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April 2011 Archives

Questions about safety of prescription weight loss drug

The Food and Drug Administration has only approved one over-the-counter drug. But now a consumer advocacy group is asking the FDA to ban the sale of the drug Alli and its more potent prescription counterpart Xenical. The group has cited numerous reports of medical problems from people who are using the drugs, and believes that the pharmaceuticals are dangerous.

FAA issues new rules to combat sleeping by air traffic controllers

Last week we shared a story about the ongoing problem of napping air traffic controllers. Yesterday the Federal Aviation Administration issued new rules intended to prevent air traffic controllers from sleeping during overnight shifts while they are supposed to be ensuring that airplanes are directed safely to and from their destinations, and avoiding airline accidents.

More reports of napping air traffic controllers

We recently shared a story about a flight from Chicago to Reagan International Airport that landed without the assistance of an air traffic controller because the controller had fallen asleep on the job. There have now been additional reports of air traffic controllers napping on the job. While fortunately these lapses did not result in any airplane crashes they highlight what may be a more systemic problem that could undermine the safety of all those who rely on the airlines for transportation.

Why Sellers of Defective Products Should Be Responsible For the Harm Those Products Cause

When you go to the store you expect that what you buy - whether it's a new appliance, a new tool, a new toy for your children - is safe if used as intended. You may not give much thought to where the product was made or how many companies had a part in producing, packaging and moving the product from the factory to the store shelf. If you use the product and find out it's defective, or if the defective product causes injury to you or a family member, you expect the corporation that sold the product to pay for the harm it caused.

Simulated airplane crash in Peoria trains emergency responders

On Saturday, the Illinois Air National Guard and a number of local emergency response agencies held a full scale drill at the Peoria International Airport to test their response plans. The disaster drill is designed to provide responders an opportunity to refine their practices for responding to a plane crash. Approximately 70 local youths participated as crash victims wearing prosthetics and makeup to replicate the types of injuries they would likely suffer in a real airline accident.

Medical product manufacturer closes during investigation of contaminated products

A Wisconsin manufacturer of baby wipes, medical pads and other products closed down its plant this week when U.S. Marshals arrived with orders to seize the dangerous products. The investigation was triggered by the discovery of bacterial contamination in some of their products. Food and Drug Administration officials had asked the company to voluntarily shut down last week, before the Marshals showed up at the factory.

Airplane lands safely after losing power

Another in the recent string of near misses for the airline industry yesterday as a United Airlines flight made a safe emergency landing after the on-board power went out shortly after take-off. Without any instruments to guide them, the pilots relied on the directions from air traffic controllers and the landmarks which they could see out the window of the cockpit to return the airport.

Boeing 737 operated by Southwest Airlines rips open during flight

About 20 minutes after taking off from Phoenix Sky Harbor Internal Airport on Friday afternoon, Southwest Airlines Flight 812 made an emergency landing after the plane's fuselage ruptured causing a 5 foot long tear in the ceiling. Some of the plane's 118 passengers described hearing loud pops and then seeing a gaping hole rip through the roof of the Boeing 737. The plane suffered rapid decompression, and oxygen masks popped out as the plane dove to a lower altitude where passengers could breathe on their own. According to one passenger, some people "were passing out because they weren't getting the oxygen" from masks that dropped from above during the emergency. Terrified passengers thought the end was near, and one woman texted her husband, "Plane going down. Love you."

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