Southern Odysseys

Now with Fewer Cyclopes


John Eddie Williams and his wife, Sheridan, strive to help those in their community. Through their involvement with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Houston Chronicle’s Goodfellows program, the two extend their hands to those in need.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center sets an impressive goal for itself to eradicate cancer from Texas and the world. They intend to do this through innovative research that pushes the bounds of science. Their integrated patient care strategies offer a unique and valued experience for the cancer victims that they treat. They have an ongoing mission of continued education for their trainees, professionals, and the public.

The core values of the MD Anderson Cancer Center directly align with values upheld by John Eddie Williams. MD Anderson is dedicated to creating a caring environment that benefits their staff and patients. They value the integrity of their employees, trusting their competent and impressive colleagues. Finally, the organization values discovery through research and creative strategies to cure cancer.

In the same vein of giving back to the community, John Eddie Williams is an involved member of Goodfellows Club of Houston, a Better Business Bureau Charity. The goal of the organization is to deliver toys to underprivileged children in the Houston area. The charity gives over 130,000 toys annually to around 60,000 children in need. As the largest donator to the Goodfellows Club of Houston, John Eddie Williams helps to grow and spread good will throughout the community.

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Auto Accidents: Whiplash


Posted By on Feb 18, 2015

The severity of the injury a car driver can sustain in a car accident depends on certain circumstances, like the speed of both cars before impact, whether or not the injured victim is wearing a seatbelt, the part of the car that is hit and how effective the other car safety devices (like the air bag) are.

Car accident injuries range from slight bruises severe physical harm, like injury to the neck and spinal cord, bone fracture, lacerations, internal injuries, and whiplash, which is an abrupt and violent blow to the head, making it to jolt back and forth. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) believes that whiplash is the most common injury that car crash victims sustain.

According to the website of Pohl and Berk, the dangers associated with whiplash include injury to tendons, muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the area of the neck. One problem this whiplash injury, however, is that it is not easily determinable. Often, the symptoms associated with this injury (which includes dizziness, the sense of pins and needles in the arms, swelling of the neck, nausea, back pain, blurred vision, headache, sudden lack of energy, muscle spasms and difficulty in swallowing) become evident only hours after the accident.

Contrary to perceptions that a whiplash is possible only if the vehicle that rear-ends the victim is speeding, studies have shown (and actual cases prove) that being rear-ended even by vehicles running at much slower speed can cause the injury. While there is no certain way of keeping this injury from happening to anyone during rear-end collisions, traffic enforcers can only advise drivers to always make sure that they are secured by a seatbelt to, at least, lessen the effect of an impact.

Besides car accidents, whiplash can also be caused by assault, a sports-related injury or a fall. Individuals, who sustain the injury because of the negligent act of someone else, are allowed by the law to file a civil or tort lawsuit against the liable party. Since any type of injury can cause financial losses on the part of the victim, as well as cast the victim in situations that require him/her to undergo costly medical treatment, it is, therefore, possible to seek compensation for all present and future damages the injury will result to.

Understanding your rights as a victim, though, would definitely be better through the assistance of highly-capable personal injury lawyers.

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You are probably aware that the mouth is one of the “dirtiest” parts of the body, mostly because it plays host to millions of different kinds of bacteria. A Leander TX dentist would explain that most of these are harmless, and some are actually beneficial because it helps in the breakdown of the food that we eat. However, there are some bacteria that can cause harm when we have poor dental hygiene, generally manifesting in bad breath and tooth decay, and on occasion it carries more serious consequences.

A study by New York University researchers suggested in 2010 that gum inflammation may be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease to a certain degree. They concluded this after reviewing 20 years of data culled from 152 Danish subjects that participated in the Glostrop Aging Study, most of whom began the study in their 50s. The study ended in 1984 when all the subjects were 70 years old and above.

According to the researchers, the data indicated that in people over 70 there was a strong link between low cognitive function and gum disease. Those who had inflammation of the gums at the time of a digital symbol test were more likely to score lower than those without periodontal problems, even when the results were adjusted for factors such as smoking habits, tooth loss with no periodontal implications, and obesity.

University of Central Lancashire researchers followed up on these conclusions in 2013 by examining brain samples of 10 people who had Alzheimer’s disease and comparing them with brain samples of those without the condition. They found that there was a bacterium normally associated with chronic periodontal disease (Porphyromonas gingivalis) present in the brain samples of those with Alzheimer’s disease but not in those without. A further study in 2014 using mice found that two of the more common bacteria that caused gum disease were motile, meaning that they are capable of travelling, and were to be consistently found in the brain.

