What You Should Know About COVID-19 & Our Dedication to Serving You

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COVID-19 is changing the reality for individuals all across the world. There are over 2 million cases globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and that number alone still may be underestimating just how many people are actually carrying the illness.

Tragically, the virus greatly affects those who we fight for, and it can also greatly affect the timeline of their case. Even in the face of uncertainty, rest assured that the national Taxotere lawsuit lawyers at Hotze Runkle can still help you find the timely resolution you need to overcome an already challenging time, made even more difficult because of the coronavirus.

Those with Pre-Existing Health Conditions May be More Susceptible

As many may be asymptomatic, coupled with a shortage of available test kits, testing for the virus is very limited at this time. A recent article from The New York Times explains that the issue isn’t so much getting tests for patients, but having a lack of supplies to process and deliver the results to the people.

In truth, COVID-19 is attacking people from all different demographics, but those who are especially vulnerable are individuals that are over the age of 65 and/or people with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, and obesity. By the same token, immunocompromised people are also a group of people that fall within this demographic.

This hits close to home for us at Hotze Runkle, as our legal team has defended breast cancer patients who were prescribed Taxotere as a chemotherapy drug and are now dealing with its life-long side effects. Not only do these immunocompromised people have to deal with chemotherapy tearing from the eyes as a result of Sanofi-Aventis’ negligence, they now live in a world that constantly puts them at serious risk of contracting an illness that could be fatal to them.

COVID-19 Won’t Stop Hotze Runkle From Delivering Civil Justice

Health is at the forefront of all of our minds in the midst of this pandemic, but the link between the coronavirus and people with underlying health conditions is undeniable. Fortunately, things don’t have to be this way. At the end of the day, you can only do the best that you can to protect yourself from future health complications. In regards to protecting yourself from COVID-19, the CDC has recommended maintaining social distancing, proper handwashing, avoid touching your face, and continuing to educate yourself on how the virus spreads.

To follow suit, our law firm has begun to conduct over-the-phone consultations for our clients so that they can follow through with their litigation from the safety and comfort of their home. We are committed to seeing your case through during these uncertain times so that you can finally put Sanofi-Aventis’ deception behind you and focus on your recovery, as well as keeping yourself safe from the virus. Rest assured that our priority always revolves around your safety, and we are always happy to accommodate.

Stay Home and Contact Our National Taxotere Lawsuit Lawyers for a FREE Case Evaluation Today.

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How the Discovery Process Affects Your Excessive Tearing Claim

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The discovery process is an important process that enables a lawyer to gather the right evidence in order to strengthen the value of your personal injury claim. This is especially true in cases dealing with the side effects of defective drugs made by pharmaceutical companies that put profits over people.

Such was the case when the manufacturer of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere–known as Sanofi-Aventis–failed to inform cancer patients about its negative side effects like chemotherapy tearing for decades

If you or a loved one has developed excessive tearing after being treated with Taxotere, you may be eligible for compensation. The makers of Taxotere should be held responsible for the harm their drug caused, and the National Taxotere lawsuit attorneys of Hotze Runkle aim to do just that by presenting solid evidence during the discovery process in order to help your case succeed.

What Is the Discovery Process?

The discovery process takes place prior to the start of the trial, giving both parties the chance to assemble information on the case. Discovery is important because it gives your attorney a chance to evaluate which evidence and strategies may be utilized in your favor.

When you initially file a lawsuit, the relevant information is not always easily accessible. However, the more evidence you obtain, the more you can support the claim. The discovery process allows you and your lawyer to gather as much information as possible from the pharmaceutical manufacturer through a request of production, interrogatories, and other sources to solidify your claim.

How Do Lawyers Gather Discovery Materials?

Attorneys on either side of the courtroom may follow a number of approaches to secure necessary information, such as:

  • Requests for Production (RFP) – RFPs are filed to acquire documents (e.g. electronic or paper files). RFPs need comprehensive details covering what documents a party wants to be made public by the opposing side.
  • Requests for Admission (RFA) – An RFA is a written statement that is given to the opposing party to push them to either admit or negate some information. RFAs are generally not meant to establish a confession of guilt, but rather to push the opposing party to admit that certain facts are true or that a document is legitimate.
  • Interrogatories – These are written questions that a party is obligated to respond to in writing and “under oath.” 
  • Depositions – These are oral, in-person interrogations. One side asks the other questions, and the other side has to give their answer. “Depos” are another part of the discovery process that is performed under oath.

What Information Can Be Found?

