Choking in Nursing HomesA nursing home located in Wicker Park, on the West Side of Chicago, has agreed to a settlement of $875,000 after nurses failed to follow doctors’ orders and a patient died. The elderly man who died was provided food that was not permitted in his diet program and was allowed to eat unsupervised, even though he was at high risk of choking. Antonio Mares died on November 9, 2012 when a nursing assistant was unable to properly perform the Heimlich maneuver while he was choking. His family has stated that this case is an example of what happens when there is no oversight over the standards of training for nursing center employees.

Physician’s Orders Reflected Patient’s Special Needs

Antonio Mares was prescribed a diet of mechanical-soft food by his doctor due to medical complications which increased his risk of choking. As he was at an elevated risk, he was also to only be fed while under the supervision of a nurse or nursing assistant. On November 9, 2012, both of these directives were ignored when a certified nursing assistant provided him with a tray of food that did not meet his dietary specifications and then proceeded to leave him to eat unsupervised.

Car Headlights and SafetyNumerous studies have shown that a practice as simple as turning on your headlights whenever you are driving may reduce your chances of being in an accident. While car manufacturers are beginning to produce more vehicles with daytime running lights, this is not mandated by the government and most vehicles remain without them. Since it would take an incredibly long time to phase out all of the cars and trucks on the road today in order to replace them with vehicles that used daytime running lights, there is a debate running that the burden should instead be on drivers to run their lights at all times via the introduction of new laws.

Headlights Make Cars More Visible During the Day

Even though headlights are most effective at night and during inclement weather, research is showing that they do make vehicles more visible to other motorists during a clear day as well. While each study varies, some have noted that headlight use during the day has resulted in a reduction of accidents by up to 10%. The types of accidents which were prevented were more significant, however.

Anesthesiology and Medication ErrorsRecent reports have indicated that many anesthesiology related medical errors are going unreported because physicians fear reprisal if they indicate that an error occurred. This is cause for concern because it obviously skews medical reporting data and may be hiding a much larger problem with medical negligence due to the failure of anesthesiologists to properly dose patients undergoing sedation based on factors such as their medical history, age and other factors. With data suggesting that as many as 98,000 people could be dying due to these errors, it is especially problematic that doctors are brushing their errors under the rug in order to avoid being held liable.

Self-Reporting of Medical Errors is Suspiciously Low

A study performed by the University of Michigan found that when physicians were left to report their own errors, there was an incredibly low incident rate compared to the number of reports made by patients alleging they suffered injury. Out of 434,554 cases, only 238 medication errors were reported by doctors, making the self-report incident rate only 5.5 per 10,000 cases. This also suggests that the problem is far more serious than previously suspected.

Nursing Home and ResuscitationA Highland Park family is suing the nursing home responsible for caring for their mother after staff members failed to make any attempts to revive her after viewing her lifeless body. The incident seems to be the result of staff members wrongly reading her chart, which indicated that she did wish to be resuscitated in such a situation. Her family is filing a lawsuit because multiple staff members refused to respond or even to seek emergency medical attention for the woman, who died at the age of 52 years. Despite video evidence showing the negligent care, the nursing home asserts that it provides quality care and did nothing wrong.

Routine Care Turns Deadly

Kim Cencula was admitted to the Warren Barr Nursing Home to recover after fighting pneumonia and suffered from diabetes and renal failure. The complications linked to her diabetes were why she and her family elected to admit her into the care of the nursing center while she recovered. Now, her family members regret the decision and believe that she would still be alive if she had stayed at home or been admitted to a different facility.

Injuries from Distracted DrivingPedestrian fatality data is in for 2016 and it doesn’t look very good. The number of pedestrians killed in car accidents is rising much faster than the rate of motorist fatalities and the latest studies are attributing the rise in deaths to distracted driving. With the introduction of new mobile technologies both behind the wheel and handheld, more drivers than ever are being tempted to turn their attention from the road onto something else. Some may argue that the increased fatality rate is actually linked to lower gas prices and more cars on the road, but researchers believe the evidence points more solidly to distraction than all other factors.

Pedestrian Fatalities Have Climbed Eleven Percent

Last year, over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in collisions with automobiles. This represents the greatest number of pedestrian deaths in over twenty years. While it is true that an increased number of vehicles on the road and the inclination of drivers to drive more often while gas prices are low are possible contributing factors, no factor seems to have as great of an impact than distraction.

