July 2, 2015

Firework Safety is a Hot Topic

Fireworks%2011800.jpgThere is nothing more thrilling that watching the night sky fill with the colors and sounds of a perfectly orchestrated 4th of July fireworks display. It is a brilliant reminder and celebration of our nation’s birth. In the hands of a licensed and trained professional, it is a perfect way to celebrate the holiday. However, too many people fail to appreciate the level of danger fireworks pose to those who are not careful about their use and each year thousands of American citizens spend their holiday nursing wounds and burns rather than celebrating their freedom.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 6,000 people present to a local emergency room for fireworks related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. That’s 230 people a day who show up with injuries they sustained while using, or even watching fireworks. Half of those injuries are burns on some part of the body, with 38% of the injuries to the eyes, head, face, and ears.

While parents would never allow a child to operate a welder or a blow torch, many parents hand their children a sparkler and allow them to wave them around. What they may not know is that those sparklers can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals! According to information provided by CPSC, of all the fireworks related injuries reported, 31% were caused by sparklers. And of those injured, 40% were under the age of 14 years old. Clearly the danger is real.

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June 25, 2015

Driving with Pets: Are You Making A Serious Mistake?

Fido%200133.jpgDriving around, with your dog unrestrained, unsecured, and with his head hanging out the window, is not only dangerous for him but also for you. Unfortunately, far too many dog owners think nothing of driving around without bothering to restrain their pets safely in the car. That increases their risk of an accident.

For one thing, the dog may get distracted, walk around the car, and may try to cross over from the back seat to the front. He may get fidgety and may try to sneak into your lap. All these constitute distractions, taking your attention away from the task of driving. Besides, if you are involved in an accident, an unrestrained dog immediately turns into a deadly projectile that can cause severe injuries.

In spite of all these dangers, a new study conducted by the AAA found that as many as one in five persons take their hand off their steering wheel while driving in an effort to keep their dog from climbing into the front seat. This is also in spite of the fact that there are a variety of pet travel products in the market to prevent this kind of situation.

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June 18, 2015

Rhode Island Hospital Slapped with State's Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict

rhode%20island%20light%20house.jpgA Rhode Island hospital has been ordered to pay $25 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is the state's largest such verdict against a hospital in a case involving medical negligence. The verdict was handed down by a jury against the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and amounts to $25.6 million. The lawsuit was filed by a couple who claimed damages for the man who had suffered severe brain damage as a result of the hospital's negligent care.

The man had visited the hospital in 2009 after a head injury. That was the beginning of his nightmare. The man claimed in his lawsuit, that hospital personnel failed to diagnose his injury properly, and failed to conduct all the required diagnostic tests that should have been performed in his case. In addition, the man charged that the hospital personnel failed to communicate and inform other staff members within the hospital about his condition. As a result, the man suffered severe brain swelling, which ultimately led to permanent brain damage.

He now has trouble with vision and communication. He needs permanent long-term care and has major cognitive difficulties. He is mainly confined to a wheelchair, and has difficulty performing the most routine tasks, like looking after himself or feeding himself. His permanent impairment resulted in a court ordering his wife to be his legal guardian.

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June 10, 2015

Researchers Discover Friendly Bacteria Can Help Prevent C. diff Infections

VANC.jpgIt is one of the deadliest hospital-acquired infections that you can contract in a hospital. However, researchers recently announced that they have found the potentially fatal, hospital-acquired C. diff infections can be prevented.

According to the researchers' report, they have discovered a new way to combat potentially deadly C. diff infections. The infection is caused by the Clostridium difficile bug, and is a fairly common infection throughout many Indiana hospitals. Make no mistake, these are deadly infections, and the fatality rate linked to these infections is very high. However, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these infections can be thwarted by using more friendly and healthy versions of the same pathogen.

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June 4, 2015

Proposal to Stop Sales of Defective Vehicles

broken%20down%200873.jpgThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the main regulatory agency tasked with the safety of motor vehicles. As part of its responsibility, the agency can investigate complaints and request that automakers initiate a recall when it believes a vehicle is defective and poses a serious threat of injuries or fatalities. However, the federal agency is not given the authority to initiate a recall on its own or stop sales of a detective vehicle.

That could soon change. The agency recently completed drafting a $478 billion transportation bill that provides more funding for the federal agency. In addition, the proposal includes several measures designed to expand the agency's regulatory authority and powers, including the power to stop sales of defective vehicles without having to formally request automakers to announce recall.

As part of the proposal, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would have the authority to immediately block sales of vehicles if it believes that there is a risk of injury or fatality from driving a particular car. It would not need to coordinate with automakers before stopping sales of vehicles as it currently has to do.

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May 28, 2015

Better Understanding of Bicycle Accident Causes

bike%20tire%200829.jpgBicycling is quite popular among Hoosiers, and Indiana cities are starting to see large numbers of bicyclists on the streets during the summer months. The riding isn't just for pleasure. As more cities provide bicycle lanes, more and more are beginning to make cycling their choice of transportation for their daily commute to and from work. Those bicycling commuter numbers have increased steadily over the years. Unfortunately, that has also translated into a higher risk of bicycle accidents.

The data proves this. In 2010, 1,045 bicyclists were involved in accidents in Indiana. That is an increase of 7% from 2009, when 975 bicycle accidents were reported.

According to a new study, police accident reports fail to collect adequate and relevant information, especially considering the increasing numbers of bicyclists on our streets. The researchers believe that outdated police incident reporting forms have led to large amounts of significantly important data being lost, because important details are not being collected by police on these forms. This means a loss of an incredible amount of data that can be used to understand bicycle accidents, to identify the main causes of these accidents and implement strategies to eliminate accident causes.

