Flesh-Eating Bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis)

An Emergency Room Visit Gone Bad

Our client started experiencing a medical problem and was seen in the emergency room. After 3-4 attempts, an IV was successfully placed in her arm. Within hours her symptoms, in no way connected with her hand or arm, were resolved and she was allowed to go home.

Later that night, our client awoke to pain in the exact area she received her IV. When she turned on the light she was horrified to see her hand, wrist and lower arm swollen to almost twice its size. The pain was almost unbearable.

She was immediately taken back to the emergency room and diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis (NF) also known as the flesh-eating bacteria. Doctors immediately ordered our client transported to another hospital where she received emergency surgery.

After all the necessary tests were run, the necrotizing fasciitis diagnosis was confirmed. The initial surgery and follow-up procedures saved our client’s arm and life. Our consulting experts determined that the bacteria was introduced in to our client’s system via the IV needle that pricked her arm several times before being correctly inserted. As you can see from the pictures, the NF was substantial and despite being immediately treated and operated on, the surgeries left a life-long scar.

As you probably know, our client is not the only victim of the flesh-eating bacteria.

Across the country, a highly publicized NF case involving a Georgia graduate student, Aimee Copeland, made the evening news. According to reports, Aimee’s infection was caused by water-borne bacteria she contracted after falling from a zip-line into a river and gashing her leg. Unfortunately, Aimee lost her left leg, right foot and hands to NF.

In South Carolina, Lana Kuykendall, contracted the flesh-eating bacterial infection shortly after giving birth to twins. She was hospitalized after noticing a painful spot on her leg that quickly grew larger. After more than 20 surgeries on her legs, including skin grafts, she is now recovering. Fortunately, Lana did not require any amputations.

So what is necrotizing fasciitis?

Well, NF is generally considered a rare but very severe type of bacterial infection. If not immediately treated, it can destroy the muscles, skin, and underlying tissue. The word “necrotizing” refers to something that causes body tissue to die.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

While many different types of bacteria can cause this infection, a very severe and usually deadly form of necrotizing soft tissue infection is due to Streptococcus pyogenes, which is commonly referred to as the “flesh-eating bacteria.”

NF develops when the bacteria enters the body. As with Aimee Copeland, this can happen through a minor cut or scrape. With our client, experts were ready to testify that the NF was introduced into our client’s system via an unclean IV procedure.

We’ve seen health care providers try to avoid accepting responsibility for exposing patients to NF. But the fact of the matter is that with all of the bacteria floating around in emergency rooms and hospitals, NF is a know risk to patients seeking care in hospitals.

In any case, once in the body, the bacteria begins to grow and release harmful substances (toxins) that kill tissue and affect blood flow to the area. As the tissue dies, the bacteria enters the blood and rapidly spreads throughout the body.

Some of the symptoms you may notice with NF include a small, red, painful lump or bump on the skin; changes to a very painful bruise-like area and grows rapidly, sometimes in less than an hour; the center may become black and die; and the skin may break open and ooze fluid. Other symptoms might include feeling ill; fever; sweating; chills; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and shock

If you have NF, several treatment plans, to prevent death, include powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics given immediately through a vein (IV); surgery to drain the sore and remove dead tissue; special medicines called donor immunoglobulins (antibodies) to help fight the infection. Other treatments may include: skin grafts after the infection goes away to help your skin heal and look better; amputation if the disease spreads through an arm or leg; 100% oxygen at high pressure (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) for certain types of bacterial infections

NF can and is severe and may be life threatening. It’s important you contact your health care provider immediately if you have any of the above symptoms.

If you have questions or concerns about what caused your NF, coordinate your investigation with competent legal counsel and independent medical experts. In our experience, that’s the only way you’ll truly know what caused your infection.

Rain, Hydroplaning and Safety Tips for Driving on Wet Roads

Driving Safety Tips For Driving in the Rain and On Wet Roads


Rain and storms are hitting all of us across the United States. The roads are wet and collisions are happening. Most are caused by hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning can happen when a layer of water on top of the road can prohibit your car tires from cleanly contacting the road surface. The loss of friction between your tires and the roadway can result in the driver being unable to safely brake and steer the vehicle.  In some instances, a total loss of control happens.  Other factors like speeding, improperly balanced or overloaded trucks and worn out or under inflated tires can make hydroplaning even worse and cause accidents.

