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Two Workers Burned at an Industrial Plant Explosion In Conroe Last Thursday

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 11:03 am    

Chemical Plant Explosion

Two workers were severely burned in an electrical malfunction which caused a fire at Aegion Coating Services, an industrial plant in Conroe, TX on Thursday.

Emergency personnel from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to the fire that started at an industrial plant in Conroe. Two workers that were performing repairs on an electrical panel suffered electrical burns when there was a flash explosion from inside the panel. The exact cause of the explosion and fire is yet to be determined, but it did originate from the related work that was being done on the panel.

According to the Fire Marshal from Montgomery County, interviews will need to be conducted to find out the exact source of the blaze and determine what actions were the root cause. The panel contained high-voltage circuits and supplies current to several large manufacturing machines. A flash fire erupted and burned the personnel in mere seconds. First responders mentioned that the current was typically about 400 volts passing through that panel. Both of the workers were reported to be in stable condition at the Texas Medical Center hospital later in the day.

Industrial Plants Are Major Sources Of Accidents and Injuries

The workplace, and particularly industrial workplaces, can be dangerous. Owners and managers need to pay special attention to incidents that could result in accidents and injuries to their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is tasked with investigating and preventing workplace accidents in the US., but in no way can they, or do they, prevent tragic workplace accidents.

Several common injuries are simpler to prevent, such as lifting objects that are too heavy or in an improper manner and straining the back or damaging spinal discs that can permanently  disable a worker. In these types of injuries, it’s long-term training of supervisors and employees that help curtail injuries. It’s always better to take a little more time and get the right tools and help when lifting heavy objects.

Fatigue is another problem in the workplace. Breaks are mandatory, whether the employee thinks so or not. It’s important for management to realize that employees that are fatigued are at higher risk and are involved in more accidents.

In an industrial plant such as Aegion Coating Services, there are also plenty of possible toxic gases if any of their flammable coatings catch fire. They specialize in anti-corrosion coatings for pipelines that are sold throughout the world anywhere that oil and gas products are produced or refined.

Preventing fires from spreading in an industrial plant requires a focus on safety. Keeping sources of fires, such as electrical panels, located farther away from flammable liquids and fumes helps keep fires contained to their original sources.

OSHA makes regular visits to all manufacturing facilities and makes sure that exhaust fans, dust collectors, and other safety measures are working, well maintained and inspected.

Welding, Electrical, and Flame Sources Limited

Many fires are caused not by the usual activities of the industrial plant but instead by service workers. These workers are usually third-party contractors that are unaware of flammables and use tools that create what is called “hot work” in prohibited areas. Sometimes the repair work is unavoidable but safety can be increased by limiting exposure to flammable gasses, liquids, and combustible dusts.

The Oil And Gas Industry Experiences and Accidents

While the oil and gas industry has had a steady decline in the number of accidents per year, they are still struggling to become safer for their employees.  Surprisingly, one of the most dangerous parts of the entire industry is driving motor vehicles on the road. Yearly nearly 18% of all deaths in the industry are attributed to motor vehicle accidents on roadways.

And sadly, not wearing seat belts, an easily preventable mistake, is a major reason for deaths on the road. Fatigue while driving is the second most preventable cause of those accidents and could be prevented with more breaks, less time pressure, and other fatigue countermeasures that are being studied.

Other accidents that happen on oil rigs, both onshore and offshore, have been reduced in recent years due to heavy use of machines that do much of the heavy lifting, plus more safety requirements to reduce exposure to hazardous conditions. As the industry gets more automated, with fewer workers and more machines, there should be a continued decline in accidents and injuries.

Hurt in an Industrial-Related Accident? We Can Help

The lawyers at Williams Kherkher have been handling explosion accident injuries in Houston, Texas and nationwide for years. We also handle cases such as car/truck accidents, wrongful death, and work injuries. Visit our office today or call (713) 230-2200 for a free consultation.


Natural Gas Explosions in Texas Brings Forth a Series of New Bills

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 3:21 pm    

deadly natural gas company explosions Brings Forth a Series of New Bills

Following a number of deadly natural gas company explosions in Texas, Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) filed a series of bills that will help increase oversight of natural gas companies in Texas.

A Series of Serious Explosions

In January of 2018, a family in North Texas was lucky to escape serious injuries when their home exploded. According to NBCDFW, hours before the explosion, the family already reported the smell of natural gas and a crew from Atmos Energy arrived to investigate.

The crew dug up the road in front of the house to find the leak while the family remained inside their home. Despite the lingering smell of natural gas, officials told them that it is safe for them to stay inside. By 3 AM, they’d asked the workers if it was still safe for them to stay because they were worried about the still-apparent smell of natural gas in the air. The workers said that there is no reason for them to evacuate.