Throughout the discovery process, both sides will go after any vital information related to the claim in an effort to prove or disprove that Taxotere was the cause of your excessive tearing, even if it may not seem immediately relevant. The kind of information that a lawyer may request in discovery includes:

  • Witness Testimony — What a witness saw, did, or heard that is pertinent to the situation.
  • Witness History — A witness’s professional, educational, and personal background.
  • Other Injured Parties — The identities of people who may have knowledge of the life-changing side effects caused by the drug.
  • Specific Dialogue — Things that were mentioned at a specific time or place about the injury and product.
  • Procedural Business Information — Information about the business’s operations process.
  • Documentation — Documents relating to the claim, the injury, or the drug itself.

What Information Cannot Be Requested?

There are particular pieces of information that can’t be requested as a part of the discovery process. Limitations exist to prevent private information from being shared with the public, including:

  • Confidential Conversations — Exchanges between attorneys and clients, doctors and patients, religious advisors and advisees, and spouses can be withheld.
  • Personal Information — Details regarding health problems, sexuality, spirituality, religious beliefs, and immediate family relationships do not have to be disclosed.
  • Third-Party Information — information that, if revealed, would go against the privacy rights of third parties cannot be compelled.

Discover your Legal Options with Dependable Taxotere Lawyers of Hotze Runkle Today

If you were harmed after being treated with the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. You can count on our National Taxotere lawsuit attorneys to give you and your case the attention you need to seek justice from the manufacturers of the faulty drug, Taxotere.

Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Taxotere lawsuit lawyers of Hotze Runkle at (877) 919-0830 for a FREE case evaluation today if you or a loved one have suffered from chemotherapy tearing due to Taxotere treatment.


Taxotere Chemotherapy Medication Vs. Alternative Drugs

Chemotherapy - Medical Concept. On Background of Medicaments Composition - Red Pills, Injections and Syringe.

Breast cancer patients have enough to consider when finishing up treatment and preparing to get back to their lives. The serious side effects of Taxotere, manufactured and marketed by Sanofi-Aventis, can make that much more difficult than it has to be.Sanofi-Aventis is facing the consequences, in the form of lawsuits, from breast cancer patients who used Taxotere and suffered alopecia – or permanent hair loss – as a result of the drug.

Plaintiffs contend that there was sufficient information for the company to provide a warning to all patients in the United States, yet failed to do so. Even more strikingly as similar warnings were issued to patients in other countries who were under treatment of the same drug.

Hotze Runkle is prepared to work for you and your family if you have suffered the debilitating side effects of Taxotere. We want to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve for the physical and psychological damage you have gone through.

We also believe it is vital that patients be aware of Taxotere versus other options.

Taxol (Paclitaxel)

One French oncologist, Hugues Bourgeois, regularly recommends using Taxol as an alternative to Taxotere, as it is less likely to cause alopecia.

Dr. Bourgeois reported that there is a “negligible percentage” of severe alopecia cases associated with Taxol, making the frequency much lower than in patients who use Taxotere.

Like Taxotere, Taxol is a member of the taxane family of medicines. It is designed to stop cancer cells from repairing themselves and inhibit the growth of new ones. Both drugs operate the same way and there is no drop-off in quality when choosing Taxol.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence that suggests Taxol treats breast cancer more effectively and with fewer side effects.

In fact, the main difference exists in the manner in which Taxotere has been marketed.  Taxotere only requires chemotherapy sessions to occur once every three weeks while Taxol requires a weekly dosage.

The dosing schedule is a major reason why Taxotere has been more frequently prescribed by physicians, despite the fact that serious side effects continue to be associated with its use.

Abraxane

The main ingredients in Taxol are dissolved by a solvent called Cremophor EL, allowing them to enter the bloodstream more effectively. The presence of Cremophor EL can make Taxol tougher to use for some patients. The possibility of a reaction is typically offset by additional medication taken before someone uses Taxol.

Abraxane avoids this issue by not employing a solvent. Instead, the drug’s main components are wrapped in albumin, which is the main protein found in someone’s plasma.

This makes it far less likely that a patient will have trouble tolerating Abraxane whenever they are given a dose. The need for additional medicine beforehand is also eliminated, which helps to limit potential side effects.

Like Taxol, there is a body of research that suggests that Abraxane is both safer and more effective in treating breast cancer, including avoiding the permanent hair loss associated with Taxotere.

Regardless of where you find yourself in your battle against cancer, you should know that you have options and your fate is not out of your hands.

You don’t have to quietly accept your situation if you have been left with permanent loss from using Taxotere. Hotze Runkle is here to make sure that the negligence and indifference on the part of Sanofi-Aventis does not go unpunished.

Taxotere has a history of leaving breast cancer patients struggling with permanent cases of hair loss, and yet the drug still continues to be heavily recommended and used. There are other medicines, including Taxol and Abraxane, that offer effective treatment and are safer for you.

You don’t have to face the challenges of piecing your life back together alone. The experienced national litigation team of Hotze Runkle is more than capable of fighting for your rights and your justice.

Contact us today at (877) 919-0830 to find out how we can provide the legal support you need to start the healing process.