Here are several safety tips for driving in the rain

      • Exercise extreme caution after a long dry spell. During a dry period, engine oil and grease build up on the road over time. When mixed with water from a new rainfall, the road becomes extremely slick. Continued rainfall will eventually wash away the oil, but the first few hours can be the most dangerous.
      • Allow for more travel time. You should plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet. Keep in mind that traffic is likely to be moving slower as well. There’s also the possibility that your preplanned route may be flooded or jammed. Whatever the case, rushing equals higher risk.
      • Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally. Not only does this increase the stopping distance between you and the car in front of you, it also lets the driver behind you know that you’re slowing down. Also, be more meticulous about using turn signals, so that other drivers know your intentions, and take turns and curves with less speed than you would in dry conditions.
      • Most of America’s roads are crowned in the middle, which means that the water will run off to the sides. If possible, stay toward the middle of the road to avoid deep standing puddles.
      • Don’t use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there’s the chance your car could actually accelerate. Cruise control also allows drivers to be less vigilant and to take their foot away from the pedals — not a great idea when reaction time is so important.
      • If you see a large puddle up ahead, drive around it or choose a different route. Water splashing up into your car’s engine compartment could damage its internal electrical systems. Also, a pothole may be hiding under the water, just waiting in ambush to damage a wheel or knock your suspension out of alignment. If you can’t gauge the depth, or if it’s covering up the side curb, try to avoid it.
      • Don’t attempt to cross running water. This is not an SUV commercial, and you’ll probably get into trouble if the force of the water is greater than the weight of your vehicle. All-wheel drive isn’t going to be much help if your vehicle is being pushed sideways. Don’t end up like those folks on the nightly news who had to abandon their cars to Mother Nature.
      • After you cross a puddle, tap on your brake pedal lightly to dry off some of the water on your rotors.
      • Turn on your headlights, even when there’s a light sprinkle. It helps you see the road, and more importantly, it helps other motorists see you. However, don’t blast your high beams in the rain or fog — it’ll obscure your view further, as the light will reflect back at you off the water droplets in the air. If your car is equipped with foglights, you may find it helpful to turn these on, as they throw a little extra light on the road while making your car easier to see.
      • Don’t allow yourself to become distracted and watch out for pedestrians. An ordinarily observant pedestrian may become distracted by fiddling with an umbrella or a rain slicker. Plus, raindrops deaden sound, so the usual audio clues for measuring car distances become obscured. Keep a sharp lookout for people in the road.
      • If it’s raining so hard that you can’t see the road or the car in front of you, pull over safely away from the side of the road and wait it out.
      • Track the car ahead of you. Let the car ahead pave a clear path, so to speak, through the water.
      • Give a truck or bus extra distance. Their extra-large tires can create enough spray to block your vision completely. Avoid passing one, but if you must pass, do it as quickly as safety allows.
      • Defog your windows. Rain will quickly cause your windshield to fog up. Switch on both front and rear defrosters and make sure the air conditioning is turned on. Most cars’ climate control systems will automatically engage the A/C when the windshield defrost function is selected.
      • If you start to hydroplane, don’t brake suddenly or turn the wheel, or you might spin into a skid. Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction. If you must brake, tap the brake pedal (unless you have antilock brakes, in which case you can put your foot down).

Now that you know how to drive in the rain, take some precautionary measures to ensure that your vehicle is prepared to get you through a downpour.

