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Toms River, New Jersey, Personal Injury Blog

Reducing wrong-patient errors

Medical errors that result from misidentified patients plague the health care system in New Jersey and throughout the country. In an effort to improve the identification and tracking of patients, the Air Force Medical Service has chosen to use a two-point identification process. Air Force medical personnel will now ask for a patient's full name and date of birth at multiple stages of care giving.

The Joint Commission chose to adopt this standard because verifying patients with two identifiers has proven to be an effective technique for reducing errors. This approach enables care givers to confirm who is front of them with a greater degree of reliability and to match each patient to treatment and medication instructions. The Air Force likened the redundancy to the safety checks performed within the aviation industry.

Unnecessary testing commonplace for breast cancer patients

New Jersey patients who have been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer should monitor their health, but the American Society of Clinical Oncology warns that many people without symptoms undergo tests with no proven benefit. Surveillance guidelines developed by the ASCO do not recommend advanced imaging or tumor-marker tests. for this patient population.

Multiple studies have produced almost no evidence to support the use of these tests for asymptomatic patients. Undergoing these tests could result in false-positives that cause people to undergo unnecessary procedures such as radiation. Because advanced tests after apparently successful treatment have shown no sign of improving quality of life for patients, the ASCO believes that the procedures unnecessarily drive up medical care costs.

Slip-and-fall accidents are a risk to people of all ages

When you think of serious slip-and-fall accidents, you may imagine that only the elderly are at real risk. After all, it's easy to imagine someone who is frail and suffering from osteoporosis sustaining serious injuries when he or she falls. It's harder to picture a healthy adult or a child getting seriously hurt because of a slip-and-fall accident.

However, these accidents happen all the time, to people of all ages. A million people every year go to the emergency room for slip-and-fall accidents. For young children, serious falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. For seniors, slips can result in broken bones. The same is true of teenagers and adults.

Understanding who may be at risk for stroke

New Jersey residents could have a stroke at any age. Each year, nearly 800,000 people experience one, and of those, more than 130,000 will die. While a stroke is not necessarily fatal, it can bring about short and long-term health issues. There are many risk factors may increase the possibility of having a stroke such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Other risk factors include smoking, drinking or doing drugs. Age also plays a role as the majority of people who have a stroke are over the age of 65. Those who are 45 or younger are unlikely to have a stroke, but they can increase their risk of having one if they have diabetes, are obese or have an irregular sleeping pattern. It is also possible that those who suffer from migraines may have a higher risk of experiencing a stroke.

Report examines vehicles with most and fewest driver deaths

New Jersey motorists who drive pickup trucks, SUVs or minivans might be safer than drivers in other types of vehicles according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The report found that on average, from 2011 to 2014, there were 30 driver deaths for every million vehicle registrations. However, for pickups, that number dropped to 26. SUVs had 21 driver deaths and minivans had 19. The highest fatality rate for drivers was in passenger cars at 39.

The study also broke down driver fatalities by make and model. Among the safest vehicles were the Jeep Cherokee 4WD and the Audi Q7 with zero fatalities. Toyota pickups did well overall. Certain pickup models did poorly such as the Nissan Titan Crew Cab shortbed 4WD with 73 driver deaths per million registrations.

Difficulties for multiple sclerosis patients

According to a survey conducted in early 2017, sufferers of multiple sclerosis in New Jersey and the rest of the nation are often misdiagnosed and receive inadequate treatment. The survey, which received responses from approximately 5,300 patients, also determined that pain and fatigue are the two symptoms that significantly affect the quality of their lives.

Obtaining a proper diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can be difficult. Nearly half of the patients who responded to the survey stated that receiving an accurate diagnosis took over five visits to a medical office or hospital. More than two-fifths of the respondents stated that they were misdiagnosed with other health issues, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression or fibromyalgia.

Power-line incident draws attention to potential risk

New Jersey workers may want to know about a 'close call alert' that was issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration earlier in 2017. According to reports, a tractor-trailer failed to keep clear of an overhead power line during operations. Although the contact did not result in any injuries in this particular situation, it caused significant property damage and exposed at least one worker on the site to the possibility of electrocution. The recommended amount of clearance between work equipment and high-voltage power lines is 10 feet.

Following the reported incident, the MSHA published a list of best practices that might ultimately protect workers from serious injury or death. In addition to maintaining the recommended amount of clearance, these practices include having an awareness that some equipment may have a high profile during transport and planning a route for such equipment that avoids the presence of any high-voltage lines. Power lines should be de-energized before work is performed within the recommended clearance zone.

Did you work with asbestos and now have a cancer diagnosis?

Sometimes, medical science doesn't recognize the danger of certain substances until there are a number of illnesses related to it. It was true of tobacco and cigarette additives, and it was also true of the popular mineral product asbestos. Asbestos was used in cement, plastics, insulation, brake shoes and ceiling or floor tiles, to name some of the most common applications. Many people who worked with older automobiles, performed house remodels and similar work or worked in locations that used asbestos to make products have developed cancers as a result of prolonged exposure to asbestos.

There is a correlation between these mineral compounds and serious, often aggressive cancers, including mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that attacks the lining of the chest cavity and abdomen. It is commonly associated with serious and prolonged asbestos exposure.

Robotic equipment creates workplace safety challenges

As robots become more common in manufacturing environments in New Jersey, the likelihood of worker injuries could rise. Although manufacturers make extensive efforts to design safe systems, the risk of injury persists. The co-president of a robot manufacturing company said that accidents tend to happen when a robot is being programmed for new tasks or if it breaks down and troubleshooting and repairs need to be performed.

Safety experts agree that repairs create the most dangerous conditions for workers. To make them, technicians must enter the work area of the robot, and they often need to power up a malfunctioning machine. Because robots can exert great force, they can inflict injuries or even kill workers when they act unpredictably.

Judge rules against federal government

New Jersey residents may have heard about a court decision that ordered the federal government to pay $41.6 for a botched forceps delivery. The clinic was federally-funded, and the baby had brain damage as a result of negligent forceps use by a obstetrician employed there. A Pennsylvania judge was able to reach this verdict because of a medical malpractice waiver in the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Although the case was against the federal government, state financial damage caps were in place during the suit. Furthermore, punitive damages cannot be sought from the federal government. According to the lawsuit, the doctor used excessive force and incorrectly applied the forceps to the baby's skull. Experts who testified at the trial noted that the use of mid-forceps delivery should be reserved for extreme circumstances. It was also noted that the forceps caused skull fractures as well as bleeding of the brain.

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R.C. Shea & Associates, Counsellors at Law
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Toms River, NJ 08754

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