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Email : info@oxnerpermarlaw.com Todd Oxner is a founder and managing partner of Oxner + Permar , a North Carolina workers’ compensation firm. Since 1994 Todd has been known statewide for his success in handling workers’ compensation claims.

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Failures and Bard’s Cover Up: Part 1

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As many as 250,000 Americans are implanted with IVC Filters every year, making it one of the most popular medical devices in the country. These small, spider-like nets are implanted into a patient’s blood stream as a filter to prevent dangerous blood clots from traveling to the heart and lungs.

However, these devices come at a deadly cost. A recent NBC News investigation revealed that as many as 27 deaths have been associated with the Recovery Filter, manufactured by medical giant CR Bard. We’ve posted the NBC News video at the bottom of this page for your convenience.

Worse, after learning of the damage its product was causing, Bard never took steps to make the product safer or remove it from the market. Instead the executives at Bard turned to Hill and Knowton, the masterminds behind big tobacco’s media strategy. Together, the two companies formulated a plan to downplay the risks of the Recovery Filter and mislead the public in order to protect share prices. Bard also commissioned a confidential study that revealed the serious risk of filter fracture, migration within the blood stream and death but, again, did nothing to remedy the problem.

Bard’s scheme of misinformation was so successful not even doctors were aware of how deadly IVC Filters could be. This put patients like Dodi Froehlich, a 45-year-old mother of two, perilously close to death. In 2004, she was implanted with Bard’s Recovery Filter following a car accident. Several months after it was implanted, she was rushed to a hospital after her heart stopped beating. Doctors had no choice but to perform emergency surgery to remove a metal shard which had broken off from the filter and migrated to her heart.

Now, there are thousands of patients implanted with IVC Filters walking around every day. Many have already been injured. If you or a loved one suffered injury because of a defective IVC Filter, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Us to Learn More!

This article is part one of Oxner Permar + Richardson’s series on Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters.

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Failures and Bard’s Cover Up: Part 2

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We already know that IVC Filters are dangerous. We also already know that the manufacturers knew of the dangers but did nothing to protect the public. But did medical giant CR Bard, in order to obtain approval for their product, go so far as to forge a doctor’s signature on an application to the FDA?

Shockingly, that’s exactly what the second part of an NBC Nightly News investigation into IVC Filters revealed. Watch the video at the bottom of this page to see the signatures for yourself.

In 2002, Bard’s initial application for approval of the Recovery Filter was denied by the FDA. As part of its second attempt, Bard hired Kay Fuller, a senior regulatory affairs specialist, to assist with the application. Fuller brought her concerns to Bard officials and requested additional information after a clinical trial highlighted the product’s potential dangers. But instead of remedying the problems or giving Fuller the data she requested Fuller says Bard officials threatened to fire her if she didn’t stop asking questions.

Fuller refused to sign off on the application and left the project. Yet somehow her signature appeared on a critical FDA filing.

“That signature’s not mine,” Fuller told NBC, adding that she had no knowledge that her signature was included until recently. The FDA declined to comment on NBC’s report and Bard officials refused to be interviewed.

The NBC story also put a human face on the deeply tragic consequences of Bard’s greed. Gloria Adams, 55, was implanted with a Recovery Filter after suffering a brain aneurism. A week into her recovery a piece of the filter punctured her heart, killing her.

About 250,000 filters are implanted every year and many are never removed. If you or a loved one have been injured by an IVC Filter, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us to find out more.

This article is part two of Oxner Permar + Richardson’s series on Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters.

What Should I Do After a Car Wreck?

Personal Injury

Victims of car accidents are often in situations that they don’t understand or know how to deal with. In addition there may be medical issues or insurance questions. To protect your rights, you need to know what to do after an accident.

The personal injury attorneys at Oxner Permar + Richardson have decades of experience helping accident victims get fair compensation for their injuries. Here are a few tips about what to do if you are in a car wreck.

