firework-828652_1920-300x200Its that time of year again! The 4th of July: The summer holiday that focuses on cooking out, enjoying the evening with family, and celebrating America’s birth with fireworks! All around the country, people are spreading blankets and craning their necks to view breath-taking displays of colorful pyrotechnic artwork. Many others are preparing to host friends and family as they fire off their own display’s in appreciation of our nation’s birthday.

While fireworks when handled properly can yield exciting and wonderful results, they are unpredictable and hazardous as well. Even when handled by highly skilled pyrotechnic experts, fireworks are a threat to those personnel and others in close proximity. Please keep the safety of family and friends in mind as you celebrate this year.

In order to help families have the most possible fun this holiday season, please follow a few safety tips and pointers.

bicycle-1846454_1920-300x200The Hoosier State is home to thousands of enthusiastic bicyclists; however, if you are a new to riding bikes, it’s important for you to be aware of basic safety measures that can help protect Indiana laws governing bicycling.

The first thing to know is that bicyclists in Indiana are subject to the same rules and regulations as any other person driving a vehicle on the roadways. Just because a bicycle rider is on the road, it does not give them carte blanche to disregard safety rules, or to place themselves or others at risk. It is important for riders to learn about bicycling rights and duties, and make sure that they follow all safety and traffic rules and regulations.

For instance, bicycling in groups can be great fun; however, while riding in a group, it’s important to know the best practice. Basic bicycle safety rules make it clear that persons riding more than two abreast increases the dangers for cyclists, except when riding on special bicycle paths that are meant exclusively for these bicyclists. Single file riding makes more room for passing cars and trucks and reduces the risks to bicycle riders.

meye-i-1196519-1279x932-300x219A case involving five eye surgery patients in Massachusetts, who suffered serious injuries and lost their vision, is being blamed on anesthesiologist errors.

An investigation into the injuries that occurred on a single day in May 2014 suggests that the anesthesiologist may have injured the eyeballs of the patients while administering anesthesia using a needle. The injuries were serious enough for all five patients to lose vision in the eye. The patients had been admitted to the center for cataract surgery.

According to the investigation, the anesthesiologist had been sent to the hospital in place of the regular anesthesiologist by a broker who was often used by the center. Lawsuits have been filed, and are seeking damages for medical malpractice.

semi-truck-underride-300x169Two mothers of underride truck accident victims, who died when their vehicles lodged underneath the truck after a collision, are calling for safety measures to help prevent such accidents.

The threats posed by unsafe underrides do not get a lot of attention, but these cause some of the most devastating accidents involving large commercial trucks. Underride guards refer to the barriers, usually made of metal, that are affixed to the backs of a commercial 18-wheeler or large truck. These guards are in place to prevent smaller vehicles and passenger cars from sliding under the truck in the event of a collision.

In any accident involving a large commercial truck, there is a danger that the smaller car involved will skate or slip under the truck. The resulting accidents and injuries can be horrific. Underride car accidents almost always result in severe head injuries. Some of the worst accidents result in decapitations.

train-trackes-0766-300x225Federal agencies are currently considering a set of proposals that would regulate the transportation of hazardous materials on oil trains across the country and through communities. The proposals, would keep Indiana communities safer when these trains travel through their areas.

There is no doubt that the shale oil production boom in the US has benefited local Indiana communities. Much of that oil is transported across the Northeast Indiana region every week on oil trains. These crude products are transported on oil trains via railroads, and have contributed to boosting the local economy.

However, behind the economic boom hides another tale. At least since the beginning of 2013, there have been 10 oil train accidents – not just the US and also in Canada – and these have resulted in severe environmental damage and major fires. Residents have been forced to evacuate their homes, and in one case in Québec, 47 people were killed in an oil train derailment.

baby-1178539_1280-300x199The birth of a child is a profoundly beautiful moment and the most memorable for any mother. However, in far too many cases, it is an experience that results in severe physical and mental trauma to the mother, with long-term consequences. Birth injuries to the mother are not spoken about as much as injuries to the new born, but they do occur.

