Columbus Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Legal Blog

Improving time outs can reduce risks for wrong-site surgeries

Ohio residents may be shocked to hear that analysts estimate there are roughly 20 to 40 wrong-site surgeries being performed every week in the U.S. Such errors are frequently made during orthopedic, dental and spinal surgeries. The most common type of WSS is the laterality surgery (on a left or right organ or extremity).

WSS is often the result of inadequate training, lack of teamwork, errors in communicating information through written and electronic orders, failure to educate on policies and a non-existent safety culture. Errors often occur in the preoperative area and, perhaps even more critically, during the "time out" that precedes surgery.

Warning teens about dangerous driving behaviors

Every year, 3.6 million students graduate from high school in Ohio and across the country. Graduation time comes with graduation parties and many students celebrating their driver's licenses as well as their educational milestones. Even teens who have gone through driver safety classes may have a lot to learn about keeping safe on the road, especially when it comes to drugged, drowsy or distracted driving. While many people have heard the message about how drunk driving can lead to fatal car accidents, they may not take other threats as seriously - even though they can be equally deadly.

With the legalization of cannabis, there is a growing concern about drugged driving. People may not see the effects of marijuana on driver ability as immediately as they do with alcohol. However, this does not mean that cannabis and other drugs do not impair a driver's ability. Teens who have consumed substances are best seeking a sober ride. Distracted driving is another major concern; with the ubiquity of smartphones, more drivers than ever are distracted behind the wheel by a range of online offerings, including group chats, videos and social media.

Doctors can make serious mistakes with prescription medicine

There are a plethora of options for medications that can treat just about every physical condition patients suffer from in the United States. Modern patients are very lucky to have access to advancements made in medications and treatments that can improve their chance of recovery from a serious medical condition and their overall quality of life.

However, prescription medications don't work miracles. They can cause reactions in some patients. They can also interact with other compounds in a dangerous way. You probably trust your doctor when they recommend a medication as part of the treatment. Unfortunately, doctors can and do make mistakes about what is best for the people in their care.

Electronic health records can pose problems

Ohio parents may be disturbed to hear that the medical records systems that have been introduced to hospitals and clinics across the country in order to improve efficiency and record-keeping may actually help to endanger their children's lives. Medication errors are one of the most common types of physician errors, including an incorrect medication or an incorrect dosage. Because children often require adjusted dosages based on their size and age, mistakes with medication can have particularly serious effects when children are involved. However, some of the problems with electronic health records may make it more difficult to ensure that children receive correct care.

According to one study, EHRs are not required under federal regulations to include algorithms based on the differences in care provided to adults and children. Therefore, safety systems or warning alerts may not be prompted to highlight potential dosage problems or medication errors for pediatric patients. The report identified specific occasions in which EHRs contributed to improper treatment for pediatric patients.

Who's responsible for your child's college alcohol injury?

Alcohol is almost ubiquitous in modern college culture. As a parent sending a child off to attend college, you no doubt knew about the potential risks of alcohol for your child. Chances are good that you probably tried to have a very awkward conversation with your soon-to-be college student about the potential risks of alcohol. However, you'll have little influence on your child once they're on campus.

From the dangers of driving drunk to issues involving consent after drinking, there are many concerns that young adults may not think of when they decide to drink. Sadly, no matter how diligent you are in regard to educating your child about social dangers, you can't be there to make important decisions for them.

Distracted driving a nationwide issue, says Root Insurance

In its second annual distracted driving study, Root Insurance unveiled certain behaviors and tendencies that should alarm drivers in Ohio. For example, 99% of respondents acknowledged that phones are among the top three driver distractions, yet the study found that these drivers use their phones an average of 13 minutes a day.

Approximately 52% said they are most often distracted by group chats while 33% mentioned social media like memes and newsfeeds. About 18% said that streaming videos, such as shows and movie trailers, distract them the most. At the same time, 38% of drivers who check their phones said they do not put down their devices when law enforcement is around.

Trucking crashes pose risk to highway safety

Truck accidents can be particularly frightening to others on the road in Ohio. While there are a number of factors that can lead to crashes involving large trucks, truck driver fatigue poses a special concern. Long hours over monotonous stretches of highway, especially at night, are part of a truck driver's job. Even following federal regulations on hours of service mean that a trucker spends many hours behind the wheel. Those regulations limit truck drivers to 11 hours of driving and a 14-hour total workday.

In too many circumstances, truck drivers exceed those federal limits, contributing to a dangerous level of drowsiness. In addition, large trucks are massive in size, weight and volume. In any truck collision involving a passenger vehicle, the people in the smaller vehicle are at a much higher risk of severe injuries and even fatalities. Fatigue can be almost as deadly as drunkenness or distraction when it comes to driving, so it is particularly concerning that large truck accidents continue to rise across the country.

Identifying the liable party after a truck accident

Truck accidents take many lives and cause millions of dollars in property damage and personal injury each year, and the legal issues at hand are often hard to resolve. Unlike accidents between consumer drivers, truck accidents may be the liability of the driver, the driver's employer or some other third party.

Building a strong claim after a truck accident involves gathering as much evidence from the scene of the collision as possible, so that you can identify the party that holds liability and present evidence that backs up this claim. Without strong evidence that clarifies why the accident happened and what party is liable, it is difficult to protect your rights and seek full compensation for your losses.

Rand report: self-driving car makers neglect test driving

Self-driving cars have been encountering problems for several years. In May of 2016, a driver was killed when his Tesla Model S, which was on Autopilot, collided with a truck. Arizona, back in March of 2018, saw the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving car. Ohio drivers may find themselves agreeing, then, with a Rand Corporation report that automakers are not sufficiently test-driving their vehicles in their rush to get them out on the market.

The report says that the cars may need to be tested for millions or even billions of miles before they can demonstrate their ability to reduce injuries and fatalities on the road. No single autonomous car tech company has reached the level that Rand has set; even Waymo, which has test driven its vehicles for 10 million miles in the real world and for 7 billion more miles on virtual roads, has not reached it.

Misdiagnosis the reason behind most malpractice claims

Ohio residents should know that diagnostic errors may be the third leading cause of death among hospitalized patients (as per the National Academy of Medicine in 2015). Now, two separate reports show that misdiagnosis is the source of most medical malpractice claims involving both inpatient and outpatient care.

The first report is from Coverys, the medical malpractice insurer in Boston. After analyzing 1,800 closed claims against physicians from 2013 to 2017, researchers found that 46 percent involved misdiagnoses. These diagnosis-related claims accounted for 68 percent of all paid indemnity costs. Forty-five percent of the patients in these cases died.

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