Monday, April 8, 2013

Michigan Contaminated Steroid Injection Cases

Charfoos & Christensen has accepted and filed suit in a number of the Michigan Contaminated Steroid Injection Cases. The cases that the firm is accepting include: death cases; cases with stroke; and cases diagnosis with fungal meningitis or fungal abscess. Unlike other Michigan attorneys who are filing these cases in Federal Court, Charfoos & Christensen's cases are being filed in the State Court of Massachusetts against the compounding company, its owners, its pharmacists, its testing lab and other related defendants. Since the filing of the early Massachusetts State Court cases, the primary defendant, The New England Compounding Company (NECC) has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. It is likely that the defendant owners of NECC will also request Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. We are waiting to see whether the Massachusetts State Court will allow the state cases to proceed against the non-bankruptcy filing defendants such as NECC's independent testing laboratory.

Breast Implant Update

Charfoos & Christensen, 20 years later, still represents 238 women injured by Silicone Gel Breast Implants manufactured by Dow Corning. The Dow Corning Settlement Trust is beginning to issue small supplemental payments to some of our clients on a case by case basis. We will contact you immediately if you are one of those clients. We need your help. Some of our clients have passed away without identifying next of kin, addresses or phone numbers. For this reason, we are asking each of you to write a short note to our office identifying the name, address, telephone number and social security number of the one or two individuals you would designate as your heirs. These individuals should be husbands, children, or brothers and sisters. Because the amounts of money tend to be $10,000.00 or less, we cannot afford to hire private detectives to find missing clients or heirs. Any money we cannot place with a proper client or heir goes back to the DOW Corning Trust. For this reason it is imperative that you send us the letter or note we are requesting in this breast implant update. Please address your letters to J. Douglas Peters, Charfoos & Christensen, P.C., at 5510 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202. Please also include your current complete address and phone numbers.


Surgery using robotic instrumentation is an emerging technology presenting both potential and pitfalls. Robotic surgical technologies were initially developed by the United States Military to allow distant surgeons to remotely operate near the battlefield. This promise was never fulfilled. However, the manufacturers of robotic instrumentation have aggressively promoted this technology to civilian markets. As today's hospitals compete with each other for surgical patients, offering the latest technologies has become a significant marketing tool. Minimally invasive surgery, open MRI imaging and robotic surgical capabilities have become necessary acquisitions by hospitals that want to compete at the level of radio, TV, billboards and internet marketing. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Office of Technology Assessment and other branches of the government are trying to determine whether the benefits of robotic surgery produce superior outcomes to current open and laparoscopic surgical techniques. For some procedures robotic surgery may prevail, but for most, the increased costs do not justify similar or lesser outcomes. Too many surgeons too poorly trained and lacking experience are practicing on living patients as you read this article. For some procedures, as many as 100 procedures using the robot are necessary before the surgeon develops adequate competence. Patients should always be sure to ask the surgeon proposing robotic surgery how many of these specific procedures the surgeon has actually performed as the main surgeon. In a recent case, the first of its kind in Michigan, Charfoos & Christensen attorneys sued a major Michigan hospital for injuries caused during the performance of a robotic surgery, only to find out that this was the surgeon's third surgery using a robot. Had the procedure been performed laparoscopically or with an open incision, it would have taken six (6) hours. Instead, due to the inexperience of the surgeon, the surgery took 12 1/2 hours and the patient ended up with a significant injury to the leg because the patient, once positioned for robotic surgery, cannot be moved until the robot is undocked at the end of the surgery. On our website is a more expansive article published in Trial Magazine that more fully documents and identifies the several serious downsides to robotic surgery. Charfoos & Christensen has the resources and experience necessary to help you pursue a medical malpractice claim and/or products liability claim for injuries caused by robotic surgical mishaps. Charfoos & Christensen was one of the first law firms in the nation to file suit against improperly trained surgeons causing injury to patients using robotic surgical devices. If you believe you have been injured or have lost a loved one during a robotics procedure, please contact one of our highly knowledgeable robotic surgery attorneys. Charfoos & Christensen lawyers are here to answer your questions and to discuss how you can protect your legal rights. Call our Detroit office at 313.875.8080, or toll free at 1.800.247.5974.


According to AARP hospitals are "the worst place to be if you're sick." Each year as many as 100,000 Americans die in hospitals from preventable medical mistakes. Although 10 years has passed since a sustained effort to reduce hospital errors, the number of deaths continue. A report released in January of 2012 found that hospital staff did not report " . . . a whopping 86% of harms done to patients". It seems that the human natures of denial and rationalization, as well as covering one's own butt, is a significant barrier to reducing hospital errors and the deaths that result from them. Indeed, one study of Medicare patients found that 1 in 7 patients died or were harmed by their hospital care. Incredibly, the number of patients who die each year from hospital errors is equal to 4 jumbo jets crashing each week. To protect yourself from such errors: 1) Bring an advocate, a friend or family member with you, especially for check in and discharge. It is important that the hospitals have a specific idea of what the signs and symptoms the patient is admitted with and sometimes the patient is not the best historian. Likewise, at discharge, the patient may be under medication or so anxious to leave the hospital that they do not fully comprehend their discharge instructions. 2) Bring a notebook to the hospital with you with a list of all your medications, why you take them and the name of the doctor who prescribed them. Include phone numbers of key physicians and medical contacts. If you have a cell phone bring it with you to the hospital. Also, use this notebook while you are in the hospital if questions come up, so you can write them down and remember to ask your doctor when he or she visits with you. 3) Bring a big bottle of hand sanitizer to the hospital. Put it by your bed to remind you and the staff to keep hands clean. Even today, most hospital infections are due to physician and nurse failures to wash their hands between patients. A recent study showed that one of the most contaminated items in a hospital is the cloth curtain that physicians, nurses and family members pull around the patient's bed to create privacy. Although they may look clean, along with toilet handles and taps, these cloth curtains are the most infected items in your hospital environment. 4) Finally, do not be shy. Do not assume that each of your doctors and nurses remembers your particular case. They may see 20 to 30 patients in a day and they may become confused about which patient has what. It is better to risk offending your doctor or your nurse by reminding them of why you are in the hospital and what care you are receiving, than to say nothing and suffer an injury as a result of that. Although the attorneys of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. spend their professional lives representing patients injured by physicians, hospitals and nurses, we are even more committed to the prevention of injuries because a lawsuit only provides money after an injury has occurred.