Snowy-Roads-300x152A road made wet by ice and snow is not just a driving inconvenience, but also a potential safety hazard. This winter, as you continue to drive through hazardous conditions in Indiana, pay attention to the road and make sure that you and your car are equipped to deal with emergencies. The American Auto Association offers many tips for drivers to help reduce the risk of being involved in an auto accident this winter season.

Remember that driving in winter is especially challenging. It is no time to drive while fatigued. The changing visibility and weather conditions mean that motorists are much more likely to feel tired, leading to distraction and drowsiness while driving. This is potentially hazardous when you’re driving in an already very challenging environment.

The best defense against an accident in winter is adequately inflated tires. Before a trip, make sure that your tires are properly set at the right pressure, and avoid combining radial tires with other types of tires.

hand-s-words-1438401-1279x699-300x164Older persons may be at a higher risk of surgical complications. However, it’s not only their advanced years that place them at a higher risk of such adverse events.

According to a review of multiple studies focusing on people above the age of 60 who underwent surgeries, there are many factors that dictate whether the person was at risk of suffering surgical complications. These include the person’s mental state of mind and symptoms of depression. The study focused on more than 12,000 people above the age of 60 and found that out of these, 25% developed complications after the surgery.

The review found that apart from depressive symptoms, and mental illness, some other factors including overall physical frailty, and a history of smoking, also dictated a person’s risk of suffering surgical complications. In other words, it wasn’t the advanced age by itself that increased the risk of suffering complications during or after surgery. Instead, the researchers found that a variety of other factors intervened to improve these chances.

pills-1311434-1280x960-300x225Close to 40% of all medication error-related liability claims that were analyzed as part of a recent study involved opioids and anticoagulants.

Opioids were found to be involved in more liability claims involving medication errors than any other drug, accounting for 24% of all liability claims. Anticoagulants followed at a close second with 16% of all claims involving medications. According to the report, 42% of medication errors occurred in a clinical setting, while 30% of these errors ultimately resulted in a patient fatality.

In the study, researchers analyzed more than 10,000 liability claims filed against medical liability insurance companies between 2000 and 2016. Overall, they found that medical malpractice claims related to medication errors were the fourth leading cause of claims. The other three leading causes were diagnosis-related errors, surgery errors, and errors involved in medical management. Rounding off the top five root causes of medical liability claims were obstetrics-related claims.

health-2662312_1920-200x300A new study finds that while many Americans have experienced a medical error, many are also able to identify the mistakes when they occur and are ready to inform staff at the hospital about it.

As many as one in five Americans have experienced a medical error. According to a new study conducted by the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University Of Chicago, another one in three admitted to being involved in the care of a person who experienced an error.

Most of these errors were diagnostic errors. Approximately 59% of these errors involved an incorrect diagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose. More errors were likely to occur in outpatient settings than during in-patient care. About 6 out 10 adults experienced a misdiagnosis and 4 out of 10 respondents admitted that they were not treated with respect

blue-light-73088_1920-300x212Most emergency rooms across the country have a severe overcrowding problem, and insurers have long pushed the theory that many emergency rooms visits are unnecessary or unimportant. However, a new study debunks that myth. According to the study, only a fraction of emergency room patients fails to have an absolutely urgent need to visit the ER. The overwhelming majority of visits are unavoidable.

The findings came from data taken from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from between 2005 and 2011. More than 150,000 patient records were analyzed as part of the study. The top complaints that resulted in a visit to the ER included tooth pain, backache, headache and soreness of the throat.

The researchers defined an “avoidable” visit as one that did not necessitate screening or diagnostic tests, procedures or the use of medications. The researchers found in their analysis that approximately 3.3% of emergency room visits were avoidable. Many of these avoidable visits involved mental health issues that most ERs are not in a position to treat. Approximately 10% of visits involved depression or anxiety, while close to 9% of potential conditions involved dental problems.

bar-3047514_1920-300x193Drunk driving continues to remain the number one threat facing American motorists. Approximately one-third of all drivers who die in alcohol-related car accidents have a blood-alcohol concentration of a minimum of .08%. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, that percentage has hardly budged over a period of two decades.

In 2015 alone, close to 7,000 fatalities were directly linked to motorists driving with a blood-alcohol concentration above the permissible limit of .08%. Alcohol beverage companies have tried to promote the theory that drugs are now responsible for more crash fatalities than alcohol. These corporations quote data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System which showed that in 2015, 46% percent of all car accident fatalities that year had drugs in their system at the time of the accident.

