Dangerous Prescription Drugs

Five Potentially Dangerous Prescription Drugs

Who Can Help When Someone is hurt by Drugs that Were Supposed to Help?

For the better part of our nation’s existence, illnesses and injuries that today would be routinely remedied with a pill or an intravenous drug killed millions of people. Advances in antibiotics particularly have saved countless lives and pain medications have made life more livable for millions of Americans. The pharmaceutical industry is to be commended for their dedication to research and development of products that has produced products that dramatically improve the quality of life for people around the world.

Dangerous Prescription Drugs

Perhaps the inverse of the adage “Every cloud has a silver lining” is true in that every silver lining has a cloud. The advancement and quantity of new drugs has produced a very complex set of effects and side effects where many patients gobble down handfuls of pills every day without really understanding what or why they are doing it.

The following drugs were developed for a specific purpose and are not necessarily dangerous if taken as prescribed. They do have the potential – as does any drug – to harm a patient if they are not taken exactly as prescribed or if they interact with other medications, chemicals, or foods that may produce negative side-effects.

  1. Prednisone or Cortisone – It is not recommended to take this drug for a period longer than two weeks. While it is a fantastic short term product for things such as poison ivy treatment, it has significant side effects, which differ depending on how the drug is taken.
  2. Methotrexate is a chemotherapeutic drug, which means that it is actually a poison. It is used mainly in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, often at the same time as cortisone drugs, which has the potential to be lethal particularly with long term use. Methotrexate is prescribed to a significant number of rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  3. Warfarin is a blood thinner, which may be needed to treat people with certain blood disorders. However, it is so potent that there have actually been incidents of people bleeding to death after suffering from a slight fall or razor cut. Additionally, warfarin may cause a weakening of blood vessels over time. The drug is often prescribed to treat people who are at risk of heart attacks or strokes.
  4. Diuretics are prescribed to make kidneys function better, and there are a number of low level diuretics that can be purchased over the counter. Essentially, they help the body to excrete excess water, providing very rapid relief. They are often prescribed to people who have cardiac problems and the reality is that diuretics are life-saving drugs. However, they also have significant side effects, particularly on the long term.
  5. Proscar is prescribed to men to treat enlarge prostate glands and also for hair-loss. Some 40,000 men a year lose their life to this form of cancer, and those numbers are rising. In fact, when a man reaches the age of 70, it is highly likely that he will have at least some cancerous cells found on the prostate, although this does not necessarily always lead to prostate cancer. The effectiveness of Proscar remains in question.

Pharmacy Errors – Most people over the age of 50 remember the days of the corner drug store when you knew your pharmacist by his or her first name, and your pharmacist knew the names of your kids. Today’s local pharmacies are busy mega-stores with drive-thru windows and are owned by large national corporations. The personal service seems to be gone, and high-volume of work assigned each pharmacist may be contributing to a rising rate of errors in dosage, labeling, and even the wrong pills being placed in prescription bottles.

The Right Help – The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping victims of pharmacy errors and other drug injuries for over 20 years. If you have had a problem with your prescription drugs, Gary and Arleen Lazarus are qualified to investigate your situation and then recommend the best course of action. Please contact them at 954-356-0006.

Florida Boating Accidents

More Florida Boats Means More Boating Accidents

Who Can Help When Someone is hurt in a Florida Boating Accident?

The dictionary defines boating as “the use of boats, especially for pleasure,” and certainly sailing out into the deep blue sea or motoring across a lake is both relaxing and fun. People sometimes drop their usual inert tendency to exercise caution when they are boating, and that’s when accidents happen.

Boating has increased in popularity across the country and especially in Florida, the number one ranked state for number of boat registrations. As the number of boats grows and the waterways become more congested, the number of accidents and injuries climbs as well.

The most recent full-year report available for Florida covers 2014 –  in summary:

Even though the state’s 634 reportable accidents were fewer than the total of 734 in 2013, and injuries were down from 420 to 365, fatalities increased from 62 to 73. The top 10 counties in Florida with the most accidents per 100 boats registered were:

1 – Miami-Dade

2 – Monroe (the Keys)

3 – Pinellas

4 – Palm Beach

5 – Lee

6 – Broward

7 – Collier

8 – Volusia

9 – Brevard

10 – Okaloosa

Boating Accident Questions

So, what happens when there is a boat accident and someone is injured? Is it the same as a car accident? Is there liability and collision insurance? Who determines who is at fault? Can a regular accident attorney help?

Florida Boating AccidentsThese are all excellent questions, but the answers are not necessarily clear-cut. Boating accidents may be investigated by local police, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or the U.S. Coast Guard, depending on the circumstances. Insurance for boating accidents is not the same as for automobiles. There are times when a passenger injured on a boat might be covered by their homeowner’s insurance, but they may not be covered.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) Accidents

Jet-skis, wave-runners, and other small and speedy watercraft are growing in popularity and unfortunately so are the accidents. Five people were killed in 2014 personal watercraft accidents, and dozens were injured. Persons operating personal watercraft may or may not carry insurance, so it is advisable to check before riding on one.

Boating Accident Answers

Different jurisdictions, different laws covering different types of watercraft, and insurance coverages that may have very wide gaps. The Florida Statutes covering “vessels” or all watercraft are mostly located in Chapters 326-328 but the laws are difficult for a non-lawyer to understand. It can be confusing!

