Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"So many of us need this kind of information because without it, it's hard to know where to start."

In February of 1999, Canadian Paul Douglas first heard the word ‘mesothelioma’ as it came out of his doctor’s mouth. At that meeting, his doctor told him "go home, do your paperwork you've got 3 to 6 months to live."

He was told about his treatment choices from chemotherapy, radiation and radical surgery. Surgery was his least favorite choice.

His ex-wife Linda had remained a good friend and she soon began surfing the Internet and “low and behold I found www.mesothel.com”. According to Paul, "Thanks to Roger Worthington's website Linda was able to access information on mesothelioma and clinical trails that were taking place across the U.S. Here in Canada the resources are not available for this type of research."

Paul took part in a clinical trial offered in Bremerton Washington. He began the trial in April of 1999. Nine weeks later his first cat-scan revealed "no tumors at all."

We followed Paul and his battle for the next 11 years! Over that time he helped dozens of people from all over the world facing this same battle. He shared his knowledge and support of others with joy and purpose. He helped others to fight as he did but most importantly, he offered them hope and inspiration.

In July of this year he reported to us that he and his wife Sharon had just returned from trips to Maui and Las Vegas.

Sadly, on October 20, Paul passed away due to a heart attack. His wife and family hope his message to keep fighting and never giving up will continue to live on.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Update for October 22, 2010

Leslie Controls on the Fast Track to having its “Pre-Packaged” Bankruptcy Plan Approved­Could Begin Paying Claims by Early 2011

Leslie Controls, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CICOR International, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2010 citing overwhelming liabilities for current and future asbestos injury claims.

Since the early 1900’s, Leslie was a major manufacturer of industrial water heaters and steam control systems. Leslie was a large supplier of valves and other steam equipment to the United States Navy during World War I and World War II. Leslie’s products, which were often equipped with asbestos gaskets, insulation and packing, were responsible for exposing thousands of Americans to harmful asbestos fibers.

Upon filing for Chapter 11, Leslie received temporary immunity from all pending and future lawsuits brought by asbestos illness victims. Leslie will be entitled to permanent immunity upon certification of its bankruptcy plan by the bankruptcy court and approval by a Federal District Court. The one consolation to asbestos injury victims is the requirement that Leslie’s bankruptcy plan provide for the funding of a trust and a system for compensating claimants based on factors including the severity of their illness.

Leslie made substantial progress toward its emergence from bankruptcy when it obtained the asbestos claimant votes necessary for approval of its bankruptcy plan earlier this month. For the plan to be affirmed by the courts, bankruptcy law requires approval by at least 75 percent of current asbestos claimants. The vote on Leslie’s plan was completed on September 27, 2010, and on October 8, 2010 the balloting agent reported to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that more than 75 percent of claimants had voted in favor of the plan.

Based on the progress to date, CIRCOR is targeting the plan’s affirmation by the courts and Leslie’s emergence from bankruptcy for the fourth quarter of 2010. Accordingly, it is conceivable that Leslie’s bankruptcy trust could begin processing claims by early 2011.

If the trust begins paying injury claims within a year of Leslie’s filing for bankruptcy, this would rank as one of the faster completions of this process among all asbestos bankruptcy trusts. By comparison, of the nine other companies which currently have proposed bankruptcy trusts pending approval, one has been in bankruptcy for over ten years, two over nine years, and another two over six years.

Leslie’s progress can be attributed to its use of a “Pre-packaged” bankruptcy plan. As compared to other bankruptcies, where the company files and thereafter begins negotiating a plan of reorganization with creditors, a pre-packaged approach involves negotiating a plan before the company files bankruptcy. Under a pre-packaged approach, the company is able to negotiate with creditors under less formal conditions, often behind closed doors, and deliver a plan of reorganization satisfying applicable rules at the same time the company files bankruptcy.