Assured, the family went back to sleep but two hours later, they were awoken with the sound of an explosion and their house on fire.

In Stephenville, Texas, Russell McElyea suffered severe burns when his home exploded. The incident happened in the summer of 2017 when McElyea’s friend, Raul Pedroza lit the stove to cook lunch. There was an explosion, and McElyea still managed to carry his friend out the front door before the back of the house exploded. According to the two friends, they didn’t smell gas before they light up the stove.

A 12-year-old girl, Linda Michellita Rogers, also died last year in a home explosion that was linked to a gas leak.

Atmos Energy Fined

State regulators have fined Atmos Energy $16,000 over safety violations that led to the Irving house explosion last year.

For McElyea and Pedroza’s situations, the case against Atmos Energy is still ongoing.

The Bills

Rep. Anchia said that there are two bill groups — the first group deals with the Railroad Commission as an effective regulator while the second group will deal with the operators of natural gas pipelines that aim to reduce the risk of explosions. The bills are also said to increase transparency both at the Railroad Commission level and among operators. Through this, individuals may check their neighborhoods for leaks and report them immediately to gas companies.

Rep. Anchia also said that rusted, corroded, or faulty pipes in the state must be immediately replaced and infrastructure should meet 21st century standards.

Another important part of Anchia’s legislation would require gas companies to report leaks to the public in real-time through an interactive map.

deadly gas explosions attorneys

Who’s Liable?

Gas explosions often result in traumatic and fatal injuries, and severe burns frequently affect the quality of life of the victim.

In most cases, these explosions can easily be traced to the negligence of an individual or company. However, in the case of the Texas explosions that were mentioned, there is a strong possibility that the company is at fault.

Either way, having the right legal representation to help you recover from a gas explosion is very important.  The legal team at Williams Kherkher has experienced natural gas explosion attorneys that can help you get the compensation and justice that you are entitled to if another party is at fault.

We have dealt with many natural gas explosions over the last 30 years and would be honored to help you and your family fight for your right to live an explosion-free life.

We offer free consultations which you can start by calling us today at (888) 220-0640.


Former Kia Employee Reveals Car Fire Incidents Caused by Faulty Engine Recall

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 at 3:51 pm    

Faulty Engine Recall

Photo via news5cleveland.com

A former Kia employee at the company’s corporate headquarters says he warned the automobile manufacturer in 2017 about faulty engine recall repairs that were to blame for car fires.

The former Kia employee, Jason Vaughn, spoke up in an I-Team Investigator interview about the issue. “I’m coming forward because people’s lives are at risk,” he said.

Vaughn worked at the warranty department in Kia Motors America in Irvine, California. He left left Kia in December claiming he was kicked out of his job for bringing up car fire concerns.

He said he was doing dealer audits when he found out that the engine recall wasn’t performed properly, leading to highly flammable fuel pump leaks.

When he alerted his superior during an operations meeting, he didn’t get the expected reaction. “She wasn’t receptive at all,” Vaughn said. “She didn’t think it was something that we should look at.”

Vehicle Fires Reported in Forty-Four States

A report from the Center for Auto Safety said that drivers in 44 states have reported vehicle fire incidents so far, citing over 200 Hyundai and Kia cars, including 25 drivers from Florida alone.

New York City’s U.S. Attorney’s Office has reportedly facilitated an investigation with regard to how Kia and Hyundai handled engine recalls. The two automobile companies have refused to comment on any federal investigations.

Days after the interview, Vaughn contacted his former employer with regard to his claim. That same day Hyundai announced a plan to recall over 150,000 SUVs and cars for fuel pump issues.

A fuel pump recall estimate from Kia would involve more than 50,000 Kia Optimas, 17,000 Kia Sorentos, and about 1,000 Kia Sportages. Hyundai on the other hand estimates about 10,000 vehicles.

Kia said that they’re not aware of any accidents or injuries regarding the issue despite the recall.

Center for Auto Safety Wanted Kia and Hyundai to Recall Their Vehicles

However, a watchdog group is already expanding the recall, suspecting more vehicles that aren’t on the list will pose a risk for fire incidents. The Center for Auto Safety announced last year that it wanted Kia and Hyundai to recall at least 3 million vehicles because of car fires.

The Center for Auto Safety executive director Jason Levine said that the two companies undertook the smallest step to respond to numerous complaints about vehicles bursting into flames in previous years.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee called scheduled a hearing for November 14, but it was canceled after the CEO’s for Kia and Hyundai refused to attend and explain the cause of the reported fires.

