Posted On: November 18, 2009

Birmingham Personal Injury News: FDA Reluctant to Discipline Doctors Found Guilty of Criminal Activities

It’s a sad commentary that some physicians are more concerned about personal gain than about people. As an Alabama personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen the victims of medical malpractice up close and I'm appalled by the seemingly lack of compassion on the part of many doctors whose actions result in the injury or death of a patient. Anyone who has suffered from medical mistakes, improper surgerical procedures, or other physician-related errors should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Recently I ran across a story detailing how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been slow to bar healthcare professionals, such as doctors and medical researchers who have been convicted of various crimes, from carrying out research for the FDA. According to government watchdog group, many of these criminally convicted health professionals are in charge of overseeing the safety of patients undergoing clinical trials, which calls into question how safe any of us are when it comes to medical research in general.

The FDA has been so slow, in fact, that one documented case involved a doctor who carried out work for the FDA for 11 years even though he had been convicted of 53 counts of criminal offense for, among other things, bribing an employee to conceal information about the attempted suicide of a clinical-trial patient and prescribing a drug without a license.

This is shocking, but it only serves to remind us all that we are not always as safe in the hands of medical professionals as we expect to be. A variety of injuries and chronic afflictions, not to mention wrongful death are just some of the adverse outcomes of medical malpractice.

According to report, the FDA has the authority to bar doctors from overseeing the safety of patients in clinical trials if those health professional flout federal regulations. The FDA is required to disqualify doctors who are convicted of fraud or other crimes. However, it takes the agency an average of four years to strip doctors of their powers, according to a report by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The types of misconduct that can get a doctor debarred include submitting false information to the FDA, forging patient consent forms and not reporting when a patient has an adverse reaction to an experimental drug.

The GAO says it recommends that the FDA be given debarment authority for medical devices, and that regulations be rewritten so any doctor debarred from one area of agency regulation is barred from participating in all others. The report notes that three doctors who either didn't follow FDA regulations or committed crimes still haven't been debarred. One of the cases stretches back to 2005.


FDA Slow to Debar Doctors Who Commit Crimes, Report Says, WSJ.com, October 22, 2009

Tags: Alabama Personal Injury Attorney, Birmingham Injury Lawyer, clinical trials, crime, Criminal, Doctor, experimental drugs, FDA, federal regulations, healthcare, medical malpractice, medical research, misconduct, patient safety, unlicensed, wrongful death

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Posted On: November 4, 2009

Alabama Personal Injury News: 3.8 Million Toyota Vehicles Recalled for Safety-Related Problem

Some of the simplest automobile defects can potentially kill and injure innocent people. Recently, across Alabama and elsewhere, Toyota recalled nearly four million cars and trucks for a problem that may cause the gas pedal to stick. This could make the vehicle accelerate out of control, possibly injuring the driver and passengers, and potentially endangering pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles. Curiously, the problem has to do with the floor mat design in some of the company’s vehicles.

While not strictly a mechanical defect, the design of these floor mats was obviously not thought out completely. This may sound humorous to some, but it’s no laughing matter. As an Alabama personal injury lawyer, I recommend that anyone injured by a Toyota vehicle affected with this problem should consider their right to compensation for any medical cost and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering they may have endured as a result. You need a qualified attorney to represent your case.

In September 2007, Toyota recalled an accessory all-weather floor mat sold for use in some 2007 and 2008 model year Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Camry vehicles because of similar problems. More recently, Toyota ordered 1,400 Toyota and Lexus dealers nationwide to ensure that each new, used and loaner vehicles had the proper floor mats and that the mats were properly secured.

This latest recall involves popular Toyota models such as the popular Camry and the hybrid Prius model. News articles indicate that Toyota is cooperating the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find a fix for the problem.

This kind of product defect, although seemingly simple in nature, is just one of many equipment problems that can cause a motorist to lose control of his of her vehicle and perhaps become injured or even be killed. Because this problem could cause a racing engine scenario, the lives of other drivers, pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles could be endangered.

The NHTSA said it had received reports of 102 incidents in which the accelerator may have become stuck on the Toyota vehicles involved. It’s unclear how many of these resulted in crashes but the inquiry was prompted by a high-speed wreck back in August in the state of California. At that time, a Lexus sped out of control, reaching speeds exceeding 120mph. The family inside the vehicle made a frantic call to 911 to say that the accelerator was stuck and they couldn't stop the vehicle.

Anyone hurt as a result of such an incident should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer with a deep knowledge of automotive accident cases. No matter how minor the problem may seem, almost any defective vehicle component can become a safety concern if proper action is not taken to correct the problem. Don’t let your wellbeing or that of your family be adversely affected by even the simplest of vehicle defects.


Toyota, Lexus Mat Recall: 3.8 Million Vehicles Recalled Over Floor Mats, HuffingtonPost.com, September 29, 2009