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Pottstown Pennsylvania Personal Injury Blog

Premises liability: What causes outdoor slips and falls?

Wintertime can be a fun part of the year for people of all ages. Many participate in outdoor activities despite the colder temperatures. Some people even prefer cooler weather as they go about their normal routine.

However, a dangerous outdoor slip and fall can happen at any time of year. It is very easy to slip and fall on a slick sidewalk here in Pennsylvania, particularly if a home or business owner hasn't properly removed the ice. Other times of year present different potential dangers for pedestrians. If you know what to look out for, you can potentially protect your family from a slip and fall at any time of the year.

Patients face risk for harm as ERs become overcrowded

Every year in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., more than 100 million people visit the emergency room, yet the quality of care in ERs can plummet with overcrowding. The Institute of Medicine noted this issue back in 2007, saying that overcrowding opens up the possibility for medical errors and sometimes life-threatening delays in treatment. Patients may be medicated too late, diagnosed too late or put in the hospital for longer than necessary.

ERs are being overcrowded for several reasons. For example, when hospitals close down, they send all their patients to the facilities that are still open. In addition, more and more Americans visit the ER for primary care. But the main reason is a practice known as boarding, which is having patients wait in the ER until a bed is available. Two-thirds of hospitals in 2016 admitted to boarding some patients for two hours or more. In 2009, 57% of hospitals admitted to this.

Report calls NHTSA's 5-star safety rating system outdated

In October 2019, a report was released by a member of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety that concludes that the current 5-star rating system used to determine vehicle safety is outdated. Pennsylvania residents should know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created this system in the 1990s from an earlier crash testing program called the New Car Assessment Program.

Ironically, the report was written by an individual who led the way in the development of the New Car Assessment Program. The author states that the U.S. is falling behind Europe, Asia and Latin America in the thoroughness of its crash testing. The report shows that cars are tested as much as four times more in Europe than in America.

What truckers can do about obstructive sleep apnea

Many truckers in Pennsylvania, some without knowing it, suffer from sleep apnea. This is a disorder that periodically stops one's breathing while sleeping, and it is responsible for all kinds of health conditions. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea among truckers, and by interrupting their sleep, it can make them a safety hazard on the road.

Specifically, OSA robs individuals of the ability to get deep sleep and REM sleep, which are responsible for repairing the physical and mental aspects of fatigue, respectively. Individuals wake up tired no matter how long they slept, and they may suffer from headaches, high blood pressure, depression and memory problems. In extreme cases, OSA leads to heart attack and stroke.

The potential consequences of medical errors

Two decades ago, a report claimed that roughly 98,000 people in Pennsylvania and throughout the country die annually because of medical errors. A more recent study has found that the true death toll may be more than twice as high. That recent study also found that about 5% of patients in the United States are put in harm's way unnecessarily. Of those patients, about 12% will acquire a permanent disability or die because of a preventable mistake.

While modern technology has given doctors and others access to more information than in previous generations, it has led to several problems of its own. For instance, doctors have to spend more time in front of a screen in an effort to analyze the data that they have received. This has resulted in increased levels of physician burnout. Medical professionals who have experienced symptoms of burnout are also more likely to report making a diagnostic or other type of error.

Slips and trips and more can happen in the blink of an eye

Consumers in and around Pottstown, Pennsylvania, face unanticipated risks whenever they visit public places or go to the grocery store. The slightest oversight by a property owner, tenant or their staff could lead to life-changing injuries. While slips, trips and falls are more common, you might be unable to escape from a building fire due to a blocked fire exit, or you could be the victim of an assault or robbery in a parking garage.

You and most other people trust property owners to provide safe spaces. When their negligence leads to personal injuries, you will have grounds to hold the person who owns or manages the property financially responsible. Public safety should be a priority, and property owners, tenants or managers must ensure the safety of the public in and around any buildings they own or manage.

For patients, misdiagnosis can be deadly

People in Pennsylvania who seek out medical care often worry that they won't be taken seriously when they go to the doctor. They are concerned that something seriously wrong may be missed due to a physician's dismissiveness, lack of knowledge or negligence. They may have good reason for concern as some estimates say that up to 80,000 people lose their lives in American hospitals each year as a result of mistaken diagnoses. People who are misdiagnosed do not receive treatment for their conditions, allowing their illness to worsen and progress. Some may receive treatments for other illnesses that they do not have, which can be harmful in some cases.

Estimates indicate that up to 160,000 people across the country are seriously harmed by doctor errors every year. Some conditions are more likely than others to lead to serious problems in case of a misdiagnosis. In a recent study, researchers identified cancer, vascular problems and infections as the three conditions in which mistakes were most likely to lead to serious harm to a patient's health. Because cancer is a progressive disease with early diagnosis having a major impact on outcomes, failure to diagnose cancer is most likely to be deadly. Over 33% of mistaken diagnoses related to cancer in the study led to the patient's death.

Automakers aim to stop drunk drivers behind the wheel

Drunk driving poses a serious hazard to roadway safety in Pennsylvania and across the country. Despite enforcement crackdowns and widespread awareness campaigns, DUIs continue to be the leading cause of death linked to motor vehicles, and thousands more are injured each year. Many are looking for technological solutions that can make it easier to prevent accidents caused by driving under the influence. One option is an ignition interlock device, a sort of breathalyzer for the car. This technology, which is mandated for some DUI offenders, requires drivers to test clean before they can start their cars.

However, automakers are looking toward other solutions that could take advantage of the advances made in autonomous technology. Volvo recently announced that within the next five years it will begin installing technology that can stop drunk drivers without depending on a breath test. The Volvo system would include cameras with algorithms trained to detect signs of a drunk driver.

Hands-free phones lead drivers to other distractions

Pennsylvania residents would be right to think that hands-free phone use is safer for drivers than handheld phone use. In fact, most states ban the latter for all drivers. However, one study has shown that hands-free phone use has the unintended effect of opening drivers up to other distracting behavior.

Lytx, a provider of video telematics and safety solutions for fleets, has analyzed 100,000 risky driving events that its video technology has captured among those fleets. One positive finding was that in 2018, there was a 27% increase in hands-free phone use. Sixty-five percent of all phone use in that year was hands-free. However, Lytx saw a 10% increase in the number of drivers who, while using hands-free phones, engaged in other distracting actions.

Heart attack and stroke misdiagnosis in women

Women in Pennsylvania who have a heart attack may experience symptoms that are not thought of as typical like nausea, back pain or vomiting. When this happens, women are more likely to be misdiagnosed and receive delayed care for the myocardial infarction. According to a study by the American Heart Association, nearly 62 percent of women experience symptoms other than chest pain when they are having a heart attack.

Because men are more likely to present typical symptoms when they are having a heart attack, they are less likely to be misdiagnosed when it happens. Women, on the other hand, are often told that the heart attack they are experiencing is actually an anxiety attack. If a woman is not taken to the hospital fast enough when she is having a heart attack, she could sustain serious heart damage and heart failure.

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Ches-Mont Personal Injury Law Center, LLC.
600 Creekside Drive, Suite 605
Pottstown, PA 19464

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