Salmonella Outbreak – Medical Records Needed

Whoa, that pesky salmonella.  Striking again.  This time the harmful strain can be attributed to conditions at a Foster Farms poultry plant in California.

Salmonella is a thorn in the chicken industry’s side: the salmonella bacteria is actually quite common in the poultry industry and can be detected in most chickens, often from birth.  Since the salmonella bacteria can be killed through cooking, government officials allow some levels of the contaminant to be present in poultry factories.  The largest concern over the recent outbreak, however, is the particular strain of salmonella: Salmonella Heidelberg.  Salmonella Heidelberg has become resistant to some common antibiotics and over 40% of the recent illnesses have resulted in hospitalizations, twice the normal rate associated with most salmonella outbreaks.

Currently, 362 people have reportedly been infected across 21 states.  No deaths have been reported.  Recalls have been issued at several grocery store chains, including the Costco in San Francisco, CA.  Nevertheless, the salmonella tainted chicken may still be in circulation in grocery stores around the country as the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, F.S.I.S., did not actually order Foster Farms or any grocery store to recall the tainted chicken.  The current solution to the outbreak: handle your chicken carefully, and cook it well.

This is not the first salmonella outbreak, nor will it be the last.  MEDRECS is constantly monitoring the CDC and other sources for information on outbreaks and other consumer issues.  We have been intimately involved in the rapid gathering and processing of medical records for patients affected by past salmonella outbreaks related to peanut butter and other tainted food products.  The speedy retrieval and vetting of medical records is critical both to law firms and the patients they represent in order to ensure a complete understanding of the outbreak and subsequent illnesses, and to ensure impartial and transparent access to the primary evidence: the medical records.

If your law firm finds itself representing a party in a food-bourne illness matter, you can count on MEDRECS as your medical records partner. Our experience and success on large volume high-profile cases is unmatched and our turnaround time for production of records is industry best.

For any questions you have for MEDRECS, please contact us at contact@medrecs.com

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/08/salmonella-chicken-outbreak/2941783/

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/18/business/la-fi-foster-farms-20131019

MEDRECS update on fungal meningitis outbreak

MEDRECS is monitoring the recent outbreak of fungal meningitis which has been linked to tainted lots of Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF), an injectable steroid mixed and distributed by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.  It appears that most of the victims received spinal injections of the steroid to treat chronic back pain, and a few victims received injections of the steroid in other joint locations. As of this writing, there are over 370 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis and 29 reported deaths across 19 states (according to the Center for Disease Control), with the largest number of cases being reported in Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, and Indiana.

This terrible outbreak is not the first of its kind, unfortunately. We are reminded of past outbreaks of disease related to tainted food/medicine, most recently the salmonella outbreak of 2009 linked to contaminated peanut butter produced by the Peanut Corporation of America in its Georgia, Texas, and Virginia plants. That outbreak prompted one of the largest recalls of a food product in US history, sickening more than 700 and killing 9 people across 46 states. 

During the 2009 peanut butter litigation, attorneys across the country were mired in the daunting task of retrieving voluminous sets of medical and billing records within a strict time frame with very limited resources (on average, a paralegal can spend 30 hours retrieving medical and billing records for a single patient). Many of these firms turned to MEDRECS for help retrieving records. “I remember working with one attorney who had so many medical records to retrieve, her paralegal just sent us an Excel spreadsheet and we took it from there,” explains one MEDRECS account representative. Another MEDRECS team member also remembers working on the peanut butter cases: “It was satisfying to me to spend my day working on these cases, then read the latest news at night and think ‘at least I’m doing something to help.’”

Our hearts go out to the victims of this fungal meningitis outbreak. We wish a speedy recovery to those who have fallen ill, and we offer our sincere condolences to the family members who have lost loved ones.

(Infographic courtesy of Buckfire Law.)

UPDATE (November 9, 2012)

The total number of confirmed cases of fungal meningitis tied to this outbreak is now 424 with 31 deaths. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

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