Thursday, May 31, 2012

Foods to Ease Chronic Pain

For those people who suffer from chronic pain, MSN Health recently penned an article about foods that may ease the discomfort associated with the disorder.  Some of the foods the article recommended are the following:

  • Sources of protein that do not come from land animals. Some foods to try may include fish, such as canned tuna or salmon, as well as beans and nuts.  Fish specifically may be helpful because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can aid in pain associated with arthritis.   
  • A wider variety of herbs and spices.  Some spices the article recommended were turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon.  These herbs are shown to have anti-inflammatory effects similar to the active ingredients in Vioxx and Celebrex.
  •  Eat more healthy fats.  Examples of this category include olive oil, avocadoes, nut butters, and sunflower seeds.  Healthy fats such as these promote hormone activity that helps you heal after injury and repairs stress to cells.
  •  Incorporate more plants into your diet, such as kale, whole grains, and all colored fruits and vegetables. According to the article, "A plant-based diet emphasizing whole (unprocessed) foods is like a force field, or sunglasses, protecting your lipid membranes and DNA from oxidative damage."
  • Probiotics, such as those found in yogurt, may also help to ease the discomfort of chronic pain. 
  • Drinking lots of water and tea, such as green tea, are also especially helpful in restoring the body's natural balance and helping the problems associated with chronic pain.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania personal injury attorney.  For more information on his firm, please click here

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nursing Home Attendant Sells Stolen Pills

Nursing homes and their employees are extremely variable in terms of their level of expertise, cleanliness, and professional demeanor.  In some cases, the employees of the nursing home facilities are not there for the right reasons.  In a recent article by, the case of a Pennsylvania nursing home worker selling stolen pills was covered.

According to the article, a nursing home employee in Windy Gap, PA was recently accused of leaving patients unattended, some who suffered from dementia, while she sold morphine pills stolen from the facility.  She was caught when police received a call from a woman who said she was approached by the worker at her house, who tried to sell her morphine pills.  The worker admitted to taking the pills and trying to sell them.

This case is just one of many that attorneys across the country come across in their practice.  Nursing homes can be dangerous places if not properly run and staffed.  If you suspect that you or a loved one is in a nursing home and is not receiving proper or appropriate care, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please visit our website.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Scam Affects More Than 200 Seniors

When the elderly population decides how they want to spend their retirement years, some choose to enter a nursing home and others choose to use at-home care.  For those seniors that use at-home care, many also decide to use security services and long-term care insurance.

Criminals in the Philadelphia area have also noticed this occurrence and used the situation to their advantage.  According to a recent article by, four suspects have been arrested for taking more than $700,000 from over 200 seniors as part of a scam involving home care, home security services, and long-term care insurance. 
An Upper Southampton man is among four suspects arrested Monday on charges of bilking more than a combined $700,000 from 200-plus seniors in a multi-pronged fraud scam involving home care, home security services and long-term care insurance.  The victims the criminals targeted spent large sums of money for bogus services.  The average age of the victims was 83 and most were retired school teachers.  Some of the bogus business fronts included housecleaning services, cooking and dressing, and home safety equipment. The suspects sold these services mostly by door-to-door cold calls, but more than one of the suspects had prior knowledge and work experience with health insurance companies and had access to those insurance databases. They used these databases to find some of their targets.  As stated in the article, "Victims’ requests for assistance often were ignored, delayed, discouraged or minimized in an effort to avoid providing services. Only when a victim or a victim’s family were persistent were a minimal amount of services provided." The bogus company they created, American Comfort Home Care Services, pocketed 70% of the revenue while only using 3% for actual services to their clients. 

Elder abuse and exploitation is a serious problem.  If you suspect that your loved one has become a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr's office for a possible consultation.  Attorney Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving the western and central Pennsylvania area.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Internet Phishing

In the latest issue of The Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine (May/June 2012), a very insightful article was included on the prevalence of internet phishing.  Internet phishing is another term for internet scams, which result in criminals gaining personal and financial information about users in order to take their money and/or their identity.  Phishing e-mails, such as fake bank e-mails or other solicitations, may also lead to the introduction of viruses into your computer system.  In the modern age, when internet phishing is becoming a more common occurrence, it is difficult to tell whether e-mails are legitimate or potentially dangerous.  According to the article, there are a few ways to tell whether a communication is real or fake. 

