March 2012 Archives

March 31, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare: The Effect on Mesothelioma Medical Insurance Coverage

This week legal pundits have been engaged in watching the U.S Supreme Court, as 1038828_u_s__supreme_court_2.jpgattorneys representing various states have battled with the Obama Administration over Obamacare, the universal healthcare bill touted to provide insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The law also would make it illegal for insurance companies to decline to provide health insurance to individuals who were already ill with pre-existing conditions. The full effect of the bill is not slated to go into effect until 2014.

In 2010, it was estimated that 49.9 million American's were uninsured. If the mesothelioma rate (2500py/312mil) for the general population is strictly applied to the uninsured, it can be estimated that approximately 16% of mesothelioma patients are without medical insurance, and are attempting to pay expensive medical bills with money from their own pocket.

Many mesothelioma patients, who were exposed to asbestos in the military, have access to healthcare through the Veterans Administration Hospital. However, for those uninsured mesothelioma patients who did not serve in the military the burden of paying for medical care is a terrible challenge. Most experts classify malignant pleural mesothelioma as terminal with an average survival rate of nine months, for which there is no cure. However, treatments do exist to extend mesothelioma patients lives and decease suffering, without "curing" the disease. However without insurance, some patients find such treatments to be cost prohibitive. In 2014, under Obamacare, it is believed that uninsured mesothelioma patients would have access to health insurance.

One option uninsured mesothelioma patients may choose to pursue is to participate in 1156714_perscription_drug_case.jpgclinical trials. As mesothelioma is classified as a rare disease, often times hospitals and physicians conducting mesothelioma clinical trials have difficulty finding mesothelioma patients to participate in clinical trials. As a result, the clinical trial will actually pay for the cost of travel for the mesothelioma patient to the treating facility, as well as the costs for the medical care. Uninsured mesothelioma patients should discuss this treatment option with their medical provider. All clinical trials carry risks. Many mesothelioma clinical trials have been recruiting patients for year, and as a result have data that mesothelioma patients can review and consider prior to participating.

Another option that uninsured mesothelioma patients have to pay their medical bills is to use compensation provided to them through the tort system. Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is considered by the vast majority of scientific experts to be a "signature" disease. In layman's terms, that means if you have it, it is assumed you were exposed to asbestos. Compensation is available to individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma both through the court system, and also in a bankruptcy trust claim system. In many states there are lawyers who work with mesothelioma patients to help them gain compensation to pay for their medical bills. Not every mesothelioma patient needs to file a lawsuit to gain compensation. Even if a mesothelioma patient is litigation adverse, it is still advantageous for the uninsured patient to consult an attorney.

Even if Obamacare is struck down by the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, there will be options for...

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March 29, 2012

Mexico Mesothelioma Travel Warning: Beware of Exposure to Asbestos!

It's Spring Break season, and the beaches of Mexico are filling up with foreign tourists heading south of the border intent on soaking in the warmth of the sun and splashing in the waves. But not unlike the plot of a familiar co-ed horror movie, there is a danger lurking near the waters of Mexico's beaches, ready to take tourists' lives in a gruesome fashion. Only unlike most Spring Break horror movies, the danger is not in the water - it's on land, it may be in the tourists' hotel rooms, and it's deadly. It's asbestos.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber, used extensively in industrial applications in the United State until the 1980's, due to it's heat resistant and bonding properties. Today, close to 2000 companies in Mexico still use raw asbestos in the production of various construction products, including asbestos cement piping, roofing materials, boilers, asbestos insulated wiring, and automotive brakes. According to a January 2012 report, from 2000 to 2010, production factories in Mexico used 213,414 metric tons of asbestos, over 20,000 tons a year. All this, despite the fact that asbestos use was widely curtailed in the United States close to 30 years ago, due to it's cancer causing risk.

The continued widespread use of asbestos in Mexico is a potentially lethal and hidden danger to tourists, according to noted Mesothelioma plaintiff's attorney Michael Mandelbrot, founder of the Asbestos Legal Center in San Francisco. "Most individuals traveling abroad are unconcerned when they see construction or remodeling taking place at the hotel where they are staying, or at a site nearby. They don't think to ask themselves, does the dust being generated from the site contain a poison that is going to give me cancer? And what hotel guest is going to ask the front desk whether air samples are being collected from the remodeling job occurring at the hotel? Tourists traveling abroad in Mexico need to be aware that asbestos is still used in construction products in Mexico, and it's deadly."

