Tuesday, 11 February 2014

09:06 – Barbara’s mom was released from the hospital yesterday. Frances picked her up at the hospital and got her home late in the afternoon. Barbara went over to Sankie’s apartment at 4:00 and met the home health people to get things ready for Sankie’s arrival. They got Sankie settled in, but then had to wait for the guy to deliver the oxygen concentrator. Barbara finally got home around 9:30. She’s not sure if Sankie is doing any better mentally, and is concerned that this will turn into a “revolving door” situation.

Speaking of Forsyth Medical Center, this was the lead story in the morning paper. Since 18 January, they’ve exposed 18 patients to the invariably fatal CJD because they failed to sterilize instruments properly. Not that getting rid of prions is easy. Since they’re not alive, “killing” them is problematic. Prions are proteins, so the only solution is to denature them irreversibly, which isn’t easy. IIRC, the best procedure is to autoclave instruments at 136C or higher for an hour in a bath of one molar sodium hydroxide or sodium hypochlorite. That’s fine for hand instruments, but difficult for major pieces of equipment. I’m surprised they don’t make those with disposable tubing, chambers, and fittings for everything that comes into contact with body fluids.


10:40 – I just got email from someone at fedbid.com telling me that the Detroit Public Schools were soliciting bids for commercial electronics kits. We don’t sell such kits, so we have no interest in the RFQ, but what amazed me is that the Detroit Public School system apparently expects vendors to respond. What company in its right mind would deliver products to the Detroit Public School system on Net 90 terms? I wouldn’t ship products to a bankrupt school system even if they pre-paid by check, at least until I was certain that check had cleared irrevocably. Even then, I probably wouldn’t take the chance. Bankruptcy managers have a nasty habit of reaching out and reclaiming payments, leaving vendors holding the bag.

20 thoughts on “Tuesday, 11 February 2014”

  1. they’ve exposed 18 patients to the invariably fatal CJD

    Meanwhile, 381 lawyers have just moved to the state and are busy preparing the TV spots to air during the Oprah show.

  2. Well, the hospital should certainly be held accountable. Put yourself in those people’s places. IIRC, there is not yet any reliable screening test for most forms of CJD short of doing a brain biopsy. It can take years to decades after infection for symptoms to manifest, after which the course of the disease is normally a year or less. How would you like to have that hanging over your head?

  3. Oh the hospital should definitely be accountable of that their is no mistake. It’s just that I see that as a feeding frenzy for the low hanging scum lawyers that I saw on TV when I was home sick. Multiple ads for different firms all specializing in some sort of appeal for “victims” to come forward to claim their hundreds of thousands of dollars with most of that money going to law firms.

    I think the hospital should provide 100% free healthcare for any issue for the life of the people that were exposed. No deductible, no lab fees, no doctors fees, absolutely no cost. Then arbitrate a one time settlement with the arbitration done by someone that is not connected to the hospital or victims in any way, truly independent.

    I don’t feel that lawyers coming in and suing for millions when the exposed people would get less than 50% of any settlement is in the best interest of the people exposed.

    The scumbag lawyers will just be looking for an easy paycheck.

  4. If I were the hospital administrators, I’d be proactive about this. I would apologize profusely to the victims, tell them exactly what steps I’d taken to make sure this never happens again, and have my attorneys draw up a contract that released the hospital from any liability. In exchange, I would write each victim a check for one million dollars and guarantee to provide full health care for life for the victims and their immediate families.

    If I were one of the victims, I’d take that deal in a heartbeat, recognizing that the hospital couldn’t make the problem not have happened, but this was the best they could do to make up for it.

    And the ambulance chasers wouldn’t make a cent on the deal.

  5. I would write each victim a check for one million dollars and guarantee to provide full health care for life for the victims and their immediate families.

    Seems reasonable to me and the money should be tax free, federal, state and local. But once the lawyers start sucking on this the people affected will get shafted. The lawyers will tell the people they can get tens of millions of dollars, a new home and a new Mercedes. The lawyers will demand a jury trial. The litigation will drag on for years. Once a jury trial is close the lawyers will settle for a million dollars and healthcare for life.

    Meanwhile, one the claimants dies of unrelated causes during the long drawn out litigation. The lawyers drag it on so they can write lots of letters to make themselves look important. Because the person died of unrelated causes the family receives nothing. The lawyer declares a loss on his/her income tax so they can offset another award because someone got a sliver in their finger from a bag of poppy seeds.

    For the rest of the victims the lawyers makes half a million dollars on each case and reduces the benefit to the families. Seventeen people times half a million each and the lawyer pockets 8.5 million. The house and Mercedes were dropped from the settlement but the lawyer buys a new Mercedes and house with his/her share of the settlement.

  6. Well, I’ve often suggested two things that the litigator lobby fights tooth-and-nail: First, that will-not-sue terms should be a perfectly legal and enforceable part of any contract. Second, that attorneys should not be permitted to work on a contingency fee basis, nor be permitted to share in any award.

