with it comes snow, sleet, and freezing rain. In the Philadelphia area, the average yearly snowfall is 22.4 inches.
Winter driving is dangerous. According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 are killed on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement every winter. Pennsylvania is one of the top five deadliest states for wintertime car accidents, often caused, at least in part, by poor visibility and road conditions. Be careful out there!
Another hazard, a preventable hazard, is also part of winter driving. While viewed by many as a harmless prank, PennDot cautions against throwing snowballs at cars due to the risk of causing an accident. A snowball thrown at a car can break a car’s windshield or cause a car accident by distracting the driver or causing the driver to swerve into adjacent or oncoming vehicles, or even pedestrians.
“Telemedicine” or “Telehealth” are the terms most often used when referring to clinical diagnosis and monitoring that is delivered by technology. Telemedicine encompasses healthcare provided via real time two-way video conferencing; file sharing, including transmission of health history, x-rays, films, or photos; remote patient monitoring; and consumer mobile health apps on smart phones, tablets, and devices that collect data and transmit it to a healthcare provider. Telemedicine is increasingly being used for everything from diagnosing common viruses to monitoring patients with serious long-term health issues.
The American Telemedicine Association reports that majority of hospitals now use some form of telemedicine. Two years ago, there were approximately 20 million telemedicine video consultations; that number is expected to increase to about 160 million by 2020. An estimated one-third of employer group plans already cover some type of telehealth.
Vehicle Safety Recalls Are Often Ignored
A recent study by Carfax indicated that more than 63 million vehicles in the United States (one in four vehicles on the road) are being driven with unfixed safety recalls. J.D. Power and Associates estimated the number to be 45 million vehicles, while acknowledging the total could be higher due to older recalls that are difficult to track.
Why Are Vehicle Safety Recalls Often Ignored?
When vehicle safety recalls are delivered, many people put off addressing the issue or ignore it altogether due to inconvenience, lack of time, or perhaps not realizing the danger associated with some recalls. If they don’t own the car anymore, some prior owners just discard the notice.
The FDA has issued a safety alert to consumers involving several dietary supplements including Rhino 7, Papa Zen, Fifty Shades, and Grande X. The safety alert warns consumers that the products may include undeclared active prescription drug ingredients.
The products are labeled as a dietary supplement and each is packaged as a blister pack capsule. Product names and lot numbers are available in the FDA’s safety alert.
Voluntary Recall of Dietary Supplements
Gadget Island, Inc. is voluntarily recalling the dietary supplements at the consumer level. The products have been found to contain undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients – sildenafil, desmethyl carbodenafil, and tadalafil.
In the 1980s, journalists used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain data on individual cardiac surgeons’ surgical outcomes from the New York State Department of Health. A recent JAMA article discusses that type of data and takes the position that despite its limitations, the data should be publicly reported.
Debate Surrounding Reporting of Individual Surgeons’ Outcomes
The debate centers on whether data should be reported on the hospital level only or also reported as to individual surgeons.
According to the article, several objections to reporting data relating to individual surgeons have been raised.
First, an individual surgeon may perform a low number of procedures, possibly leading to an unreliable measure of performance. However, the author notes that performance can be aggregated across multiple years or a surgeon’s performance across a range of procedures can be used. Also, the data can be presented in a way that highlights the statistical limitations.
After the sudden deaths of five people following the placement of inflated silicone balloons in their stomachs to treat obesity, the Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to health care providers on August 10, 2017, warning of potential risks associated with the intragastric balloons. All five reported deaths happened within one month of the procedure, with three of the five people dying one to three days after the procedure. The agency said two more death reports happened within the same time frame and may be related to complications from the balloon treatment. The agency has not yet determined whether any of the deaths were directly related to either the devices or the insertion procedures.
Potential Risks of Intragastric Balloons
One risk is over-inflation. Overinflation may occur when the intragastric balloon inflates with more fluid or with air after placement in the patient’s stomach. Overinflation symptoms include abdominal swelling, severe abdominal pain, breathing problems, and vomiting. Acute pancreatitis is a separate type of risk, caused when the balloons compress other gastrointestinal structures. Symptoms include back and abdominal pain.
Both types of complications can happen within days of the procedure and may require doctors to remove the devices.