Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amherst Bowl Father Son Football Tournament

Several years ago I put together a father son Thanksgiving Day football game hoping to fill those empty morning hours and hang out with my son.

I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.

Celebrating its 6th year, the tournament, christened "The Amherst Bowl", has swollen to 127 players spanning 6 football fields and 12 teams playing 5 continuous football games in authentic AFC or NFC team jerseys.

The trash talk begins on Labor Day and echoes through our Township’s lunchrooms and playing fields with kids wearing prior years’ jerseys like badges of glory.

During Thanksgiving’s wet early morning hours, we map out and line the fields and set up tables overflowing with cakes, water, hot chocolate and coffee.

The horde shows up at around 8:00 a.m. eager to see to which to team they have been assigned, whom their teammates will be, and exactly how gloriously muddy the field is.

Shirts are distributed, rules are gone over, and at 8:30 a.m. the carnage begins.

During the ensuing rigidly timed five games, fathers put their middle aged bodies at risk while relieving their youth and playing football with their sons.

Throughout the morning soccer balls, cleats and shin guards are collected and donated to "Heads Up Soccer" which transports and distributes them to impoverished third world youth.

Additionally, monies raised are donated to "Katie at the Bat" (, improving inner-city youths’ lives through athletics, literacy, nutrition and health, and the arts, and "Adam Spandorfer Memorial Fund" (, raising monies for Variety Camp where children with disabilities can play baseball.

Although, at the Tournament’s end, some dads needed help getting off of the field, Thanksgiving tables were abuzz that evening with boasts of heroic plays, grudges revisited, and glorious victories.

Until next year, when we do it bigger and better and raise more equipment and money.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Physical and mental abuse and neglect of our elderly is a silent and disgusting crime.

According to a recent congressional report, elderly abuse and neglect violations serious enough to cause actual harm or place residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury occur in more than 1,600 of this country’s 17,000 nursing homes.

Since 1996 the percentage of nursing homes cited for abuse has doubled.

Causes of Abuse and Neglect

Because it has only focused on housing the elderly at the lowest possible cost, the nursing home industry’s indifference to level of care has resulted in staffing with minimal qualifications, insufficient training, low wages, and high turnover.

For example, because each certified Nursing Assistant is typically responsible for 15-20 residents per 7.5 hour shift, nursing home residents receive no more than 30 minutes of daily attention.

As a result of being virtually ignored, residents suffer serious and life-threatening problems including weight loss, failure to treat pressure sores or manage pain effectively, hospitalization, malnutrition, dehydration and even starvation.

Further, fearful of reprisals and losing whatever support they have, elderly with disabilities are unlikely to complain about abuse, neglect or victimization.

Signs & Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Early warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
1. unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures in various stages of healing;
bedsores or frozen joints;
2. unexplained venereal disease or genital infections, vaginal or anal bleeding, torn, stained, or blooding underclothing;
3. sudden changes in behavior;
4. staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident;
5. staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitor;
6. resident being kept in an over-medicated state;
7. loss of resident's possessions;
8. sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices; or
9. abrupt changes in will or other financial documents.

Nursing Homes Held Accountable for Abuse and Neglect

After years of providing poor elder care, nursing homes are finally being held accountable.

A flood of lawsuits have been filed and grieving families are receiving compensation for pain, suffering and the untimely death of loved ones.

If your elderly loved one has been neglected, abused, or injured while in the care of a nursing home or other healthcare facility, contact today.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Medical Errors Behind Malpractice Claims

According to the Institute of Medicine’s recent report regarding medical errors in United States hospitals, each year one million hospital patients are injured - - and 98,000 die - - as a result of preventable medical errors costing an estimated $40 billion.

