What is Discovery (Law)?
In the United States, discovery refers to the pre-trial phase in a legal suit in which each party, through civil procedure, obtains evidence from the opposing side by means of legal devices including requests for answers to interrogatories, as well as the requests for depositions, the production of documents and admissions. The discovery portion of a trial, in most civil suits, is where a settlement or decision is usually reached. Both parties typically opt to negotiate during this portion of the trial because it serves as an accurate forecaster to reveal which side has the better case. Because the majority of information is exchanged during discovery, the sides will negotiate and affirm a settlement to take the courts (and the associated costs) out of the equation. Although the majority of civil cases end in the discovery phase, requests for discovery may be objected to. When this occurs, the requesting party may seek the assistance of the court system through the filing of a motion to compel discovery.
In the United States, civil discovery is a wide-ranging legal phase that may involve any material which is deemed as reasonably calculated to lead to qualified evidence. Admissible evidence in this regard is a far broader standard than relevance, because it anticipates the exploration of evidence that may be deemed relevant as opposed to evidence which is actually relevant.
Certain types of information are withheld from the discovery phase, including information that is regarded as privileged. For example, juvenile criminal records are typically not accepted, nor are peer review findings by hospitals allowed in the discovery phase.
What is Mesothelioma Cancer?
Mesothelioma cancer is a rare disease that evolves from the transformation of cells in the mesothelium, the protective layer of cells that covers the lungs, heart and abdomen. The bulk of mesothelioma cases derive from asbestos exposure. When undisturbed asbestos poses minimal threats to human beings; however, when disturbed, asbestos releases cancerous dust into the air. When these filaments are inhaled they build-up in the protective tissues and eventually eat-away at the lining. As the cancer eats away it proliferates to remote areas of the body, forming tumors along the way.
The main problem with mesothelioma is that the disease is nearly impossible to diagnose. Complications regarding mesothelioma diagnosis stem from the cancer’s slow-developing symptoms and innocuous cellular structure. Frequently, a mesothelioma patient will not feel sick or notice symptoms until 25-50 years after their first exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, when symptoms become tangible, the disease has proliferated to the point where it becomes inoperable. When mesothelioma advances into its latter stages, only palliative treatment options are available to mitigate the associated symptoms. These treatment methods are elective and will only be administered to bolster the patient’s quality of life. Again, in the disease’s advanced stages, mesothelioma cancer is deemed inoperable.
What is Mesothelioma Case Discovery?
If you have been recently diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma cancer, it is important that you talk to a mesothelioma lawyer concerning your legal options. Choosing to file a mesothelioma suit will not only help bring your employer—and the asbestos industry as a whole—to justice, but the case will also bear potential to receive compensation to provide compensation for missed wages, medical expenses and other expenses associated with asbestos-related conditions.
One of the most important steps in a mesothelioma case is discovery. Choosing the right mesothelioma lawyer to guide you through this process could mean the difference between winning and losing your mesothelioma case.
Mesothelioma case discovery is the process in which your mesothelioma lawyer collects and investigates information connected to your case. The discovery process is where working with your mesothelioma lawyer shows its benefits, as the legal professional will handle every matter of the mesothelioma investigation. Take note; however, that you may be requested to discuss with your employer’s mesothelioma lawyers to answer questions regarding your case. When asked questions, be sure to answer them honestly and completely as possible.
During the mesothelioma case discovery phase, mesothelioma lawyers will be very thorough and personal when asking these questions. Even some of the most insignificant details may help you win your case so be sure to answer these inquiries to the fullest extent possible. Some questions you must be prepared to answer during the mesothelioma case discovery include the following:
• What is your employment history?
• What is your medical history?
• Do you have any other unrelated health problems?
• Do you have a family history of asbestos-related diseases or cancer?
• Do you smoke? Have you smoked in the past? Understand that this does not cause or increase the probability of developing mesothelioma cancer.
• Where and how were you exposed to asbestos fibers?
• Did your employer implement any regulations or protocol to limit your asbestos exposure?
• When were you first exposed to asbestos fibers?
