Medical Errors

Marsha Dau FairWarining Investigates

Jailhouse Medicine

A Private Contractor Flourishes Despite Controversy Over Inmate Deaths

In July 2011, a jailhouse nurse in Imperial County, Calif., found inmate Marsha Dau lying naked and dazed on the concrete floor. Charged with illegally transporting aliens, Dau, 58, recently had been exhibiting strange and aggressive behavior. For her own safety, the jail put her in an empty, beige cell with no clothes. Now, three […]

Promoter of Lap-Band Weight-Loss Surgery Warned Over Misleading Ads

Federal authorities have warned a Southern California marketing company promoting Lap-Band weight-loss surgery that it is illegally engaging in false advertising that downplays the serious risks of the procedure. The Food and Drug Administration told the firm, 1-800-GET-THIN, that its billboards and print advertising “fail to provide required risk information, including warnings, precautions, possible side […]

Medtronic to Pay $23.5 Million to Settle Charges of Kickbacks to Doctors

The world’s No. 1 maker of medical devices, Medtronic, has agreed to pay $23.5 million to settle federal allegations that it provided kickbacks to doctors who implanted its pacemakers and defibrillators. As Reuters reports, the U.S. Department of Justice accused the Minnesota-based company of making illicit payments to physicians of $1,000 to $2,000 per patient, […]

Heart Attack Patients Harmed by Slow Transfers to Fully Equipped Hospitals

Heart attack patients often wind up at hospitals ill-equipped to treat them, and their chances of survival sometimes depend on how quickly they can be transferred to another medical center. Yet a new study has found that nine out of 10 U.S. heart attack patients needing a transfer wound up waiting longer than the recommended […]

Flawed Test Used to Evaluate Soldiers’ Brain Injuries

Tens of thousands of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer concussions and other difficult-to-detect traumatic brain injuries, often the result of bombings by insurgents. To identify troops needing care for these injuries, Congress in 2007 passed a measure requiring the military to test soldiers’ brain function before they deploy and when they return. But […]

Medical Execs Get Prison Terms for Promoting Product Linked to 3 Deaths

Three executives of a medical device company, Synthes Inc., have received prison terms in connection with the business’ promotion of a bone cement for unauthorized uses. The company’s product was linked to the deaths of three spinal surgery patients in 2003 and 2004, although the Department of Justice never proved that the bone cement caused […]

Secrecy Order on Doctor Discipline Blasted by Critics

Bowing to widespread complaints, the federal government has restored a website providing records of malpractice payments and disciplinary action against doctors. But journalists and patient advocates protest that authorities are continuing to restrict information to which the public is entitled. As The Kansas City Star reports, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, […]

Watchdog Sought to Keep Electronic Medical Records From Going Haywire

Last week the Lifespan hospital chain in Rhode Island disclosed that as many as 2,000 patients were given the wrong medicines because of a computer glitch. But, as a report by an Institute of Medicine panel notes, that’s hardly the only potential hazard that has emerged amid the federally mandated shift to electronic medical records. […]

Hacker Concerns Spur Medtronic to Probe Cybersecurity of Insulin Pumps

Could a technologically sophisticated hacker threaten patients’ lives by secretly attacking their medical devices? Reuters reports that concerns about such a possibility have prompted the giant medical technology company, Medtronic, to ask software security experts to investigate the safety of its insulin pumps. Currently, about 200,000 Medtronic insulin pumps are being used by diabetic patients. […]

4 Years After Settling Kickback Case, Device Firms Still Pay Surgeons Millions

Four years ago a group of top orthopedic implant makers agreed to pay $310 million in fines to settle federal accusations that they funneled kickbacks to surgeons to get the doctors to use their products. But, according to a a new study, manufacturers of artificial hips and knees have kept giving millions of dollars every […]