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Covington Personal Injury Law Blog

Medical malpractice: Surgical errors that are preventable

If your doctor schedules you for surgery, it's understandable that you might feel a bit anxious or worried about the upcoming procedure. While many surgeries are elective, meaning you have them by choice, others may be needed to counteract life-threatening situations. Regardless of the specific details of your current health condition, you have a right to reasonably expect that your surgeon and attending medical staff will provide care according to the highest level of accepted safety standards and state laws.

Sadly, many Kentucky patients suffer serious injuries (even death) when one or more licensed medical professionals fail in their fiduciary duties on the job. Medical malpractice litigation often occurs because injured patients understand that their situations were preventable had it not been for someone's negligence. There are three main types of surgical errors you'll want to be aware of before heading to the operating room.

Truck crashes can be linked to fatigue

Truck drivers in Kentucky often drive for long hours over dark and monotonous stretches of highway. While operator fatigue may seem to be a natural result of the job, it can also be a cause of severe and even deadly trucking crashes. Fatigued truckers are responsible for massive semi-trucks with substantial size, weight and volume. These big rigs can cause a lot of damage when accidents happen. While trucking is critical to many industries, experts continue to raise concerns that the schedules maintained by the industry may not be sufficiently limited to protect safety.

For example, in North Dakota, the oil industry is very dependent on trucking to support its business. As a result, 67 percent of the truck accidents in the state take place in the regions that are most connected to the industry. Even the construction of bypasses aimed to increase roadway safety by limiting contact between large trucks and other vehicles has been connected to some of these crashes. One such North Dakota bypass was linked to fatal crashes in both 2018 and 2019.

Researchers look into ways to curb distracted driving

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are nine deaths and 100 injuries per day on Kentucky roads and others caused by distracted driving. Distracted driving can occur when a person is focused on a cellphone or a touchscreen in the vehicle itself. In an effort to combat the problem, April has been named Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Groups such as the Risk Institute at Ohio State are trying to use this time to create solutions to the issue of distracted driving.

For instance, it may be a good idea to provide drivers with insurance discounts for refraining from driving while distracted. Of course, there are a variety of other factors that can play a role in determining a driver's odds of getting into an accident. Drivers who feel more confident behind the wheel may be more likely to take risks.

Pickup passengers at higher risk than drivers for injury or death

Kentucky residents who own a pickup truck should know that some newer models reveal a discrepancy between driver-side safety and passenger-side safety. This is the conclusion that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reached after a round of crash tests involving 11 modern two-row pickup trucks. The passengers are at a greater risk for injury or death than the drivers.

First off, nine of the pickups had a "good" score concerning driver-side safety. The other two received a rating of "marginal," the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Frontier. On the other hand, only three of the pickups were rated "good" for passenger-side safety: the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan.

NHTSA accused of inaction as fatal truck crash numbers rise

Large truck crashes are leading to more deaths in Kentucky and elsewhere in the country. In 2017, there were 4,102 large truck crash fatalities: 28 percent more than in 2009. Of those, 68 percent were car occupants, and 14 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Incidents where large trucks rear-end cars are especially frequent as well as severe in terms of injuries and damage.

Truck safety groups say that forward crash warning and mitigation systems can help prevent thousands of rear-end accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board is even pushing for a federal mandate that all heavy trucks be equipped with this technology. The NTSB has brought this matter up on at least 10 occasions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since the 1990s, yet the NHTSA has not proposed any regulations.

This is what's happening in a drunk driver's body

You never know when a drunk driver is sharing the Kentucky roadway you're traveling on. However, you might notice erratic driving behavior that causes you to suspect a particular driver might be acting under the influence of alcohol. If so, it's always best to try to safely distance yourself from the vehicle. In a high traffic area when traveling at highway speeds, this isn't always possible.

No two people react to alcohol exactly the same. You might be able to drink two or three beers and still be able to function quite normally while the same amount of alcohol could make another person feel tipsy. When it comes to operating a motor vehicle, however, Kentucky law has already decided for you when you can and cannot drive after drinking alcohol. That's why if a drunk driver causes you injury, you can seek restitution.

Study reveals disagreements in fibromyalgia diagnosis methods

Residents of Kentucky should know that many people are mistakenly diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition marked by chronic pain and fatigue. Furthermore, investigators at a university clinic have found a discrepancy between the clinical diagnosis and criteria-based diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The results were published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

The study began with 497 patients completing the Multidimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire and a questionnaire with the American College of Rheumatology's preliminary diagnostic standards for fibromyalgia. Rheumatology staff at the university clinic then evaluated the patients.

Younger patients with colon cancer more commonly misdiagnosed

Colorectal cancer (colon cancer) is not a condition limited to the elderly. In fact, there are an increasing number of patients under the age of 50 who are being found with stage 3 or 4 colon cancer. However, Kentucky should note that this may be the result of misdiagnoses at the initial appointment with a doctor.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance completed a study involving 1,195 respondents with colorectal cancer. It found that 63 percent had to wait three to 12 months before they could be screened for cancer. On average, many of the patients had to see two to four physicians before getting a correct diagnosis.

State cellphone laws linked to distracted driving death rates

ValuePenguin has analyzed federal data on cellphone-related distracted driving accidents and has found that distracted driving fatality rates generally are highest in those states that have the most lax cellphone laws. Kentucky ranked 16th with a fatality rate of 1.76 people per 10 billion miles traveled. This state has a complete ban on texting but no ban on handheld phone use in general.

From 2015 to 2017, there were more than 1,400 traffic deaths linked to cellphone use. The five states with the highest distracted driving fatality rates were Tennessee, Delaware, Wyoming, Texas and Montana. Together, these states accounted for 31 percent of the distracted driving fatalities from 2015 to 2017. The 13 states that had the strictest cellphone laws saw nearly 30 percent fewer fatalities than the rest of the U.S.

Documenting damages and injuries after a car accident

A person who is in a car accident in Kentucky should take steps to document the situation after, ensuring that no one needs emergency care or that help is on the way. Unless it is necessary to move the vehicles, they should be left where they are until law enforcement arrives.

As much of the accident should be documented as possible. A person should photograph the position of the vehicles, any skid marks and all the damage, including destruction to trees, signs and light poles. Contact information should be gathered from witnesses as well as their accounts of the accident. These narratives should not be argued with or contradicted. Information should be collected and recorded in a neutral fashion. A person should also document whether any personal items are missing or damaged.

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