The above list represents only a sliver of the potential questions asked during mesothelioma case discovery. There are a number of other questions that will be asked regarding your diagnosis and the mesothelioma treatment you received. You may also be required to fill-out interrogatories—which is similar to a questionnaire—to further illuminate your mesothelioma claim.
In addition to an interrogatory, you will also be required to partake in a deposition. During depositions, you will be sworn under oath and asked to explain or illuminate certain questions regarding your mesothelioma case. All depositions are recorded and videotaped for formal documentation purposes. Before you begin answer said questions, you should meet with your mesothelioma lawyer to review likely inquiries. The bulk of depositions will only last a few hours, but in some situations, a deposition may take place over a period of a few days.
Your mesothelioma lawyer, along with your employer’s mesothelioma lawyer, will partake in the deposition portion of a mesothelioma discovery case. Both sets of lawyers will also contact people close to you, including your family members, co-workers and previous employers to gather more information regarding you and your illness. Your medical professional who is responsible for diagnosing your cancer may also be asked to answer questions concerning your medical condition (both present and past) and the types of treatment decisions rendered. During the deposition both sets of lawyers will be extremely thorough with their questioning to develop a strong case.
The length of your mesothelioma discovery case will depend on the medical urgency of your claim and how long your employer and your mesothelioma lawyer needs to go over the necessary information. To be as thorough as possible, the mesothelioma discovery process may last several months; however, if your mesothelioma is considered extremely time sensitive, the process may be expedited to resolve your claim before your cancer takes your life.
Medical Expenses Defined:
A medical expense is defined as any cost related to the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, convalescence and all expenses tied to treatment for any part or function of the body. These expenses are associated with supplies, counseling, equipment and therapy to improve, relieve or cure mental and physical discomfort from a personal injury or infection.
Examples of medical costs or expenses include the following:
• Artificial teeth
• Artificial limbs
• Books and magazines or any supply used by a visually-impaired individual
• Cosmetic surgery, only if deemed necessary to improve a condition or deformity related to an accident, disease or congenital abnormality
• All expenses related to doctor or physician visits
• Exercise or training programs if a medical professional recommends the program as necessary treatment for a specific condition
• Additional rent or utility payments for a larger residence required in order to provide space for medical help, such as nurses or attendants
• Eye surgery when it is not administered for cosmetic purposes
• Guide dogs or any other animal utilized by hearing impaired, visually impaired or otherwise physically disabled individual
• All costs associated with hospital care
• Insurance premiums for medical care
• Residence or household help for nursing care services
• Court, legal and all fees associated with a suit to authorize treatment for mental illnesses
• Lifetime care advance payments
• Costs associated with nursing care
• Costs associated with prescription drugs and medicines
• Medical aids, including hearing aids, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, crutches, guide dogs, contact lenses etc.
• Nursing home expenses, including the cost of medical care, meals and lodging if the primary reason for staying home is to obtain medical care
• Costs associated with diagnostic/imaging tests, including all x-ray services
• Transportation costs needed to obtain medical care
• Transplant surgeries
• Reclining chairs or any tools purchased from doctor’s advice by an individual with a diagnosed cardiac condition
All medical expenses associated with personal injury case, in general, cost victims tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, medical expenses must be regarded as a primary factor in determining the net worth of your lawsuit.
What is a Medical Expenses Suit?
A medical expenses suit is a subsection of a personal injury claim that attempts to secure compensation for all costs associated with convalescence. A medical expenses suit, therefore, seeks compensation for all of the patient’s costs that were deemed necessary to diagnose, mitigate or cure the injury or disease. Medical expenses suits are filed by patients who suffered an injury or contracted a disease because of an employer or entity’s negligence. The disease or injury would not have occurred if the entity or employer did not put the patient at risk. Therefore, the medical expense suit is filed to compensate injured workers or individuals who sustained an injury or contracted a disease because of an entity’s reckless or negligent behavior.
What are the Common Mesothelioma Medical Expenses?