Asbestos exposure causes serious and fatal disease, such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a disease affecting the lining surrounding the lungs, heart, and abdomen. There is no cure for pleural malignant mesothelioma, and the average life expectancy for a person diagnosed with the disease is nine months. According to the World Health Organization, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. That means that even an exposure that is briefly limited in time, is unsafe. In the United State, asbestos use was curtailed in part in the late 1970's and early 1980's, as a result of individuals suffering from asbestos related diseases filing lawsuits against companies the used asbestos in the manufacture of their products. Many of those lawsuits alleged that products containing asbestos were unsafe, as the risks associated with using the products outweighed any benefit the product provided. Today asbestos use is not completely banned in the United States.
Individuals traveling abroad should consider changing hotels, if where they are staying is located next to a construction site, especially if the demolition of a pre-existing building is taking place. "Symptoms of diseases caused by exposure to asbestos do no show up until many years after a person is exposed to the fiber. One can never be too careful.", said Mr. Mandelbrot.

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March 23, 2012

Mesothelioma Claims The Life Of Famous Mountain Climber, Lincoln Hall

407868_mountain_hiker.jpgThis past week, Lincoln Hall, the famous mountaineer died, as a result of mesothelioma. Mr. Hall was born in 1955. In 1975, at the age of 20, Lincoln Hall began his mountaineering education during trips to New Zealand, while attending the Australian Nation University. Thereafter, in 1978, Mr. Hall began to climb in the Himalayas. Mr. Hall was the first Australian to ascend Mount Everest in 1984. He later returned to Everest in 2006, when he was famously left for dead, but survived the night on the mountain. He went on to write a book about the ordeal, "Dead Lucky, Life After Death On Mount Everest." Mr. Hall believed the development of his mesothelioma was attributable to exposure to asbestos he suffered early in his life, when he worked in construction. Mr. Hall's tragic death is a reminder that no individual is immune to the dangers posed by asbestos dust.

In 1980, actor Steve McQueen lost his life to mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos aboard Navy vessels that Mr. McQueen served on during his military service. In 2010, retired professional athlete Merlin Olsen also died from mesothelioma. Mr. Olsen believed his exposure to asbestos occurred during his professional broadcasting career.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning that it can take many years for the disease to develop after a person is exposed to asbestos. There is no known cure for malignant pleural mesothelioma. On average, individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma have a life expectant of nine months to one year. While there is no known cure for mesothelioma, there are medical providers with expertise in treating the disease. Moreover, clinical trials are occurring where new treatments are offered to mesothelioma patients.

Individuals who served in the United States military, or who worked in the construction industry prior to 1980, are at the greatest risk for developing mesothelioma, as the odds are significantly increased that they were exposed to asbestos during their career. Asbestos also causes other diseases such as asbestosis, a chronic scarring of the lungs making difficult for a person to breathe, and lung cancer. Individuals who were exposed to asbestos and also smoked, have a significantly higher chance of developing lung cancer than those who smoked alone.

In California, mesothelioma patients have a right to bring a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries caused by asbestos exposure. Moreover, families who have lost their loved ones to the disease are allowed under the law to bring wrongful death lawsuits, for the loss of support, love and companionship of their family member. There are time limits to bring mesothelioma personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, governed by the statute of limitations applicable in each circumstance. People who are suffering from mesothelioma, or who have lost a family member to mesothelioma, should consult an attorney to determine what time limit applies in their case. There is also billions of dollars set aside in bankruptcy trusts...

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March 23, 2012

Research Study Focusing On The Emotional Needs and Exploring Online Support For California Mesothelioma Patients Currently Looking For Volunteers

A research study sponsored by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, aiming to assess how mesothelioma affects patient's emotional and physical well being, is currently looking for mesothelioma patient volunteers. A portion of the study will assess the effectiveness of providing support to mesothelioma patients through the use of the internet. Patients participating in the study will be asked to fill out questionnaires and participate in online support group discussions. Mesothelioma patients from all over the Unitied States, including California, are invited to apply to participate in the study.

Mesothelioma is a disease that occurs in individuals who have been exposed to asbestos. The disease typically does not develop until many years have passed since the exposure took place. In some instances, mesothelioma does not develop until many decades after the person was exposed to asbestos. There is no cure for pleural malignant mesothelioma, affecting the lining of the lungs. The average life expectancy with the disease is approximately nine months, although every patient's life expectancy varies. In some instances, patients have lived years after diagnosis, with proper medical attention.

The study, sponsored by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has a goal of determining how to ease the suffering of those afflicted with mesothelioma.

Some studies estimate that as many as fifty percent of cancers patients will suffer from a depression or anxiety as a result of their cancer diagnosis or symptoms and treatment. The problem is compounded by the fact, that at times doctors may miss the symptoms of chronic anxiety and depression in their patients, as they are focused on the treating the cancer. In 2001 a study in the United Kingdom found that oncologists at cancer centers filed to rate their patients mental state correctly on average 26% of the time.