Common Types of Medical Errors

Preventable medical errors include:

● Medication – being given the wrong drug or dose, or drugs given at the wrong time or to the wrong patient

● Wrong-site surgery – surgeries performed on the wrong body part or
wrong patient or performing the wrong operation

● Hospital-acquired infections – infections caused by lack of proper hygiene (often because doctor or nurse fail to sufficiently wash hands) or use of defective medical equipment

Common Reasons for Medical Mistakes

Explanations for medical errors include:

● Misplaced patient charts or illegible handwriting

● Overworked, inexperienced and unsupervised interns and residents, often working up to 130 hours per week at teaching hospitals

● Nationwide shortage of registered nurses

● Increasing caseload demands on emergency rooms with limited funding

Precautions a Health Care Organization Should Take

To reduce occurrence of medical errors, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations issued uniform standards for caregivers including:
● Improve accuracy of patient information
● Improve effectiveness of communication among caregivers
● Improve safety of medications
● Reduce risk of health-care associated infections
● Reconciling use of medications across continuum of care
● Reduce risk of patient harm from falls
● Reduce risk of influenza and pneumococcal disease in older adults
● Reduce risk of surgical fires
● Encourage patients' active involvement in their own care
● Prevent health care-associated pressure ulcers
● Identify safety risks inherent in patient population

If you have suffered a personal injury or have any question, contact us at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hydroxycut Products Receive FDA Warning

On May 1, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) advised people to immediately stop using dietary supplement Hydroxycut due to its link to serious liver injuries and one death.

Primarily used for weight loss and to increase metabolism and energy, Hydroxycut products can be purchased in most grocery stores, health food stores and pharmacies. With a 90% market share, Hydroxycut is the leading weight loss supplement and reports indicate that 9 million units were sold in the United States in 2008.

Recalled Hydroxycut products include: Regular Rapid Release Caplets; Caffeine-Free Rapid Release Caplets; Hardcore Liquid Capsules; Max Liquid Capsules; Regular Drink Packets; Caffeine-Free Drink Packets; Hardcore Drink Packets (Ignition Stix); Max Drink Packets; Liquid Shots; Hardcore Ready-to-Drink; Max Aqua Shed; Hydroxycut 24; Hydroxycut Carb Control; and Hydroxycut Natural.

The FDA’s warning listed one death due to liver failure and 23 reports of “severe health problems” caused by Hydroxycut products.

Health problems attributed to Hydroxycut include “transplant requiring” liver damage, jaundice, high liver enzymes, seizures, cardiovascular disorders and rhabdomyolysis (a type of muscle damage leading to serious problems like kidney failure), vomiting, nausea, unusual tiredness, weakness, abdominal pain, itching, and loss of appetite.

Further, because supplement manufacturers don’t require FDA approval to place their dangerous products on the market, the FDA must rely on voluntary reports to discover these health dangers.

Hydroxycut is manufactured in Ontario, Canada by Iovate Health Sciences, Inc. and distributed by Iovate and its subsidiary MuscleTech.

If you or anyone you know is a Hydroxycut user and experiencing any serious bodily injury, he may be able to seek compensation for hospital bills, medical treatment, surgery, and loss of wages.

If you have suffered a personal injury or have any question, contact us at

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Surviving An Auto Accident

In 2006, 150,000 auto accidents occurred resulting in 43,000 deaths and 91,824 injuries.

For persons under 34, auto accidents are the leading cause of death and every 13 minutes another motor vehicle death occurs.

Auto accidents are also among the leading causes of serious injuries like brain damage and 45% of all spinal cord injuries – approximately 5,000 per year-- result from auto accidents.

While often resulting from human error, many accidents are caused or worsened by defective products or inadequate safety mechanisms.

For example, vehicles that are prone to rollovers cause an estimated 24,000 injuries and 10,000 deaths per year.

Airbags also cause severe injuries by deploying when they should not, deploying with too much force or too slowly, or simply by failing to deploy.

Other injury causing devices include older seat belts and defective parking brakes.

Often the vehicle, itself, is the problem. Motorcycles and scooters have increased in popularity and traffic accidents involving two wheelers reached an all-time high in 2007 with 5,154 motorcycle riders killed.

While unable to guarantee your safety, the law allows accident victims to be compensated for vehicle damage, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

However, insurance companies often delay and shortchange accident victims and the law imposes strict claim filing deadlines.