    Oh, yeah, and that class-action lawsuits should not be permitted unless all parties, including those being sued, agree to combine individual actions into a class action.

  7. Yeah, but what he doesn’t point out is that there’s seldom an option for “NEVER BOTHER ME ABOUT THIS AGAIN. EVER!”

    Firefox has started displaying a message several times a day that bugs me about being too slow to start. So I finally told it to go ahead and fix the problem. It wiped out everything other than bookmarks, cookies, and so on (as it said it would), but now it no longer stores passwords and every time I try to close an instance with multiple tabs it prompts me whether I want to close without saving. This despite the fact that I’ve told it several times that I DO want to close without saving the tabs and not to ask me that again.

    Firefox really sucks nowadays. I’m running 26.0, which crashes frequently for no apparent reason. Of course, Libre Office 4 also sucks and also does the random crash thing every couple of days.

  8. My Firefox on Windows 7 x64 is version 27.0 and seems to be relatively stable. It is Thunderbird version 24.3.0 that is buggy.

    Shirley Temple has passed away. I always thought she was a class act and now I find out that she had breast cancer in 1972 and publicized it. Nice lady!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/arts/shirley-temple-black-screen-star-dies-at-85.html?hpw&rref=movies

    I like this in her bio:

    “”When she was appointed ambassador to Ghana in 1974, some career diplomats were outraged, but State Department officials later conceded that her performance was outstanding.”

    “Among her duties as the government’s chief of protocol was heading a one-week training program for new envoys. She flashed her wit in describing it: “We teach them how to get used to being called Ambassador and having Marines saluting. Then, on Day 3, we tell them what to do if they’re taken hostage.””

  9. Well, I’ve often suggested two things that the litigator lobby fights tooth-and-nail:

    One other thing I would like to see. The losing party pays all legals fees for both sides including any court costs.

  10. One other thing I would like to see. The losing party pays all legals fees for both sides including any court costs.

    +1,000,000

  11. That’s fine for hand instruments, but difficult for major pieces of equipment. I’m surprised they don’t make those with disposable tubing, chambers, and fittings for everything that comes into contact with body fluids.

    Most stuff is either disposable or covered with disposable shields (i.e. they put a big plastic bag over x-ray equipment used in ORs for real-time imaging). Fortunately, the risk appears to be low.

    What may not have been properly cleaned were bone saws and the like.

    What I would do if I was the hospital:
    – apologize (which they have done)
    – buy an insurance policy to pay for screening of the patients for symptoms over the rest of their life
    – buy an insurance policy to pay for treatment of the patients if they get CJD
    – buy a life insurance policy in the amount of $1 million (or a sliding scale paying more if they have minor children at the time they have symptoms) payable if they die within a reasonable time after diagnosis, since there is the possibility of treatments being developed for it.
    – pay them an amount now for “pain and suffering”, and an amount for their kids and spouses

    IIRC, all of this would be tax free.

    All contingent on they and their families signing a waiver of their right to sue.

  12. I have seen too many cases where a judge rules for the wrong side, in spite of such a clear statement of law that there can be no question the judge was wrong. That is the reason my dad left litigation during his legal career and went into form-filing for corporations and trusts, wills, estates, and tax issues. When that wrong decision happens—and it happens a lot—burdening the wrong side with paying all legal costs for everybody, becomes a moral issue IMO.

  13. I have had increasingly serious problems with Firefox crashing and just locking up the whole computer. Seems to have culminated to intolerable with v26. FF did not notify me of an available upgrade, so I just manually did the upgrade to 27. We will see how this works. My son on Linux has exactly the same issues I have had, and he has not yet gotten an upgrade notice, either.

  14. Jetstream forecast shows it retreating into Canada on Monday. If it stays there, things should get considerably warmer for most of us next week.

  15. CJD… I lived in the UK briefly, a bit more than 20 years ago during the “mad cow disease” outbreak. Because of that, I am not allowed to donate blood. I find that surprising – I would have thought that CJD diagnostics were sufficient to screen the blood.

  16. When that wrong decision happens—and it happens a lot—burdening the wrong side with paying all legal costs for everybody, becomes a moral issue IMO.

    I think it is more the idea of stopping frivolous lawsuits from happening if the very real possibility exists of a less than desirable outcome costing you big bucks.

    As it is now I could get sued by anyone. Someone could find a sleazy lawyer (lots to be found) where I get sued for a million dollars because I bumped their car causing little damage. But get the lawyer on the hook and the lawsuit arrives. Now I would be stuck with thousands in legal fees.

    Happened to me. My wife rear ended some guy when he stopped suddenly to turn without signalling. Scratched the paint on his bumper, damage to my van was $750.00 with $450.00 of that cost being the broken grill. After a week I got a letter from his lawyer where I may be sued for one million dollars. Apparently he could no longer work and it was impossible for him to have relations with his wife.

    In the letter the lawyer demanded that I immediately send the lawyer a check for one million dollars as the lawyer had legally determined my wife was responsible. He also stated that I was legally required to pay the amount. Which was totally wrong as awards can only be made by the court, not some lawyer. Proves he was incompetent.