First of all, the IRS in particular will never initiate contact via e-mail.  Therefore, e-mails about a tax refund or impending investigation are not real.  Neither are e-mails saying that your tax payment was rejected.  Never click on any links within these fake e-mails, as they may introduce viruses.  Additionally, never give out your social security number or financial information via these links.  You can also file a complaint about these types of e-mails (specifically, fake stock purchase e-mails)  through the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).  You can do this by e-mailing them at with the subject line "Stock".

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on him and his firm, please click here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Whiplash Injury: An Overview

Attorney Doug Stoehr recently distributed a legal magazine via the local newspaper.  He also has copies of these magazines in area businesses, as well as in his office.  One of the articles in this magazine was written by Dr. Michael Drass and discuss whiplash injuries and treatments for them.

According to Dr. Drass, cervical whiplash is caused by a flexion or extension injury to the cervical spine.  This is most commonly occurs in rear-end car collisions.  In about 60% of whiplash cases, the ligaments and tendons are significantly stretched and/or ruptured.  Additionally, headaches also commonly occur as a symptom of this type of injury.  When first lines of treatment, such as rest, non-steroid and muscle relaxant medications, and chiropractic services fail, pain management treatment may be another good option.  Dr. Drass mentioned the use of radiofrequency ablation as a possible pain management option.  With this treatment, tiny needles are heated up and inserted into the spine.  These small needles make the nerve endings stop responding to pain signals and, therefore, eliminate or reduce pain.  About 71% of patients receive long-lasting pain relief after the use of this treatment.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of Attorney Stoehr's magazine, "Just Cause", please contact his office at 814-946-4100.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brain-Damaged Children Receive Special Programming

Children are perhaps one of the most susceptible groups of people to suffer from lasting brain damage.  This is due in part to their still-developing brains at the time of an accident.  Children in the eastern Pennsylvania area of Berks County that have suffered brain damage are receiving aid for their injuries through a program called BrainSTEPS.

BrainSTEPS (Brain Strategies Teaching Educators, Parents and Students) is a school re-entry teaching program for both parents and families.  This program, used by the Berks County Intermediate Unit, works to be a go-between for the families and their school districts to help brain-injured children get the appropriate accommodations in school. 
Based at the Berks County Intermediate Unit, the program is a liaison between students and school districts to help come up with ways children with brain injuries can be better accommodated in school.  The program includes observing the child in his/her classroom setting, as well as setting up meetings with teachers at the school to explain the specific brain injury and how/what parts of the brain have been injured.  From those meetings and data-gathering observations, the teachers and parents can come up with the right accommodations to make the classroom a more suitable and appropriate place for that child's learning needs.   According to the article, BrainSTEPS is a program unique to Pennsylvania and is based at various intermediate units throughout the state.  It is free and funded by the state departments of health and education.

Serious brain and spinal cord injuries are devastating and life-changing. These injuries are especially emotional and challenging when they happen to children.  If you have been injured due to the fault of another and now have long-lasting spinal cord or brain damage, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his firm, please click here

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pool Slide Leads To Serious Neck Injuries

Companies often create products, such as cooking tools, toys, and medical devices that are later recalled due to resulting safety hazards associated with using that product.  Unfortunately, before these products are recalled, serious injury or death of multiple consumers often occurs. We often hear about these recalls through the nightly news or via e-mail alerts, but sometimes it is too late.

Recently, a young mother died in a pool accident relating to using a inflatable pool slide that was later recalled.  According to an online news report by,  a young woman died after breaking her neck going down a Banzai brand inflatable water slide which had been placed over the concrete edge of a pool. Since the slide had partially deflated, the woman hit her head at the bottom of the slide and later died. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommended a recall of over 20,000 of the slides, because "during use, the slide can deflate, allowing the user to hit the ground underneath the slide and become injured. The slide is also unstable and can topple over in both still and windy conditions and carries inadequate warnings and instructions."  The slide was sold most commonly in Toys-R-Us and Walmart stores. Similar reports of injury due to this slide deflating also came from users in Pennsylvania and Missouri, whose accidents resulted in quadriplegia and a broken neck, respectively.

Serious brain and spinal cord injuries are devastating and life-changing.  If you have been injured due to the fault of another and now have long-lasting spinal cord or brain damage, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his firm, please click here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Infection Rates Decreasing In PA Nursing Homes

According to a recent report from the Patient Safety Authority, the rates of infection in Pennsylvania nursing homes have gone down in the past few years.  This is the direct result of a program which targeted healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs).  Data taken from 2010 reported declining infection rates in a variety of long-term care facilities (such as dementia care facilities, nursing and mixed units, short-term rehab units, and ventilator-dependent units).  Nursing homes also reported a decline in the number of urinary tract infections (UTIs) between 14-15% in both catheter and non-catheter using residents.  Additionally, there was also over 15% fewer skin and soft-tissue infections (such as bed sores) compared to earlier data.   As stated in the news article, "under the Pennsylvania program, the Patient Safety Authority assigns each liaison between 65 and 100 healthcare facilities, which they can visit regularly and provide infection prevention resources. Since working with liaisons, many nursing homes have implemented mandatory vaccination programs, which have helped lower infection rates."