Some of the more common injuries that women can suffer during childbirth include, vaginal tears, lacerations or fissures, incorrect suturing, fractures, nerve damage, excessive uterine bleeding, failed cesarean surgeries, infections, uterine rupture, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, peri-partum emergencies and even wrongful death.

All of these and many others not listed here are preventable if doctors, nurses and medical personnel take all possible precautions at the time of and before delivery. Medical personnel must ensure that the mother has a safe delivery.

medical-563427_1280-300x200Thousands of Americans visit emergency rooms (ERs) for medical treatment every year. Many of those visits end in injuries because of errors that could have easily been prevented. There are several important steps every person can take to help reduce the risk of injuries and errors in a medical setting. 

The first mistake people make is failing to realize whether the emergency is serious enough for a trip to the ER. Some symptoms absolutely necessitate a visit to the ER and accepting this fact is the first step to getting the best possible care. Too often people suffering stroke-like or heart attack symptoms will wait to see if these symptoms will resolve on their own. However, in these situations, time is of the essence. A delay in seeking treatment can only exacerbate the medical problem, resulting in poor outcomes and limited treatment options. Neurologists and cardiologists both agree that time is a factor when trying to protect tissue, whether brain or heart.

Once a patient actually reaches the Emergency Room, it is critical that all symptoms are fully communicated to the ER personnel with absolute clarity. There are several possible factors that can cause errors and injuries in an emergency room, and failure to communicate is top of that list. Carefully recount your symptoms to the staff at the ER. Provide a complete background of your medical history. Give as many details as possible including duration and details of symptoms and the types of medications you are currently taking and for what conditions. No detail is too small or unimportant.

tablets-2148889_1920-300x135Americans are uninterested in having their rights to accountability in medical malpractice cases curtailed. Those are the results of a new study conducted by the Public Policy Polling Institute, which found that citizens of primarily Republican states are overwhelmingly against any tort reform laws that would limit their access to economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The Public Policy Polling survey specifically focused on 7 states-Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Utah, Alabama, Texas, and Arizona. These are states that either always vote Republican, or have voted for either Democrats or Republicans in the recent past. The states were specifically chosen because voters in these states tend to favor tort reform laws that would restrict patient access to economic damages in cases involving injuries as a result of medical negligence. Continue reading

child-1910306_1280-300x200Obesity during pregnancy could be a factor that increases a child’s risk of suffering from cerebral palsy. However, researchers in a recent study cautioned against assuming any cause-and-effect link between obesity and cerebral palsy.

The association between obesity and cerebral palsy was pointed out in a study that focused on one million Swedish children. These children were monitored over a period of eight years, and the researchers found that the cerebral palsy risk for these children was approximately two cases for every 1,000 babies. They also found that women who suffered from some of the most severe forms of obesity, were much more likely to have children who suffered from cerebral palsy. They also found that the incidence of cerebral palsy was high even in children who were born at full term.

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stethescope-300x200Nurses, who are fatigued, tired or stressed may be incapable of delivering the kind of quality care that they are required to provide, and may be at a high risk of making mistakes that lead to injury, or even worse, death of a patient.

A combination of factors continues to keep nurses stressed and overworked. Staffing shortages at many hospitals stipulate that nurses work much harder than they are required to, or advised to, and often the consequences are disastrous for patient safety. Besides staffing shortages, hospitals endanger patient safety when they require nurses to work for longer hours than required.

Unfortunately, both of these conditions are far too common in many hospitals, with the result that nurses are frequently stressed and fatigued, and incapable of performing at their best. In fact, several studies have indicated that nurse fatigue not only leads to a higher risk of nursing errors, but also leads to dissatisfied nurses. Nurses who are dissatisfied suffer from low motivation levels, and that can definitely impact the quality of their work. This situation is dangerous, because nurses are at the frontier of providing care for patients, and any mistakes they make can severely impact patient safety.  Additionally, nurses who are stressed or overworked may also suffer from early burnout. This can cause extreme lethargy, frustration, depression and disinterest, all of which are anathema to patient safety.