While these studies do not definitively show that gum disease-causing bacteria that travel to the brain may be causing Alzheimer’s disease, the results are certainly suggestive. At any rate, it does no harm to ensure good gum and oral health by having good dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist.

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Scaffold Law Under Fire


Posted By on Oct 20, 2014

The 1885 law enacted in New York when the first skyscrapers began being built which protect workers from fall-from-height accidents is still in force today, and not a lot of people are happy about it.

Labor Law § 240, more commonly known as the Scaffold Law, essentially places all the liability for construction site injuries of workers on the contractor or construction company no matter if the worker was partly or entirely at fault. Others characterize it as “absolute” liability which critics say is unfair to conscientious and law-abiding contractors that ensure the safety of their workers to the best of their ability. There have been numerous attempts to modify the law, understandably mostly by construction companies and their insurers, but so far it remains essentially the same.

The main contention of these would-be reformers is that the law is hurting the industry by driving up costs. But as stated in the website of Hach & Rose, the fact is that some contractors and construction companies cut corners when it comes to the safety of their workers, making a construction site even more dangerous than it has to be. This is one of the main reasons that the Scaffold Law came into being in the first place.

Construction workers are constantly in danger of serious injury because of the nature of the work, but it would be incredible to suggest that they would risk life and limb simply to collect damages under the Scaffold Law. It is undeniable that there are accidents that are due to the worker’s own negligence, but this is by far the minority.

While modifying the Scaffold Law to put liability on a comparative fault basis may be a good idea, there is little impetus to push this beyond the proposal stage at this point. Construction workers in New York are still under the current terms of the Scaffold Law.

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Status of Early Benicar Lawsuits


Posted By on Sep 18, 2014

Two product liability cases filed on the same day in the same place for the same reason are being transferred back to state court where the cases were originally after both being transferred to federal court. The remand to state court was petitioned by both plaintiffs and was duly granted on the basis of the forum defendant rule, but their request to be compensated for legal costs incurred in the maneuvering over the venue was denied.

The separate cases filed against Benicar principals Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories by plaintiffs George and Martha Williams from Texas and Shelly and Abu Rahman from Pennsylvania were initially filed in the Atlanta County Law Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey in February 2014. The cases were filed in New Jersey because Daiichi Sankyo is based there, as is Forest Research Institute. As suggested in http://www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/defective-pharmaceuticals/benicar/, both cases alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to warn and failing to adequately test the product for safety.

Benicar (olmesartan) is a drug from a class of hypertension medication called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) or sartan. This particular brand was developed by the Japanese drug company Sankyo for distribution in the US in partnership with Forest Labs. Sankyo won Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the drug in 2002, and by 2012 was filling more than 10 million Benicar prescriptions.

In that same year, however, doctors at the Mayo Clinic finally figured out that what was causing a condition called sprue-like enteropathy in 22 of their patients was Benicar. Having ruled out celiac sprue (or celiac disease) as the cause of gastrointestinal problems of these patients, doctors turned to finding out what the patients all had in common. It turned out that all 22 patients were on Benicar, and when it was discontinued, so did the symptoms. By July 2013, the FDA was issuing warnings, and the first lawsuits were being prepared.

If you suffer serious symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy from using Benicar, you may be eligible to get financial compensation for your health problems. Contact a reputable Benicar lawyer in your area to find out more.

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Personal Injury: Industrial Accident


Posted By on Sep 5, 2014

Regardless of the type of workplace an individual may be working in, safety should be among his/her top concerns. This same concern was what led the US Congress in passing the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) in 1970 with the goal of making sure that all employers (of private and government firms) provide their employees with a working environment that is free from known hazards, like excessive levels of noise, heat stress or cold stress, contact with toxic chemicals, mechanical dangers, and all forms of unsanitary conditions.

In a regular office environment, measures that will ensure the safety and health of employees can be easy to observe; with regard to industrial working environments, such as construction sites, oil rigs, power or nuclear plants, manufacturing firms, factories, mills, mining fields, and so forth, the meaning of ‘freedom from hazard’ (or even the word ‘hazard’ itself) will have to take off from a much higher level of platform.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics records around 3 million injuries every all, all involving industrial workers. These injuries are usually caused by broken or unsafe scaffoldings, exposure to dangerous chemicals, contact with heavy machinery, malfunctioning heavy equipment, being hit by falling tools or objects, falling off from a high working place, slip and fall, and so forth.