Failure to Diagnose Correctly Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities was ordered to provide almost $29 million in compensation to a patient because specialists failed to diagnose her condition. A jury determined that the woman’s rare condition could have been treated with only minor complications had Mercy Clinic taken more proactive measures to provide a timely diagnosis and treatment, but she is now suffering catastrophic complications because the diagnosis was seriously delayed. The patient and her family alleged that they needed to plead with specialists to perform diagnostic tests when she was experiencing severe symptoms of Wilson’s disease and that the delay in ordering these tests resulted in permanent disability.

What is Wilson’s Disease?

Wilson’s Disease is a rare genetic disorder that causes copper to build up in vital organs throughout the body. The organs most impacted by excessive copper levels are the liver and the brain. When copper levels reach unsafe levels, it can result in permanent brain damage and neurological disorders that impact motor function, speech and cognition.

Homeowners Insurance and Dog BitesDogs are extremely popular pets, with nearly half of American households owning one or more of them. They are also the cause of many homeowners’ insurance claims, with dog bites representing nearly one in five claims filed each year. The rise in the number of dog attack related claims shows that many dog owners are failing to properly train and control their animals or to supervise them while they interact with children or strangers. Just over half of these incidents involve an animal that the victim is familiar with in some way— such as the pet of a friend or family member.

Insurance Claims Top $600 Million in 2016 for Dog Related Incidents

Statistics over the last 13 years have shown a steady increase in the number of dog bites and the financial cost of providing compensation to victims. In 2003, just over $324 million in homeowners claims were paid out nationwide, with an average claim of $19,000. Last year, over $602 million was paid out to dog attack victims and the average claim was over $33,000. This is an increase of nearly 86%.

Blood Thinners and Nursing HomesMany medical experts will admit without hesitation that anticoagulants such as Coumadin and Warfarin are the most dangerous drugs in the country— especially in nursing homes where are often not administered properly and patients are not monitored for adverse events. These medications have been around since the 1940s and are instrumental in reducing the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation and other conditions that could result in the formation of blood clots. They also have the potential to make it impossible for the body to stop internal bleeding, however, and can be deadly both when given in excessive and insufficient doses.

Despite Risk, Coumadin Danger is Often Overlooked

There is an epidemic of nursing home neglect that has centers under scrutiny for a myriad of offenses ranging from failure to supervise patients to the use of anti-psychotics to subdue patients to failure to provide residents with proper nutrition and hygiene. The use of anticoagulants does not receive the same level of attention, however. This is likely because when these medications are used as intended, they provide a clear benefit to patients and can prolong lives.

Dangers in FarmingFarmers represent a small portion of our population, but feed the entire country and most of the world. Despite advances in agricultural technology, however, farming remains one of the most dangerous occupations. To exacerbate matters, the injury of a farmer often hurts his or her entire family, as entire families often work together and feel the pain when one of their loved ones is unable to contribute and must be cared for by the others. It is for this reason that they must be extremely mindful of safety and constantly devising safer ways of accomplishing their goals.

Over Two Million Workers are employed on Farms Each Year

According to NIOSH, over 1.8 million people are employed full-time in the agricultural field every year, with over 200,000 part time workers. Many of these workers are under the age of 20 and working for their families’ farms. Of these workers, there are a recorded 374 deaths per year on average due to agricultural related injuries, with the most common cause of death being tractor overturns.

Safety in Work ZonesWith spring upon us and summer approaching, more people are taking to the roads as the weather allows them to enjoy travel and the outdoors. This is also when construction crews are most active repairing the roads and preparing them for the abuse they will endure in the coming winter months. An accident on I-80 heading eastbound out of Davenport, IA has reminded us of how quickly things can turn south when negligent drivers do not slow down for construction workers. This particular accident has claimed the life of a construction worker who had dedicated more than ten years of his life to the trade.

Fatal Crash is one of a Growing Number of Incidents in Warm Weather

A construction worker was backing a pickup truck onto I-80 when he was struck by a truck driver heading east. The worker was killed and the incident sends an eerie reminder to the many road crew members that dedicate their lives to building and repairing our motorways that life is more fragile than they believe. Dayton Handle, another longtime road crew veteran, recounts how he worries every single day about what may happen on the job.

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