Fuel Pump Leaks Found on Kia Cars

Two separate Kia owners from North Carolina and Louisiana shared videos showing fuel pumps spewing weeks after their engine recall replacements.

Vaughn said that he never seen a situation so dangerous in 25 years of working in the auto industry. “You’ve handed them the keys to a car that could potentially start on fire and burn to the ground within 10 to 15 seconds.”

Car on Fire at Pasco County

Chris McGuire-Wolfe, a mother from Pasco County said that her 2012 Kia Sorento burst into flames as she was driving down State Road 52 last month. She was thankful that her two sons weren’t in the car.

She showed ABC Action News her younger son’s seat melted into the back seat during the incident.

McGuire-Wolfe said she didn’t receive any engine recall notice from the manufacturer.  This means that a botched recall is not to blame for her burning vehicle, meaning there are other causes to the event.

Jason Vaughn Registers as a Federal Whistleblower

Vaughn has since registered as a federal whistleblower with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Whistleblower Program was created by Congress to give monetary incentives for individuals who report violations of  Commodity Exchange Act laws.

Spokesperson for Kia Issued a Statement

A Kia spokesperson said that Vaughn resigned from the company on his own volition in December, stating that they “cannot comment on Mr. Vaughn’s departure, and it is our policy to never retaliate against any employee for bringing up safety concerns or employment matters. We take our policy against retaliation very seriously.”

Kia also noted the issues Vaughn brought up and his concerns have been brought to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They also said in a email that they are already looking into Vaughn’s claims regarding the vehicle fires.

As for Vaughn’s claims during that meeting, he said there were six other employees who knew about the problem when he brought up the vehicle fire concerns. The I-Team reached out those workers, including the manager who directed the I-Team to reach out to the company’s corporate communications. The other employees did not respond immediately for comment.

Vaughn’s Claims Sparked Reactions from Local Car Owners

A myriad of reactions have sparked since Vaughn came forward on. Taylor Price, a local Kia driver said, “The fact you would not take steps to seek that out immediately and people are at risk of losing their lives.”

Defective Products and the Law

There are thousands of defective products that pose huge risks for people using them and that frequently cause significant injury or death.   The attorneys at Williams Kherkher, have been handling product defect and product liability cases since 1983.   If you have been injured or a loved one killed by a defective automobile or product, call us for a free consultation.  We will advise you of your legal rights and help you get justice and compensation.

Call us today at (713) 230-2200 for a free consultation.


Woman Killed in Norman, Oklahoma Train Accident

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 1:18 pm    

Train Accident in Norman

An Amtrak train heading northbound collided with a vehicle in Norman, Oklahoma, killing the driver.

Female Victim Not Identified Yet

The female driver was the only occupant of the vehicle which headed west at the time of the incident.

Investigators Responded to the Scene and Checked the Train

Gary Stoner of Oklahoma City was one of the passengers on the train which was on its final stop from Fort Worth TX. “There was a quick stop and the train smelled of some kind of smoke, which was probably the brakes being applied,” he said.

Stoner said that the train personnel told passengers they had hit a vehicle. There were responders on the scene after the train was taken to a safer location nearby.  Stoner and the other passengers waited for two hours while the collision site and train were checked by investigators.

Amtrak passenger railroad service

Statement from Amtrak

The passenger railroad service released a statement saying that “There were no reported injuries to the 40 passengers and crew members on board. The Amtrak Police cooperated with Norman Police Department to investigate the incident.”

“Amtrak Heartland Flyer train 822 was on its way from Fort Worth, Texas to Oklahoma City at approx. 9:01 p.m. CT on Friday, January 18, when it came into contact with an occupied vehicle obstructing the tracks at mp 405.3 at a crossing in Norman, Oklahoma.”

A Brief Look at Train Incidents in the United States

A person or a vehicle is hit nearly 2 hours by a train, according to the National Transportation Safety Bureau rail reports.

Some common rail incidents include:

  • Train to train collisions
  • Train to person collisions
  • Train to car collisions
  • Derailment
  • Property damage

Fatality in Numbers

The US Department of Transportation report indicates that there are about over 5,000 train-car accidents each year. These incidents cause 600 deaths and injuries and more than half of all train fatalities occur at crossings that do not implement safety precautions. Or in this case, there are no safety devices that alert or warn motorists.

Nearly 1,000 individuals are killed in train-related accidents each year, and U.S. rail accident statistics estimate that almost every two weeks a train derailment leads to major catastrophes such as a chemical spill or explosion.

