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Advocates for Orthodox Jewish Sex Abuse Cancel Meeting with Brooklyn DA

Sex abuse advocates, working with victims of the ongoing Orthodox Jewish sex abuse scandal, have canceled a meeting with the Brooklyn district attorney.

Advocates canceled the meeting with Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, saying he ignored their request for reforms, wrote The New York Daily News. A number of key Jewish advocates expressed anger that the DA will still not release the names of alleged molesters in the tight-knit Brooklyn community. The DA, according to the advocates also refused to work with yeshivas on education programs and to take any action against thoseknown to harass victims, such as rabbis and community officials, The Daily News pointed out. (more…)

Life Insurance Companies Pressed to Locate Beneficiaries

Life insurers are being pressed to locate beneficiaries after state regulators estimated that over many, many years, insurers have not paid at least $1 billion in death benefits. The issue? Insurers believe it is the beneficiaries’ responsibility to file claims following deaths.

For over a century, death benefits were prompted only when a beneficiary filed a claim; should a claim not be made, the insurer usually maintained the policy until the insured would be at least 95 years of age. At that point, the insurer would attempt to contact the policy owner and, if unsuccessful, the policy, death benefit, and mandated interest would be sent to a state unclaimed property unit after a one-to-five year “dormancy period,” explained The Wall Street Journal. Policy owners are sought by states via web site postings; however states can use proceeds on open claims. (more…)

HCA Hospital Chain Facing Scrutiny Over Unnecessary Heart Surgeries

The large HCA hospital chain has been conducting unnecessary heart surgeries and is now being looked at by the U.S. Attorney in Miami, Florida.

HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA), the country’s largest hospital system, has been asked to turn over information regarding the “medical necessity” of the cardiac procedures conducting in Florida hospitals, said Bloomberg Businessweek, citing a regulatory filing. The disclosure was revealed at the same time as The New York Times reported that HCA, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee, investigated a number of cases that involved surgeons conducting unneeded surgeries in its facilities. Results of those probes, said the Times, were never released to patients, medical officials, or insurers. (more…)

Zadroga Act To Cover 50 Cancers

The Zadroga Act is now slated to cover 50 cancers, as long as the cancer can be reasonably linked to the toxic dust that was released in lower Manhattan following the infamous 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Following an extensive study, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) stated that it “favored” a large broadening of the existing 9/11 health program to include 50 cancers, which included 14 more expansive cancer groupings, said The Associated Press (AP). Free treatment will be available for first responders and residents diagnosed with cancer after exposure to the World Trade Center’s toxic cloud; large compensation payments may also be available under a new rule just proposed by federal health officials, said the AP. Qualification relies heavily on the cancer type and accompaniment of physician proof that the cancer might be connected to the toxic dust. (more…)

Zadroga Act Panel Recommends Cancer Coverage

The Zadroga Act panel has recommended cancer coverage for Ground Zero workers who claim they developed various forms of cancer as a result of their work there following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Until now, the workers have been denied coverage for cancer. The recommended coverage

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is for some cancers, said WNYC. Proposed cancers include cancer of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems; different varieties of breast, skin, mouth, ovary, and thyroid cancers; and all or most blood, childhood, and rare cancers. Prostate brain, and pancreatic cancers are excluded. (more…)

Bloomberg Reports Nearly 40,000 NY First Responders Worked At Ground Zero

Mayor Bloomberg has reported that nearly 40,000 New York first responders worked at Ground Zero following the attacks on Manhattan’s World Trade Center.

The exact number—an astonishing 39,921—were provided to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, along with job, job title, age, race, and gender, said The New York Post. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine is treating first responders and just announced that Ground Zero’s toxic dust has led to an increase in cancer, said The Post. The Mayor’s announcement followed what The Post described as “a firestorm of controversy over the health of the police force,” (more…)

Zadroga Act Panel Considering Cancer Coverage

The Zadroga Act advisory panel is considering cancer coverage. The 15-member group is looking at what conditions should be covered under the Act and will likely recommend some cancers.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act became law in December 2010 and was created to compensate first responders—those trapped in the World Trade Center buildings—and area residents, who suffered illness or injuries related to the toxic dust from Manhattan’s 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“It seems like many [members] are in favor of listing at least some cancers of some systems as World Trade Center-related conditions,” Dr. Elizabeth Ward, chairwoman of the World Trade Center Health Program’s Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee, said following recent testimony from experts and rescue workers said, the Huffington Post.