Mesothelioma cancer is a rare disease that is highly invasive and deadly. The cancer develops from the transformation of cells in the mesothelium, which is the two-layered membrane that lines the lungs and other vital organs in the body. Mesothelioma treatment options, due to delays in diagnosis, are typically palliative in nature. Complications regarding diagnosis stem from the cancer’s slow-developing symptoms and innocuous cellular structure—a patient will not feel sick or notice symptoms until 25-50 years after their initial exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma cancer derives from asbestos exposure. When left alone, asbestos does not pose a risk to human beings; however, when disturbed, the mineral propels cancerous filaments into the air. When these carcinogens are inhaled they stick to the mesothelium and other protective tissues in the lungs and abdomen. Over time, the cancerous dust eats at way at these shields perpetuating the formation of tumors. These cancerous cells then proliferate into other areas of the body. It is only at this time, that symptoms become tangible. Unfortunately, when mesothelioma cancer is finally detected it is too late—the cancer in its advanced stages is deemed inoperable.
Mesothelioma treatment methods typically include surgery to extract the tumor (this mesothelioma treatment option is only undertaken during its first stage), and chemotherapy and/or radiation to mitigate the attached symptoms. Palliative treatment options are primarily suggested because the latency period for the cancer is exceptionally long.
Medical expenses attached to mesothelioma cancer are quite high, because of the cancer’s tendency to proliferate and destroy the body’s vital organs. That being said, the type of mesothelioma treatment applied is elastic to the size of the tumor, the age of the patient and the level of proliferation.
Medical expenses associated with mesothelioma cancer are often high. Furthermore, when a mesothelioma patient starts noticing symptoms and a diagnosis is made, he or she is typically advanced in age and/or retired. The advanced age of a median mesothelioma patient is because of the cancer’s lengthy latency period. It is necessary to understand the medical expenses attached to mesothelioma treatment because it will help you file the appropriate claim against your employer or the entity that is responsible for your asbestos exposure.
Common medical costs of mesothelioma cancer include:
• Costs associated with diagnostic imaging tests including: MRI’s, chest x-rays, PET’s and CT Scans. These imaging tests are undertaken to detect the cancer
• The cost of long-term medical care
• Cost of clinical trials
• Costs associated with aggressive mesothelioma treatments, including: radiation therapy, chemotherapy, mesothelioma surgery and biopsies
Factors that will affect my Mesothelioma Medical Expenses:
Mesothelioma medical expenses will vary from patient to patient. There are several factors which affect mesothelioma medical expenses, including the patient’s age, their side effects and the characteristics of their medical cancer, including the disease’s proliferation and its origin point in the body.
To file a mesothelioma cancer medical expenses suit you must contact a mesothelioma lawyer. These legal professionals will expedite the filing by investigating your employer’s actions and more specifically their adherence to your jurisdiction’s asbestos laws. Failure to adhere to asbestos regulations places liability on the employer if one of their employee’s developed an asbestos-related disease.
Mesothelioma lawyers are able to expedite said filings through an understanding of the legal process and acknowledgement of your jurisdiction’s particular asbestos laws. To file a claim you must first be diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer or another asbestos-related disease by a licensed medical professional. You will not be reimbursed for your mesothelioma medical expenses if you are not formally diagnosed with the disease.
After receiving diagnosis you must consult with a mesothelioma lawyer to discuss your case. During the consultation you will go over your employment history and detail how and why you were exposed to asbestos. The lawyer will ask questions concerning your workplace’s protocol and whether or not your employer followed certain asbestos regulations. If it is discovered that your employer was negligent regarding your asbestos exposure, he/she will formally file a suit to recoup all of your mesothelioma medical expenses. To remove uncertainty and avoid court fees, the bulk of mesothelioma claims are settled out of court. In these situations, a settlement is affirmed following the discovery portion of the claim and after negotiations takes place between your mesothelioma lawyer and your employer.
What is Carboplatin?
Carboplatin is a chemotherapy drug administered to patients to fight some forms of cancer, including lung, head, neck and mesothelioma cancers. Carboplatin was introduced during the late 1980s and has since become popular during the clinical treatment of the aforementioned diseases.
Carboplatin’s popularity stems from the fact that the drug imposes few side effects, especially when compared to its parent compound cisplatin.
Carboplatin, which is commonly referred to by its brand name Paraplatin, was formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989. Carboplatin is a modified form of Cisplatin, which was commonly used to fight mesothelioma and other forms of lung cancer during the 1970s.