The movement to consciously monitor and control infections in nursing home and similar facilities is an excellent step that Pennsylvania healthcare leaders are taking.  Hopefully these statistics will continue to improve and positively affect the experience that many nursing home residents might have.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney specializing in automobile accidents and nursing home abuse/negligence.  For more information on him and his law firm, please click here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chronic Pain: America's Hidden Epidemic

Followers of this blog are familiar with the idea of chronic pain being much more common than you might initially think.  However, you might not realize just how many Americans suffer from chronic pain without taking a look at recent statistics and surveys.

 According to a recent Gallup-Healthways poll:

  • about 1 in 2 Americans suffer from some type of chronic pain.
  • 31% of American adults report chronic back/neck pain
  • 26% report a leg/knee condition, and 18% have another type of chronic pain.
  • 47% report 1 or 2 types of the pain listed above 
  • 7% report experiencing all three types of the pain listed above.
When the numbers from the survey were broken down further, it was reported that one in five people between their 40s and 80s experienced recurring pain. Interestingly, reports of chronic pain increased between ages 18 and 59 (from 16% to 37%), but those chronic pain reports stopped increasing once people turned 60. 

These data suggest that the occurrence of chronic pain among the nation's adult population is much higher than most people realize.  Chronic pain is also often caused by a traumatic injury, such as ones that result from a car crash or slip-and-fall.  If you have pain that persists more than 6 months, it is often considered chronic and may require a lifetime of medical care and expenses.  In those situations, it may be prudent to consult with an attorney if you have chronic pain that has resulted from an injury due to the fault of another. 

For more information on Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania personal injury practice, please visit his website or call him at 814-946-4100.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Criminal Records and Nursing Home Employees

Nursing home employment patterns have undergone a recent study, according to The New York Times.  Using recent data from a national stusdy, researchers found that up to 90% of nursing homes employ people that have been convicted of a crime.  Additionally, 5% of all nursing home employees have at least one criminal conviction. This data comes as a result of a study done by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services.  They used data from more than 35,000 nursing home employees and cross-referencing the data from criminal records at the FBI.  The most common types of conviction were for crimes against property (burglary, drug-related offenses, vandalism, etc). However, some nursing home employees had been convicted of crimes like assault.
Although federal rules DO say that nursing homes cannot employ people who have been found guilty of elder abuse or neglect, but federal records do not always state if the victim was a nursing home resident.

According to the article in the NYT, "Our analysis of F.B.I. criminal history records revealed that 92 percent of nursing facilities employed at least one individual with at least one criminal conviction,” Mr. Levinson (the inspector general) said. “Nearly half of nursing facilities employed five or more individuals with at least one conviction. For example, a nursing facility with a total of 164 employees had 34 employees with at least one conviction each.”

Currently, there is no federal guideline explicitly requiring nursing homes to check federal and/or state criminal history records for job applicants. Only ten states require both a check of FBI and state records, and 33 require a check of state records.  The rest do not have any specific requirements at all.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please visit our website

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nursing Homes Won't Need Independent Pharmacists

Recently, the federal government, specifically The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,  had been considering making nursing homes hire independent pharmacists to assess and administer medication in nursing home settings.  After initially supporting this idea, the legislators decided that they would not require nursing homes to hire independent pharmacists.

The initial plan was proposed to create and enforce stricter rules regarding overseeing and monitoring patients’ drug regimens.  The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently decided against the new policy because they feared that it would negatively affect the nursing home industry without affecting the quality of patient prescription oversight.  Some feel that this decision was made partially on account of the large drop in stock value that major nursing homes experienced after the announcement of the initial independent pharmacist plan.

According to an article by Bloomberg, which was covering the event, "Federal law requires nursing homes to review their residents’ drug regimens at least once a month. Homes “very often” contract with pharmacies that provide their drugs to also conduct the monthly reviews, sometimes at rates that are “below fair market value,” according to the government.  The relationships can create conflicts-of-interest if the pharmacists are pressured to fill prescriptions residents don’t need or substitute higher-priced drugs, the government said."

 Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please visit our website.