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Takata airbag recall lawyer, Chicago product liability attorneyHonda announced it is adding nearly 105,000 more vehicles to the recall list it began last year over reports of potentially deadly airbags. The automaker’s recall now includes 5.5 millions vehicles sold under the Honda or Acura brands in the United States. Ten other auto manufacturers have also been forced to recall a combined 11.5 million vehicles equipped with possibly defective airbags, all products of the same auto parts supplier.

Recall Timeline

In October 2014, 11 automakers announced the recall of more than 14 million vehicle sold with airbags manufactured by Japanese part maker Takata. Less than month later, The New York Times carried a report that Takata was aware nearly ten years ago that some of the company’s airbags could possibly explode, putting a driver at risk from flying metal debris. The report claims that rather than notifying safety officials, Takata tested potential fixes and redesigns, then scrapped the program and scrubbed the data. Regulatory filings from the company do not acknowledge any such testing until 2008, when the first airbag rupture-related recall was initiated.

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superbug product liability, Chicago personal injury lawyerIn the last several months, two hospitals in California have reported outbreaks of what officials are referring to as the CRE superbug. At Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, two patients died after being infected and five others continue to receive treatment. Medical officials have reached out to nearly 180 additional patients who may have been exposed at the facility. The outbreak has been traced to a particular medical device, which federal regulators are, so far, reluctant to pull from the market.

Carbapanem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, is a bacterial pathogen which can cause infections resistant to most antibiotic treatment. Certain bacteria, such as E. coli,  which are common to the human digestive system, can evolve and become carbapanem-resistant, resulting in strains of CRE potentially producing infections that are very difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges the dangers inherent to CRE infections and has reported that the superbug may be fatal in up to 50 percent of infected patients.

Each of the infected UCLA patients had undergone a relatively minor endoscopic procedure utilizing a device known as a duodenoscope. More than half a million patients each year have similar procedures done with the device, which is an imaging tool used to detect and diagnose issues in the upper small intestines, gall bladder, and pancreas. A particular duodensoscope at UCLA, however, was found to be the source of the CRE exposure, according hospital officials. A subsequent CRE outbreak at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, also in Los Angeles, is currently being investigated to confirm that a similar device was to blame.

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takata airbag recall, Chicago IL Product Liability LawyerRecalls of Takata airbags started as early as 2008.  Takata and Honda allegedly both knew about the recalls as early as 2004. Why did the major recall from the National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) not start until October of last year? Why are so many vehicles still on the road and not getting the necessary replacement they need?

Takata has indicated that they do not expect to have enough new airbags produced to cover the amount of recalled vehicles until late 2015. This is not an acceptable rate of replacement for a mandatory recall that has affected over 7.8 million vehicles from 10 car manufacturers.

The 10 manufacturers affected by the Takata recall have contracted with Orbital ATK to conduct their own tests on the defective airbags. Orbital ATK is a defense and aerospace firm that provides products to the United States, its allies, and government contractors. They were chosen by the 10 manufacturers for their expertise in the field of engineering and the ability to move the investigation into the defective airbags forward.

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