Chemotherapy drugs, such as carboplatin, work in a variety of ways. Carboplatin’s efficacy is found in its ability to break through the cell walls and adhere to the cell’s DNA. This attaching property impedes the cell from dividing (cancer cells divide very rapidly). Drugs like carboplatin are attracted to these cells are therefore able to target specific cancer cells. In this light, carboplatin serves as an alkylating agent which means it is able to attach to the cancer cell’s DNA, ultimately leading to the cell’s death.
Side Effects of Carboplatin:
In comparison to cisplatin, the most tangible benefit offered by carboplatin is found in its ability to reduce side effects, particularly the elimination of nephrotoxic properties. Vomiting and nausea are easily controlled and far less severe in carboplatin when compared to other chemotherapy drugs.
The primary drawback associated with carboplatin use stems from its myelosuppressive effect. This side effect causes platelet and blood cell production of bone morrow in the body to rapidly decrease, sometimes to as low as 105 of its natural production levels.
Carboplatin is not as strong as cisplatin; depending on the patient’s cancer, carboplating may have 1/8th to 1/45th the effectiveness of its sister drug. The clinical standard of dosage for the drug is typically a 4:1 ratio compared to cisplatin—four times the amount of carboplatin is needed to achieve the same efficacy as one dose of cisplatin.
How does Carboplatin Fight Mesothelioma Cancer?
Carboplatin is used to combat several different forms of cancer, but is most commonly administered to treat lung cancer. Carboplatin is typically conducted as a day patient treatment method, involving a blood culture the day before. Carboplatin is administered via infusion; the regimen is administered as a 21-day cycle. On the first day of mesothelioma treatment, the patient is administered both gemcitabine and carboplating. The following week, on the same day, the mesothelioma patient is only given a small dose of gemcitabine. There then follows a recuperation period of approximately two weeks, which compeltes the carboplatin cycle for mesothelioma cancer.
The following cycle is administered after the rest period concludes and ends three weeks after the first injection of carboplatin. Typically 4-6 cycles of mesothelioma treatment are provided over a period of 3-4 months to complete the full course of treatment. This form of mesothelioma treatment aims at preventing the further proliferation of the cancer or in some cases a reduction of the mesothelioma tumor by as much as 80%.
Medical professionals are constantly searching for effective ways to treat mesothelioma cancer. A number of clinical trials are currently underway to test various chemotherapy drugs, which are often combined with one another to determine an appropriate mix to battle disease. Clinical trials are frequently conducted to find the most effective means to fight malignant mesothelioma. Carboplatin is often used in these trials and in combination with other mesothelioma drugs to find a more effective treatment method.
Phase I Clinical Trials combining Carboplatin and other mesothelioma drugs will determine what combinations are effective in fighting the cancer. When researchers pinpoint a combination that appears effective, Phase II Clinical trials commence. Results of said trials reveal that carboplatin in combination with pemetrexed may prove effecting in fighting mesothelioma cancer. Moreover, several studies have shown that carboplatin, when combined with Alimta, is moderately effective, with minimal toxicity, in fighting mesothelioma cancer.
There are several on-going clinical trials that utilize carboplatin in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to treat mesothelioma cancer. These trials are currently recruiting mesothelioma patients to observe efficacy rates.
What is Pemetrexed?
Pemetrexed is a chemotherapy drug marketed and manufactured by the Eli Lilly Company. The drug is primarily used to combat Pleural Mesothelioma cancer and other forms of non-small cell lung cancers.
The molecular body of Pemetrexed was developed by Edward Taylor at Princeton University. The drug was clinically developed by Eli Lilly and Company in 2004. The drug is used for the treatment of breast cancer, mesothelioma cancer, pancreatic cancer, non-small cell lung cancers, malignant mesothelioma and colon cancer.
Pemetrexed is chemically constructed like folic acid; the drug is classified as a folate antimetabolite chemotherapy drug. The drug works by inhibiting three enzymes utilized in pyrimidine and purine synthesis (thymidylate synthase, glycinamide ribonucloetide formyltransferase and dihydrofolate reductase). By inhibiting the formation of pyrimidine nucleotides and precursor purines, Pemetrexed prevents the formation of RNA and DNA, which are both required for the survival and growth of both cancer cells and normal cells.