Train Accidents

If you’ve been injured in a train accident or you’ve lost a loved one in a train-related incident, Williams Kherkher can help you get justice compensation for your family. Visit us today to discuss your case with our train accident attorneys or call us for a free consultation today by dialing (713) 230-2200.


Local Construction Worker Died After Falling from Amazon Warehouse

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:32 am    

construction worker died after falling from an Amazon warehouse

A construction worker died after falling from an Amazon warehouse. The Kern County coroner identified 42-year-old Brien James Daunt of Rancho Cucamonga as the victim of the incident.

The Kern County Fire Department confirmed that the victim was pronounced dead after the accident on Saturday. Daunt fell off a warehouse structure located off Petrol Road near Meadows Field Airport.

Battalion Chief Jason Schillinger said that safety is a number one priority of facilities with a lot of construction. “So from a Kern County Fire Department standpoint we need to make sure we stay safe and individuals around us stay safe.”

Further details are currently under investigation by OSHA.  

A Brief Summary of Work-Related Deaths

In 2016 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report indicating a number of deaths and fatal injuries that occur on different workplaces. A total of 5,200 of Americans died, with 14 people suffering fatal work injuries everyday that year.

Most Common Causes of Workplace Fatalities

  • Transportation – 40%
  • Violence – 17%
  • Slips, trips, and falls – 16%
  • Contact with equipment – 15%
  • Contact with harmful substances/environments – 10%

Most Common Occupations with the Highest Workplace Fatalities

  • Sales drivers/Truck drivers – 918
  • Farmers/ranchers – 260
  • Grounds maintenance – 217
  • First-line construction supervisors and extraction workers – 134
  • Roofers – 101

Transportation sectors are the most common occupation areas with the highest number of fatalities, followed by violence from people or animals. Contact with harmful substances/environments came in at the last spot with 10% fatalities. Drivers are more prone to accidents, along with farmers and agricultural managers, while grounds maintenance came in third.

Looking at the Numbers

  • 50,000 to 60,000 workers died from occupational diseases
  • Over 5,000 workers were killed in the job, a 4,000 increase in the previous year.
  • States with the highest job fatality rates: Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota.
  • 150 workers died each day from hazardous working conditions.
Occupations with the Highest Workplace Fatalities

Safety for American Workers

 

Safety is still an issue among American workers, with accidents increasing significantly since 2016. The AFL-CIO released a report that shows evidence of state’s safety and health protections for workers. Accidents, injuries, and deaths among workers have remained high.

Companies should always ensure employees are safe in their workplace and prevent events that can cause accidents in the future. OSHA has provided a number of safety and prevention programs to help mitigate work-related accidents, as well as workplace violence.

Work-Related Death and Injury – Bringing the Law to Your Side

When a person dies or gets injured at work, it can take a toll on their family. Work-related deaths often happen due to negligence of another party. Taking legal action is the only way to protect your family and get justice for your loved one. Talk to the attorneys at Williams Kherkher and let our experienced work injury lawyers in Texas help deliver justice to your case. Visit our Houston office today or call (713) 352-7071.

 

 


Man Found Dead in a Landfill

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:31 am    

 

accidentally being buried in a landfill 52 year old man died

A 52-year-old man was found dead in a landfill on Almonaster Avenue on January 14. According to reports, the man was struck by a tractor

It was around 3:00 p.m. when the workers stopped operation when they noticed the man missing. Apparently, the man worked as a spotter for one of the bulldozer drivers. They called in the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) to help the search for him. 

They found a flag that belonged to the man and eventually, his body was found by a coworker. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Captain Edwin Holmes of the NOFD said, “After locating what was thought to be a flag belonging to the victim, responders barricaded the area and began a search pattern involving digging by hand through the dumpsite.”

Holmes added that the New Orleans Police Department is currently conducting an investigation. 

Mechanical Hazards

In a case like this, machinery that’s not properly guarded is a potentially grisly safety hazard. When body parts get caught in or struck by exposed moving parts or flying objects from machines without protective guards, the results are disastrous. 

Most mechanical hazards happen in these places: 

  • Point of operation
  • Power transmission apparatus
  • Other moving parts

The golden rule to prevent these from happening is to ensure that all machine parts, functions, and process that may cause injury are safeguarded. On the other hand, existing hazards must be eliminated or controlled. Proper operation training along with protective clothing must be provided by the company as well. 

