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New City Personal Injury Law Blog

Mistakes frequently made in hospitals

Most New Yorkers who are admitted to a hospital assume that they will get better thanks to the treatment they will receive. However, for a large number of patients, a stay in the hospital results in worsening or additional medical problems. Things like surgical errors and being given the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of the right medication can have a negative impact on someone's health.

Data shows that medical mistakes made in hospitals are the third leading cause of death in the country, trailing only heart disease and cancer. Along with surgical and medication issues, people may also be harmed due to a fall or develop an infection while in the hospital. Individuals may also end up having to return to a hospital if they are discharged too early or if they were not given complete instructions for their care when they were discharged.

New AI technology may detect heart disease early

New York residents may eventually have their heart disease diagnosed long before any dangerous events such as heart attacks take place. Researchers have been using electronic medical records, GPUs and artificial intelligence to predict heart failure up to nine months earlier than doctors are able to do so.

Approximately 6 million Americans have heart failure annually. Earlier detection would mean that doctors could prescribe medicine or suggest lifestyle changes that could delay or prevent the disease.

High rates of TBIs for construction workers

Construction workers in New York and throughout the country continue to suffer from high rates of fatal traumatic brain injuries compared to other occupations, according to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The report, which was published in the "American Journal of Industrial Medicine," also found that between 2003 and 2010, 25 percent of construction fatalities were due to traumatic brain injury representing a total of more than 2,200 workers. This was the highest of any other type of U.S. workplace.

More than 50 percent of traumatic injuries happened due to falls during the period studied. Many were falls from heights including scaffolds and ladders. Workers 65 and older were at the greatest risk, and their fatal traumatic brain injury rate was four times higher than that of workers ages 25 to 34. Larger companies appeared to be safer than smaller ones, and companies that had fewer than 20 employees reported more than twice as many fatal brain injuries than those with more than 100 employees.

Workers with sleep apnea more likely to be injured on job

Workers who suffer from sleep apnea could be more prone to being injured on the job, according to a study by researchers in British Columbia. As a result of their findings, they believe workers in high-risk jobs in New York and elsewhere should be tested for the sleep disorder as a safety precaution.

People with sleep apnea wake from sleep repeatedly as they gasp for breath or snore due to a blockage of their airway, often leaving them feeling fatigued during the day. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, around 22 million Americans have the disorder, but the majority are unaware of it.

Failure of electronic record systems linked to doctor error

The government-backed movement toward electronic medical records and the adoption of other advances in information technology in hospitals, doctor's offices and health care facilities in New York and around the country might not be proceeding as smoothly as had been expected. Reports are now surfacing about wrong-site surgery and, in some cases, fatal medical error incidents occurring because of electronic health record systems being down.

A news report about doctors and hospital officials denying responsibility and shying away from offering apologies to patients who were victims of a doctor error or a surgical error has drawn attention to a little-known cause of medical malpractice. According to the report, medical mistakes have been attributed to the inability of doctors to access electronic patient records at critical stages during treatment. It is claimed that a surgical error occurred in the case of one patient when doctors did not have access to electronically stored X-rays when the system went down during a procedure.

Automatic braking system ahead for drivers

By 2022, New York car buyers should be able to purchase one with an automatic braking system installed. This is the result of an agreement entered into by manufacturers of nearly all light vehicles sold in the United States and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have such technology be standard equipment. One former administrator of the NHTSA says that the agreement is unsatisfactory and there should be legally binding rules in place instead, but the current administrator says that those rules would take eight years or longer to implement.

Automakers including Toyota, Ford and General Motors are part of the agreement that experts agree will save lives and cut down on as many as 1 million accidents each year. With around 5 million accidents annually, this is a reduction of 20 percent.

Ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders

New York employees do not have to be involved in manual labor to face a risk of musculoskeletal disorders at their jobs. Although manual labor can pose high risks of MSDs, there are certain risk factors that can affect office workers and others whose jobs are not physically demanding. It is important for employers to recognize the importance of good ergonomic practices to ensure that employee absences and workers' compensation claims are minimized.

Training is an important preventive tool, allowing an employer to familiarize workers with optimum practices for limiting the risk of suffering MSDs on the job. As injuries are reduced, productivity can also be improved. Some of the most serious issues that can lead to musculoskeletal injuries include repetition, force, vibration, contact stress and awkward postures. It is important for workers to keep these factors in mind as they perform their jobs.

Parents could improve hospital safety, prevent errors

New York families may be surprised to learn that a study conducted in Massachusetts indicates that many parents catch medical mistakes when they take their children to the hospital. The researchers say that this suggests that parents could provide complementary details that may help make health care safer.

The study assessed data from 383 children who were hospitalized in two pediatric units at a Boston facility in 2013 and 2014. The children's parents filled out written surveys to detail any safety issues that their kids experienced. Two doctors reviewed the incidents and classified them as either medical mistakes, quality issues or non-safety problems.

Preventing workplace injuries

Workers in New York face many different types of hazards when they go to their jobs. Industrial environments can be especially dangerous workplaces, particularly when workers handle hazardous materials or operate heavy machinery. Some common causes of workplace accidents are dehydration, fatigue, lifting and falls. Factors like poor lighting, workplace violence, hazardous materials and stress can also contribute to a lot of workplace accidents.

When workers must lift something on the job, it is crucial that they have help if the object is very heavy. Lifting too much weight can cause sprains, strains and torn muscles that can take a long time to recover from. Workers who do not take breaks during their shift are also prone to more injuries as they may become fatigued.

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski to stand trial

Some New Yorkers may have heard of Stanislaw Burzynski, a controversial cancer doctor who has been lauded by celebrities for his unusual treatments. Dr. Burzynski is now being targeted for medical malfeasance by the Texas Medical Board and facing the potential loss of his medical license.

In the 1970s, Dr. Burzynski started treating cancer patients using antineoplastons, substances extracted from the body. While there has been no evidence showing that antineoplastons are effective, he has continued prescribing them. Many patients have flocked to Dr. Burzynski over the years because they don't want to undergo chemotherapy treatment.

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