  • 1. Gather Information:
    • a. At the accident: Get, or ask someone else to get, pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved. Get the names and phone numbers of people who saw the accident.
    • b. A few days later: Get a copy of the police officer’s accident report. This report typically includes what each person said, any witness comments, and a picture showing the vehicles positions. The report may be available online within a few days after the accident. The accident reports are helpful but sometimes incomplete or not quite accurate.
  • 2. Document your injuries: If you go to the hospital be sure to tell your doctors everywhere you hurt. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that your doctor understands exactly what your problems are. It is important to know that the other driver’s insurance company is not going to pay your medical bills, or pay you anything, until your case settles. So, if you have health insurance – use it! Using your health insurance will allow you to get medical care when you need it and keep your medical providers from sending your bills to collection agents.
  • 3. Expect a phone call: You may also receive a telephone call a day or two after the accident from an insurance adjuster who represents the other vehicle’s driver. Adjusters typically ask detailed questions about how the accident happened, the extent that your vehicle was damaged, and the nature of your injuries, if any. Be aware, however, that some of the questions asked by the adjuster are designed to determine whether you may have done anything that would indicate that you were at fault. For this reason you may wish to decline speaking to the adjuster beyond telling the adjuster that you were injured, you need a rental vehicle, and/or that you need to have your vehicle repaired, until you have the chance to speak with an attorney.
  • 4. Call your insurance company. Ask your insurance agent if you have “Medical Payments” coverage on your policy. This type of insurance may pay $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or more towards your medical bills. That money can help you to pay for deductibles and co-pays that begin piling up after an accident.

Don’t worry! Now you know what to do if you’re the victim of a car accident. We hope it never happens to you but if it does you can always give us a call to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Living the High Life on Disability

Social Security Disability

Afternoon naps, limited household chores, and unscheduled days lounging around the house. Looking from the outside, being a Social Security Disability (SSD) recipient seems a like a great deal. Receive income without working? Fantastic!

What some people do not know is that those afternoon naps may be required because of chronic fatigue or negative side-effects of a prescribed medication. Household chores are limited because the disabled person is physically unable to bend/stoop/push/pull/lift without excruciating pain. Lastly, staying at home may be the only option if driving causes intense pain or being in social situations induces paralyzing panic attacks.

Some people believe the current SSD program encourages able-bodied people to stay out of work. While this dream-world might be true for a very small percentage of cases, if we look a little closer, a different picture begins to appear.

As of November 2015, the average monthly benefit for a Disability recipient was $1,165.76. That makes for a yearly income of $13,989.12, which is only $2,219.12 above the 2015 Poverty Guideline for a one-person household. Looking at these numbers, it becomes clear that Disability payments do not provide for luxury goods.

Just in case you’re curious – in 2014 the average able-bodied American’s salary was $46,481.52 a year.

Aside from the limited financial aspects, it is also important to remember that the majority of individuals receiving Disability payments are battling severe medical problems. Health dominates their thoughts, controls their actions, and affects their relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.

Lastly, did you know that 1 out of every 5 males and 1 out of every 7 females on Disability will die within 5 years of getting approved? This dire statistic supports the idea that those individuals would not have been active within the workforce, regardless of if they were on disability or not.

The Social Security Administration’s Monthly Statistical Snapshot can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/

Social Security Disability and Unemployment

Social Security Disability

When we speak with new clients my office goes through a list of questions that, at first glance, seem unrelated to a disability claim. Have you received unemployment? What is your education level? What do you do on a typical day? We don’t do this boring version of the “20 Questions Game” to be nosy or wastea client’s time. Instead, the answers to these questions can sometimes make or break a claim.

Let’s be clear: A Social Security Disability (SSD) case cannot be won without strong medical evidence. But a good representative knows that it is important to show that the claimant as a person, not just a stack of medical records. In this mini-series, we’ll look at a few of the non-medical factors that can impact a claim.

Unemployment:

Receiving unemployment benefits after the date you say you became disabled (“alleged onset date”) can be big issue. There is a conflict between saying “I am disabled” while certifying for unemployment. In order to receive Unemployment benefits the worker has to be *able* to work and *actively seek new employment.* Certifying that those statements are true for Unemployment while alleging, at the same time, that a person is disabled and *unable to work* doesn’t always add up.

There are long delays associated with disability applications and appeals; how are claimants supposed to survive when they cannot work? This is a tough question the Social Security Administration does not clearly address. In 2006 the SSA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Honorable Frank Cristaudo, issued a memorandum that stated that receiving Unemployment benefits did not make a aclaimant ineligible for SSD benefits. However, in 2011, a federal court case, Roberts v. Astrue, affirmed that a Judge was correct in using an application for Unemployment against the claimant.

Social Security judges are not consistent with how they approach unemployment. Some do not focus on the issue and leave it up to the State of North Carolina. Others will not award benefits for the time period when a claimant received unemployment; an amended onset date may be required.  Changing the onset date may impact the amount of retroactive benefits (“back-pay”) and the date of Medicare eligibility.

In short, when it comes to Unemployment, honesty is the best policy. If you decide to apply for Unemployment be truthful about your Disability application status. Also be sure your SSA Disability representative knows if you received unemployment benefits.