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New City Personal Injury Law Blog

Transportation accidents and crime top sources of worker deaths

New York workers whose jobs involve transportation face a heightened risk of death and injury while at work. Data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries revealed the most dangerous occupations nationwide and the sources of danger. In 2016, transportation-related accidents were the top cause of fatal incidents across industries and accounted for 40 percent of workplace deaths. During that year, 632 truck drivers, 116 farmers and 62 landscapers had deaths attributed to transportation.

Workplace violence emerged as the second leading cause of death, exceeding even slips, trips and falls. A professor of criminology explained that killing sprees by disgruntled employees did not end as many lives as crimes like robberies and assaults by customers.

Distracted driving in summer the subject of Travelers symposium

On June 15, the Travelers Institute, the public policy division of Travelers Insurance, held an Every Second Matters™ symposium on Capitol Hill. Its subject, distracted driving, is one that should be of interest to any New York residents who are thinking about taking a road trip this summer.

One important finding that Travelers has brought to the public's attention is how distracted driving becomes more common in summer. It referred to the conclusion of a recent study made by TrueMotion based on sensor data gathered from its free mobile app, TrueMotion Family.

Women often misdiagnosed for common medical conditions

While most doctors in New York try to be as thorough as possible in their diagnoses, some patients have to deal with medical mistakes. In particular, women often have difficulty getting proper diagnoses. This is particularly true when it comes to reproductive problems like pain and heavy menstrual cycles.

For example, one woman said that she had suffered from abnormal pain and heavy menstruation since she was a teenager. Over a 20-year period, she saw numerous doctors in different specialties in her quest to get a diagnosis. A GI doctor gave her a misdiagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome while gynecologists told her that her menstruation cycle was normal. She eventually learned that she had endometriosis at the age of 34 when she had trouble getting pregnant. This condition causes the endometrium, which is the tissue that lines the interior of the uterus, to grow on the outside.

When surgery doesn't turn out as expected because of human error

There's no denying the fact that many people in New York benefit from surgery when it contributes to improvements with mobility, pain management and overall quality of life. However, there are times when certain issues or signs of a problem are overlooked. An article in the journal Arthroplasty Today discusses a few situations involving patients who had a total knee arthroplasty, or TKA, a procedure involving the removal of damaged bone and cartilage and the insertion of an artificial knee joint.

The surgical errors pertaining to the TKA patients involved the popliteal artery in the knee and back of the leg. With both cases, a special type of ultrasound detected overlooked damage in the popliteal area. In one instance, the patient reported pain shortly after surgery, and the problem was detected and corrected. In the other instance, the patient was misdiagnosed even when the image test was performed. A mass and three tears were discovered when she was rushed to the hospital; she had surgery to remove fresh blood clots.

How much is a worker worth to the employer?

New York workers expect their employers to provide them with safe work environments. Many companies boast that worker safety is a top priority. It pays for businesses to keep their workers safe, because worker injuries and deaths cost companies money. But according to experts, some companies don't do all they can to ensure worker safety, and unsafe practices continue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that for employers, a worker's life is worth about $1 million, including legal costs, workers' compensation, medical and other costs that arise from injuries and fatalities. Actual costs after a workplace accident vary, but it can be said that each worker's life is very valuable to the employer.

Preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace

New York employees face serious slip, trip and fall risks every time they step into their workplace. Hundreds of workers die from these types of preventable accidents every year. In 2014, for example, 660 workers died after they fell from height while another 138 died after falling on the same level.

Falls from height are a common risk found in the construction industry or in workplaces where an employee may be required to work above another level. Because these types of accidents can be so dangerous, there are certain steps that employers and employees are recommended to take before starting a project. This includes conducting a job hazard analysis and completing a fall prevention plan before getting started. Employees should also be taught how to use the proper fall protection equipment for the job. If possible, guardrails and other prevention systems should be put into place. Training on properly using a ladder should also be provided to employees.

How IoT could help reduce workplace accidents

Each year, occupational accidents kill around 321,000 workers and cost companies over $220 billion. The International Labor Organization states that 151 workers suffer from a job-related injury every 15 seconds. Both employees and employers in New York may be wondering what can be done to reduce these numbers; fortunately, advances in technology are making a difference.

The development of the Internet of Things, a network of interconnected devices, has proven to be useful in the protection of lone workers. Companies can now equip their employees with a range of smart devices, such as wearable tags that can alert emergency personnel in case of an accident. Wireless sensors and GPS tracking provide employers with real-time data as well.

Tesla car crash greeted with CEO's critical comments

Ever since Tesla debuted its Autopilot program, the company has been running into issues. Residents of New York who are concerned about the safety of Tesla's semi-autonomous vehicles may have heard about the crash that recently took place in Utah. The driver of Tesla Model S collided with a firetruck even though Autopilot was on, the reason being that the driver was looking down at her phone.

Although the driver wasn't seriously injured, this accident received widespread attention from news media, prompting the Tesla CEO and supporters of the company to respond. However, rather than say that Tesla will ensure more rigorous safety standards or have federal car regulators oversee the issues, the CEO expressed amazement that such a minor accident would become front-page news when other more serious accidents receive no coverage.

Misdiagnosing AMD

According to a study conducted by university researchers, 25 percent of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, cases are misdiagnosed by eye care professionals. AMD is the primary cause of irreversible vision loss for people in America who are at least 50 years old. This finding indicates that there could be significant issues older adults in New York will have to face.

The researchers reevaluated 644 patients, whose average age was 69 years and on whom an optometrist or ophthalmologist had performed a dilated eye exam. The results show that 25 percent of those patients whose eyes had been considered normal showed indications of AMD.

Surgical sponges left inside patient for years

New York residents may have read media stories about surgical sponges being left inside patients who underwent surgery, but they may not know how serious the long-term consequences of this kind of medical mistake can be. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine told the story of a 42-year-old Japanese woman who suffered abdominal bloating and discomfort for years that was eventually found to have been caused by two surgical sponges that had been left inside her during childbirth.

A medical records check revealed that the woman had undergone Caesarean sections six and nine years ago. Her doctors believed that both of the sponges were left in her abdomen during one of these procedures. The sponges were removed during emergency surgery that was performed after a CT scan revealed two unusual masses in her paracolic gutters. Thick fibrous coating that covered them had to be cut away. The NEJOM article revealed that doctors often place sponges in the paracolic gutters to prevent the intestines from interfering with abdominal surgery.

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