McCoy Law Firm Connecticut

Law Offices of Jason L. McCoy, LLC, lawyers in Hartford, CT, Connecticut

McCoy Law Firm

Products Liability News

Food Contamination

Food-borne illness is fairly common in the United States. The main cause of food-borne illness is the improper handling of food, which allows it to become contaminated by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses. This can happen when the food is being manufactured or packaged. It can also occur at a restaurant where the food is being prepared and served. Under products liability law, a consumer who is injured as a result of eating contaminated food can take legal action to recover money damages for any injuries.

Recalls and Warnings

Recent headlines in the news tell us that an Idaho company recalled beef chili for undeclared allergens, an Illinois firm recalled deli meat and cheese trays because of possible Listeria contamination, and a Massachusetts company recalled meatballs which might contain pieces of hard plastic. A Minnesota company voluntarily recalled granola bars and cereals because they might be contaminated with Salmonella, a potentially fatal bacteria. A recall is a voluntary action by a manufacturer or distributor removing a particular product from the public because it might cause health problems. In New York, sulfite-allergic consumers and persons with asthma were warned to avoid eating a certain brand of vegetables due to the presence of undeclared sulfites in the product which could trigger an allergic reaction.

Government Agencies

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees food safety. Companies are required to sell food that is safe and properly labeled. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service lists recalls on contaminated, adulterated or misbranded food products. If you have complaints about meat, poultry and egg products, you can contact the USDA. For complaints about food products that do not contain meat, poultry, or eggs, you can contact the FDA. If you became ill after eating at a restaurant, contact your local health department.

Food Contamination Lawsuits

Food-borne illness does not show up immediately, making it difficult for a consumer to identify the food that caused the illness. It is sometimes difficult to show that a contaminated food came from a particular company. Many processed foods contain several ingredients from different sources. Also, physical evidence of contamination is usually not available because the food has been eaten or thrown away before a consumer becomes ill. Liability for food-borne illness varies with the type of food product and the pathogen involved in causing the illness. Most consumers who suffer food-borne illnesses experience relatively mild symptoms and do not incur significant medical expenses or miss much work. More serious food-borne illnesses can result in higher medical costs and lost productivity

Medical Malpractice News

Informed Consent

Patients have a right to choose whether to obtain medical treatment and what type of treatment to undergo. The principle of “informed consent” requires that medical practitioners provide conscious patients with information as to all the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives involved in any medical procedure or course of treatment and must obtain the patient’s consent before commencing treatment. For a patient’s consent to be valid the patient has to be competent to give the consent and the consent must be voluntary.

Thus, informed consent is defined as a process by which a fully informed patient can make choices about his or her healthcare. In general, informed consent should include the following:
the nature and purpose of the proposed treatment or procedure
the patient’s diagnosis, if there is one
the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment or procedure
the alternatives to the proposed treatment or procedure
the risks and benefits of the alternatives to the proposed treatment or procedure

Many states have statutes or regulations outlining what is required for informed consent as well as what types of procedures require that informed consent be obtained. Not all medical situations require that informed consent be obtained. For example, the taking of a patient’s blood pressure or the taking of a temperature would not require the healthcare practitioner to obtain informed consent. Invasive procedures such as surgery and anesthesia almost always require informed consent for the conscious patient.

The failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent could result in a lawsuit. For example, a physician could be liable if one of the risks of the medical procedure occurred and the physician failed to inform the patient of the possibility of the risk occurring. Likewise, if a physician failed to inform a patient of the risks of not going forward with a particular treatment or procedure, the physician could be liable if the patient suffers injury as a result of the nonaction. Lawsuits for failure to obtain informed consent can either take the form of a malpractice action or an action for battery. A battery occurs when there is an unwanted touching. Thus, a medical procedure that was not authorized can be deemed a battery. A plaintiff in an informed consent suit must show that the healthcare provider unreasonably failed to obtain informed consent and that a reasonable patient in plaintiff’s position would or would not have chosen the treatment had the information been provided. For a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff would also have to show damages.

A patient’s presence in the emergency room or intensive care unit does not imply informed consent to all procedures. Informed consent must still be obtained if the patient is conscious and competent. If a patient is incompetent and/or unconscious, a legal guardian may be appointed to make healthcare decisions and give informed consent. Parents can in most instances give informed consent for their children. In emergency situations where the life of the patient is at risk, informed consent can be implied if the patient is unconscious or there is not enough time to obtain informed consent.

The fact that a patient has given his or her informed consent to a medical procedure does not, however, mean that the patient has given up the right to sue for malpractice. The fact that a patient has given consent to the procedure does not mean that the patient consented to a procedure performed improperly or negligently.

McCoy Law Firm
280 Talcottville Road,
Vernon, Connecticut 06066
Servicing Vernon, Hartford, Waterbury and New Haven

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Civil and Criminal Trial Attorneys.
Licensed in State and Federal Court.

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