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If not properly maintained, Illinois nursing homes and skilled care facilities can be breeding grounds for various types of bacteria that can lead to outbreaks of serious diseases or illnesses. While most Illinois nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and skilled care facilities take the necessary precautions to ensure that the facilities are kept sanitary, not all facilities prioritize cleanliness as they should. In these facilities, residents are at an increased risk of contracting serious illnesses.

According to a recent news report, a resident in a Manteno veterans’ home was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease earlier this month. Evidently, the resident was diagnosed early in the morning, and by the afternoon the Veteran’s Administration had implemented an “active water management program” and was reaching out to residents, family members, and attorneys to inform them of the recent diagnosis.

Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia that is usually caused by some kind of infection. The disease is not spread from person to person by physical contact, but is contracted by inhaling the bacteria Legionella. Smokers, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of contracting Legionnaire’s disease.

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Victims of childhood sexual abuse in Illinois may find the legal system daunting in addition to dealing with the trauma of the abuse they have suffered. Indeed, many different laws and standards can apply in a case. Under Illinois’s Code of Civil Procedure, sexual abuse includes but is not limited to sexual conduct and sexual penetration as defined in the Criminal Code. Childhood Sexual Abuse is defined as “an act of sexual abuse” when the abused person is under 18 years old. Generally, a claim based on childhood sexual abuse must be filed within 20 years of the date the statute of limitations began to run, or within 20 years of the date the victim discovers or should discover both “that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred” and “that the injury was caused by the childhood sexual abuse.”

In 2017, Illinois eliminated the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions for felony criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse crimes against children. The law applies to future cases as well as then-current cases in which the old statute of limitations had not yet expired. Before the change in the law, most serious sexual offenses against children had to be prosecuted within 20 years of the survivor turning 18 years old. Although the statute of limitations is shorter for civil cases, there are several exceptions that may extend the statute of limitations. If you were the victim of abuse and have questions about the timing of filing a case, reach out to a dedicated Illinois sexual abuse attorney.

Catholic Church Failed to Disclose Names of Priests Accused of Abuse

Illinois’s Attorney General announced this week that six Catholic dioceses in the state did not disclose the names of at least 500 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse, according to one news source. The state’s investigation was sparked by a Pennsylvania grand jury report that found there were 300 “predator priests” in that state.

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A stroke is essentially a “brain attack” that – like a heart attack – occurs when the blood flow to a portion of the brain is cut off. Strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, with about 800,000 people suffering from a stroke each year. It is also estimated that approximately 80% of strokes can be prevented, and even those that are not prevented may be able to have their harmful effects reduced. However, an Illinois medical malpractice case can arise when a stroke is not promptly and competently addressed.

One of the ways that doctors treat a stroke in hopes of reducing its long-term effects is through medication. If medication can be provided to the patient soon enough after the stroke begins, blood may be able to be restored to the brain, reducing the chance of permanent disability or death.

Over the past few years, there has been a vigorous debate over the use of one stroke medication in particular, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). According to those in favor of TPA, the drug acts as a clot-buster, opening blocked blood vessels and allowing blood to return to the brain. A recent news article discusses TPA, as well as the fact that despite having been around for over 20 years, it is still not commonly used to treat stroke victims.

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Breast augmentation, or augmentation mammoplasty, has been the most common elective cosmetic surgery in the United States for over a decade. Last year alone, there were over 300,000 breast augmentation surgeries performed across the United States. This figure represents a 3% increase from the year before, and a 41% increase from the number of similar surgeries performed in 2000.

The science behind breast augmentation surgery is sound, and the FDA has approved cosmetic breast augmentation surgery. However, the popularity of the surgery has resulted in a situation in which medical providers rush to fill the perceived demand, often overlooking critical safety protocols along the way. Indeed, the FDA estimates that approximately 1% of all patients undergoing a breast augmentation surgery will experience some form of complication or adverse medical event. These may include:

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Earlier this month, Dixmoor police evacuated approximately 30 men from an Illinois nursing home facility that was supposed to be providing the men with mental health services. According to a local news report, the men were evacuated after one resident called the police, explaining that they had been locked in the facility with no staff members present.

Evidently, the facility provides mental health care services to men between the ages of 30 and 50. However, when police received the call explaining that the residents were locked inside, the conditions they found inside the facility were described as “deplorable.” Responding officers told reporters that there were men sleeping on mattresses strewn about on the floor and that the facility had no hot water. There was also an infestation of bed bugs.

The local police chief told reporters that the conditions in the facility left him “in awe.” He also explained that he had personally been to the facility in the previous weeks to shut it down for operating without a valid license.

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Over the past decade, manufacturers of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, have marketed their product as a safe alternative to smoking. Indeed, their efforts have been largely successful, with an estimated 2 million adults and teens reporting they have used an e-cigarette within the past three days.

That being said, the federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking aid. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force agrees, noting that there is insufficient evidence supporting the use of e-cigarettes for those who want to quit smoking. Part of the reason why e-cigarette use has not been approved is the lack of longitudinal studies following the health of those who use them on a routine basis.