An industrial accident can leave a worker with a life-changing injury that can cause a crippling financial situation for him/her and (his/her) family. According to the website of Crowe & Mulvey, these permanent injuries can have lifelong consequences that are incredibly costly to the family, both socially and financially.

Besides injuries, industrial work can also cause a deadly chronic illness, especially in those who are regularly exposed to toxic substances. Workers, whose share of exposure to hazardous chemicals is on a daily basis, ought to be aware of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) of 1986. This law, which is also known as the Right-to-Know law or Worker Right-to-Know Legislation, gives workers the right to be informed about the dangers they are exposed to and how they can safeguard themselves from such dangers.

A Detroit personal injury lawyer is well aware that industrial work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Among the many types of injuries that it has already caused are second or third degree burn, fractured or broken neck, broken bones, severe cut and/or bruising, hemorrhage, suffocation, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, paraplegia or selective paralysis, and/or quadriplegia or complete paralysis; in some worst case, industrial accidents have also led to the amputation of limbs or death of victims.

However, speaking with an attorney can help victims seek justice for their injuries and for all the damages he or she is (and will be) faced with.

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Medical Malpractice: Wrong Diagnosis


Posted By on Sep 4, 2014

Reports of medical malpractice lawsuits have been the content many newspapers, and radio and TV news programs over the past years. Though alarming it may be, medical malpractice is a reality and, based on the numbers given by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it claims about 225,000 lives in the US every year, making it one of leading cause of death in the nation.

Medical malpractice can be committed through many different ways; usually, however, these have just one common root – wrong diagnosis, which may mean delayed, missed or over diagnosis. Because of wrong diagnosis patients can be made to undergo unnecessary laboratory tests, prescribed with the wrong medication, be subjected to a surgical procedure or given other kinds of treatment that are not needed. Worse, with the real illness not properly diagnosed it can worsen, while the unnecessary medical treatment resorted to may cause the development of another serious health condition in the patient.

One major cause of misdiagnosis, according to a study conducted by the U.S. News and World Report, is physician bias. This is the most common result of the 15-minute doctor and patient interaction, a doctor’s way of meeting as many patients as possible (within his/her consultation schedule). During this very limited 15-minute office visit, the doctor tends to automatically apply the “18-second rule,” wherein he/she would readily identify the patient’s illness based on symptoms (failing to consider the fact that many types of illnesses have the same symptoms).

Unless doctors fully understand the incalculable importance of their responsibility over their patients, wrong diagnosis would more likely just go on and on. A New Hampshire medical malpractice lawyer, however, can help patients, who have fallen victims to medical incompetence, take legal action against erring medical practitioners and hopefully receive compensation from them for whatever damages may arise from an erroneous practice.

A Louisville personal injury lawyer would, likewise, be another best legal counsel to consult if a patient knows and feels that he/she is a victim of medical malpractice. While doctors, despite the errors they commit, may clearly not have intended any harm on the patient, the fact that a totally preventable event has happened makes them totally liable for their failure to provide quality care.

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When a disaster wreaks havoc in a particular state, among the first to respond to help those affected are usually charitable institutions and non-profit organizations. Though both usually work together and share funds, both would be required to dig deep into their pockets and expect that the rebuilding and recovery process costs so much more than what it usually seems.

Such is especially true with regard to the states affected by the biggest oil spill in U.S. history in April of 2010. Louisiana and the other states have actually not fully recovered yet from the destructions left by hurricane Katrina when British Petroleum’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, spilling more than 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil spill made a major disastrous impact in the public health, tourism industry, fishing and wildlife of the states along the Gulf of Mexico, slamming the economic growth and privileges of individuals and businesses in those states.

A couple of months after the disaster, BP put up the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), a claims program that was intended to help small businesses and workers get compensated for their damages and losses. Two years after (in 2012), all claims were consolidated and placed under the care of a court-supervised settlement program.

While it is true that individuals and businesses suffered economic losses, it cannot be denied that nonprofit organizations and churches had been affected too as the amount of contributions and donations these used to receive over the past years suddenly decreased during the months following the spill. As BP realized this loss of nonprofits, these were, therefore, included in the list of those that were supposed to receive settlement payments.

Churches, K-12 schools, pre-schools, private daycare centers, rescue missions, homeless shelters, rehabilitation facilities and religious institutions are among those affected by the spill. Besides these, Williams Kherkher, through an article posted in his website, also mentions the losses suffered by Disease research organizations, Historical societies and Wildlife preservation organizations, making these eligible too to receive compensation from BP. The only worry many legal professionals worry about is the non-action of nonprofits, choosing not to file claims lawsuits despite BP’s offer to settle.

