December 17, 2013
Starting in the New Year, it will become illegal to talk or use hand-held cell phones and other communication devices while driving in Illinois. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, imposes fees starting at $75 for drivers caught talking while driving. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the legislation in August.
November 4, 2013
Health-care behemoth Johnson & Johnson will pay $2.2 billion to resolve civil and criminal allegations involving the marketing of off-label, unapproved uses for several prescription drugs, Justice Department officials announced Monday.The cases include allegations of kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies to promote usage of the anti-psychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega, and a heart-failure drug, Natrecor.
August 23, 2013
The research shows:
• Doctors disciplined or banned by hospitals often keep clean licenses: From 2001 to 2011, nearly 6,000 doctors had their clinical privileges restricted or taken away by hospitals and other medical institutions for misconduct involving patient care. But 52% — more than 3,000 doctors — never were fined or hit with a license restriction, suspension or revocation by a state medical board.
• Even the most severe misconduct goes unpunished: Nearly 250 of the doctors sanctioned by health care institutions were cited as an “immediate threat to health and safety,” yet their licenses still were not restricted or taken away. About 900 were cited for substandard care, negligence, incompetence or malpractice — and kept practicing with no licensure action.
• Doctors with the worst malpractice records keep treating patients: Among the nearly 100,000 doctors who made payments to resolve malpractice claims from 2001 to 2011, roughly 800 were responsible for 10% of all the dollars paid and their total payouts averaged about $5.2 million per doctor. Yet fewer than one in five faced any sort of licensure action by their state medical boards.
The numbers raise red flags for several experts in physician oversight, including David Swankin, head of the Citizen Advocacy Center, which works to make state medical boards more effective.”Medical boards are not like health departments that go out to see if a restaurant is clean; they’re totally reactive, because they rely on these mandatory reports — and they’re supposed to act on them,” Swankin says.
August 13, 2013
Two things I find interesting in this story.
One, is that just like the driver of a vehicle, a bicyclist is as much responsible to follow the rules of the road. Failure to do so exposes the operator of the bike to vehicular manslaughter when failing to stop at a stop light and hitting people causing injury and death.
Two, the importance of social media such as Facebook and comments one makes after an incident. Courts, throughout the United States are forcing parties to a lawsuit to open up their accounts to scrutiny and any comments, posts or photographs may be used against them. It is important to not make any comments about an incident in which a party is involved. Doing so, will likely lead to a Court granting access to the account to see what is in it and how anything may be used against that party–whether plaintiff or defendant.
A bicyclist who struck and killed a 71-year-old pedestrian in San Francisco has been convicted of felony manslaughter, the first conviction of its kind for a cyclist in the U.S.
June 24, 2013
The Supreme Court of the United States has issued its opinion in the Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett case and in the words of the dissenting opinion, it has achieved an astonishing coup in favor of the pharmaceutical corporations:
[T]he majority effectively makes a highly contested policy judgment about the relationship between FDA review and state tort law—treating the FDA as the sole guardian of drug safety—without defending its judgment and without considering whether that is the policy judgment that Congress made.
Congress adopted the FDCA’s premarketing approval requirement in 1938 and then strengthened it in 1962 in response to serious public-health episodes involving unsafe drugs. See Future of Drug Safety 152. Yet by the majority’s lights, the very act of creating that requirement in order to “safeguard the consumer,” United States v. Sullivan , 332 U. S. 689, 696 1948, also created by operation of law a shield for drug manufacturers to avoid paying common-law damages under state laws that are also designed to protect consumers. That is so notwithstanding Congress’ effort to disclaim any intent to pre-empt all state law. See supra, at 4. The majority’s reasoning thus “has the ‘perverse effect’ of granting broad immunity ‘to an entire industry that, in the judgment of Congress, needed more stringent regulation.’ ”
June 18, 2013
In order to invoke your right to remain silent, you must speak. Silence in and of itself is, evidently, not evidence of your intention to invoke protections provided by the Constitution’s 5th Amendment Rights and/or the Miranda Rights. I can understand the prosecutor’s claim that because he was not under arrest and was answering some questions and remained silent on some others, his silent could be use as evidence of his guilt. But, I think that is splitting hairs. The spirit of the law is to prevent a person who is not well versed on the laws to not say something, without the presence of his attorney, that might be self-incriminating.
The Supreme Court says prosecutors can use a person’s silence against them if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent.
The 5-4 ruling comes in the case of Genovevo Salinas, who was convicted of a 1992 murder. During police questioning, and before he was arrested or read his Miranda rights, Salinas answered some questions but did not answer when asked if a shotgun he had access to would match up with the murder weapon.
Prosecutors in Texas used his silence on that question in convicting him of murder, saying it helped demonstrate his guilt. Salinas appealed, saying his Fifth Amendment rights to stay silent should have kept lawyers from using his silence against him in court. Texas courts disagreed, saying pre-Miranda silence is not protected by the Constitution.
The high court upheld that decision.
May 22, 2013
From May 20th to the 26th it’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week in the United States, an initiative put on by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and one in five dog bites results in injuries that require medical attention. There are ways to make dog bites less likely and to help prevent children from being bitten by dogs.
To help prevent children from being bitten by dogs, teach the following basic safety tips and review them regularly:
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run from a dog or scream.
- Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).
- Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
- If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.
April 6, 2013
The Americans Civil Liberties Union on Friday revealed that courts in Ohio are illegally throwing poor people in jail for being unable to pay off a debt.
In a report titled, “The Outskirts of Hope,” PDF the ACLU shines a light on a harrowing “debtors’ prison” system in Ohio — one that violates both the United States’ and the Ohio constitution. Ohioans are being jailed for “as small as a few hundred dollars,” despite the constitutional violation, and the economic evidence that it costs the state more to pay for their jail sentence than the amount of the debt.
In its report, the ACLU details the stories of several people sent to debtors’ prison. Jack Dawley owed $1,500 in “fines and costs in the Norwalk Municipal Court,” and was behind on child support payments, leading the Ohio courts to send him to prison in Wisconsin for 3 and a half years. He still struggles with trying to repay the fines. Another victim of the system, single mother Tricia Metcalf, was taken to jail each and every time she wasn’t able to make her $50-a-month payments on fines for writing bad checks. Megan Sharp, whose husband is currently in jail on overdue fines, was unable to pay $300 in fines for driving on a suspended license and went to jail for 10 days. When she got out, she owed $200 more on top of the original amount. Both she and her husband are unemployed.
The AP has a round up of the charges that the ACLU levels against Ohio, writ large:
- In the second half of last year, more than one in every five of all bookings in the Huron County jail
- Originating from Norwalk Municipal Court cases — involved a failure to pay fines.
- In suburban Cleveland, Parma Municipal Court jailed at least 45 defendants for failure to pay fines and costs between July 15 and August 31, 2012.
- During the same period, Sandusky Municipal Court jailed at least 75 people for similar charges.
Court officials have pledged to look into the accusations.In 2011, ThinkProgress reported on how the deep recession and loss of employment had led to a return of debtor’s prisons. People were reportedly put in jail for something as small as missing a single furniture payment.