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Toms River, New Jersey, Personal Injury Blog

Watching out for syndromes that mimic vasculitis

One presenter at the 2019 Rheumatology Nurses Society Annual Conference, the president of the Independent Healthcare Associates, has warned that rheumatologists must beware when diagnosing patients who might have vasculitis. Vasculitis refers to the inflammation of the blood vessels. The problem is that various syndromes can result in this, raising the risk for misdiagnosis. New Jersey residents will want to know what can be done.

Rheumatologists must first know what the vasculitis mimics are. Endocarditis, or the infection of the heart's inner lining, is one classic example. For many adults, vasculitis may be the result of cocaine or amphetamine use, so doctors must remember to consider this before saying that the cause is idiopathic vasculitis.

The many ways workers can get hurt on the job

Employees in New Jersey and throughout the country should remain aware of the possible dangers that they could face while at work. Dangers may be present whether a person works from home, in an office or in a warehouse setting. Poor air quality could be among the dangers that a person could deal with while on the job. Annually, 1.3 million workers in the construction field are exposed to some amount of asbestos.

Improving air quality could be a matter of increased ventilation on a job site. That may allow air contaminated with dust or chemicals to be removed from a given area and replaced with something that is healthy to breathe. Individuals could be exposed to poor air quality even if they work indoors. This could result in itchy skin, dizziness or nosebleeds. If more than 20% of workers in a building are showing these or other symptoms, the building may be referred to as "sick".

Procedures for treating sepsis

Believing that swift diagnosis of sepsis leads to the prevention and reduction of sepsis-related fatalities, the Survive Sepsis Campaign now requires diagnosis and antibiotic treatment within one hour of suspicion of sepsis infection. However, some researchers find no benefit from early administration of antibiotics. Only patients suffering from septic shock benefit from early intervention. Patients who are not definitely septic do not benefit from stringent antibiotic therapy. Timing seems to be critical in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

The one-hour standard for the start of the treatment regime pressures emergency room health care providers to begin treating patients presenting symptoms of infection for sepsis before they have time for adequate diagnosis. Blood has to be cultured to determine which antibiotics will be effective. Extra time devoted to treatment of possible sepsis denies emergency room patients a timely diagnosis and delays others' treatment.

What kinds of disability payments does workers' comp offer?

Too many people seem to believe that workers' compensation benefits only protect people in particularly dangerous industries. While it is true that people in certain fields are more likely than others to suffer severe injuries or fatalities on the job, you can get hurt at any kind of job.

A retail employee can slip and fall on a wet floor, suffering a permanent head injury. A gas station attendant could wind up hurt during an attempted robbery. Those who drive for a living could wind up in a crash while on the clock. The potential for injuries is as limitless as the numerous tasks performed by New Jersey employees.

In-vehicle tech can be distracting for older drivers

The audio commands and touchscreens used to control in-vehicle technologies are too distracting for many older drivers in New Jersey and around the country, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah. As a result, the authors of the study are calling on car manufacturers to develop designs that are user-friendly for all ages.

For the study, which was released on July 25, researchers asked 128 drivers to interact with in-vehicle systems on six late-model vehicles manufactured by Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mazda, Nissan, and Volvo. The drivers performed a variety of tasks, including texting, plotting navigation, making phone calls, and changing radio stations. The study found that drivers between the ages of 55 and 75 took up to 8.6 seconds longer to complete the tasks than drivers between the ages of 21 and 36. Older drivers also took their eyes off the road an average of eight seconds longer than younger drivers. For reference, AAA reports that drivers double their chances of getting in a wreck by taking their eyes off the road for just two seconds.

Colorectal cancer becoming more common among adults under 50

Researchers have found that more and more people under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. New Jersey residents should know that the results, which were published in the peer-reviewed journal CANCER, are based on the cases gathered in the National Cancer Database. The number of colorectal cancer cases among younger people has been steadily growing since at least the 1970s.

In 2004, 10% of colorectal cancer patients in the U.S. were under 50. In 2015, that percentage went up to 12.2%. Even more important is that over half were diagnosed with stage III or IV colorectal cancer. For comparison, 40% of those over 50 are diagnosed with such an advanced stage of colorectal cancer.

Causes of EHR-related malpractice claims

According to a recent study from the Journal of Patient Safety, about 30% of malpractice claims related to electronic health records (EHR) involve medication errors. The research clearly showed that there were adverse effects to using electronic record-keeping at all types of health care practices in New Jersey and other states. However, most cases of malpractice occurred in an ambulatory setting, and the majority of these errors were due to user mistakes, not systematic issues.

According to researchers, a wide range of user errors contributed to the medical malpractice incidents. Many clinicians lacked the proper training to use the EHR system properly, so they made mistakes when inputting or retrieving data. In other cases, providers ignored crucial alerts provided by the system. Some clinicians also failed to notice test results.

Allstate insurance ranks America's safest drivers

Motorists around the country were involved in approximately 6,452,000 traffic accidents in 2017 according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Auto insurance companies study data from NHTSA and other agencies when assessing risks in New Jersey and other parts of the country, and they sometimes release their findings to the public.

The Illinois-based Allstate Corporation releases such a report every year. The company's America's Safe Drivers Report ranks the nation's largest 200 metropolitan areas based on the number of motor vehicle accidents reported adjusted for population size, and Brownsville, Texas, emerged as the home of the country's safest drivers in 2019. The average Brownsville resident drives for about 15 years before getting into an accident, but that figure drops to just 4.19 years in Baltimore, which is the nation's leading accident hot spot according to Allstate.

Fourth of July the worst holiday for DUI crash fatalities

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in New Jersey, as anywhere else, and can lead to fatal car accidents. Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it appears that DUI-related fatality rates are their highest on the Fourth of July than during any other major U.S. holiday. From 2010 to 2017, a total of 1,192 people died in DUI crashes on the Fourth of July.

The second deadliest holiday is Memorial Day with 1,105 people dying on this day between 2010 and 2017. This was followed by Labor Day, New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, the Fourth of July is not just deadly when compared to other holidays; it's also deadly when compared to the rest of the summer season. In 2017, 184 people died during the Fourth of July weekend. In an equivalent four- or five-day span of summer days, the average came out as 117 deaths.

Don't ignore the signs of a workplace back injury

If you work in a physically active job, whether you are a transportation professional or someone who works in a manufacturing facility, you likely understand the risk that physical injury creates for your happiness and career. An injury that you suffer as part of your duties on the job could impact your ability to continue working.

Many professionals who work in physically demanding careers often find themselves forced to ignore the early symptoms of an injury. From discomfort in your joints to pain in your back, you may feel like you don't have the option of seeking medical care for physical discomfort. However, especially when it comes to your back, ignoring the signs of a physical injury could mean paying a very steep price later on in life.

Contact R.C. Shea & Associates, Counsellors At Law

Call our Toms River office at 732-505-1212, our Manchester office at 732-408-WILL (9455), our Brick office at 732-451-0800, or call us toll free at 800-556-SHEA (7432). You can also contact our firm online.

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