I love watching the Bachelor on Monday night, and I especially love some of the great quotes that come from these smart, beautiful women. You can’t make some of this stuff up! This week was no disappointment, it picked up right where the drama left off last week. Olivia Caridi is a news anchor / reporter, and when Bachelor Ben Higgins pulls her aside, she tells Ben she wants to talk smart things. Then they all head to Exuma Island of the Bahamas, where Ben takes Caila deep sea fishing. If you are a fan of the Bachelor, check out my friend Andrea’s Bachelor Recaps, every Tuesday over on http://andrealebeau.blogspot.com.
In January, Ava and I got a membership at the San Diego Zoo / San Diego Safari Park. So far, we have twice gone to the Safari Park, including yesterday. Ava is the perfect age and loves to see all the animals. We haven’t gone to the zoo yet but I think we will in the next couple of weeks. We got a Curator’s Club membership, which means I can bring any adult guest any time I go – it’s great. So yesterday my sister Caroline came. We only stayed for about 3 hours, but went on the Tiger Trail, visited the bats, watched the cheetahs, and enjoyed the Africa Tram. Can’t wait to go back soon.
The US Government Accountability Office announced yesterday it would be investigating the use of laparoscopic power morcellators, at the request of 12 members of congress, who cited the deaths of “hundreds, if not thousands of women in America” who have died from uterine cancer or other gynecological cancer.
Back in November of 2014, the FDA issued a black box warning to ensure physicians and their patients know about the risks of power morcellators. If you are unfamiliar, power morcellation is used in a non-invasive hysterectomy or myomectomy surgeries. In a laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery, the uterus is minced up, (morcellated), into smaller pieces inside the woman’s belly cavity in order to be extracted from the abdomen. It can consist of a hollow cylinder that penetrates the abdominal wall, ending with sharp edges or cutting jaws, through which a grasper can be inserted to pull the mass into the cylinder to cut out an extractable piece.
But was the less invasive surgery really worth the risk? The advantage of using a morcellator device is of course, a smaller incision and quicker recovery. However, if the woman has undetected cancer such as uterine sarcoma, the breaking up of tissue can increase the risk of cancerous tissue being spread throughout the woman’s abdomen and pelvis. And this has happened a lot. Read much more on fredhutch.org. There have been dozens of reported incidents, and so far about 45 lawsuits have been filed in federal or state court. The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated more than 20 lawsuits into an MDL (number 2652) which was approved in October. Fortunately, the use of morcellators has largely been abandoned.
The companies being sued in power morcellation lawsuits include Johnson & Johnson, which makes the Ethicon Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator.
Ava was gone for a few days in Oklahoma for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I missed her so much!! I had some time to do a little Christmas decorating, and while I was at Lowes shopping around, I saw an inflatable “Olaf” snowman from Frozen, our favorite movie. I knew she would just love
it him, so I brought him home. When Ava got out of the car, she spotted the deflated snowman and immediately had to investigate. I went and plugged in his little fan, and whipped out my phone to capture the magic. She was so excited!
We’ve been watching Xarelto lawsuits work their way through the legal system since the FDA first issued that warning letter to Johnson & Johnson back in June 2013. It was predicted that lawsuits would continue to be filed, and that’s just what’s happened. One of the legal blogs I follow, Lawyers and Settlements, reported this week that the MDL has more than 2,200 consolidated cases. That’s a lot more than 11 months ago, when about two dozen lawsuits were first consolidated back in December 2014.
Xarelto, generically known as rivaroxaban, was first approved by the FDA as an anticoagulant or “blood thinner” back in July 2011. In November 2011, the FDA approved it to reduce stroke risk in people with atrial fibrillation. In November 2012, the FDA approved Xarelto for deep vein thrombosis.
Xarelto is different than Coumadin / warfarin, the blood thinner that’s been on the market for decades. Unlike Coumadin, patients taking Xarelto do not need to undergo routine blood tests. However, there is no antidote for Xarelto. With Coumadin, if a bleeding event occurs, a patient can be treated with Vitamin K, and usually the bleeding can be stopped. In a patient treated with Xarelto, a bleeding event is potentially life-threatening. Bayer, the manufacturer of Xarelto, is working on an antidote. The first Xarelto-related death was reported to the FDA in November 2011.
The thousands of lawsuits that have been filed allege that patients were not warned that there was no antidote to Xarelto, One of the more recent lawsuitd was filed by Ashlie Fluitt, whose grandmother, Hattie Deville Goodwin, was prescribed Xarelto in September 2014 for her deep vein thrombosis. Two months after she began taking Xarelto, Deville-Goodwin experienced an intracranial bleed, which was irreversible and fatal. She passed away on November 14, 2014.
The first bellwether Xarelto cases will likely go to trial early in 2017. From the thousands of cases now in the MDL – and those projected to have come forward by the start of the New Year – 40 cases will be shortlisted. Plaintiffs and defendants will choose 10 cases each, with another 20 cases chosen at random. If you’ve experienced a bleeding event while taking this drug, you should contact a Xarelto lawyer – as soon as possible.