To protect your rights, if you or anyone you know is involved in an auto accident, contact us at as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Class Actions

Out of the blue you receive a fancy "class action notification letter" warning of a deadline to either "opt out" and be forever barred from the settlement.

What is a class action and what are you supposed to do?

What is a class action?

Unlike a lawsuit arising out of an injury to one person, class actions are a method for large numbers of people injured by a common act or set of actions to bring claims that are too expensive or inefficient to litigate individually.

In a class action, one or two "named plaintiffs" stand in for a group of similarly injured people.

After receiving notice of the action, potential class members have the option of excluding themselves from a class or class settlement, known as "opting out", and pursuing the case on their own.

If a class action settles, the judge presiding over the case must approve the settlement’s fairness.

What kinds of cases are litigated as class actions?

Although originally designed to help enforce civil rights laws through private lawsuits, class actions have evolved and are now used to seek money damages.

Class actions frequently involve hazardous products (ex., drugs, tobacco and asbestos), securities (ex., fraudulent financial statements and practices), and employment cases (ex., mass dismissals and wage/hour law violations), and to stop illegal or harmful practices like oil spills, manufacturing pollution, or violations of constitutional protections.

Should I be involved in a class action and what will it cost me?

To join a class action, you need take no steps. Instead, only those wishing to exclude themselves from a class, i.e., opt out, need to do anything.

Through participating in a class action, you may receive compensation for an injury or loss that you sustained that would not have been available to you individually.

As a member of a class of similarly harmed persons, you help demonstrate that the injury was substantial and affected a large number of people increasing both the likelihood - - and size - - of a recovery.

Additionally, costs incurred in litigating the dispute are advanced by the attorneys bringing the case and subtracted from any settlement or judgment upon the matter’s successful resolution.
If the claims are unsuccessful, the class action attorneys pay all costs and you pay nothing.

How are class action attorneys paid?

Following a class action’s successful resolution (by either settlement or judgment), the attorneys submit a fee petition to the judge assigned to the case detailing and itemizing their work.

The judge determines the amount of fees to be paid from the judgment or settlement proceeds based upon the case’s difficulty and risks involved in bringing it, the amount of time spent on case and the work’s quality, and the result that was achieved.

As always, if you have suffered a personal injury or have any question, contact us at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How to Purchase Automobile Insurance

Do you find automobile insurance confusing?

You’re supposed to. This generation’s craftiest minds created a system to confuse, fleece, and then avoid paying you benefits after your inevitable automobile accident.

Because, based on the sheer number of motorists, you - - or a member of your family - - will be injured in an auto accident within the next seven (7) years, failing to understand and correctly purchase automobile insurance could be a hugely expensive mistake.

Below is an explanation of “tort selection”, medical and wage loss coverage, and uninsured and undersinsured motorist benefits.

“Full Tort” versus “Limited Tort”

Auto insurance purchasers have the option of selecting “full tort” or “limited tort” benefits.

Full tort” benefits allow you to file a claim or sue for any injury resulting from an automobile accident.

Limited tort” surrenders your right to file a claim or sue except for “serious injuries” defined as “death, disfigurement or a serious impairment of a body function”.

Although many insurance agents describe limited tort as less expensive and more attractive, selecting it is a mistake.

The savings are minimal (often $100 per year) and if you or your family are injured by another drivers’ negligence and carelessness, limited tort forfeits most of your rights.

Medical Bill and Wage Loss Payment

If you’re in an accident, your auto insurance company is required by law to pay your medical bills up to the amount of coverage you selected.

By law, all Pennsylvania automobile insurance policies require $5,000 of medical benefits coverage. Unfortunately with healthcare’s rising costs, $5,000 is frequently insufficient and, depending on your health insurance, purchasing additional medical coverage often makes sense.

Wage loss coverage is optional and, if selected, often pays 80% of income lost due to an inability to work. Unfortunately, many fail to select wage loss coverage thinking that the “at-fault party’s” insurer will automatically pay their lost wages.

Not only is this untrue, but the negligent driver’s insurance company usually refuses to even consider any wage loss claims until after all treatment is completed.

