Lowe’s Gas Grill Recall Issued Due to Fire Hazard

About 37,000 gas grills sold exclusively at Lowe’s stores nationwide have been recalled amid concerns that the hose connected to the gas tank may melt, posing a fire hazard that may result in burns for consumers.

The Master Forge Gas Grills recall was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on November 6, after at least two reports were received of the hose melting and rupturing when the grill was lit.

The hose connects the gas tank and the regulator to the burner control. As a result of an apparent design defect, the hose may touch the burner box if not installed properly and cause the hose to melt and rupture when the grill is lit.

Lowes sold the grills at stores across the nation from November 2011 through May 2012 for about $270.

The recalled grills feature four-burners with a single door base and have “Master Forge” written on the hood. The model number GD4825 is located on a tag inside the door of the grill and “Item 94227” is displayed on the instruction manual.

The manufacturer is advising consumers to stop using these products immediately and inspect the grill to ensure that the gas hose runs along the outside of the grill cabinet and through the round hole in the side panel so the hose cannot touch the burner box.

For revised instructions and a warning label consumer should contact Guangdong Vanward Electric toll free at (888) 584-3648 or visit the firm’s website at http://www.94227info.com.


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Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Medtronic Infuse BMP Surgery

An Arizona couple has filed a lawsuit against two spine surgeons, a Texas hospital and the medical device manufacturer Medtronic, alleging that a bone-grafting product, marketed as Medtronic Infuse BMP, was misused during a spinal fusion surgery.

The complaint (PDF) was filed on October 25 by Alan W. Jones and his wife, Kathryn Marie Jones, in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include Medtronic, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas and Drs. Jeremy Denning and Richard Jackson of Dallas Neurosurgical and Spine Associates.

The lawsuit was filed propria persona, meaning it was written by Alan Jones, without representation of an attorney. Such filings are also often known as pro-se pleadings.

Lawsuit Alleges Malpractice for Use of Medtronic Infuse BMP

According to Jones, his wife underwent spinal fusion surgery on October 26 and 27 of 2010. During the surgery, Drs. Denning and Jackson allegedly experimented on Marie Jones without prior consent, by implanting a Medtronic Infuse bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) at 12 different locations, which is not an approved procedure for the bone graft product.

Medtronic Infuse was introduced in 2002 as an alternative to traditional bone-grafting procedures, where bone is harvested from another part of the body or from cadavers to encourage bone growth and fuse the gaps between vertebrae.

The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the doctors planned to use Infuse BMP beforehand, but lied to the couple, saying they would be using Kathryn Jones’ own bone for the procedure. The complaint maintains that use of Medtronic Infuse BMP was never mentioned before the operation.

As a result of complications from Medtronic Infuse BMP, Jones allegedly suffered severe pain. However, the lawsuit claims that Dr. Dennings refused to tell the couple it was because the spine surgery failed and the vertebrae did not fuse as they were supposed to do. The lawsuit also claims that Denning actively dissuaded the couple from getting a second opinion and undergoing diagnostic tests.

The couple indicates that they only learned that Medtronic Infuse was used in September, after Dr. Denning sent them a letter saying he used it in all his procedures.

The lawsuit also claims that present during the surgery was James Sherman, a Medtronic Representative and a woman named Nora or Lora Jean Enty, a “Business Growth Strategy Observer” for the medical device manufacturer. Both allegedly observed the procedure, despite the surgeons’ performance of an being off-label operation that Medtronic warned against on paper. The couple claims they did not give consent for the two to be there and did not know who they were or why they were present.

Medtronic Infuse BMP Off-Label Complications

Although the FDA only approved the Medtronic Infuse for limited spinal procedures in adults, involving a single-level anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), where the spine is approached from the front, the Medtronic Infuse has been widely used “off-label” for other types of spine fusion surgery.

Off-label use of Medtronic Infuse BMP has been linked to an increased risk of severe and painful complications caused by excessive or ectopic bone growth around the spine. This can result in nerve damage, inflammatory reactions and other problems

In 2008, the FDA issued an alert about the risks associated with such unapproved uses of Medtronic Infuse, after receiving a number of reports involving serious complications and deaths, often involving use in the cervical spine where the bone growth problems may impact the airway.

