Written by: Jeffery Saxby, Esq. On an average day in this nation, more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed,1)IMS Health National Prescription Audit  3,900 people initiate non-medical use of prescription opioids,2)SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  580 people initiate heroin use,3)Id.  and 78 people die from an opioid-related overdose.4)CDC National Vital Statistics System.   Included in the opioid-related overdoses are those arising from the use of prescription opioids and illegal opioids such as heroin. On an annual basis, the opioid epidemic costs the nation $55,000,000,000 in health and social costs5)Pain Med. 2011;12(4):657-67.  and $20,000,000,000 in emergency department and inpatient costs.6)Pain Med. 2013;14(10):1534-47. In order to quell this epidemic, governmental agencies began publishing guidelines to assist medical facilities and physicians by identifying appropriate steps to take in conjunction with prescribing opiates for pain management.  While diagnosis and treatment of the pain associated with acute and chronic disease must be…       Read More

Written by: Robert J. McCune, Esq. It is of course the plaintiff’s initial burden of proof to establish that their work-related accident caused compensable injuries. What happens when the plaintiff develops different injury claims arising from that same accident? In Parsons v. Pantry, Inc., 126 N. C. App. 540 (1997), our Court of Appeals determined that the burden was on the defendant to rebut causation as to the new injuries, where plaintiff had already established causation in a prior hearing. The reasoning was that “[t]o require plaintiff to re-prove causation each time she seeks treatment for the very injury that the Commission has previously determined to be the result of a compensable accident is unjust and violates our duty to interpret the Act in favor of injured employees.”It is of course the plaintiff’s initial burden of proof to establish that their work-related accident caused compensable injuries. What happens when the…       Read More

Written by: Beth Boone, Esq. Healthcare providers in the correctional setting face many unique challenges while providing care to individuals being detained or in the custody of the government. Chronically ill patients, historically non-compliant populations, mental health problems, drug and alcohol issues and communicable diseases all interplay with treatment. When interacting with nurses, physicians, dentists and mental health professionals in this industry, the age old questions about documentation always arises. If I didn’t see it should I document it happened? If I am relying on what the patient told me do I somehow indicate that it is hearsay? Should I document “allegedly” or independently verify with the correctional officers? Some reminders about charting may be useful.Healthcare providers in the correctional setting face many unique challenges while providing care to individuals being detained or in the custody of the government. Chronically ill patients, historically non-compliant populations, mental health problems, drug and…       Read More

by: Bradley R. Coppedge, Esq. Any “basic” estate plan will (or should!) include a Last Will and Testament, along with a Power of Attorney, and an Advance Directive for Healthcare.  Let’s look briefly at these latter two ancillary documents, which allow you to designate who makes decisions for you if you become unable to act or speak for yourself. A. Financial Power of Attorney A Power of Attorney, also known as a Financial Power of Attorney, General Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney, is an instrument by which you authorize another person or persons to act on your behalf. This person is known as your “agent” or your “attorney in fact.” This document allows your agent to make financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, without the need to have the Probate Court appoint a guardian or conservator, which is a time-consuming and expensive process. A…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Swedish Government Scrambles to Contain Damage From Data Breach New York Times STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s government is scrambling to contain the political fallout from a huge breach of confidential data, including the possible … Apple Issues Cyber Warning for iPhone Users, Issues Security Patch Fox Business The latest cyber threat is also a risk to Android device users, but Google has taken steps as well to block the virus. “The vulnerability also has the … Iran-Linked Cyber Spies Use Simple Yet Effective Hacks: Report Reuters TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A cyber spying group with links to Iran and active for the past four years is targeting countries including Israel, Saudi Arabia, … Arrested Russian’s Wife Denies US Charge He Is Global Hacking Mastermind New York Times His case provides a rare insight into U.S. efforts to track down and prosecute international cyber criminals. It comes…       Read More

Written by: Sean Cox, Esq. Life Care Planners purport to calculate the total cost of future care related to the catastrophic injury. The term is a misnomer. Typically they do not, nor are they typically qualified to, determine what medical care the injured person needs. Neither will Life Care Planners typically help the injured person or her family plan how to obtain or provide that care. According to one of the fathers of life care planning, Paul M. Deutsch Ph.D., “at no time during the plan development process should budgetary concerns influence care and rehabilitation recommendations.“ There are several ways to attack Life Care Planner testimony. First, a Life Care Planner can be challenged on his or her qualifications. Rare is the Life Care Planner that is a physician. Typically, a Life Care Planner will prepare a schedule of treatment for the plaintiff, and the physician will simply sign-off on…       Read More

Hall Booth Smith international business attorney John Parkerson on Friday, July 21 attended the “Doing Business in Africa Investment Forum,” where he moderated a panel discussion titled “Africa Is Not A Country – Health in Perspective.” Panelists included the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Liberia, Hon. Cynthia Blandford; International Association of National Public Health Institutes, U.S. Secretariat, Dr. Sue Binder; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Advisor on the Zika response, Yarkasah Peter Paye. Panelists focused on public health challenges facing Africa, and the recent significant successful responses, following Ebola and other health crisis on that continent. The photos show Parkerson and dignitaries attending from Africa, including among others Hon. Alhaji Minkalailu Mansaray, the Minister of Mines & Mineral Resources of Sierra Leone; and representatives from Nigeria, Ghana, and Republic of Liberia.

Written by: Charles A. Dorminy, Esq. A report released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention July 6, 2017, shows that the opioid epidemic is still raging. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/opioids/index.html The report showed that providers in the highest prescribing counties prescribed six times more opioids per person than the lowest prescribing counties in 2015. Half of US counties had a decrease in the amount of opioids (MME*) prescribed per person from 2010 to 2015. The MME prescribed per person in 2015 was about three times as high as in 1999. Counties covering the majority of Eastern Tennessee and Northern Alabama appear to be tops on the list. According to the report, the amount of opioids prescribed per capital in those counties were in the highest range, from 959 to 5,543 MME, morphine milligram equivalents. This calculation is a way to calculate the total amount of opioids, accounting for differences in…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Cyber Attack Could do as Much Damage as Superstorm Sandy New York Post A major, global cyber attack could trigger an average of $53 billion of economic losses, a figure on par with a catastrophic natural disaster such as … 22,000 People Agree to Clean Toilets for WiFi Because They Didn’t Read the Terms Gizmodo … and a marketing stunt to announce that Purple is the first WiFi provider to be compliant under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). FedEx Says Cyberattack to Hurt its 2018 Results CNBC Package delivery company FedEx said its 2018 results would be hurt in part due to disruption of operations at its TNT Express unit as a result of a … India’s Religare Says It Suffers Cyber Attack New York Times MUMBAI – Several units of India’s Religare financial services group suffered a cyber attack, but its systems,…       Read More

Written by: Jeffery R. Saxby, Esq. A St. Louis (MO) jury recently spotlighted the considerable danger associated with opioid injury or death litigation – a jury’s potential imposition of exorbitant punitive damage awards as an effort to cure a perceived social ill.  Healthcare providers and medical facilities must institute and follow specific practices and procedures in an effort to protect and insulate themselves from the threat of runaway juries assessing ridiculously high compensatory and punitive damage awards. Fertile Ground for Liability Let’s face facts, the opioid epidemic has caught physicians and medical facilities unprepared.  Due to a lack of preparedness and training, physicians who have prescribed opioids for pain management are facing liability both for prescribing too much as well as too little.  The new wave of opioid related litigation not only arises from physical injuries or death associated with the use of opioids, but is increasingly arising from reported…       Read More