Dangerous Medical Devices, Prescription Drugs, and the FDA

Test tubes in clinic, pharmacy and medical research laboratory with male scientist using pipette

We as a nation, we have become familiar with news stories and exposés on dangerous medical devices and prescription drugs. Every years hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals suffer through life threatening situations because of products that have been marketed to consumers as safe and effective to treat their illness or health condition. From medical devices like IVC filters, to prescription anticoagulants like Xarelto, patients are often the last to learn that their treatments may be dangerous, or sadly, even fatal. While there are certain federal departments designed to regulate the approval of medications and medical devices that make it into the market, flaws within these systems allow for pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers to sell products that are not always thoroughly studied or understood.

At the law offices of Hotze and Runkle, we believe that the safety and physical well being of patients should be of the utmost importance to these various medical devices and drug creators. However, the reality is that the primary focus of many of these pharmaceutical companies is simply profit.

To understand how these dangerous medical devices and prescription drugs make it through governmental approval processes, there is some vital information that you should know.

The Gatekeepers: The Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal department tasked with regulating the approval of medications and medical devices that the public is able to purchase, including prescription and over-the-counter products.

Unfortunately, the FDA does not actually test the products, but rather analyzes clinical trials and data to make a decision on whether or not a product will be approved. This system is rather flawed and allows for many drugs and devices to make it to the market without undergoing adequate studies or trials.

To begin with, medications and medical devices are generally tested by the same companies that make them. This means that the FDA must rely on the accuracy and integrity of studies done by the same individuals who are seeking to make a profit off of the devices and drugs. As pharmaceutical companies cannot make a profit from products that do not have approval, it is in their self-interest to only report information that is suited to their own needs. Essentially, pharmaceutical companies will only report the data that will grant them FDA approval.

To make matters worse, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has warned that the FDA lacks reliable resources to adequately staff, study, and track drugs and devices before they reach the market. This is further exasperated by the FDA’s impaired oversight of postmarket medications and medical devices.

More Than Just an FDA Problem

To make matters worse, there is an unsettling trend amongst federal legislatures that is providing the FDA with even less oversight abilities and further enabling pharmaceutical companies to release products that are not adequately studied.

One of the most recent examples of this has come in the form legislation known as the 21st Century Cures Act.

One of the last pieces of law signed by Obama, the Cures Act outwardly appears to be a landmark bill that would fund a number of health initiatives. The downside, however, is that the bill also cuts into the powers of the FDA, further deregulating the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

One of the means by which this will occur is by allowing the FDA to quickly approve new technologies and drugs with even lower standards of evidence than what is currently set in place. While the FDA currently relies on clinical tests and randomized samples to ensure the safety and effectiveness of new products, the Cures Act would now allow them to approve an item based on observations, safety and side-effect claims, and post market clinical studies, rather than pre-market analysis and thorough consideration.

Proponents of the bill argued that the FDA system was ineffective and did not allow for growing medical technologies and medications to emerge on the market quickly enough. Now, the companies can bypass the entire process and submit documentation after patients have been subjected to the medication or medical device. These post market clinical studies often take place years after approval and few are ever completed.

Additionally, the 21st Century Cures Act would require the FDA to utilize a third party to review the safety of a product if a manufacturer makes changes to it. This would allow manufacturers to select and pay the third party for approval. This could obviously lead to huge conflicts of interests.

Don’t let the negligent and deceitful practices of IVC filter manufacturers scare you. Your injury and pain deserve justice. Let the legal representatives of Hotze Runkle serve your needs and provide you with the commitment of a team that can get the job done.

If you or a loved one has suffered adverse effects as a result of an IVC filter implantation, contact a team that fights to earn your trust—contact Hotze Runkle.
Our team of experienced and high qualified lawyers has the ability to make IVC filter manufacturers pay for the damaged they have caused. Reach us today at (877) 919-0830 to learn more about how we can put our years of experience to work fighting for you and your family.


Senior Source seeks answers for senior citizen issues

The White House will be hosting on a conference on aging that occurs once every ten years on July 13, according to the Dallas Morning News. The conference will address issues like long-term care services, financial security for the elderly, elderly abuse, and how to ensure the health and welfare of senior citizens.

The people at Senior Source, a Dallas non-profit organization for the benefit of elderly citizens, hope that this conference will confront some of the issues that had been overlooked in Dallas–especially the issue of long-term care.

According to Senior Source long-term care ombudsman program director Suzanna Sulsftede, people don’t understand that Medicaid and Medicare do not pay for assisted living nursing homes. These places are extremely expensive, and elderly citizens in certain conditions may not receive the care they need.

The legal team at Hotze Runkle in Texas is dedicated to representing those who have been mistreated or neglected in nursing homes, and we may fight on behalf of your loved one. Call us at (512) 476-7771 or (877) 919-0830 today if you need legal help.