In the winter of 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved Pemetrexed for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma cancer—a type of cancerous tumor that is located in the lining of the lungs. The FDA approved Pemetrexed to fight malignant mesothelioma only as a combined effort with cisplatin. In September of 2008, The Food and Drug Administration approved Pemetrexed as a first-line treatment—once again only in conjunction with cisplatin—to combat locally-advanced and metastatic non-small cell lung cancers for patients with non-squamous histology. A clinical phase III study revealed benefits of maintenance use of Pemetrexed for non-squamos patients. Currently, the drug is undergoing clinical trials to be used against esophagus cancer and other diseases the mouth area.
Pemetrexed is recommended in conjunction with carboplatin for a first-line treatment method of advanced forms of non-small cell lung cancers. That being said, the efficacy or toxicity of Pemetrexed with cisplatin compared to Pemetrexed with carboplatin has yet to be established beyond what is typically though about carboplatin or cisplatin drug therapy.
Side Effects of Pemetrexed:
Whether administered by itself or in combination with cisplatin, Pemetrexed yields the following side effects:
• Patient will experience decreased blood cell counts, as documented by a Complete Blood Count.
• Patient will experience Sleepiness and Mental fatigue. These side effects may be reduced through an Off-label prescription of Provigil.
• Explosive Diarrhea
• Vomiting and Nausea. Pemetrexed possesses an emetogenic effect that may be managed with prophylactic antiemetics
• Patient will experience mouth, throat or lip blisters/sores. Oral ulcers may be mitigated by strong oral hygeiene practices, including rinsing/washing of the mouth with salt water following any consumption of drink or food
• Patient will experience a severe loss of appetite
• Skin rash is common with Pemetrexed. Doctor-prescribed steroids that are administered the day before or the day of infusion of Pemetrexed is typically applied to avoid these side effects
• Patient will experience significant constipation
• Low platelets, which will increase your chance of bleeding
• Low white blood cells, which give you a greater chance of developing an infection. If this mesothelioma treatment gives way to a fever above 100.4 degrees you must call your doctor immediately.
• Pemetrexed decreases your red blood cell count. Low red blood cells will make you get tired easily, make you appear pale and decrease your stamina.
Pemetrexed and Mesothelioma Cancer:
When Pemetrexed is applied through an IV or orally the drug is commonly referred to by its Trademark name—ALIMTA; both forms of the drug are used to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma cancer. This disease, which affects the inside lining of the chest cavity, is mitigated when ALIMTA is combined with cisplatin—an anti-cancer medicine that is applied when extraction surgery is not an option.
Pleural mesothelioma cancer is a rare disease that forms from the transformation of cells in the abdominal cavity, the chest cavity and the cavity surrounding your heart. These cells protect your organs by producing a lubricating fluid that enables your organs to freely move around. For instance, these fluids make it easier for your lungs to move inside your chest during everyday breathing.
The tissues formed by the aforementioned cells are referred to as the mesothelium. Malignant tumors of the mesothelium give way to mesothelioma cancer. Approximately 3 out of every 4 mesothelioma patients have their infection start in their chest cavity (known as pleural mesothelioma).
The primary risk associated with the development of pleural mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Malignant mesothelioma, in all cases, is rare, with an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 new cases developing each year in the states. Mesothelioma incidences; however, have slowly decreased since the early 1990s. This decrease is widely due to increased safety efforts taken by companies and state governments to limit asbestos exposure.
More than 50% of mesothelioma patients have pain in the side of their lower back or chest. The majority of mesothelioma patients will report shortness of breath, while fewer will exhibit weight loss, cough, fever, sweating, trouble swallowing, explosive diarrhea and fatigue. Other symptoms associated with malignant mesothelioma cancer include: swelling of the face and arms, muscle weakness and hoarseness. The majority of mesothelioma patients will exhibit symptoms a few months before they are formally diagnosed. If you have ever been exposed to asbestos and have these symptoms, you must see a medical professional as soon as possible.