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As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues investigations of clusters of Covid-19 cases among cruise ship passengers and staff, many are left to wonder how this may have happened in the first place, and if the quick spread of the novel disease was due to corporate negligence. At least 32 cruise ships have now been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, resulting in deadly exposures to the disease, illness, and extended quarantine stays onboard. A recent Wall Street Journal investigation published on May 1, 2020 revealed that many of these ships continued to go on with voyages knowing…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices (Commission) has released its final report concerning pretrial reform in the Illinois criminal justice system. For two years, the Commission studied best practices in use around the country, consulted pretrial reform experts, listened to stakeholders throughout the state, and analyzed the myriad sources of academic and professional analysis of pretrial issues. A preliminary report was released in December 2018. The Commission held public hearings in Springfield, Champaign/Urbana, Chicago, and Freeport between April and June 2019. The written comments and testimony submitted during those public hearings were incorporated into the final report and…
The attorneys of Levin & Perconti are pleased to announce the firm secured more settlements over $500,000 than any other law firm in Illinois over the last year. Having reached 58 of these top-dollar settlements between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, the firm brought in more than $75 million for its clients and was also highlighted in Chicago Lawyer Magazine’s 2019 Settlement Survey as one of the top five law firms in the state for total settlements secured. Each year, Chicago Lawyer and the Illinois Jury Verdict Reporter — a sister publication within Law Bulletin Media — examine top reported…
Companies Can Prevent Fatal Lung Disease in Stone Fabrication Workers Thousands of U.S. workers are getting sick from cutting, grinding and polishing slabs of artificial stone used to make kitchen and bathroom countertops. The “engineered stone” is at risk of creating damaging levels of respirable crystalline silica in a workplace. Workers have been linked to cases of death and dangerous and irreversible lung injury in stone fabricators who cut, grind and polish high levels of the mineral silica, and then breathe in silica dust outputs. An updated report by the Centers for Disease Control Doctors titled Severe Silicosis in Engineered
Zantac and Generic Ranitidine May Be Harmful The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently revealed that Zantac and generic varieties contain a chemical that could be linked to cancer, called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Concern erupted when private lab Valisure found the contaminant and alerted FDA officials of a problem stemming from the composition of the drug. Several large pharmacy chains and stores such as Walmart, Rite-Aid, CVS and Walgreens have since suspended the sales of Zantac branded heartburn medicines and generic versions that contain active ingredient ranitidine. Three drugmakers – Apotex, Sandoz and GlaxoSmithKline – have recalled generic versions. The…
Episiotomy Complications After Childbirth As more women speak up about their pregnancy challenges, share delivery stories and post-partum struggles, many are starting to let their doctors know that the unnecessary episiotomy they performed during childbirth has created lasting injuries and made sexual intercourse painful if not impossible. The American Pregnancy Association identifies these situations in which an episiotomy may be needed for any of the following reasons: Birth is imminent and the perineum hasn’t had time to stretch slowly The baby’s head is too large for the vaginal opening The baby is in distress The mother needs a forceps or…
Toxic E-Cigarette Products Cause Deadly Respiratory Illness Outbreak and 1 Death in Illinois  As of September 5, 2019, health officials reported to The Washington Post that five people have now died of a lung illness linked to vaping with another 450 possible cases in 33 states and one territory known. E-cigarettes, which officials define as battery-operated devices that heat a liquid and deliver an aerosol product, are most commonly used to inhale nicotine but can also be used to deliver (vape) THC, CBD and certain types of oils. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released…
2000 Illinois Homes in University Park Without Safe Drinking Water Due to dangerous lead levels found in tap water, could the Illinois community of University Park become the next Flint, Michigan or Newark, New Jersey? It’s been nearly a month since University Park’s mayor declared a state of emergency sparked by a “do not consume water” advisory made by Aqua Illinois. Aqua Illinois is the private company that supplies water to University Park and other suburbs in Cook, Kane, Kankakee, Lake and Will counties. Aqua officials issued the order after detecting extremely elevated lead levels in the drinking water…
