Health Highlights: April 22, 2015
Judge Approves NFL Concussion Settlement Trader Joe's Sausage Recalled Woman's Death After Taking Diet Pills Under Investigation Dr. Oz Says He Won't be Silenced Botulism Suspected in Ohio Death and Illnesses
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Judge Approves NFL Concussion Settlement
A landmark settlement between the National Football League and 5,000 football players who accused the league of hiding the dangers of concussions was approved by a federal district court judge Wednesday.
The settlement marks the end of a long legal battle that began after reports surfaced of former professional football players suffering severe neurological problems after retiring from the NFL.
Under the terms of the settlement, the NFL will provide payments of up to $5 million to players who have one of a handful of severe neurological disorders, will monitor all players to determine when or if they should receive a payment and will spend $10 million on concussion education, the New York Times reported.
In approving the settlement, Judge Anita Brody called the terms "fair, reasonable and adequate," the Times reported.
However, no player will receive any payment until all appeals work their way through the courts, according to the newspaper. That process could take years, leaving some players who want and need the payments frustrated as others continue to fight for a better deal, the Times said.
The league had insisted that all retired players be covered by the settlement, but roughly 200 players decided to walk away from the settlement, to preserve their right to continue pushing for bigger payments in court.
Scott Rosner, a lawyer who teaches sports business at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Times it would be tough for any player to fight for further damages because Judge Brody asked both parties, on two occasions, to revise the settlement. She also addressed criticisms of the deal in court papers, Rosner added.
NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash said in a statement that the agreement would help players in need and avoid a prolonged trial, the Times reported.
Trader Joe's Sausage Recalled
More than 59,000 pounds of Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage sold at Trader Joe's has been recalled because it may contain plastic.
The recalled 8-ounce packages of sausage were made by Massachusetts-based Kayem Foods and sold at Trader Joe's stores across the United States, the Associated Press reported.
Customers can return the recalled packages -- which have expiration dates of April 22, 25 and 29 -- to any Trader Joe's and get a full refund.
The Department of Agriculture says no one has eaten the recalled meat so far, and that there is only a slight chance of harm if someone does, the AP reported.
Woman's Death After Taking Diet Pills Under Investigation
A British woman's death after taking diet pills she bought online is being investigated by police.
Officials said Eloise Parry, 21, died on April 12 shortly after she took the pills, ABC News reported.
"We are undoubtedly concerned over the origin and sale of these pills and are working with partner agencies to establish where they were bought from and how they were advertised," Chief Inspector Jennifer Mattinson, West Mercia Police Department, said in a statement.
"We urge the public to be incredibly careful when purchasing medicine or supplements over the Internet," she added.
Police said the pills taken by Parry are being tested for a toxic substance called dinitrophenol (DNP), which officials said has been used as a black market diet drug for decades, ABC News reported.
Dr. Oz Says He Won't be Silenced
In a rebuttal to air on his TV show Thursday, Dr. Mehmet Oz says he won't be silenced by a group of doctors who accuse him of promoting "quack treatments."
"I vow to you right here and right now: We will not be silenced. We will not give in," Oz said at a taping of the show on Tuesday, NBC News reported.
"These doctors are criticizing me for promoting treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain, something I tell you every day on this program I never do," Oz added.
The cardiothoracic surgeon is vice chair of the surgery department at Columbia University. In a letter sent to the university last week, a group of doctors demanded that Oz be removed from his faculty position, but Columbia has refused.
"I've long believed that doctors should never fight their battles or each other in public, but now I believe I must," Oz said at the taping, NBC News reported.
Botulism Suspected in Ohio Death and Illnesses
Food-borne botulism is suspected after one person died and at least 18 others became ill following a church picnic in central Ohio, according to the Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster.
A news release from the hospital said three people are in intensive care, five are being treated in the emergency department and 10 have been transferred to other hospitals, CBS News/Associated Press reported.
The patients were among 50 to 60 people who attended a potluck picnic at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church on Sunday, according to the hospital.
The hospital said botulism has been confirmed in three patients so far, ABC News/AP reported.
"We are in the process of obtaining more information about these patients and our incident command team has assembled to handle this emergency," the hospital's news release stated.
The incident is being investigated by the Fairfield County health department, which is trying to pin down the exact number of people who attended the church picnic, department spokeswoman Jennifer Valentine said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention delivered botulism anti-toxin to Ohio on Tuesday night, state Department of Health spokesman Russ Kennedy told ABC News/AP.
"Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by a certain kind of bacteria," he explained. Botulism is not contagious. Symptoms include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing and shortness of breath.