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With the special training for skills development and improvement, plus the tests required of applicants for commercial driving licenses, it would be easy to assume that drivers will be able to drive big rigs or 18-wheelers smoothly and easily. Every year, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records more than 400,000 truck accidents, with at least ten percent of it resulting to someone’s death. Huge and heavy enough to crash a smaller motor vehicle, trucks are, thus, considered threats on the road.

According to the website of Nashville personal injury lawyers Pohl & Berk, a truck’s threatening size and weight are actually compounded by the practice and the job requirement of some drivers. Meaning that mistakes made by drivers who have a hard time staying focused can be that much more devastating. Thus, though it may be true that these drivers possess the necessary skills in operating a truck, driving long distances for about 11 hours a day (to keep a delivery schedule), driving while intoxicated, smaller vehicles tailgating a truck or not driving from a safe distance from trucks, truck drivers texting or using a handheld phone while driving, and so forth, will definitely not render any road, where a truck is being driven, totally safe.

In addressing such issues like driver fatigue, driver intoxication and cell phone use while driving, the US Department of Transportation has passed laws that would make sure truck drivers do not fall into (or commit) these mistakes while on the road. Laws like the maximum hours of service (HOS) for continuous driving, the 0.4% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit, the total banning of cell phone use and, recently (taking effect on January 1, 2013), the use of bluetooth headset, which is supposed to put a stop to the use of handheld phones while driving (this, according to the NHTSA, is the present major thing that distracts truck drivers).

Bluetooth headsets for truckers are intended to help significantly reduce incidences of driver distraction and, thus, the likelihood of truck accidents from happening. These devices are designed to allow a two-way connection through wireless technology. While some devices may be fitted into the ear, there are those that are inserted into especially-designed caps.

Failure to wear (and use) the device can mean a $2,750 fine for each violation plus revocation of the commercial vehicle driver’s license (for repeated violations). These, of course, come on top of the civil lawsuits that can be filed by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of  a victim, in case of an accident, to seek compensation for all the damages that the victim will be subjected to. Victims could be well rewarded for visiting a personal injury lawyer’s website and learning more about what an attorney can do to help them get past the injuries they’ve had to sustain as a result of another party’s neglectful actions.

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Personal Injury: Product Liability


Posted By on Sep 1, 2014

Every year thousands of lawsuits against manufacturers of defective products are filed by consumers in US courts due to the harm or injury that arise from these products’ defect. Through an article posted on its website, Ravid & Associates, P.C., plainly explains consumers’ attitude of not being meticulous with regard to checking products’ safety. This is primarily based on consumers’ trust that since these products were approved for distribution and/or consumption, then these are totally safe.

Product safety isn’t always guaranteed as there have been many instances when a product has been proven to have defects or contain elements that can serve as potential cause of life-altering or life-threatening injuries. And it could be any type of manufactured good, such as a toy, an electronic gadget, a safety gadget for children, food, prescription drug, a medical device, a motor vehicle, and so forth. Regardless of the type, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers are mandated by the law to make sure that their products are safe and that they should accept liability if their product ends up causing injury or harm to someone.

Ensuring product safety is the task of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Besides making sure that the goods that consumers purchase are neither dangerous nor defective, the bureau is also tasked to:

  • Put a stop to unjust, deceptive and fraudulent business practices by accepting and investigating consumer complaints on product defects
  • Educate business firms and individuals on their duties, responsibilities and rights as consumers
  • Formulate and enforce fair marketplace rules
  • Make sure that manufacturers do not place deceptive and misleading labels
  • File suits against companies or individuals who violate consumer rights or offer defective products.

With regard to the legal duty of manufacturers, they should: see to it that their products’ labels accurately identify the product’s ingredients; never make claims (on what their products can do) if these have not been scientifically proven; and, include all necessary instructions or warnings connected with product use.

If, despite the requirements of the law, a product is still found to cause (or believed to be the cause of) an injury, then it is best to contact a Madison personal injury lawyer immediately. While some injuries may prove hard to cure or may no longer be altered, filing a lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer would be a legal right of the victim; it can also, possibly, stop the product from harming others in the future. A Madison personal injury lawyer can also help the victim seek and receive compensation from the manufacturer for all the (present and future) damages the injury would cause him/her.

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