The Congressionally created panel reviews changing scientific and medical evidence, making recommendations as to which conditions should be considered for coverage under the Act’s $2.8 billion Victim Compensation Fund. The fund covers a number of respiratory-related illnesses, but many have criticized the exclusion of cancer as a coverable illness, said the Huffington Post. First responders and city officials say the cancer link to Ground Zero’s toxic air is obvious and, now, the link is becoming more.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, a dean at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was among those testifying about findings from a not-yet published study he and his team conducted in which a 14% increased risk for cancer was seen in rescue workers, said the Huffington Post. Cancers included prostate, thyroid, and some blood. The increase, said Landrigan, is particularly “striking,” given that the group had lower levels for other, common cancers, including of the lung.

“I think that we’ve reached a point… [where] we can say with a high degree of certainty that the exposures that the responders experienced down there at Ground Zero and the other World Trade Center sites, we can reasonably anticipate that those exposures are going to cause cancer,” Landrigan told the Huffington Post. According to Landrigan, the study was the largest of its kind with 20,000 firefighters, police officers, sanitation and construction workers, and others who worked at Ground Zero following the attacks. A prior study revealed that firefighters working at Ground Zero were 19% likelier to develop cancer versus those not there, according to the New York Times.

Valerie Dabas, one of the panelists and a human resources analyst at the police Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said she’s seen some serious rises in rare blood and kidney cancers and thyroid and prostate cancer she described as being “very uncommon” in men and women so young, wrote the Huffington Post. “We keep saying the dust is different than everything we’ve seen before, and that’s how we have to treat it,” she said.

“I think it’s biologically plausible that anyone that was subject to this is going to have increased rate of cancers,” Steve Cassidy, president of the Fire Department’s Uniformed Firefighters Association told the Huffington Post regarding exposure to what he described as Ground Zero’s “toxic stew.”

John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, an advocacy group for 9/11 recovery workers, said that although not all cancers should be covered under the Act, “There are cancers, unequivocally, undoubtedly, that need to be added to this bill yesterday,” according to the Huffington Post.

The advisory panel is will likely issue its recommendation as early as April concerning the cancers the Act should cover. Although recommendations are not binding, they are seriously considered, said the Huffington Post.

Some Law Firms Abandon 9/11 Zadroga Act Clients

Some law firms have abandoned their 9/11 Zadroga Act clients. Apparently, the law firms are refusing to represent these clients further, as federal Zadroga Act rules ban additional billing of existing clients represented in a court settlement with the city.

In one case, a law firm that received over $200 million for fees and expenses in the settlement, which involved over 10,000 Ground Zero workers, has announced that it will not represent those workers who file claims under the Act, saying rules prevent them from billing these client for additional work, The New York Post reported. (more…)

U.S. Wants To Limit Medical Malpractice Lawsuits by Military Families

The United States seeks to limit military lawsuits and argues that, regardless of the reason, service personnel and their families should not be allowed to sue for medical malpractice. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there is no circumstance under which a medical malpractice lawsuit would be allowed, wrote All Gov. As a matter-of-fact, members of the military are typically banned from suing the government, which has been established in a number of lawsuits, specifically a 1950 Supreme Court decision in Feres v. United States, said All Gov. (more…)

U.S. Offers Guatemala Health Aid, Wants Medical Experimentation Lawsuit Dismissed

The United States has offered Guatemala health aid, while at the same time it sought to have a lawsuit filed on behalf of Guatemalans injured by controversial medical experiments conducted in the late 1940 dismissed. In motions filed Monday, the U.S. rejected the grounds of the lawsuit, which seeks compensation on behalf Guatemalans who were intentionally infected with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) by U.S. government researchers over 60 years ago.

The federal government seeks dismissal of a 2011 lawsuit filed on behalf of the victims of the Guatemalan medical experiments conducted by U.S. government researchers in 1946-1948. One day after the Department of Justices’ filing seeking dismissal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), one of the defendants, announced it pledged $1.8 million to assist Guatemalan health authorities to fight STDs and improve research with human subjects. (more…)

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