Workplace Injuries 

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), these are the most common workplace injuries: 

  • Sprains, strains or tears
  • Soreness or pain
  • Cuts, lacerations, or punctures

These are the top 3 workplace injury events that result in lost work days:

  • Overexertion (lifting or lowering / repetitive motions)
  • Contact with objects and equipment (struck by or against object / Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects / Struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment or material)
  • Slips, trips, and falls (falls to a lower level / falls on the same level)
Workplace Injuries and accidents - williamskherkher

The council also listed the top 5 occupations with the largest number of workplace injuries: 

  • Service
  • Transportation/Shipping
  • Manufacturing/Production
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair
  • Construction

Workplace Fatalities

According to the NSC in 2016, fatal work injuries reached 5,190 and it was the first time in nearly a decade to surpass 5,000. While in 2015, the state of Louisiana was included in the list of states with the highest fatality rates. 

Workplace fatalities have a huge impact on families, workplaces, and communities. That is why having proper representation at such a terrible time to ensure the bereaved get the benefits they deserve.

Workplace Accidents: The Importance of Timing

The most crucial time following a workplace accident is the first 24 hours. This means that a huge part of the actionable investigation must be conducted within 24 hours. 

Whether minor or major injuries, it is essential that the accident is reported right away, especially to the loved ones of the victim. 

Workers Compensation Benefits

The workers compensation claims that you are entitled to will depend on the injuries and the details of the case. Benefits may include: 

  • Recovery of a portion of lost wages
  • Medical treatment and coverage of rehabilitation benefits
  • Vocational rehabilitation 
  • Other post-accident support

Keep in mind that insurance providers do not have your best interests in heart. In fact, they will do anything in their power to lower your claims. 

Legal Representation

Williams Kherkher has workplace injury attorneys that can help a loved one died in a workplace accident. We will address your concerns and work to secure what you need for help recovering following a workplace fatality. 

By hiring legal presentation, you are taking a crucial step toward your right to sue the company or employer for the incident. Our lawyers will also help thoroughly investigate the accident and determine all sources of compensation that are available to you. 

We understand one of these accidents are life changing. Having a good firm by your side will be helpful to your cause. Contact us today


Ohio Hospital Intentionally Gave Woman Lethal Dose of Fentanyl, According to Lawsuit

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:30 am    

Ohio Hospital Intentionally Gave Woman Lethal Dose of Fentanyl
Photo credits to WSYX/WTTE

A wrongful death lawsuit claims that Mount Carmel Hospital and its doctors and medical staff intentionally gave a 79-year-old patient a lethal dose of Fentanyl in order to quicken her death.

The victim, Janet Kavanaugh died on December 11, 2017 where she received the dosage at 5:45 AM and was pronounced death at 6:30 AM. Doctor William Husel, who was treating Kavanaugh reportedly ordered that she be given 1,000 micrograms of the drug through the victim’s IV. The amount of the drug prescribed was “grossly inappropriate and excessive”, according to a medical expert.

Despite the excessive prescribing of Fentanyl, lawyers say that either Mount Carmel’s electronic medical records system failed to flag it and alert Kavanaugh’s medical providers or it was flagged and ignored.

Pharmacist Talon Schroyer and nurse Tyler Rudman are also named in the lawsuit with claims they were aware of the excessive prescription.

The administrators of Mount Carmel called Kavanaugh’s daughter on December 28, 2018 and told that her mother was given an excessive dosage of Fentanyl and the staff members involved were suspended from their posts, according to the lawsuit. Kavanaugh’s daughter got another call on January 14, 2019 citing that at least 26 patients were victims of excessive and inappropriate Fentanyl dosages.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Kavanaugh’s estate claims that the hospital was negligent for letting Dr. Husel practice in their facilities and negligent in supervising their staff.

A statement released by president and CEO of Mount Carmel Health System Ed Lamb stated the incident has been reported to the authorities after an internal investigation, terminated doctor’s employment, and removed him from all patient care. “We’re working hard to learn all we can about these cases, and we removed 20 hospital staff from providing further patient care while we gather more facts,” Lamb says.

Mount Carmel Health System’s full statement:

“Mount Carmel recently reported to authorities, the results of an internal investigation regarding the care provided by a doctor who, until recently, worked with patients requiring intensive care.

During the five years he worked here, this doctor ordered significantly excessive and potentially fatal doses of pain medication for at least 27 patients who were near death.

These patients’ families had requested that all life-saving measures be stopped, yet the amount of medicine the doctor ordered was more than what was needed to provide comfort.

On behalf of Mount Carmel and Trinity Health, our parent organization, we apologize for this tragedy, and we’re truly sorry for the additional grief this may cause these families. Our team has contacted these families and will continue to answer their questions and concerns as best as we can.

Following our discovery, we addressed related patient safety issues. We removed this doctor from all patient care and terminated his employment. We reported this situation to the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement. We changed processes to help ensure this event does not happen again.