However, it is essential to keep things in perspective. Alcohol continues to remain the most dangerous drug for motorists and is responsible for more car accident fatalities annually than any drug, including marijuana. Experts at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also insist that linking the rise in fatal car accidents across the United States with increased self-reporting of marijuana use by American motorists, is inaccurate. The increase in fatal car accidents in the country may have more to do with the improved economy which has resulted in greater vehicle miles traveled and an increase in the number of motorists on the roads. It is a fact that when the economy is good, people tend to drive more, especially for recreational purposes. The rise in marijuana use by American motorists does not indicate that drunk driving is no longer a significant threat.

against-the-wind-1548802-1280x960-300x225The holiday season accounts for some of the highest numbers of household fires in the country. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve holidays account for the largest number of household candle fires in the US.

Festive candles, decorative lighting, and heavy-duty cooking during the holiday season provide plenty of opportunities for a quick fire to break out. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, fire stations across the United States responded to an average of 200 home fires each year originating from burning Christmas trees alone. Not all of these fires were completely harmless. Six people died in holiday blazes that originated with tree fires during this period of time.

Electrical lighting was linked to approximately 40% of all Christmas tree fires reported in the United States. Approximately 36% of fires were linked to home candle fires. The Christmas and New Year season also witnessed a large number of household fires linked to cooking-related accidents.

IMG_20151206_194134-300x196It’s the season of office parties, and private get-togethers. The holiday season offers plenty of opportunity to entertain. However, these opportunities also come with a great risk: Alcohol-related injuries caused by your guests.

The office Christmas party is one of the most eagerly awaited event of your company calendar year. The alcohol flows freely at these events, and as the business owner and the host of the party, it is important to be aware of the risks placed on the employees and guests at these events. Years of public service announcements and community education inform us that people who consume alcohol, in even moderate quantities at your event are at risk of becoming intoxicated. Research shows that those who drive drunk, even slightly “buzzed” are at greater risk for being in a motor vehicle accident, resulting in severe injuries to others and themselves.

Similarly, if you are throwing a private party, this knowledge of increased alcohol-related risk must be on the forefront of the host or hostess’s mind. The behavior of guests who are under the influence of alcohol served by you at your venue does not end when they leave the front door. Their safety and the safety of other travelers is jeopardized. Multiple times each year in Indiana, party guest consume too much alcohol and are involved in serious, even fatal accidents. This holiday season, as the opportunity to entertain increases, stay aware of the need for safe and responsible hosting at all times.

20151220_063516-1-e1513802158175-169x300It’s the season of good cheer and festivities, and very often that involves large get-togethers with family members and friends partaking of massive volumes of delicious food. Sure, you want to be known as the perfect host and want guests to talk about the food and fun at your party for days after, but make sure that you are not sending them off with an unwelcome takeaway gift – food poisoning.

Unfortunately, cases of food poisoning tend to spike around the holiday season, when more foods are prepared, stored and served, very often at inappropriate temperatures. Take basic safety precautions to ensure that your guests and your family enjoy the food you make without needing a trip to the hospital emergency room.

First, follow basic hand hygiene practices during all stages of the cooking process.  Wash your hands thoroughly before and after cooking or handling food, especially poultry, raw fruits and vegetables, and raw eggs.

20161210_190140-300x169From decorating mishaps to shopping accidents – there are any number of ways you can be injured in a fall accident over the holidays. In fact, hospital emergency rooms report that falls are one of the primary reasons why people end up visiting ERs at this time of year. There is more activity in and around the home during the holiday season, and that places people at a higher risk for accidents. Decorating-related falls, for instance, are quite common. Falls from ladders, step stools, and other equipment while trying to hang decorations are a primary cause of holiday ER visits a year.

Children may also be at a higher risk of falls during the holiday season. They are, obviously, excited to receive their gifts and very often, those gifts come with wheels. Remember, when you give a child a tricycle, bicycle, or rollerblades, he is likely to want to test it out it immediately. If you are gifting a set of wheels for your child or grandchild this holiday season, make sure you buy protective equipment to go along with it. Don’t rely on the child’s parents or caregivers to buy protective equipment later. Do the right thing and buy helmets and other protective gear and gift these to the child along with the set of wheels. Remember, a fall off a bicycle can have serious consequences, possibly resulting in serious head injuries.  

Older adults are much more likely to suffer falls when they’re hanging up lights and decorations. Increasing this likelihood is mixing alcohol with decoration responsibilities. A fall is much more likely to occur when you’re trying to balance yourself on a ladder after a few drinks. Also, keep an eye on children who are assisting adults in hanging up decorations.