Medtronic has been accused of illegally promoting off-label use of Infuse by providing false and misleading statements and paying “opinion leaders” to encourage uses beyond what was approved by the FDA.  As a result, some estimates suggest that as much as 85% of all sales for Medtronic Infuse were for such off-label uses.

The Jones’ complaint joins a growing number of similar Medtronic Infuse BMP lawsuits filed in courts throughout the United States by individuals who have experienced similar problems following off-label use of the bone graft device.

Complaints allege that the manufacturer intentionally marketed use of Infuse BMP during surgical procedures for which it was never established as safe or effective. In addition, Medtronic has been accused of withholding information about the risk of complications from consumers and the medical community.

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Can you believe September is National Life Insurance Awareness Month?  What will they think of next?  National Mediation Month?  National Property & Casualty Month?  National Settle Your Case Month?  National Make Up Your Own Month?

Since it is and since I am a licensed “life insurance agent (yuck),” I wanted to share this momentous occasion with you.

Don’t think about life insurance as money someone else gets when you, well………you know.  Think of it as a life enhancement policy, a retirement supplement policy, a child education policy and now-a-days, a long term care (or as I like to call it) an asset protection policy.

As you would imagine, this industry is HIGHLY regulated so I cannot give specific examples in an email.  HOWEVER, since insurance is my life and it has been for twenty-five years (get a life, Seth), to celebrate National Life Insurance Awareness Month, I want to give you something…a free life insurance review.

We can make light of the national something months, but there is a seriousness to this message.  I never want you or a loved one to be sitting in a hospital waiting room in tears saying…why didn’t I do this before this happened?

Let’s take some time to make sure you, your family and your loved ones are protected. 

This is a free service and not a sales call.  While taking it with a grain of salt, I know insurance, I know risk and I know what is needed.  My mission is to help people, avoid pain and maintain a family’s savings…period.

Give me a call and let’s talk.


(818) 674-3852

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The Insurance Doctor Makes House Calls

Consider a check-up of your uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage.  This is important for everyone but ESPECIALLY for young families. 

UMBI coverage is used to protect you and any passengers in your car that are injured in an automobile accident where the at-fault driver has NO INSURANCE

Why is this important?  First, over 30% of the vehicles on the roads in Los Angeles County are NOT INSURED!

Whenever I discuss reasons for insurance, the stories are not fun so I apologize in advance. 

I coach both my kids in club and little league baseball.  Many times, not only are my kids in the car, but several are.  What if God forbid I’m driving to Chino Hills for a tournament at Field of Dreams (a spectacular place to play baseball) and in the car is my 13 year old son Alex and three of his friends and we are slammed by a one-ton pickup truck that has no insurance? 

I will not go to the extreme since I’m talking about kids, but imagine I fracture my pelvis, Alex has a compound fracture of his femur and each of his friends have multiple fractures, surgeries and hospitalizations.  Remember, this one-ton pickup had NO INSURANCE but you have UMBI.  Your insurance company ostensibly steps in as the insurer for the uninsured vehicle and pays the medical bills and compensates everyone for their pain and suffering.

Typically, when people purchase insurance, their UMBI limits are the same as their liability limits.  For example, the average person will have coverage of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident aka 50/100.  Is $100,000 dollars enough to compensate everyone in my car in the accident I described?

Here is where twenty-five years of insurance experience comes into place.  In my opinion, when protecting yourself, your family and others, you should consider a story as I described and think what it would take to adequately compensate everyone in your car.

I recommend to all my clients that they carry at the very minimum 100/300 in liability/UMBI limits.  When you bring it down to the family level, I strongly recommend families purchase limits of 250/500 and take it one step further with a $1 million UMBI umbrella policy. 

Let’s revisit our tragic accident.  With the first example, was $100,000 enough to compensate all five of us for injuries I described…no.  The limits under my recommendation would be $1.5 million…is that enough to compensate the five of us…in all likelihood…yes.