Children and Infants Neglected at Immigrant Detention Centers  A new report described the humanitarian crisis involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and more than 250 children, including infants living in “squalor and neglect” due to a lack of sanitation, food, and water at a facility in Texas. Within the report were interviews between lawyers, physicians, psychologists, and caseworkers and the children who shared information about their living conditions. Several media outlets have since covered the story and shared these horrific examples of neglect. The Associated Press: “The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities,”…
FDA Releases 20 Years of “Hidden” Data Related to Medical Device Injuries and Deaths  Serious medical complications and lifelong injuries, and even death, can result from a risky or wrong medical device. But a March 8, 2019 Kaiser Health News investigative report has led to the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) release of two decades worth of previously hidden data containing millions of malfunctions by medical devices and allowed some manufacturers to keep potential safety issues quiet. Some of the FDA’s public reporting of adverse device outcomes were previously filed as an “alternative summary,” and included more than 5.7…
Johnson & Johnson’s Talc Powder Product Marketing Still Aimed at Minority Groups Despite Cancer Claims Decades of questioning the use and dangers of cosmetic talc powder in health and personal hygiene products finally came to light in 2006, when the World Health Organization began classifying cosmetic talc as “possibly carcinogenic.” At the head of the issue was well-known consumer product company, Johnson & Johnson along with its signature Baby Powder products. Despite tests revealing that the talc J&J uses is possibly harmful to humans and its related health risks, the company continues to focus on selling the product focusing on…
Three Veterans Die by Suicide in One Week at VA Facilities  Veterans advocacy groups are pleading for the inspectors general of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services to promptly begin a joint investigation after three veterans took their own lives at VA facilities in just one week. According to VA representatives, since 2017 the department has tracked 260 suicide attempts at its facilities, with 240 of those having been interrupted. As many as 20 veterans are dying by suicide each day. This is a tragically preventable number that reflects one…
FDA Says Surgical Mesh Manufacturers Must Stop Selling Unsafe Devices On April 16, 2019, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered two manufacturers of three different vaginal mesh products to immediately stop selling and distributing their products for not meeting U.S. premarket standards for high risk devices. The FDA also said there was insufficient evidence that the mesh worked better than surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP). The three vaginal mesh devices are: Uphold LITE by Boston Scientific Xenform by Boston Scientific Restorelle DirectFix Anterior by Coloplast These are all of the remaining synthetic mesh products typically provided…
Department of Public Health Says Cancer Risk Studies Will Continue Southwest of Chicago On March 29, 2019, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released news that the Willowbrook Cancer Incidence Assessment study involving the area surrounding the Sterigenics facility in DuPage County found that cancers were indeed elevated. The increased cancer risk presents a public health hazard, prompting IDPH to investigate the implications associated with ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions in the Willowbrook area and recommend for further research. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EtO is a colorless gas commonly used to sterilize some types of medical…
New Proposed Legislation for Illinois Workers Exposed to Toxic Substance Injuries Now Sits with Governor Pritzker The Illinois General Assembly has passed Senate Bill 1596, which is now at the hands of the new Governor awaiting passage to become a law. The legislation will allow workers to file a claim for benefits after being exposed to harmful substances (such as asbestos or beryllium) and later develop symptoms of injury or disease after the statutes of limitations has run out. The current 25-year time bar has made it nearly impossible for those workers to seek support thru the Illinois civil…
4 Illinois Immigrant Shelters Will Close After Repeated Incidents of Child Maltreatment For more than 20 years, the Chicago area has been the temporary home to many migrant children detained after crossing the border. Some of these young immigrants were either alone or were taken from their immigrant parents to now be overseen by the U.S. Health and Human Services department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. Currently, the largest caretaker for these children in Illinois is a 130-year-old nonprofit, Heartland Human Care Services, part of Heartland Alliance. ProPublica Illinois published a detailed report on December 21, 2018 which revealed several Heartland facilities…