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2 posts from September 2017

09/29/2017

Eric Weinberg Discusses His Recent Work, "Blood On Their Hands" (September 28th)

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Mr. Eric Weinberg is co-author with College of New Jersey Journalism Professor, Donna Shaw, of the recently published work,  Blood On Their Hands, How Greedy Companies, Inept Bureaucracy, and Bad Science Killed Thousands of Hemophiliacs (Rutgers University Press).  The book details how beginning in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s tens of thousands of hemophiliacs in the US (and tens of thousands more around the world) became infected with HIV via the use of life-saving plasma-based blood clotting medicines.  Manufactures knew plasma-based products transmitted disease, for example, it was well known clotting medicines had infected countless hemophiliacs with hepatitis.  Nevertheless, neither did they cleanse or purify their blood clotting products, technology that was also well known, nor warn patients of adverse side effects.  Federal regulators, similarly, did nothing.  As a result, by the late 1980s the mean life span of a hemophiliac declined by over fifteen years.  While (civil) financial settlements were reached with approximately 6,000 victims or their families and the Congress passed in 1998 legislation, the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Act, that provided additional compensation, the Justice Department chose not to criminally prosecute anyone.      

During this 35 minute conversation Mr. Weinberg discusses among other issues how blood plasma was obtained in the 1970s and 1980s, the position manufactures held on the safety of their clotting medicines, a (failed) federal class action effort to compensate hemophiliacs and their family survivors, the influential Institute Of Medicines 1995 report on HIV transmission through blood products, eventual civil settlement with the major manufacturers of these products and how his work representing hundreds of hemophiliac patients and their families over more than a decade affected him.  

Mr. Eric Weinberg is the principal of the Weinberg Law Firm, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, since Weinberg1984.  Since founding the firm, Mr. Weinberg has tried approximately thirty jury trials and over two hundred bench trials to verdict.  He has also served as a Visiting Lecturer at Cook College, Rutgers University and has taught Ph.D. candidates at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.  Previously, Mr. Weinberg worked for the law firm Franchino, Lenahan and Cross and prior still served as Chief of Juvenile Prosecutions and Assistant County Prosecutor in Somerset County, New Jersey.   Mr. Weinberg has been an invited speaker in many forums on topics relating to the prosecution and settlement of serious injury cases, including mass torts and catastrophic injury cases.  Mr. Weinberg is the recipient of numerous awards for his years of community service. He was graduated from Rutgers College in 1977 and from Boston University School of Law in 1980. He is admitted to the Bar of the States of New Jersey and New York as well as numerous federal courts.  

09/27/2017

Dr. Haider Warraich Discusses His Recent Work, "Modern Death" (September 27th)

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Earlier this year St. Martin's Press published Dr. Haider Warraich's Modern Death, How Medicine Changed the End of Life. As the dust jacket notes, "the mechanics and understanding" of dying, "the whys, wheres, whens and hows are almost nothing like what they were mere decades ago."  Today, eight in ten Americans die at an advanced age, or under Medicare, die in a medical setting after suffering for some while from a chronic, eventually fatal disease or diseases.  If lucky, how Americans die will have been determined, or at least informed, by an advanced directive or like document.        

During this 27 minute conversation Dr. Warraich discusses what characterizes "modern death,"  how the 1970s Karen Ann Quinlan case redefined death or dying, the role family caregivers play and the unintended consequences for them in providing a family member care, the limitations of advanced directives and living wills, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and terminal or palliative sedation and whether "how medicine changed the end of life" has made "modern death" comparatively better. 

Dr. Haider Javed Warraich is currently fellow in cardiology at Duke University Medical Center.  He was graduate from Warraichmedical school in Pakistan in 2009 and did his residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School   He is a regular opinion page contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, the LA Times and has contributed to several academic publications such as The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical AssociationLancet and Circulation.  

During the interview mention is made of a November 28, 2016 Fresh Air (NPR) interview titled, "The Debate Across the Nation Over Death With Dignity Laws," that featured Dr. Warraich along with Dr. Ira Byock.  The interview is at: https://dianerehm.org/shows/2016-11-28/aid-in-dying