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May 21, 2015

Public Disclosure of Hospital-Acquired Infections Needed

hospital%20seats.jpgOften, when an infection outbreak occurs in a hospital, health investigators keep the outbreak quiet in order to encourage hospitals to self-report the situation. However, those policies, according to several researchers, place patients at greater risk of infection.

A recent series of infections at several hospitals has spotlighted the secrecy that occurs, when there are infectious outbreaks in American hospitals. In 2008, a hospital in Florida saw an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that was ultimately linked to tainted duodenoscopes. Hospital officials reported the outbreak to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and discussed it with the Food And Drug Administration, but the outbreak was not publicly disclosed. Two years later, doctors investigated the problem in a medical journal.

A few months ago, a similar outbreak linked to contaminated duodenoscopes was traced to CRE outbreaks at the UCLA and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Just as in the case of the Florida outbreak, the Los Angeles outbreaks were also linked to improperly sterilized duodenoscopes.

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May 14, 2015

To Prevent Bicycle Accident Fatalities, Focus on Automakers

bike%2008377.jpgAs we've reported previously, the number of bicyclists in Indiana has increased significantly over the past decade and with this increase comes an increased risk of bicycle accidents. Over the past few years, bicycle safety initiatives have mainly focused on enhancing city and state infrastructure to help reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities. However, these efforts have not really focused on the role of motor vehicles in keeping bicyclists safer.

Thankfully, an increasing number of automakers are taking the initiative on this front. They are experimenting with technology that could help detect objects in the path of a car, thereby helping prevent many accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were a total of more than 3,300 bicycle accident fatalities between 2008 and 2012. Out of those, almost three-quarters of the fatalities occurred when a bicycle was hit a passenger vehicle.

A growing number of automakers are currently adding technology in their cars that would detect bicycles in their path. For instance, Volvo currently has technology on some of its models that detects pedestrians in the path of the motor vehicle. However, more advanced technology would specifically detect the back of another vehicle, including bikes, and prevent a potential accident. Accidents which involve a bicycle rider being stuck by behind are the most common types of accidents involving bicycles and have a high potential to cause injuries or fatalities. According to researchers, if this technology could be expanded to cover more vehicles, it could help significantly reduce the number of people being killed in bicycle accidents every year.

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May 7, 2015

Risk of Injuries & Illnesses for Patients Admitted on Weekends

weekend.jpgPatients who are admitted into the hospital for treatment of a medical condition are much more likely to suffer a hospital-acquired condition like an injury or illness, when admitted over weekends, compared to patients who are admitted during week days.

The results came from a study that analyzed 350-million hospital admissions between 2002 and 2010. The researchers found that approximately 5% of these admissions resulted in the patient contracting at least one hospital-acquired condition. They also found that admission on a weekend was linked to a 20% higher chance of the patient contracting a hospital-acquired condition, compared to patients admitted during weekdays.

The most common complication for patients admitted into the hospital on weekends was accidents due to fall. Falls occurred in approximately 14-million hospital admissions that occurred on weekends, and accounted for 85% of all the hospital-acquired conditions. Other conditions included bedsores or pressure ulcers, as well as central line-associated urinary tract infections.

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April 30, 2015

Simultaneous Consumption of Alcohol and Marijuana Increases Accident Risks

drink%20and%20more.jpgYou shouldn't be driving under the influence of alcohol at all. However, if you choose to inhale marijuana with your drinks, then your risks of being involved in a drunk driving accident are automatically much higher.

According to a new study, motorists, who smoke marijuana and drink alcohol simultaneously, are twice as likely to drive under the influence of alcohol, compared to those who simply drink alcohol on its own. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 18 percent of car accident fatalities every year are linked to the use of drugs like marijuana and cocaine. Very often, those drugs are consumed along with alcohol. Researchers are warning that the increased availability of marijuana and the easing of restrictions on marijuana are a predictor of doom. Many people may not understand that combining marijuana and alcohol significantly impairs their ability to drive safely.

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April 23, 2015

Commercial Trucks at High Risk of Rollover Due to High Speeds

country%20road%200087.jpgA new investigation into truck tire rollover accident finds that speeding is a major contributor to rollover rates. Big rig tires are designed for a maximum speed of 75 mph. However, as the number of states across the country has moved to increase the limits for trucks on their highways, the number of rollover accidents involving these rigs has also increased.

It is only now that researchers are making the connection between the higher speed limits, allowed by certain states, and the higher risk of rollovers in these states.

In Indiana, the speed limits for trucks are 55 mph on rural interstate highways, and 55 mph on urban interstate highways. Those are reasonable speed limits, and are within the range that tires are designed for. Most tires are only equipped to handle speeds of up to 75 mph. Those designs were adequate to prevent accidents up until the middle of the last decade, when many states began increasing speed limits on trucks on their highways.

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April 16, 2015

Disinfection Robots Prevent Infections

cleaning%20supplies.jpgThe pressure is increasing as medical facilities seek to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.To that end, hospitals are investing in more innovative technology, including the use of robots to sterilize contaminated rooms and surfaces. The sophisticated, state-of-the-art disinfection robots that are equipped with technology to eliminate infection-causing pathogens. Hundreds of American hospitals have purchased disinfection robots, that are designed to eliminate these deadly and costly bugs. These robots help supplement a hospital’s existing infection control program. Hospital officials believe that these robots can help eliminate the element of human error in sterilizing surfaces.

The use of these robots is fairly new to the medical community, and as a result there isn't much information available about how effective they might be. At a cost of more than $100,000 for each robot, hospitals haven't been using these disinfection robots long enough to know whether there is a definite return on investment. However, that hasn't stopped hospitals from investing in the technology. Sales of the special robots are expected to climb to $80-million in the next two years alone.

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