If you are a mesothelioma patient, and you are suffering any of these symptoms, you should discuss them with you doctor:

A feeling of sadness for more than one day
Under eating, or eating way too much
Loss of interest in your favorite activities
Sleeplessness at night, or sleeping all day long
Suicidal thoughts
Feeling Numb
Racing Thoughts
Confusion over basic tasks
Tingling in the hands, feet, or limbs

Remember, there are treatments for depression and anxiety, so individuals should report these symptoms to their doctors.
In California, patients suffering any of these symptoms as a result of being diagnosed with mesothelioma, are entitled to pain and suffering damages under the law. These damages are typically proven during a lawsuit, by the patient testifying during their deposition about the emotional stress they are enduring as a result of the disease. Often time spouses and children can also provide evidence of the suffering they have witnessed. Mike Mandelbrot, founder of the Asbestos Legal Center, believes every mesothelioma patient should be compensated in the legal system for their physical and mental suffering. "All of the suffering associated with mesothelioma was 100% preventable. For decades asbestos was known to be deadly, yet manufacturers unjustifiably chose to continue using it in their products. Justice demands that every person who suffers from the industry decision to use asbestos, be compensated for their injuries."

More information about the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center study can be found...

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March 16, 2012

Hazardous Waste Transporter Found Illegally Storing Asbestos Next To Los Angeles Suburb High School

Families who send their kids to Mountain View High School, in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte, received disturbing news this past February, when it was discovered that a waste disposal company neighboring the high school was illegally transporting and storing hazardous waste, including asbestos. Titan Environmental, Inc, had been operating at the site near the high school, for the past five months, since September 2011.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber, that due to it's heat resistant and bonding properties, was widely used in construction and insulating materials manufactured and distributed throughout most of the 20th century, by companies who acted with disregard for the health of the worker and the public. Asbestos was also used extensively as an insulating material and mechanical component additive on U.S. Navy vessels. Inhaling the fiber causes chronic scarring of the lungs, and can result in the development of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma, widely accepted as incurable, is a cancer of the lining surrounding the lung, and heart, and diaphragm, appears decades after exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is classified as a carcinogen by local authorities in Los Angeles, and at both the state and federal level.

Noted mesothelioma patient attorney Michael Mandelbrot, founder of the Asbestos Legal Center in San Francisco, reacted with outrage to the news of Titan Environmental's illegal activity. "It is despicable that a company would be operating an illegal asbestos storage and transport facility next to a high school. The ramifications may not be truly known until such time many of kids at this school return for their twentieth high school reunion. Titan Environmental should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law for this reckless conduct. Compensation should be identified and set aside to pay for medical bills, should any child become sick in the future."

Between 600 to 800 bags of asbestos containing materials were found stored at the site, located adjacent to the schools running track and football field. State law disallows fully licensed and legally operating facilities to be within 500 feet from any school. Penalties for Titan Environmental's conduct may include fines of $25,000 per day.

The Air Quality Management District has set up a perimeter of air sampling equipment around the Titan Environmental facility, to ensure that levels of airborne asbestos do not rise above hazardous levels during the cleanup of the site. Moreover, the Air Quality Management District took 15 samples on five separate occasions in February, and detected no measurable level of asbestos. Unfortunately it is impossible to determine whether prior to February, 2012 levels of airborne asbestos rose to hazardous levels. The facility opened in September, 2011.

The Department of Toxic Substance Control has taken responsibility for informing the public as to how clean up efforts are proceeding at the facility. The community notice they released can be found online, here. The notice fails to indicate what types of asbestos fibers were present at the site, a detail that may become useful in the future should any child fall ill. Most experts agree, that while no exposure to asbestos fiber is safe, different types of asbestos fiber have varying degrees of

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March 16, 2012

International Mesothelioma Medical Research Study Provides Support for Pleurectomy/ Decortication (P/D) over Extra-Pleural Pneumonectomy (EPP).

For over a decade, Los Angeles Mesothelioma Oncologist Surgeon, Dr. Robert Cameron, who serves as the director of UCLA's Mesothelioma Comprehensive Research Program, and the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital, has been one of the United States' most outspoken critics of Extra-Pleural Pneumonectomy (EPP).

The EPP procedure requires the removal of the lung lining, part of the membrane covering the heart and diaphragm, and the entire lung of the mesothelioma patient. Often times the lining is replaced with a synthetic lining.

Instead, Dr. Cameron has advocated that surgeons treat mesothelioma, but save the mesothelioma's patient's lung, using the less radical Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D) surgery.