Thus, unless you buy private disability insurance, failing to purchase wage loss protection may expose you to having no income whatsoever while recuperating.

“Uninsured” and “Underinsured” Motorist Coverage

Although against the law, an alarming number have no - - or insufficient - - insurance and are frequently the most negligent of drivers.

Uninsured motorist” and “underinsured motorist” are also optional benefits which protect from the damage caused by these reckless drivers.

If you are hit and injured by a driver who has no automobile insurance, “uninsured motorist coverage” allows you to make a claim against your own insurance company.

Similarly, “underinsured motorist coverage” protects you in the event you are struck and injured by an underinsured driver, i.e., one who’s insurance is insufficient to cover your loss.

For example, imagine if a drunk driver crashes into your car badly injuring you and causing six (6) months of missed work, $100,000 of medical bills, $25,000 of wage loss, and permanent injuries.

If the driver had either no insurance or only the $15,000 of insurance coverage required in Pennsylvania, you’d either have no party from whom to recover or be forced to accept $15,000 as total compensation for your loss.

By purchasing uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits, you could make a claim against your own insurance company and be made whole for your loss.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Unsafe Drug Alert - Raptiva Withdrawn From Market

Raptiva is used to treat psoriasis, an autoimmune disease affecting the joints and causing scaly red patches and psoriatic plaques to appear on the skin.

Raptiva is given by weekly injection to adults treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis by suppressing the immune system. Although suppressing the body’s immune system is known to increase the risk of serious infection, the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") approved Raptiva in October 2003.

On October 16, 2008, Raptiva received the FDA’s strongest "black box" warning regarding risk of life threatening infections including bacterial sepsis, viral meningitis, and invasive fungal disease.

On February 19, 2009, the FDA issued an advisory linking Raptiva with rare progressive and fatal brain infection multifocal leukoencephalopathy ("PML") which affects the central nervous system causing irreversible neurologic impairment and death. PML symptoms include weakness on one side of the body, blurred or loss of vision, fatigue, memory loss, disorientation, and loss of balance.

The FDA’s advisory identified 3 confirmed - - and 12 potential - - PML cases following long term (i.e., more than 3 years) treatment with Raptiva.

On April 8, 2009, Raptiva’s manufacturer Genentech withdrew Raptiva from the U.S. market announcing that: "{P}hysicians should not issue prescriptions for Raptiva for any new patients and should promptly contact patients currently receiving Raptiva to assess the most appropriate treatment alternatives."

If you or anyone you know is a Raptiva user and experiencing any serious infection or PML development, contact us at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What To Do After an Auto Accident

1. Stop Immediately

Stay calm and avoid blocking traffic. As soon as possible (and without endangering other people or obstructing traffic), pull over to the side of the road. No matter how slight the collision, never leave the scene of an involving you or your car.

2. Make Sure No One is Injured

Provide care to any injured driver or passenger, including obtaining medical attention as soon as possible. Contact 911 or any other ambulance service to receive medical treatment. Do not assume that lack of an obvious injury means no one is hurt.

3. Contact The Police

All auto accidents should be reported to the authorities. Not only will the report assist any injury or property damage claim, it will also be helpful if the other driver tries to avoid responsibility.

4. Sign Nothing

If an insurance adjuster shows up at the accident, give no statements and sign nothing.

5. Gather Information

In addition to obtaining the name, address, phone number and insurance information of all drivers and passengers, get all witnesses names, addresses, and phone numbers. Make a mental note of what witnesses say, such as, "that black car was flying."

6. Visit Your Doctor

Even if unsure whether you - - or anyone else in your vehicle - - was injured, go to the emergency room and be examined by a doctor at the earliest possible time. When you are being examined, be specific in explaining how the accident occurred and all injuries and problems you sustained.

7. Inform Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company immediately to report the accident. Failing to immediately report the accident may result in the insurance company failing to pay related medical and car repair bills.

8. Contact Schain Law Firm Immediately

Before signing any statements, consult a lawyer specializing in helping those injured in auto accidents. The Schain Law Firm is dedicated to helping the injured obtain the money they deserved.