Check back often to Mesothelioma Bytes for breaking news about the Leslie Trust and other active and pending asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

Also, for information on how asbestos bankruptcy trusts came to exist, how trust claims are processed and the current status and future outlook of these trusts, see our comprehensive guide to asbestos bankruptcy trusts entitled: “Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Study Involving New Chemotherapy Combination Shows Improved Results Over Cisplatin for Pleural Mesothelioma

To date, chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma have primarily included cisplatin, onconase, carboplatin, gemcitabine, navelbine and pemetrexed (Alimta). In some cases, these medications have been noted to stall the progression of mesothelioma tumors. Chemotherapy, however, has been shown to be most effective when combined with surgery, radiation, or other treatment modalities, known as multi-modal treatment.

Since 2004, the only chemotherapy regimen which the FDA has approved for pleural mesothelioma is cisplatin and Alimta. The approval, however, is limited to patients who are not surgical candidates.

A recent European study has monitored the results of cisplatin used in combination with a drug called Tomudex (raltitrexed) for pleural mesothelioma. The study has shown improved median survival rates for patients on the cisplatin-Tomudex combination as compared to cisplatin alone.

Tomudex is an injectable cytotoxic medication used to treat different forms of cancer. The medication belongs to a group of cancer-fighting drugs called antineoplastics. Tomudex combats cancer by preventing cancer cell growth, which in time leads to their elimination.

In the study, one group was treated with cisplatin alone and another group was treated with both cisplatin and Tomudex. The overall response rate for the cisplatin-Tomudex group was higher than the cisplatin group, 23.6 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively. Tomudex was shown to improve median overall survival by 2.8 months and Tomudex was associated with improved progression-free survival.

Professor J.P. van Meerbeeck (professor of Thoracic Oncology at Ghent University, Belgium) said, “Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a hard to treat, rare cancer with a poor prognosis. New treatment options such as a combination of cisplatin and raltitrexed, which improve patient outcomes with no detrimental effect on quality of life as compared to cisplatin alone are a welcome addition to our therapeutic portfolio.”

Tomudex is currently licensed for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma in Portugal, Czech Republic and Hungary. Additional licensing is expected across Europe in late 2010.

Please check back with Mesothelioma Bytes for future updates on the testing and approval of Tomudex in the treatment of mesothelioma.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"It is important for us to stay on top of the new discoveries in medicine connected to mesothelioma and your website does just that.”

"South Florida's changed so much," says Howard Ornstein, who relocated to the Sunshine State with his family in the 1950's. "Time was you could see straight to the water, but with all of the over building and high rise construction, Miami Beach is invisible unless you're on the front row."

The early days of South Florida bring back halcyon memories for Howard and his wife Roselyn. "Parkland is just like a little town, even though it's on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale. Growing up our kids did everything, tennis, karate, horseback riding, the local football team…everyone knew everyone else."

Back in March of 2008, Howard was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. In his search for treatment, he land his wife Roselyn left no stone unturned.

  • Chemotherapy did a good job for awhile, but the Ornsteins were always on the look out for new treatments.
  • In 2009 they visited the ITL clinic in the Bahamas.
  • In 2009 they also visited with Dr. Robert Taub in New York.
  • Howard took supplements made from asian mushrooms that he says, "help slow the progression of the disease." Howard also stated, "you have to be in the right frame of mind."
  • He is in that frame of mind and has a pretty accomplice to help him enjoy it.

It is now October of 2010 and Howard is still going strong!

"I feel good, just a bit tired sometimes. My appetite is still good and Roselyn makes sure I clean my plate.

After his third chemotherapy treatment, Howard will undergo a CT scan and be evaluated for any further treatments.

Way to go Howard! Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Worthington Law Firm Announces New Guide to Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts

“Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”

Since the early 1980’s, companies responsible for inflicting asbestos-related illness on hundreds of thousands of Americans have sought to limit or escape legal liability through filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

By filing Chapter 11, a company is given immediate immunity from lawsuits filed by the victims of its asbestos products. The company is then given many years to satisfy a number of legal requirements while the victims, many of whom do not have the luxury of time, are forced to wait. Upon meeting the requirements, the company is granted permanent immunity from lawsuits filed by all past and future victims, and is able to emerge from bankruptcy and continue doing business as usual.