We’re working hard to learn all we can about these cases, and we removed 20 hospital staff from providing further patient care while we gather more facts. This includes a number of nurses who administered the medication and a number of staff pharmacists who were also involved in the related patient care.

Mount Carmel provides compassionate care that takes into account the decisions of patients and their families. We believe in helping patients who are near death die peacefully and naturally.

The actions instigated by this doctor were unacceptable and inconsistent with the values and practices of Mount Carmel, regardless of the reasons the actions were taken. We take responsibility for the fact that the processes in place were not sufficient to prevent these actions from happening. We’re doing everything to understand how this happened and what we need to do to ensure it never happens again. We’re joined in this effort by leaders of Trinity Health and we’ve asked outside experts to assist us.

Our integrated team is identifying immediate root causes to ensure that our best-practice care guidelines are followed. So far, these include a new escalation policy for increases in pain medication dosing and a new approval process for pain medication at high doses during similar situations.

For many years, Mount Carmel has worked to reduce medical errors and create a culture in which staff report concerns. In particular, over the past 18 months, we have engaged in ZeroHarm and High-Reliability training to stop preventable medical errors-work that puts systems into place to make the care we provide highly reliable and consistent. This focus on high-reliability helped us to discover these events because one of our employees spoke up and reported a safety concern.

Despite our meaningful progress in building a high-reliability organization, we recognize we have more work to do. We’re committed to making sure our employees work in an environment where they have the right to speak-up-without fear of retribution.

As with everything we do, we will continue to rely on our values to guide us in responding to these events. We will continue to do the right thing, to act with integrity and be transparent.

While these actions have brought shock and hurt to our organization, this will not define us.

Our more than 11,000 employees at Mount Carmel are outstanding professionals committed to safe, high-quality, people-centered care. Together, we will find strength in the values and beliefs we’re known for.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the involved patients and their families, and we ask for their forgiveness.

We will learn from this, and we will do better-because our patients and their families deserve our very best.”

wrongful death lawsuit

The Dangers of Fentanyl

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is a powerful drug similar to other opioids, but 50 to 100 times more potent. It’s a schedule II prescription drug and typically used to treat patients suffering from severe pain or to help them manage pain post surgery.

Fentanyl is often administered through an injection, lozenges or a transdermal patch. There are recent cases of Fentanyl overdoses that are produced or administered in clandestine laboratories or facilities. Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl often comes in other forms, including:

  • Tablets
  • Spiked on blotter paper
  • Powder
  • Mixed with or substituted with heroin

Why is Fentanyl Dangerous?

Potent opioids such as fentanyl can cause breathing to stop entirely which can lead to death. The higher the potency of the drug, the more at risk of overdose.  The medication naloxone is an opioid receptor that reverses overdose and restores normal breathing. Fentanyl overdose should be treated by this receptor and may require higher doses to successfully reverse the overdose.

Filing a Case Against Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one from another party’s negligence is one of the most devastating things that can ever happen to a family. Wrongful deaths in Houston are one of the many case types our lawyers at Williams Kherkher handle, and we understand the pain our clients go through.

We are here to help you pursue justice and bring the law to your side. Call us today at (713) 352-7071 or visit our office to start working with our team.

 


Johnson & Johnson Talc-Cancer Lawsuit Undergoes Trial in California

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:30 am    

Post image

11,700 lawsuits were filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over allegations that their talc products cause ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. A jury heard in opening statements early this year in California whether or not the talc products have asbestos that the company is aware of.

Terry Leavitt, a mesothelioma patient, is the latest person who filed a lawsuit against the company, which was filed at the Alameda Superior Court in Oakland.

Born in the Philippines, Leavitt was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. According to Leavitt, her parents would apply the talc powder on her during her early years in the Philippines. She also claims the product they used was manufactured with talc mined from South Korea.

Represented by Joseph Satterley, he argued that according to independent investigations, the Korean talc mined in Korea between the 1960s and 1970s tested positive for asbestos, which is similar to the talc mined in the US within the same period. However, J&J countered that the fibers found in the talc mined in Korea were not asbestos.

A Turn of Events

In 1999, Darlene Coker, a mesothelioma patient claimed it was Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder that caused her cancer. J&J denied the claimed and insisted their baby powder was free of asbestos. It was at that time when the company was able to dodge handing over talc test results along with internal company records. Eventually, Coker had to drop the lawsuit as she didn’t have any proof.

In a turn of events, two decades after, the company was compelled to share internal company records following thousands of plaintiffs claiming their talc products caused cancer.