Concern Over Government-Run Nursing Homes

Now that government-owned nursing homes around the country can draw from the federally funded Minimum Payment Amounts Program, hundreds of cash-starved facilities in Texas have signed up to claim this supplemental public funding. Since this funding is not available to nursing homes that are privately owned, local governments have assumed ownership of around 200 nursing homes around the state over the last year.

Though many industry leaders have applauded the program as a means to make improvements to aging facilities around the state, serious concerns have been expressed about what the shift in nursing home ownership will mean for nursing home residents and their families. As reported by The Texas Tribune, critics point out that there are strict limitations as to what legal action may be taken against local governments—a protection that would extend to nursing homes owned by local governments.

Additionally, as more nursing homes fall under the ownership of local governments and associated hospital districts, some local entities have become responsible for facilities that fall outside of their local jurisdiction. While these arrangements are intended to improve the quality of care as individuals transition between hospitals and nursing homes, J.T. Borah of Hotze Runkle told The Texas Tribune that the arrangement is suspect.

“This would place a huge burden on family members who are wanting to be very involved in their relative’s care,” Borah told the Tribune’s Edgar Walters.

Given the serious nature of the various problems that are inherent to nursing home facilities that are owned by hospital districts and local governments, you should take a moment to reconsider all of the options that may be available to you and your loved ones.


New Mexico files lawsuit against Texas-based nursing home chain

New Mexico’s attorney general sued Plano, Texas-based Preferred Care Partners Management Group, one of the country’s biggest nursing home chains, over allegations that adequate care cannot possibly be provided to its residents based on their thin staff numbers, the Longview News-Journal reported on December 5.

The lawsuit, filed by Democratic Attorney General Gary King, could also be used in other states if it succeeds. King told The Associated Press that “the failure to provide the care that patients need and that homes are paid for will not be tolerated.”

Preferred Care Management Partners has branches in at least 10 states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Nevada, Kansas, Mississippi, and Texas.

We at Hotze Runkle are dedicated to representing victims of nursing home neglect and abuse against the responsible facilities and individuals. Call our offices at (877) 919-0830 today to learn more.


Texas 30th in nursing home care

A national report on care for the elderly which was released by the AARP, the Commonwealth Fund, and the SCAN Foundation, ranked the state of Texas last for nursing home staff turnover, the Houston Chronicle reported on June 19.

Choosing nursing home staff that will stay long-term is important to maintain adequate supervision and care for the vulnerable elderly population. Texas ranked 30th over-all, making a slight move forward from its position at 32 when the report’s first edition was released in 2011. Other rankings Texas received: tenth in affordability and access; 16th in choice of setting and provider; 49th in quality of life and care; 11th for support for family caregivers; and 47th for effective transitions, among others.

Nursing homes need to be facilities that families can rely on to give elderly loved ones the special care they deserve as they continue to age. As such, a case of nursing home abuse should be dealt with through aggressive legal action. If your loved one has been harmed due to the negligence of a nursing home or caregiver, contact Hotze Runkle in Texas by dialing (877) 919-0830 today.


1 in 5 Medicare patients injured by medical personnel mistakes

A recent study has found that one in five Medicare patients has sustained injuries from treatment unrelated to their existing medical condition.

Patients are sometimes given the wrong medication, have allergic reactions to certain medications, or receive treatments that exasperate  their existing medical conditions.

Lead researcher and gerontology program director at Towson University in Maryland, Mary Carter, said the study consisted of data from over 12,500 Medicare beneficiaries between 1998 and 2005, with 19% of them having suffered from at least one adverse medical event.

Yale University Prevention Research Center director and American College of Lifestyle Medicine president Dr. David Katz mentioned that “medical care, while pledged to avoid harm above all, actually imposes quite a bit of it. Medical injury is all too common, and adverse effects of treatment are common, even in the absence of error.”

Nursing home residents should be able to spend the rest of their years relaxing, not worrying about whether they will be harmed by negligent medical personnel. As such, if your loved one is in a nursing home and has been the victim of abuse, legal action can be taken against the negligent party. Contact our Austin attorneys at Hotze Runkle PLLC by dialing (877)919-0830 .


Less restrictive oversight could lead to increase in injuries

Earlier this year, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would be cutting approximately $1 billion in revenues for audits and investigations.

Although some view this cutback as an appropriate and well-timed reduction of “excessive actions” by “watchdogs” like the OIG and others, others fear that such a cutback and reduction in oversight could lead to an increase in instances of neglect and / or abuse for long-term care facility patients.

At Hotze Runkle, our attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of nursing home abuse and neglect fight back against such inexcusable mistreatment. If a lack of appropriate oversight has resulted in you or a loved one suffering abuses in an assisted living facility, call our experienced team today at (877) 919-0830 for the compassionate help that you need.


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