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New City Personal Injury Law Blog

The misdiagnosis of Lyme disease

Many New Yorkers are treated for Lyme disease each year. Some of them do not even require such treatment because their condition has been misdiagnosed. This can result in patients paying for medical care they do not need, while at the same time not being able to obtain the treatment they actually require.

The two main ways that are used to check for Lyme disease are a blood test and a Western blot test. A positive result on either of these tests merely indicates that an individual has been exposed to Lyme disease at some point or another. Even if a person has recovered from the disease or the exposure was a long time ago, he or she may still test positive. Further testing and evaluation is needed to determine if a patient's symptoms are due to Lyme disease or are stemming from another condition altogether.

Common dangers New York construction workers face

On Aug. 1, an OSHA rule went into effect increasing the maximum penalty for a serious violation to $12,741. The penalty for a willful or repeated violations increased to $124,709, and the increases were part of an effort to make sure that they went up along with the cost of living. According to OSHA, the most common type of health and safety violations since 2012 are nearly identical to data from previous years in the construction industry.

Topping that list are violations related to fall safety equipment. Such violations accounted for 359 of 899 deaths that occurred in 2014, and they involve issues with guardrails, portable ladders and scaffolds. Another common violation relates to a lack of training when it comes to implementing fall protection strategies. Employers must confirm in writing that an employee has been properly trained or have that employee go through a training program again.

When doctors lie on the witness stand

New York residents who are ill or injured and go to see their doctors or other health care professionals expect that the practitioners will exhibit utmost care in treating them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and in some instances a doctor's error can lead to the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit. At trial, it is customary for both the plaintiff and defendant to call upon medical experts as witnesses.

As is the case in any type of trial, witnesses are sworn to tell the truth. A retired surgeon has told a contrary story, however. He has indicated that about 20 years ago in a medical malpractice trial brought against one of his colleagues, he lied to protect the other doctor's reputation. The jury subsequently ruled in favor of the defendant, although it is not known whether that false testimony was a key factor in the decision.

OSHA sees its severe injury report program as a success

New York residents may be acquainted with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's severe workplace injury reporting program that was introduced on Jan. 1, 2015. A representative for the agency said that, while the number of serious workplace injuries resulting in amputations and hospitalization still needs to be reduced, the program has helped OSHA focus its resources where they're needed.

The rule requires employers to report any workplace injury that results in eye loss, in-patient hospitalization or amputations to OSHA within 24 hours following the incident. During the first year of the rule, employers reported 2,644 work-related amputations and 7,636 hospitalizations, according to data recorded by federal OSHA states.

How creating a safety culture can improve a workplace

New York business owners can do a number of things to help make their workplaces safer. This includes building a culture of safety throughout the company that ensures employees are committed to their own safety and that of their coworkers. However, doing so involves first taking a look at the present culture and where improvements can be made.

Identifying hazards is one step. This may include both physical risks and dangers around confidentiality, how employees treat one another in the workplace and how they represent the company. It is also important to make sure that workers are doing the jobs they are trained for. Overburdened workers who are working outside of their job descriptions may be more vulnerable to injury or to health issues due to stress.

Safety features could help older drivers

Smart cars that apply the brakes to avoid imminent collisions, steer away from trouble and detect oncoming traffic could soon allow older drivers to travel safer. Many New York motorists know that some vehicles are already being equipped with safety technology, but these are mainly features of expensive models. With additional revolutionary tech expected in just a few years, some of these safety features are anticipated to become standard in all vehicles soon, which may make them more accessible to everyone.

In 2016, early Baby Boomers are turning 70 years old as car makers reveal new safety technology. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that almost 54 million U.S. residents will be 70 and older by 2030. Based on current driving trends, roughly 80 percent of them are estimated to have licenses, but this ratio could increase if safety technology allows seniors to continue driving.

3 New Yorkers killed in early morning crash

A high-speed crash on a major New York highway claimed the lives of three people and left as many as 11 others injured during the early morning hours of Aug. 31. The multi-vehicle accident took place on the eastbound lanes of the Long Island Expressway in Queens at approximately 4:20 a.m. Police diverted eastbound traffic for more than four hours as paramedics, firefighters and accident investigators went about their work, and delays soon stretched from Maurice Avenue to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

According to the NYPD, excessive speed was likely the cause of the fatal crash. Officers say that a 25-year-old Oakdale Gardens man was speeding when he lost control of his Infiniti in the vicinity of Maurice Avenue. The Infiniti struck a guardrail before its driver was able to regain control, and the force of the impact split the sedan into two pieces. The driver and two of his four passengers were ejected and died at the scene.

Study shows value of breast cancer genetic test

Some New York women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may wonder whether they should make a decision about treatment based on whether they took a traditional test or a genetic test. In some cases, the traditional test might show that the risk of the cancer advancing is high while a genetic test might show that the risk is low. According to a study published on Aug. 24, the survival rate for women whose test results differ in this way are similar whether or not the women choose chemotherapy.

The chance of survival after five years without metastasis for women whose genetic tests showed a low risk and who went through chemotherapy was 1.9 percentage points higher.. However, this also means that around 35,000 women annually may go through unnecessary chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

Understanding rare diseases

According to statistics, around one in every 10 to 12 people in New York and across the United States are living with a rare disease. In the U.S., a rare disease is defined as any condition that affects less than 200,000 people. The European Union considers a disease to be rare if it affects 250,000 people or less.

There are more than 6,000 rare diseases on record. Unfortunately, these conditions are often misdiagnosed because a doctor may not be familiar with the symptoms. Even in cases where a correct diagnosis is made, a doctor may be unfamiliar with the proper treatments for the condition. Many rare diseases have no known cures and few treatment options.

Patients with this collagen disorder are often misdiagnosed

Most people in New York probably haven't heard of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. That may be because EDS exhibits symptoms that are similar to other, more common disorders. In fact, those with EDS are often misdiagnosed with a variety of conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and even hypochondria. The average EDS patient receives an accurate diagnosis 20 years after they begin to show symptoms.

EDS is a connective tissue disorder that affects the way a patient's body makes collagen. Making up 30 percent of the body, collagen is a vital part of the bones, skin, blood vessels, muscles, brain, tendons and cartilage. When EDS alters a person's collagen production, the person may experience symptoms in all different parts of their body. The apparent randomness of the symptoms is part of the reason why EDS is so difficult to diagnose.

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