According to investigations, the company knew about the asbestos in their products but they did not disclose it to the public. Instead, they looked for ways to address it. The company’s documents also showed research studies on the health effects of talc and efforts to influence U.S. regulators’ plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products.

talcum powder asbestos cancer

Talc Powder & Cancer

Talc is a mineral mainly used to make talcum powder. It contains magnesium, oxygen, and silicon. The powder helps absorb moisture and limit friction, which is helpful for those who are suffering from dry skin and helps prevent rashes. This type of powder is commonly used in cosmetics and a number of consumer products.

Asbestos, on the other hand, may be found in talc in its natural form. The substance is known to cause cancer when inhaled.

Due to this, the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrances Association (CTFA) released voluntary guidelines that states all talc used in cosmetic products within the US should be free of asbestos in accordance to their standards in 1976.

The high-risk of the substance has urged many scientific and research studies to deliver valuable information to the public. According to studies done involving people, talcum powder may cause ovarian cancer if the particles of the powder were applied or used on the genital area. The studies also showed an increased risk of lung cancer along with other respiratory diseases.

Johnson & Johnson Responds

In December of 2018, J&J responded to the current allegations being thrown at them. The company remains firm that their talc is safe.

An excerpt of the statement reads:

“Johnson’s only uses pure, pharmaceutical-grade talc. We test every lot to ensure it. We’re a company deeply committed to the good health and long life of every person on earth. We’re parents and grandparents, just like you. If we had any reasons to believe our talc was unsafe, it would be off our shelves.

Instead, we have scientific evidence that our talc is safe and beneficial to use. But don’t just take our word for it…”

The statement is followed by a link to a website that contains the company’s independent studies from leading universities, research from medical journals, and third party opinions.

Protecting Yourself from Mesothelioma Caused by a Product

Mesothelioma is devastating and traumatic — not only does it cause suffering for the victim but also to the victim’s loved ones. At a time like this, fighting to gain the justice that you deserve is of the utmost importance as it can provide financial compensation that can help with mounting medical bills and at least a little quality of life. The attorneys at Williams Kherkher provide legal representation to those who are suffering from Mesothelioma.

Contact us today to learn more.


A Mother is Suing EPA for a Chemical that Killed Her Son

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:29 am    

Kevin Hartley died in 2017 while working
Photo credits to: Hartley Family

Wendy Hartley was once “cautiously optimistic” that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would ban numerous uses of a toxic chemical that killed her son. Now she’s suing the agency to ensure it happens.

Hartley met with the former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in May to talk about the death of her son 21-year-old Kevin Hartley, a trained contractor who died in 2017 due to exposure to paint stripper fumes while refinishing a bathtub.

Even though the EPA under the Trump administration postponed banning methylene chloride in paint strippers, Hartley says that she and other environmentalists thought Pruitt was “receptive to what we had to say.”

The EPA announced the day after their meeting that they mean to finalize a ban that has been initially proposed under President Barack Obama. Pruitt reiterated that pledge during a Senate hearing a week later.

Hartley is one of the two mothers of men who died from the airborne toxic compound and are now suing the EPA. They made a team with the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Vermont Public Interest Research Group to file a lawsuit in the US District Court in Vermont on Monday.

The lawsuit stated a decision in December by the EPA to move along with the banning of chemical use by consumers, but still allow commercial consumers and operators to use the product, providing they undergo training.

This didn’t sit well with public health advocates who want to push a more comprehensive ban.  Liz Hitchcock, director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families said that this is basically a breach of trust.

Hartley and the others argue the EPA is obligated under law to limit the use of any chemical that causes a risk of harm to one’s health. Researchers of the agency during the Obama administration deemed that it was too dangerous for most contractors to remove paint with methylene chloride. A total of 49 people in the United States died of exposure to the toxic chemical during paint and coat removal between 1976 and 2016, according to the EPA

A New EPA Administrator

Since July, acting chief Andrew Wheeler is in charge of the agency after the White House forced Pruitt to resign due to a number of investigations concerning ethics.

Safe Chemicals had sent a request to meet with Wheeler after his designation. The planned meeting did not happen due to issues with his schedule. The Environmental Defense Fund also requested a meeting in July, but that meeting didn’t happen either.

EPA spokesman John Konkus wrote via email that the acting administrator is looking forward to continuing to work with the EDF in reaching out on the regulation and for their help arranging a meeting with family members.

The holdup for this motion has caused three people in addition to Kevin Hartley to die of methylene chloride fumes. Manufacturers of the chemical have also publicly push the EPA to stop the ban. Wendy Hartley already sees a long court fight due to the influence of these manufacturers saying that she’s sure “they’re going to drag this out because that’s what the chemical industry wants.”