Insurance is expensive, no one wants it and everyone needs it.  When protecting things that matter in your life…you, your spouse, your kids and your home, saving $50.00/month is not worth the inevitable self-inflicted question asked while sitting in the hospital waiting room…why didn’t I purchase higher limits?

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Honda FourTrax ATV Recall Issued Over Defective Suspension Arms


About 2,900 Honda FourTrax All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) have been recalled following reports of suspension arm failures, which could cause the vehicle to crash. 

The Honda FourTrax ATV recall was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on February 21, after the manufacturer received at least four reports of suspension arm weld failures. At least one rider has been injured, suffering a sprained wrist in an ATV accident.

According to the CPSC, the upper front right suspension arm weld can fail, which can cause the driver to lose control of the ATV.

The ATV recall affects about 2,900 two-wheel drive 2012 Honda FourTrax Ranger ATVs with model numbers TRX420TE and TRX420TM. The affected TRX420TE models have Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) of 1HFTE344* C4500841 through C4502580 and the affected TRX420TM models have VINs of 1HFTE340* C4500542 through C4501681, the * representing 0-9 or an X. The model number is located on the right frame down pipe over the front right side wheel. The VIN is on the top center front of the frame between the bars of the gear rack and through the middle opening of the front fairing.

The recalled ATVs were sold at Honda ATV dealers nationwide for between $5,100 and $5,300 from September 2011 through January 2012.

The CPSC recommends that consumers stop using the recalled ATVs immediately and contact their Honda ATV dealer to schedule a free repair. Consumers with questions can call American Honda at (866) 784-1870 or visit the company’s website at http://powersports.honda.com.

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Fuji Bicycle Recall Issued After Reports of Breaking Frames


Reports of breaking frames has led to a recall of about 10,500 Fuji Saratoga Women’s bicycles. 

The Fuji bicycle recall was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on February 21, after at least 12 incidents were reported involving the bicycle frames breaking.

There have been at least two injuries reported in connection to the defective bicycle frames, one of which resulted in a head injury that required 20 stitches.

According to the CPSC, the bicycle frames, manufactured in China, can break down the center of the downtube while the bikes are being ridden. This can cause the rider to lose control and fall.

The bicycle recall affects 2008 through 2010 Fuji women’s cruiser bicycles, including the Saratoga 1.0, Saratoga 2.0, Saratoga 3.0 and Saratoga 4.0. The recalled bicycles came in a variety of colors and have “Fuji” and “Saratoga” or just “Saratoga” printed on the frame of the bicycle along with the model number. The serial numbers involved with the recall, located on the bottom of the frame near the crank, start with ICFJ7, ICFJ8, ICFJ9, ICFJ10 and ICFJ11.

The recalled bicycles were sold at specialty bicycle stores nationwide from November 2007 through December 2011 and sold for between $300 and $500.

The CPSC warns consumers to stop riding the bicycles immediately and return them to any authorized Fuji Bicycle dealer for a free replacement frame. Consumers with questions can call Advanced Sports, Inc. at (888) 286-6263 or can visit the company’s website at www.fujibikes.com.

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LAPD Advisory: Burglars are targeting residences by forcing open garage doors. Lock you garage doors either internally or externally.

There have been recent incidents of residential burglaries where the suspects have forced open a garage door (primarily roll-up doors). We encourage you to lock your garage door either internally or externally if you are gone for a majority of the day or a long period of time. We would also encourage you not to keep a garage door opener in a car which is not parked within the garage.

Go to www.lapdtopangapolice.com

For full details, view this message on the web.

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The Most (and Least) Expensive Cars to Insure for 2012

When shopping for car insurance, it’s not just your driving record that determines your annual premium. The type of car you drive is also a big factor-and some cars are much more expensive to insure than others.

A variety of factors can affect a car’s insurance quote, including the frequency of crashes for that model, the cost of repairs, the cost to insurers when a vehicle is declared a total loss and the cost of bodily injury claims, according to Web site Insure.com.

To give you an idea of what you might pay for a certain car, Insure.com annually produces lists of the 20 most expensive new cars to insure, and the 20 least expensive models.

