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Louisville Personal Injury Blog

Hawaii woman with mesothelioma sues Johnson & Johnson

Louisville residents may have heard how Johnson & Johnson is facing numerous lawsuits from consumers who were diagnosed with mesothelioma: a rare and aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The plaintiffs allege that regular use of the corporation's talc-based baby powder, which was found to contain the mineral, led to their developing the cancer.

One of the most recent in the long line of victims is a 64-year-old native of Hawaii. She was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in February 2019 and filed a civil lawsuit in the Honolulu Circuit Court in November 2019. The defendants named in the lawsuit are Johnson & Johnson and the supermarket chain that sold the baby powder. The latter is being blamed because under product liability law, it had a duty not to sell unsafe products.

Johnson & Johnson rushed asbestos tests for its baby powder

Louisville residents may have heard that Johnson & Johnson is being accused of selling talc-based baby powder containing asbestos. A new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that the corporation rushed several laboratory tests in the effort to show that its product was free of asbestos contamination.

J&J had commissioned two independent laboratories to conduct the tests on the same baby powder products that were recalled by the FDA. One of those laboratories actually found asbestos but then quickly changed its conclusion, stating that the talc sample provided by J&J was contaminated by the AC unit in the testing room.

Mesothelioma: symptoms and risk factors

Louisville residents should know that mesothelioma is a rare cancer but also one of the most aggressive. It occurs in the thin layer of tissue called the mesothelium, which covers the heart, lungs and other internal organs. The two major types are pleural, occurring in the lining of the lungs, and peritoneal, occurring in the lining of the abdomen.

Mesothelioma symptoms are not specific to the disease. Those with pleural mesothelioma will experience chest pain, shortness of breath and even weight loss. Peritoneal mesothelioma leads to abdominal pain and swelling as well as weight loss. Everyone is encouraged to see a doctor at the first sign of such symptoms, but considering the rarity of mesothelioma, one may be diagnosed with something else.

Mesothelioma statistics point to continued risk

After the public was informed that exposure to asbestos leads to a rare, devastating form of cancer called mesothelioma, regulations were put in place in order to protect workers in Louisville and across the country. Changes were made to how workers can use carcinogenic products like asbestos and to their use in consumer products and public buildings. While science and medical technology have advanced considerably since the discovery of the carcinogenic nature of asbestos, mesothelioma continues to devastate victims. Studies show little improvement in the rate of mesothelioma development or in the chances of victims' survival.

Many experts expected that mesothelioma diagnoses would decline after a peak between 2000 and 2005, representing a high point for workers exposed to asbestos prior to the development of newer regulations. Earlier, mesothelioma diagnoses had increased each year between 1783 and 1961. One study conducted at the Cleveland Clinic showed that the expected decline had never taken place. Instead, the diagnosis rate for the rare cancer has remained stable. Researchers studied 20,988 patients who had been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure a safety risk for jewelers

Though asbestos use has been limited over the past few decades, it can still be found in various industries. Louisville residents should know that one of those industries is the jewelry industry. The first jewelry-related mesothelioma case was reported on back in 1992 by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, so the issue has been known for a while.

The case involved a 61-year-old man who had been a jeweler for 35 years. He was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, or cancer of the thin lining separating the lung cavity and chest wall. The cancer spread to one of the man's lungs, so he underwent a pneumonectomy, or removal of an infected lung.

Vintage household items may contain asbestos

Many of us prefer the feel and look of vintage clothes, cars and other "classic" items over their newer, often less durable counterparts. In fact, we've all heard someone say "they just don't make them like they used to" with a disappointed tone, remembering when this or that product was sturdier or better in some way. It's true — very few products of any kind are still manufactured with the same processes and materials used in previous decades.

However, in many instances, older products contain dangerous substances that cause illnesses that manufacturers and regulators were unaware of when they were in production. This is particularly true of products that contain asbestos. Until medical researchers identified the link between asbestos and mesothelioma, many of the products produced from the 1930s through 1977 included asbestos.

Research looks at new ways to treat mesothelioma

Some Louisville workers who are suffering from mesothelioma may have access to a new treatment. While more study is needed, in May, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved it under the Humanitarian Device Exemption for first-line treatment. The treatment, known as Tumor Treating Fields, is made by Novocure and used alongside chemotherapy. It involves a device that uses electric fields to shut down cancer cell division.

There have been trials at 12 sites across Europe. In 2018, study results showed one-year survival rates of more than 62% and two-year survival rates of more than 41%. The median survival rate for participants is more than 18 months. This is nearly twice as long as the rate for people who are treated only with chemotherapy. However, some patients showed much better outcomes. Of the 13 patients at a trial site in Italy, three patients are doing well after three years and another has had no sign of recurrence in four years and no further progression of the disease.

New study reveals talcum powder may cause mesothelioma

Kentucky residents may be interested in learning about a new case study that offers some of the most powerful proof that being exposed to talcum powder that contains asbestos can cause mesothelioma. Besides the fact that this is an important discovery, it could also provide just the evidence that is needed by plaintiffs who have brought claims against companies that produce talcum powder and have alleged that it causes cancer.

Asbestos is a human carcinogen. It occurs naturally in fibrous materials. It is used in a variety of products, including insulation, building supplies and the talc that is used to make talcum powder. While there have been claims that the talc that is used for talcum powder does not contain detectable levels of asbestos, there is still concern because of the lack of regulation in the cosmetic industry.

The role empathy plays in treating terminally ill patients

Kentucky residents with friends or family members who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma know how devastating this diagnosis can be. This is a rare form of cancer that is related to asbestos. It is aggressive, and there is no known treatment for the disease. The medical community is working hard to find ways to improve survival rates and to improve a sufferer's quality of life. Recent research suggests that physicians should also pay more attention to what they say and how they go about speaking with patients who have been diagnosed with this disease.

When patients were asked what could have been done to improve the quality of the care they received, a number of them talked about what they felt were failures on the part of the physician when it came to communicating. They felt that they were not given accurate or clear enough explanations. They felt that their physician did not seem as empathetic to the situation as they would have hoped the physician to be.

Asbestos can sicken the spouses and children of exposed workers

People in a number of different professions may have to handle asbestos as part of their job. For decades before the federal government put regulations in place to protect workers, people would have to handle this dangerous carcinogen without any workplace protections. They may also have unwittingly exposed the people they loved the most to dangerous levels of asbestos.

Whether you worked in a mine or in a factory, the chances are good that you would go home with asbestos dust on your clothing and body. The children who ran to greet you at the door with hugs and the spouse who cleaned your dusty, contaminated clothing may also have repeatedly inhaled asbestos particulate day after day.

You do not have to stand alone. Call 855-385-9532 to talk to a lawyer at Satterley & Kelley PLLC in Louisville.

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