In recent news, according to a study released by researchers out of New York University and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, e-cigarettes may still pose a potential risk of lung cancer, bladder cancer and heart disease. Depending on the results of further research, users of e-cigarettes who develop lung cancer, bladder cancer or heart disease may be eligible for compensation through a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturers of these products.

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Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court decided a case that may have a major effect on nursing home claims throughout the United States. In Kindred Nursing Centers, L.P. v. Clark, the court held that state courts cannot adopt rules that single out arbitration agreements for negative treatment.

Facts of the Case

In the case, two individuals each held a power of attorney respectively for their relatives, who were nursing home residents. When the relatives moved into the nursing home, the family members signed arbitration agreements on behalf of the residents at the same nursing home. After both of the residents died, their estates sued the nursing home, alleging that the home had been negligent in caring for them. The nursing home tried to force the plaintiffs into arbitration, claiming they had agreed to settle their claims through arbitration, according to the agreements.

Kentucky’s Supreme Court found that the family members could not enter into the agreements on behalf of the residents because the residents had not expressly given permission for the plaintiffs to do so. The Kentucky Supreme Court did not give effect to the arbitration agreements because it decided that in the case of arbitration agreements, an individual must specifically waive his constitutional right to a jury trial.

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In a recent decision, a state appellate court dismissed a firefighter’s lawsuit after she was run over by a truck while sleeping at base camp. After a fire broke out in a national forest, firefighters were deployed to fight the fire. A base camp was set up for firefighters so that they could stay near the forest. The fire protection districts, who were managing the fire, were required to set up a quiet, shaded sleeping area for firefighters at the camp.

When the plaintiff returned to camp, the designated sleeping area was full. Some of the firefighters went to sleep by the horse barns, but she did not want to sleep there due to the conditions, and she asked her supervisor if she could sleep in the infield. Her supervisor agreed. Some others slept there as well. On the next night, after fighting the fire all day, she returned to base camp at around 9 p.m. She again asked to sleep in the infield, and her supervisor agreed. At around 10 p.m., another employee drove a water truck across the infield and ran over the woman. The truck crushed the woman’s chest, ribs, lungs, and left shoulder, and fractured her back. It also permanently damaged her heart, lungs, and eyes.

The woman sued the fire protection districts, among others, claiming she was injured because the district created a dangerous condition on public property. The defendants claimed they were immune from suit because the firefighter’s rule prevented the woman from recovering compensation. The state’s court of appeals agreed with the defendants and dismissed the lawsuit, finding the case was barred under the firefighter’s rule.

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Earlier this week, a federal appellate court upheld a jury verdict in favor of Boston Scientific in a lawsuit regarding its Uphold brand pelvic mesh product. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that she suffered injuries after a surgical procedure involving Uphold mesh that took place in 2010. The plaintiff alleged that Boston Scientific’s product was designed in an unreasonably dangerous manner and that it failed to provide warnings regarding the potential risks and dangers associated with the product.

In October 2016, the Federal District Court for the Western District of North Carolina concluded that the plaintiff failed to offer sufficient evidence showing that the product was designed in an unreasonably dangerous manner and granted a motion for partial summary judgment in favor of Boston Scientific. Additionally, the court concluded that the plaintiff did not support her claim that the company breached the implied warranty of merchantability regarding Uphold mesh. For a product to be “merchantable,” it must meet the reasonable expectations of buyers.

Also, the District Court concluded that the plaintiff did not provide sufficient evidence showing that her physician reviewed or relied on the allegedly insufficient warnings. After the court issued its ruling against the plaintiff, the plaintiff sought a reconsideration. At this time, she also offered evidence indicating that the doctor had read the materials, but the court concluded that the plaintiff would still have difficulty showing that the alleged harm and allegedly inadequate warnings were the cause of the injuries she sustained.

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This month, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will hear arguments regarding whether to consolidate the numerous pending cases against Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, regarding its physiomesh products. The JPML is the body responsible for overseeing multi-district litigation (MDL), which is a legal process that is somewhat similar to class actions. When dangerous products harm numerous victims, the cases often involve similar factual allegations and legal claims. To streamline the process and promote efficiency, the cases can be organized in an MDL proceeding before one judge. Unlike a class action, each plaintiff maintains his or her individual case and must prove that he or she is entitled to damages.

Physiomesh is a product targeted toward hernia repair surgeries. It is a synthetic mesh material that is marketed to be used in laparoscopic herniorrhaphy procedures. The product’s unique design features five separate layers. Two types of material make up the first four layers, while the final layer is polypropylene mesh. This design has not been used in other mesh products. According to Ethicon, the multi-layer feature is designed to reduce adhesions and inflammation and to help fixate and incorporate the mesh into the abdominal area.

The concern regarding Ethicon’s physiomesh arose in May 2016 when the company issued a recall after discovering that the product leads to higher revision rates when used in a specific type of hernia repair. Revision surgeries can be extremely painful and expensive for patients, especially when they anticipated having their medical issue resolved during the first procedure.

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