The Right Attorney

The entire process covering boating accidents, liability, negligence, and even the possibility of criminal implications is a very specialized area of law that only a handful of attorneys in Florida have chosen as a special area for their practice. The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping victims of Florida boating accidents for over 20 years and they are eminently qualified to investigate and then recommend the best course of action for anyone who reaches out to contact them at 954-356-0006.

edited by Carlok Bennuple

pharmacy errors

The Rate of Prescription Errors is High and Rising

Every job has a potential for making errors. Getting the wrong entrée at a restaurant happens every now and then, and I took home another person’s dry cleaning last month when the clerk handed me the wrong items. Filling prescriptions, one would think, has a very low rate for errors. That’s not entirely accurate.

Most patients who deal with buying prescriptions on a regular basis probably think that with advances in computer technology and the high level of training for pharmacists and pharmacy techs, they don’t even need to check what’s in the little brown bottles. But studies show it’s smart to check, and double-check.

Big Mistakes

One study revealed a dispensing error rate “of more than one in five prescriptions” (Journal of the American Pharmacists Association). Last year, more than 4 billion prescriptions were filled in the U.S. A 20 percent error rate would represent 800 million mistakes. Though most are relatively minor, some have led to disability and even death.

Another study concluded that error rates are actually getting higher, especially in large medical centers and hospitals. Errors included mistakes on labels and duplicate orders, but one of the most common errors was incorrect dosage for warfarin, also known as brand name Coumadin, which is a blood-thinning medication. When warfarin is administered in too-high dosages, very serious internal bleeding may occur.

pharmacy errorsFrom the results the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association study: Of 100 prescriptions dispensed, 22 had one or more deviation from the physician’s written order, for a 22% dispensing error rate. Three of the errors were judged to be potentially harmful when dispensed to a typical patient requiring these therapies. A total of 43 shoppers (43%) received verbal counseling, including 16 cases in which the shopper prompted counseling. All shoppers received written information with their prescription, covering an average of 90% of the required topics.

The results also included this very disturbing conclusion: Some 68% of the warfarin shoppers purchased aspirin without the pharmacist verbally warning about taking the drugs simultaneously. Conclusion: The dispensing error rate of more than one in five prescriptions is similar to the rate found in a similar study conducted 14 years ago, but counseling frequency has decreased significantly during the period.

Drive-Thru Counseling?

Today’s pharmacies have drive-thru windows, which obviously makes counseling with a pharmacist very impractical. Patients should understand that taking just a few minutes to discuss side-effects and interactions may prevent a harmful side-effect from happening. Patients should also carefully examine their prescriptions to make sure they received the right medication and the correct dose.

Seek the Best Help

The Law Office of Lazarus and Lazarus has represented victims of pharmacy errors for over 20 years, and we are eminently qualified to handle any situation related to injuries, sickness, or death related to medication mistakes. A call to 954-356-0006 will put you in touch with Gary and Arleen Lazarus, personal injury attorneys who will carefully listen to your story and then recommend the best course of action for your individual situation.

Excursions from Cruise Ships can be Hazardous to your Health

Passengers who travel on cruise ships may believe that they are covered under the cruise line’s liability insurance from the moment they step foot on the boat until the time they disembark. That may not be entirely accurate.

Recently there have been several very tragic incidents involving injuries and deaths to passengers during “excursions” away from the ship.

A woman from Minnesota was killed while traveling by bus on the island of Jamaica. The victim was returning from an excursion to swim with dolphins back to the Royal Caribbean ship she had booked for her vacation when the bus she was riding in crashed.

A young boy from Italy was also killed in a vehicle crash while on an excursion from the MSC ship Orchestra.

Cruise_Ship_AccidentAnother passenger, from the Carnival ship Glory died on an excursion while visiting St. Kitts. In this incident, witnesses said the passenger was swimming or diving and experienced distress. An ambulance took over 20 minutes to arrive and the medics were unable to revive the victim, according to witnesses. The excursion may have been booked through the cruise line, but it is not completely clear if that was the case.

Cruise Ship Accidents

People tend to make reasonable assumptions that when they book their trip with a cruise line and spend a very substantial amount of time on board the ship, the cruise line will look after their safety for the entirety of the trip. Sadly, this is not true.

Cruise lines balance safety and security with maximizing profits and cutting costs. A special report by CNN said “You can’t find a cheaper vacation than spending a week on one of these “fun ships.” But the vacation comes with a hidden price. The cruise lines are working their crew members for excessively long hours and paying them extremely low wages.”

Injuries and deaths that happen on cruise ships and on excursions away from cruise ships are far too commonplace to be tolerated, and the law is murky about who may be responsible if there is any negligence or malpractice involved. Some passengers may believe the U.S. government will protect them, but according to a special notice from the Federal Maritime Commission, “It is important to know that the Commission has no authority over: passenger line vessel operations, safety issues, amenities on board vessels, or fare levels.”

So, what is a passenger to do if he or she is injured on a ship or during an excursion away from a ship, but during a scheduled cruise? The same thing every American has the right to do under the 7th Amendment, which is to pursue justice through the court.

Specialized Attorneys

Because of the special and complex nature of laws as they pertain to vessels at sea, there are very few attorneys who understand and practice cruise ship accident and negligence law. The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been representing the victims of cruise ship accidents for over 20 years, and they are exceptionally qualified to consult on any related issue. Gary and Arleen Lazarus can be reached by calling 954-356-0006 – they will meet and discuss your concerns in complete confidence.