Articles Posted in Pain

cbstulsavictims-300x120In Tulsa, Okla., a 45-year-old patient angry over what he claimed was the pain he suffered after a back operation, bought a handgun and an assault rifle. He stormed into the office of his orthopedic surgeon,  killing him, another doctor, a receptionist, and an office visitor, police say. The man then killed himself.

In Dayton, Ohio, a 30-year-old county jail inmate receiving care at a hospital wrestled with the 78-year-old contract guard accompanying him, fatally wounding him, threatening others, and finally killing himself.

The relentless spate of gun violence and multiple deaths has spread once again into settings designed to heal the sick and treat the injured.

Mallinckrodtlogo-300x137Even as the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis worsens and breaks annual records for its resulting death toll, the reckoning for parties blamed for fostering the national nightmare is grinding forward.

A federal judge in Cleveland has begun hearing arguments whether three giant pharmacy chains should be fined billions of dollars after a jury in November found them culpable for damages they caused in two Ohio counties in the opioid mess.

And new disclosures are emerging regarding bankrupt drug maker Mallinckrodt, which federal officials have described as the “the kingpin within the drug cartel” of legitimate companies driving the opioid epidemic.

dcpolicetweet-300x214The opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis has veered into a frightening new phase in which the rise of the easy-to-make, exceedingly powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl is causing multiple, interconnected deaths at one time.

The nation’s capital already has experienced this grim situation, which only shows signs of worsening, the Washington Post reported on April 12:

“Ten people in two neighborhoods in Northeast Washington have now died from a lethal batch of fentanyl, police said .. the second mass-casualty incident involving the deadly opioid in the District this year. Police said at least 17 people overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl in Trinidad and Ivy City from [April 9-11] and seven of them survived. In January, nine people died after taking a similar concoction in a neighborhood near Nationals Park. Authorities arrested two people in that case and said they do not believe the most recent incidents are connected to the earlier overdoses.”

blamehearingoxytscott-300x197Three members of a plutocratic clan finally got a direct, bitter earful from those who suffered grievous harms from the opioid crisis which was fostered, critics say, by their family business — Purdue Pharmaceutical and its powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin.

As part of prospective $10 billion settlement of thousands of lawsuits by states, counties, cities, Indian tribes, and individuals against Purdue, members of the Sackler family have, at long last, expressed “regret” about the opioids crisis, for which they also emphatically deny any responsibility.

But they also agreed that a federal bankruptcy judge would conduct an unusual hearing at which claimants could confront the family. The Sacklers listened at the session to the speakers, as agreed upon, without comment. The family members, as the Associated Press reported, were:

abuse-150x150Women suffer significant, sustained damage from head traumas inflicted on them during domestic abuse, and victims themselves, doctors, law enforcement, and too many others have underestimated the severity of this problem.

Here is the harsh reality of too many women’s terrifying experiences, as reported in a tough-to-read but important New York Times magazine article that quotes, among others, Eve M. Valera, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and a leading researcher on traumatic brain injuries among survivors of domestic violence:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in five women in the United States experience severe intimate-partner violence over the course of their lifetimes, resulting in physical injuries, most commonly to the head, neck and face. Concussions are likely to appear with alarming regularity. Every year, hundreds of concussions occur in the [National Football League]; thousands occur in the military. Valera’s estimated number of annual brain injuries among survivors of domestic abuse: 1.6 million.

oxycontin-150x150A plutocratic clan has upped its ante by $1.5 billion in an apparently successful bet that using bankruptcy courts, mediation, and offering to settle giant claims in the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis will be cheaper and less risky than battling on with thousands of plaintiffs seeking billions of dollars more.

Members of the Sackler family, thus, may elude still the harshest possible reckoning that they have fought tooth and nail to avoid — losing maximum amounts of the fortune they amassed through their company, Purdue Pharmaceutical, and its potent, path-blazing painkiller OxyContin, and getting held personally liable in the civil system in a public health nightmare that has claimed 500,000 lives in a decade.

(Family members would not be free of potential criminal charges, though experts have long said these would be difficult to press.)

jJlogo-300x139States, counties, and cities within weeks could start to receive desperately needed money to battle the deadly opioid abuse and overdose crisis as part of a newly finalized, $26 billion settlement with the largest distributors of prescription medications and a onetime maker of powerful painkillers.

Janssen, one of the distributors, and the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson will pay $5 billion a year for nine years as part of the deal struck in the summer and approved by plaintiffs in the case, according to the New York Times. The other three distributors — McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen —will pay a combined $21 billion over 18 years.

Under the settlement, 85% of these payouts will cover addiction treatment and prevention efforts aimed at quelling the opioid crisis. It has claimed an estimated 500,000 American lives over a decade. It worsened during the coronavirus pandemic, killing an estimated 100,000 Americans last year and setting disconcerting new fatality records, especially with the rise of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Those drugs, which criminals are lacing into their wares, including marijuana, are extremely potent at even tiny doses.

blindfoldjustice-150x150Big Pharma is blazing a legal trail that wealthy corporations are racing to follow. The corporatists are using a new approach to crush patients and other consumers who seek justice in the civil system with claims that drug makers and other big businesses harmed them with defective and dangerous products or demonstrable misbehavior.

The U.S. Constitution recognizes the fundamental right of claimants to have their cases heard in trial courts. But drug makers and other corporations hope to upend accepted norms, by shoving large-scale liability cases into federal bankruptcy courts that legal scholars say were never intended to hear such matters. As Bruce Markell, a Northwestern Pritzker School of Law professor and retired bankruptcy judge, told the Wall Street Journal of this rapacious corporate tactic:

“This is an attack on the American tort system.”

pillslotsa-150x150As the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis rages, experts — after decades now of experience with powerful painkillers — continue to struggle with their proper handling and prescribing.

The federal Centers for Disease Control, on the one hand, has softened its earlier tough guidelines on the medications, while a  top government commission assailed the spiking U.S. overdose deaths and called synthetic opioids like fentanyl and the damage they cause a threat to the “national security and well-being.”

The U.S. Supreme Court also is scheduled to consider when doctors cross a line and act in criminal fashion in prescribing drugs — a professional privilege with wide latitude. The justices, in taking up this issue, consolidated two criminal appeals from doctors whom federal authorities convicted of running pill mills or distributing drugs resulting in death.

jJlogo-300x139No matter how wrong-headed critics may assail the civil justice system, Native Americans have clear evidence that liability lawsuits really do work. For hundreds of tribes and their members, the pursuit of  justice in the courts soon will help remedy the disproportionate damage they suffered at Big Pharma’s hands in the still-raging opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis.

As major media organizations have reported, indigenous communities reached a tentative $590 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s three largest drug distributors: McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen.

J&J denied any wrongdoing, while the others either declined to comment or emphasized that the settlement — atop an earlier deal by the companies with the Cherokee Nation for $75 million — will provide big urgently needed sums to help Native people and communities struggling with the drug addicted and debilitated. The companies, in contrast to other cases in which they are involved, have said they will speed payments to plaintiffs. As the New York Times reported:

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