To generate the 2012 lists, Insure.com used information on average rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Rates were calculated using data from Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm in ten ZIP codes per state. The rankings are based on coverage for a 2012 model with a “representative” driver (a single, 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day); policy limits of $100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident; and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The hypothetical driver has good credit and a clean driving record.

The least expensive model to insure, according to the analysis, is a minivan: the Toyota Sienna LE, with an average annual premium of just over $1,100. The list also includes 19 other cars with similar average premiums, all less than $1,200 a year. The least-expensive list tends to include lots of minivans, which have proven to be “safe, economical” vehicles, according to Insure.com.

At the other end of the spectrum is the 2012 Audi R8 Spyder Quattro, a two-seat convertible that is the most costly to insure, with an average annual premium of nearly $3,400. Also on the most expensive list are plenty of Mercedes, Porsches and BMWs.

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Obesity Drug ‘Mediator’ Likely Responsible For Thousands Of Hospitalizations And Deaths In France

This caption falls under a late-night comedy show like Letterman’s Top Ten of the wrong name to use for a drug.  I am a MEDIATOR (and Farmers Agent) and I know that a mediator could not be responsible for thousands of hospitalizations.  Just some light humor for Friday.  Here is the article:

A new study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety reveals that benfluorex, a fenfluramine derivative drug used in France under the name Mediator®, is likely responsible for thousands of hospitalizations and deaths over a 30 year period.

Benfluorex (Mediator®) was used in France from 1976 to 2009. Despite its anorexic properties, the drug was not marketed as an appetite suppressant but as an adjunct for the treatment of hyperlipidemia and among overweight patients with type 2 diabetes.

Mahmoud Zureik, MD, PhD, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and colleagues utilized existing data on benfluorex exposure in France, the risk of actual hospitalization for valvular insufficiency, and mortality from vascular insufficiency as a basis for detailed calculations.

Results show that the use of benfluorex during the period 1976-2009 was very likely responsible for around 3,100 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths due to valvular insufficiency.

“Despite its similarity with the two appetite suppressants fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, benfluorex was kept on the market for more than 30 years in France,” Zureik notes. “French citizens, practitioners, politicians, and public health actors were seeking to understand why the French health products safety agency took so long to withdraw this drug which was of very limited efficacy and was dangerous.” Because of this scandal, a new law has been passed that substantially modifies the regulatory system for drugs in France.

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Hospital Accidents and Mistakes Often Go Unreported: Report


A new federal report has found that only about 14 percent of all medical mistakes that harm patients in hospitals nationwide are ever actually reported. 

Despite federal Medicare requirements that make reporting hospital accidents and mistakes mandatory, 86 percent of all harmful events go under the radar, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ office of inspector general (DHHS-OIG).

In most cases, hospital staff appear not to have realized they should report the events, the study found.

Participation in the federal Medicare reimbursement program requires each participating hospital to track medical errors and adverse patient events and create incident reports for errors that result in patient harm. However, a review of 189 hospitals’ records nationwide by DHHS-OIG found that only one out of every seven patient harm incidents was properly reported. Most of the errors that did get reported were reported by nurses.

About 61 percent of the incidents were not reported due to staff members not knowing they should report them, hospital administrators told investigators. The remaining 25% that went unreported were cases where administrators claimed the staff commonly made a report, but failed in that particular instance.

Not only do the hospital error reports help the government track harm to patients caused by facilities nationwide, but they are also a key component in the development of new safety improvements to protect patients from future harm. However, the study also found that hospitals that successfully tracked such events rarely make changes to procedures to prevent a repetition of those events.

Hospital mistakes can include medication errors, allowing patients to develop bedsores, allowing hospital infections, wrong site surgery, leaving surgical tools and sponges in patients and other cases of medical malpractice.

The DHHS-OIG report recommends that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) work with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to create and promote a list of reportable events for hospital staff to reference. The report also urged CMS to strengthen hospital reporting system requirements and practices.

CMS reported that it is currently in development of guidance that would help assess patient safety improvement efforts in hospitals.

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