      • Stay on top of your car’s condition. Its brakes, tire pressures, tire tread depth and defroster operation should be checked regularly so that you’ll be ready to deal with a deluge when the time comes.
      • Most vehicles are available with antilock brakes these days, and safety features like traction control, stability control and all-wheel drive are becoming increasingly popular as well. Although all-wheel drive is really only necessary if you frequently drive in snow and ice, traction and stability control can be very handy on rain-soaked roads. Traction control helps you maintain grip by putting the brakes on the tire(s) that don’t have traction, while a stability control system monitors your steering input, intervening with the brakes and/or reducing engine power as needed to keep you on your intended path.
      • Although several tire manufacturers design tires specifically for wet roads, a good set of all-season tires will do the job for most drivers.
      • Make sure that your wipers are in good condition and functioning properly. If the blades are brittle or damaged, replace them before you’re caught in a downpour. Some wipers are definitely better than others, so ask your retailer for recommendations.
      • If there’s a chance of freezing rain, double your precautions. Carry snow chains, as well as a supply of salt, sand or kitty litter (the non-clumping kind). If you’re stuck and uselessly spinning your tires on a patch of ice, stop what you’re doing and place some of said material around the drive wheels to gain traction. Then give it another go, giving the car as little gas as possible. If your car has a manual transmission, it also helps to start out in second gear rather than first. If you live in a particularly harsh climate, consider keeping a small shovel in the trunk to remove excess ice and snow from around the tires in the event that you get stuck.
      • Every car should have a good emergency kit. The contents of these kits vary, but when driving in rough weather, a tow rope is always a good idea — just in case.

When the weather’s bad, stay home if you can.  If you must drive, be careful.  Slow down and please drive defensively.

We want you to get home safely today. Please pay attention to these tips and also spend time going over them other drivers in your family.

hurricane matthewRelated Post: “What Hurricane Matthew Victims Need To Know When Filing Insurance Claims!”

New Recommendation From Joel Comm

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“I’ve been an early adopter of tech, social and live streaming and have seen almost everything there is to see in the tech space. While platforms come and go, the one consistent business asset that never seems to change are quality relationships with people who #DoGoodStuff.

Mitch and his team of top-rated lawyers at Jackson & Wilson, Inc. have been embracing tech and the Internet since the mid-1990s. They understand the changing needs and legal issues that relate to tech startups and businesses using the digital platforms. I’ve had the pleasure of having Mitch’s firm assist me with several legal matters, and his legal team always shared honest and timely feedback, even on the weekends.

If you’re looking for a lawyer and law firm that understands tech, social media and doing business the human to human way, give Mitch and his team a call. They’ll take great care of you and always put your best interest first.”

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More recommendations from clients, lawyers and tech and social media industry leaders

What Hurricane Matthew Victims Need To Know When Filing Insurance Claims!

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Victims of Hurricane Matthew would be smart to learn how insurance companies took advantage and mistreated many of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy

The latest death toll from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti is 271 and expected to increase. Almost 200 people have been injured and close to 61,537 people are in temporary shelters.

Property damage to homes and businesses expected by Hurricane Matthew is going to be substantial. Hopefully with all of the advance warnings in the news, Americans will not experience any loss of life. We’ll know more later today.

People who have lost their home or experienced any other type of damage or loss because of Hurricane Matthew should pay attention to how insurance companies took advantage and mistreated many of the victims of earlier hurricanes including Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. Knowing what tactics big insurance used in the past to delay and deny claims will allow you to protect your rights and force insurance companies to honor their policy contracts and obligations to you.

If you recall, Hurricane Katrina swept across the Gulf Coast leaving historic levels of death and destruction in its wake. The storm caused an incredible $135 billion in damages, leaving thousands homeless, jobless and without much hope.

After this tragedy and while facing their darkest hours, many survivors found themselves experiencing harm a second time. This time from their insurance companies.

What happened is that insurance companies started offering pennies on the dollar for real and personal property damage losses. Insurance companies denied coverage for business income loss and often times simply refused to honor insurance policy agreements. Some insurance companies claimed that the destruction had nothing to do with wind damage, which was covered under most policies back then, but was caused by floodwater, which as not covered.

Shockingly, because of how insurance companies mishandled these claims, during the two year period of time after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, insurance companies reaped more than $100 billion in profits. A substantial amount of this money should have been paid out to Hurricane Katrina victims.

While the facts of Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy are all unique, we believe many of the same issues that existed during Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy will come back full circle with claims made by victims of Hurricane Matthew. While we don’t practice law in Florida or anyplace else on the east coast, we do want to share important information to help Hurricane Matthew victims process their insurance claims.

With this in mind, we strongly urge you to immediately download and read the two below ebooks. If you don’t live in Florida or on the east coast, please share these ebooks and links with your family and friends who do live there.





We hope you find this information useful.


Thomas Jefferson once said, “Information is the currency of democracy”. We agree.

Become more informed and also make sure to download, “Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse and Refuse”