Dr. Cameron has performed P/D on mesothelioma patients numerous times over the last 20 years, and is considered one of the world's leading experts in the surgery.
P/D requires only partial removal of the lining surrounding the lung, and at times, partial removal of the lining surrounding the diaphragm.

A new report, appearing the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, supports his position.

According to the report, issued by the International Association of Lung Cancer, pleurectomy/decortication is both safer and more effective measurably when compared to extrapleural pnemonectomy (EPP). The results of the study add fire to ongoing debate as to how to treat mesothelioma patients, as EPP has been accepted by many oncologist surgeons as the standard of care to treat the disease.

Mesothelioma Attorney Michael Mandelbrot, of the Asbestos Legal Center in San Francisco, whose firm donates money to mesothelioma medical research, appreciated the results of the study, "In the ongoing battle against mesothelioma, this study arms mesothelioma patients with more vital data to discuss and consider in choosing their treatment plan."

The International Lung Cancer Association study, conducted by Dr. Lang-Lazdunski of Kings College London-Division of Cancer Studies, had a population 76 patients that were followed for eight years, from 2004 to 2011. Fifty-four P/D patients were compared to twenty-two EPP patients.

The P/D groups 30-day mortality rate was 0, while the EPP patients suffered a 4.5 percent 30-day mortality rate. Moreover, 68 percent of EPP patients suffered post surgery complications, as compared to 27 percent of the P/D patients.
Most importantly, the median, two-year, and five years survival rate was higher for P/D patients as compared to EPP patients.

The study's author no longer performs EPP in mesothelioma patients, and now advocates P/D becoming the standard of care surgical procedure offered to pleural mesothelioma patients, in multi-modal therapy.

The International Association of Lung Cancer study found that patients who underwent EPP suffered a higher mortality and morbidity rate than P/D. Putting it another way, those patients who underwent P/D had a higher survival rate.

As a result of the study, Michael Wyenat, M.D. University of Colorado professor and thoracic surgeon, authored an editorial that appears in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, with the study. Dr. Weyant writes: "The results of the current study provide additional data that should lead us to consider P/D in all trials of treatment for MPM, (malignant pleural mesothelioma

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March 5, 2012

California Mesothelioma Attorney Warns of Hidden Health Threat to Home Remodelers: Asbestos

In these tough economic times, many home owners, when faced with the decision of making home repairs, or home remodels, are choosing to conduct the work themselves, rather than spend the money on a contractor. However, unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of the dangerous toxin that can be found in many homes constructed before 1980: asbestos. California Mesothelioma Attorney Michael Mandelbrot, is concerned that most home owners don't appreciate the danger posed by the mineral.


"Asbestos exposure cause severe and fatal health conditions, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Even small exposures contribute to causation of these diseases. These conditions nearly always do not manifest themselves until 15 to 30 years after exposure, providing the consumer with a false sense of security, that the work they performed was safe."

The mineral fiber asbestos was discovered more than 2000 years ago. It's name was provided by the Ancient Greeks, who marveled that the fiber could not be extinguished by flame. But even the Greeks noted that the fiber caused lung problems in the slaves who were tasked to weaving it into cloth.

Asbestos use became popular in the 1800's, and the start of the Industrial Revolution as insulator for high temperature equipment. Given society's struggles with other health ailments caused by crowding large populations into urban environments during this time period, it is thought that the ailments cause by asbestos were often misdiagnosed as other more common maladies, such as pneumonia.

The first diagnosis of asbestosis, a chronic thickening of the lungs making it difficult to breathe, is widely believe to first have been made in 1924. In the 1930's, scientific epidemiology clearly started defining asbestos as a threat to public health.
However, asbestos continued to be used in the United States, to large extent in naval military applications, and in construction materials, into the late 20th century. Moreover, despite the anger of many families who have lost loved ones, asbestos use in not banned in the United States today, but rather is regulated, and curbed by the industry exposure to lawsuits brought by those suffering from asbestos related diseases, including pleural mesothelioma, a cancer widely accepted an incurable.

Home remodeler should be aware that asbestos can often be found in the following materials:

Insulating blankets or paper, that wrap steam pipes, boilers, and heating ducting.

Vinyl floor tiles, sheet flooring, or the adhesives used to apply flooring materials. Removing these asbestos containing tiles, asbestos sheet flooring, or scraping and sanding old adhesive material, can cause the release of asbestos fiber into the air.

Sound proofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and roofs, such a textures of popcorn ceilings.

Drywall materials, including joint compounds and drywall compounds.

Roofing shingles, and home siding.


If you are undertaking a home remodeling project, if you are concerned that there may be asbestos containing materials in your home, don't panic. The best thing to do is...

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