Many Americans die due to exposure of of harmful substances in their place of work

Working with Harmful Chemicals

Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most common concerns American workers face. Different toxic chemicals pose a threat to human health and unexpected releases of these chemicals have been reported for years.

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) has a list of hazardous chemicals to help industries and employees identify these chemicals and ways to contain them.

Common Hazardous Substances

  • Acids
  • Caustic substances
  • Disinfectants
  • Glues
  • Heavy metals – lead, mercury, aluminium, and cadmium
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents
  • Paint
  • Petroleum products

Possible Side Effects of Exposures

Hazardous substances can be inhaled, splashed onto one’s skin or eyes or swallowed.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Birth defects
  • Poisoning
  • Lung, kidney or liver disorders
  • Poisoning
  • Headaches
  • Chemical burns
  • Skin rashes
  • Nervous system disorders

Read more about hazardous substances and safety at Better Health.

Getting Help from a Trusted Law Firm

Many Americans die due to exposure of harmful substances in their place of work every year. Exposure to toxic chemicals due to negligence of an employer is one of the most common cases that is still a major concern today. If your loved one is one of these people and you want to get justice in their behalf, our lawyers at Williams Kherkher are always ready to help.

We’ve been serving Houston clients for years and helping them with cases such as carbon monoxide poisoning, wrongful death, and workplace accidents. Contact us today to get started.

 

 


Grand Parkway Safety Barrier Under Investigation After Fatal Crash

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:29 am    

Houston State Highway 99 Grand Parkway

Photo credits to TxDOT

The median fence designed to prevent collisions was proven to be ineffective in preventing an accident on December 12 that killed two people on Grand Parkway in Northwest Harris County.

A report from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) shows that at least two highway safety features were unable to keep the truck from entering on the other lanes.

The Texas Peace Officer’s Uniform Crash report stated, “Unit 1 then veered south across the westbound lanes where it entered the grassy median and struck three barricades before entering the eastbound lanes of SH-99.”

The truck in question lurched off a concrete wall and the cable fencing that was supposed to prevent traffic from veering on opposite lanes wasn’t able to contain the vehicle.

Head-On Collisions

After the Ford F-15 crossed the median, it hit a guardrail lining on the opposite side of the lanes that broke apart upon impact and this served as a launch pad for the 4,500-pound truck.

“As Unit 1 struck the metal guard rail on the north side of the eastbound lanes, Unit 1 climbed the guardrail, and struck Unit 3 on the top,” according to the accident report.

The Unit 3 vehicle was a Lexus SUV driven by 66-year-old Linda Fuggiti who was killed in the accident. The Unit 2 driver was the sole survivor of the crash.

Another victim has been identified as 78-year-old Michael Brown who was also killed where he was struck by the truck and another vehicle.

The section of the Grand Parkway where the accident happened is managed by TxDOT. The safety features and lanes are newly constructed and not retrofitted parts of 99 such as certain areas of the Fort Bend County toll road.

TxDOT spokesperson Danny Perez said that a review of every fatal accident on any road managed by the state agency is dictated by standard operating procedures. Perez and the agency also want to see if there are other crashes in that area and if there’s anything they can do to improve the region’s safety.

Since January 1, 2016, TxDOT records indicate 24 deaths on Grand Parkway main lanes and frontage roads. Their reports also reveal a total of 16 fatal accidents since 2010.

head-on collisions Highway Accidents - williamskherkher

Median Barriers for Highway Safety

Median barriers are designed to separate traffic and prevent vehicles from going into opposite lanes of the highway. Typically constructed in urban multi-roads, they can also be utilized to prevent pedestrians in crossing the road at unsafe places.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the type of median barrier:

  • Traffic speed and volume
  • Width
  • Vehicle mix
  • Road alignment
  • Crash history
  • Number of lanes
  • Maintenance costs
  • Installation

Advantages

  • Can help prevent dangerous overtaking maneuvers
  • Minimize head-on collisions
  • Can shift turning movements to safer areas

Disadvantages

  • Can restrict the flow of traffic if a vehicle breaks down
  • Emergency vehicles won’t be able to access roads when there are median barriers
  • Median barriers can be safety hazards if they’re not well-designed
  • Some regions have materials used for medians that are at risk of being stolen

What Victims of Highway Accidents Can Do

If you have a loved one involved in a highway accident due to negligent of the other party, the lawyers at Williams Kherkher are here to help. Get the justice for your loved one through our experienced attorneys and extensive resources. We handle personal injury cases such as truck accidents, aviation accidents, and carbon monoxide poisoning, and we’re ready to help your family recover through litigation on your behalf. Get in touch with us now to get started.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

Contact us today at (888) 220-0640 to get a free, confidential case evaluation.