December 16, 2008
Unless new anti-drowning drain covers are installed, tens of thousands of public swimming pools and hot tubs could be forced to close Saturday under a sweeping law designed to prevent drain suction from trapping children under water.
The rules apply to pools and spas used by the public, including municipal pools and those at hotels, private clubs, apartment buildings and community centers.The improved drain systems were outlined in legislation passed by Congress a year ago. Pool and spa operators had a year to comply; Friday is the deadline for installing the new equipment.
Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said Monday the agency will focus initially on public baby pools and wading pools, as well as in-ground spas that have flat drain grates on the bottom and just one drain system.”We will be focusing our initial efforts on the littlest swimmers in the littlest pools,” Nord told reporters.
Nord said, however, that Congress did not give her agency the $7 million needed to enforce the law. As a result, the federal government expects states to take on much of the enforcement responsibility.
Read Article: Newsday
Tobacco companies that marketed “light” cigarettes may be sued for fraud, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-to-4 decision that will bolster dozens of lawsuits claiming billions of dollars in damages.
The case was brought by three smokers from Maine as a proposed class action. They sued Altria and its Philip Morris USA unit, alleging fraud under Maine’s Unfair Trade Practices Act and saying they had been injured by what they called the false statements of the companies.
They sought compensation for economic rather than medical harm. They claimed, in other words, that they had overpaid for cigarettes based on deceptive advertisements suggesting that “light” cigarettes were safer than regular ones; they did not seek money for injuries caused by smoking itself.
It is undisputed that brands like Marlboro Lights, made by Philip Morris, register lower levels of tar and nicotine than ordinary cigarettes when smoked by machines under a standard method authorized by the Federal Trade Commission. But many smokers compensate by puffing harder, smoking more cigarettes or inhaling deeper.
Read Article: New York Times
Catherine Skol is not a wimp. She spent a decade as a Chicago police officer, working in rough assignments such as the tactical unit, until a head-on collision on the job put her on medical disability. But none of that prepared her for the hell of labor she endured last March when she arrived at Rush University Medical Center at about 4 a.m. to have her fifth child.
A civil suit filed Monday in Cook County said Dr. Scott Pierce—a fill-in for Skol’s doctor who was out of town—arrived four hours later and immediately chastised Skol for not calling ahead. The suit said the doctor told Skol she would soon have the baby and that there was no time for pain medication.
Later, Pierce allegedly told a nurse that Skol deserved the pain because she had not called before coming in. “Sometimes pain is the best teacher,” the suit quoted him as saying. The doctor conducted a painful vaginal exam in the middle of a contraction and then told Skol to start pushing, despite not being fully dilated, according to the suit.
Read Article: Chicago Tribune
Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly reached a settlement with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for $750,000 over a medication error last year that nearly killed the couple’s twin infants, according to papers filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Nurses at the hospital mistakenly gave twins Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace 1,000 times the recommended dose of the blood thinner heparin, leaving them vulnerable to uncontrolled bleeding and leaving them, for a time, in critical condition.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was not sued, though the hospital was described in a court filing as a “potential defendant.” Hospital officials have cited at least three safety lapses that led to the overdoses.
The couple has a pending lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corp., alleging that the labeling and design of heparin led to the massive overdose. The suit alleges that the company knew other infants had died as a result of errors involving the drug but failed to recall the high-concentration vials.
Read Article: Los Angeles Times
Mattel Inc., the world’s biggest toymaker, agreed to pay $12 million to 39 U.S. states to settle claims it shipped toys tainted with lead paint, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. The accord, filed today in state court in Boston, resolves a 15-month probe of Mattel’s Chinese-made Sesame Street dolls, Dora the Explorer accessories and dozens of products shipped to the U.S. last year, according to Coakley. The toys never reached store shelves, she said.
“Had there been danger involved, the amount would have been higher,” Coakley, whose state led the investigation, said at a press conference. “No harm actually occurred, but the risk of harm was very high.” Under the settlement, El Segundo, California-based Mattel agreed to implement immediately new federal guidelines reducing lead content in toys by August 2009. The new standards cut the permissible lead content to 90 parts per million from 600 parts per million.
Mattel has “taken steps that go beyond current requirements to give parents greater confidence that the Mattel toys that they buy this holiday season will be the safest ever,” the toymaker said today in an e-mailed statement.
Read Article: Bloomberg
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