The one consolation to asbestos illness victims is the requirement that the company pool assets and insurance proceeds and place them in a trust to compensate past and future victims. The trust establishes guidelines dictating the amount of compensation to be paid to claimants based primarily on severity of illness. While it is not necessary for victims to appear in court or provide testimony, the amount received from the trust is often far less than what would have been received if the company could be sued in a lawsuit.

Despite their many shortcomings, asbestos bankruptcy trusts are becoming an increasingly important component of the compensation available to victims of asbestos disease. This is due to a continuing decrease in the number of viable companies that can be sued in court and a continuing increase in the number of companies filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In order to aid in the understanding of how asbestos bankruptcy trusts came to exist, how trust claims are processed and the current status and future outlook of these trusts, we have assembled a comprehensive guide to asbestos bankruptcy trusts entitled: “Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.” Click here to review this helpful resource and continue to visit Mesothelioma Bytes for the latest news on asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more, please contact us at info@rgwpc.com or 1-800-931-9399.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

“Your firm really cares about my well-being.”

In April of 2009, Kathy first noticed she was having difficulty taking deep breaths. She met with her family physician who performed several tests including a chest x-ray. The x-ray revealed a pleural effusion.

In June of 2009 she underwent a left-sided thoracentesis with pleural biopsy in Wenatchee, Washington. Immunohistochemical staining of the biopsied tissue resulted in a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. Upon learning of the diagnosis, she met with an oncologist in Wenatchee who recommended that she consult with Dr. Eric Vallieres in Seattle, Washington.

In July of 2009 Kathy met with Dr. Vallieres and his staff at the Swedish Medical Center where they discussed her eligibility for the extra-pleural pneumonectomy. Dr. Vallieres felt she should first undergo chemotherapy treatments using Alimta in conjunction with Cisplatin. A CT scan taken before the third round revealed a reduction in the size of the tumor.

As a result of this favorable response and after subsequent tests, Kathy underwent surgery on her left lung on October 5, 2009.

Kathy completed her 28 day cycle of radiation at the end of January.

In March Kathy returned to her job full-time. While she loves staying busy, she and her husband were ready to take a vacation after the challenging year they have had. They recently returned from a relaxing trip in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and are feeling recharged for the season ahead. Meanwhile, Kathy has been faithfully keeping up with her physical therapy appointments several times a week to help regain strength and mobility on her left side.

Kathy last saw Dr. Vallieres in May and is seeing him again later this October. Her doctors have been monitoring a small spot on her spine that is most likely benign. However if the spot turns out to be more serious, she has already consulted with a radiologist on how to treat it. She recently learned about the relatively new CyberKnife treatment which is a non-invasive, non-surgical method of delivering radiotherapy to very targeted areas.

It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since Kathy’s EPP surgery! She continues to be very appreciative of the Worthington Law Firm. “I feel your firm really cares about my well-being and are experts about mesothelioma treatment.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Locating Financial Assistance for Cancer Patients Doesn't Have to be so Hard

Coping with cancer and its aftermath both physically and emotionally is a challenging process that taxes all those involved, including the ones at risk and their loved ones. However, don't let the financial burdens unduly increase stress. There are many sources for financial assistance, which cater to a range of people and their situations.

Always remember, don't be silent about this real need! Thirty minutes of research could save thousands of dollars and unnecessary turmoil, but try to exhaust all resources. Talk to doctors, family members, neighbors, and others in the community about your concerns.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute is a comprehensive home base with important information and sources for all types of cancer. Below is a direct link to seeking financial assistance for a range of needs including local programs and support groups, Spanish speaking centers, oncology social workers who can provide pertinent information, assistance for women and children, volunteer organizations, Medicaid and Medicare, help with prescription drugs, tax deductions, transportation, and much more.

Good starting places for additional links to financial help are:

"Aid and Attendance" is a monthly pension benefit that the Department of Veterans Affairs offers. Applications may be submitted online at www.vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp or learn more about what your local VA has to offer at www.va.gov. Claimants for the "Aid and Assistance" benefit must be incapable of self support and in need of regular personal assistance. For more information, call 1-800-827-1000.