    Fortunately I had insurance and turned the matter over to the insurance company. They got the lawsuit squashed in short order but still had to pay $2,000 in medical bills. Apparently insurance companies never challenge medical bills. Cheap protection for them I guess. After the lawyers at the insurance company explained to the idiot lawyer the pending lawsuit was dropped.

    Having the losing party pay all costs would stop a lot of this type of bullshit. Had I not had insurance (bad idea), or been sued for some other reason I would have been out thousands even if I prevailed.

    Imagine getting charged with a crime, having to hire a lawyer, and spending $100,000 to defend yourself from false charges. Not like the police haven’t done this in the past to get even with people or to save their face (Duke rape case?). It would be fitting if the DA was required to pay ALL costs, including defense costs, lost wages, etc. if such a case was ruled in favor of the defendant. Perhaps overzealous zit faced DA’s would think twice about continuing a case when they know they are wrong.

  17. Well, this would not apply to most government entities—even those DA’s bringing cases. The king can do no wrong. In most situations, the state is likewise not liable, and if they accept liability, they do so voluntarily, they are not culpable under law in the places I have lived. That is why where I currently reside, if somebody trips on my heaving sidewalk, I can be liable, but if the courthouse has a faulty walk that causes a tumble, they have no liability unless they accept it voluntarily.

    And what if, in your case, the court found your wife to be tailgating and not allowing enough safe distance, and judged her to be entirely at fault? The other guy sued, and not only do you have to pay the judgment, but you have to pay his crazy attorney’s fees, and court costs, too?

    Having the loser pay all costs is not the fair way to reduce case numbers, IMO. Litigation needs to be stopped before coming to court. Indiana recently changed the system of how they deal with medical malpractice cases. A law was passed which requires any situation to first be ruled on by the state insurance commission, which requires a finding by a doctor’s peer review panel before they will rule—all before a case can be filed in court. Not sure how that is working out; it is definitely stretching cases out over many more years. However, many of these cases are bluffing games aimed at negotiating better settlements before they come to trial, anyway.

    And I guess I am not really opposed to attorneys advertising—after all, I have been around advertising all my life—however, I do believe their advertising should be limited to ‘image’ and institutional, with calls to action prohibited—like, “If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, call us at We’ll Get You MIllions, Attorneys at Law.” Public radio and television cannot do calls to action for anyone but non-profit entities. BMW cannot say “take a test drive at your local BMW dealer today.” They can only give factual information about the company, like “BMW has ranked in the top 10 of customer satisfaction for the last 20 years. Your local BMW dealer is Dreyer-Reinboldt and they are located at….”

    To me, this is exactly like taking away guns to solve a problem with drugged people doing mass killings. We do not want any more shootings, so we will just take away everyone’s guns. We do not want frivolous cases brought to court, so we will make the loser pay all costs. I have maintained for a long, long time here that deterrence does not exist. Even when death is the penalty, crimes still occur. And there is nothing to show that cutting off thieves hands under Sharia law is what motivates a lack of theft in Sharia-bound places. It could very well be the voluntary faith and fidelity of the people as a whole that prevents it. I am sure there are people wrongly accused of theft and punished, even though they are not guilty. And that ain’t moral, IMO.

  18. And what if, in your case, the court found your wife to be tailgating and not allowing enough safe distance, and judged her to be entirely at fault? The other guy sued, and not only do you have to pay the judgment, but you have to pay his crazy attorney’s fees, and court costs, too?

    That is called “failure to control speed” here in the Great State of Texas. And the rear ender almost always gets a ticket.

    Having been involved in five lawsuits now with my business, three where I sued somebody, I always got my legal costs thrown in when I was the plaintiff and won. And I won all my plaintiff suits. However in the two cases where I was sued, the plaintiff got their legal costs thrown in when I lost one case. The other case, we spent $60K on legal fees and were told by the judge to sue them for costs when we won in state court and appeals court both.

    And if you are driving around without insurance, you are a fool if you have any assets. Fender benders happen and you need a large insurance company between you and those hungry lawyers. My insurance company actually threatened a woman with fraud charges over “falling and damaging her back” in my rent house. She wanted $5K to go away and would not stop calling my home phone. They gave her $500 for pain and suffering.

  19. Reminds me of that old joke about the Irish cop who happens on an accident scene where an RC priest has rear-ended another driver at a traffic light. “So, Father, how fast would you estimate that guy was going when he backed into you?”

    Which reminds me of my best friend from first grade on. We were in high school and he’d just gotten his drivers license. One morning, he rear-ended a guy at a light. So he called his insurance company and gave them all the details. That afternoon, he rear-ended another guy at a light. He called his insurance company and told them he’d just rear-ended a guy. They told him everything was fine and that they had all the details they needed to process the claim. “No, you don’t understand. What you’re talking about was my accident this morning. I just rear-ended another guy this afternoon.” The miracle was not just that he was allowed to keep his license, but that the insurance company didn’t cancel the policy.

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