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Pottstown Pennsylvania Personal Injury Blog

Avoiding accidents with large trucks

From 2009 to 2016, the number of fatal large truck crashes went up 27 percent. This is according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. In all, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016, and 66 percent of those fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Pennsylvania motorists can avoid becoming a statistic, though, if they consider some tips for avoiding truck crashes.

First of all, drivers should not become distracted or inattentive. Smartphones and other devices are the major source of distracted driving, so it's best to keep these out of sight and out of mind. Being aware of truckers and noticing any unsafe maneuvers they make is also key.

Why drivers should have full tort insurance

Pennsylvania is unique when it comes to auto insurance when compared to other states. One debate you might hear around here that you do not in most of the country is whether to go for full tort or limited tort automobile insurance. For those unaware, full tort coverage allows the driver unrestricted rights to sue a negligent party after a car crash. Limited tort coverage costs less than full tort, but in exchange, the driver does not have as many options for a lawsuit against a reckless motorist.

Several Pennsylvanians have chosen to go with the limited tort option so they do not have to pay as much on their monthly premiums. Given how much they already have to pay for in their adult lives, it is understandable why they would choose this. Many of them are banking on not getting into an accident to make it all worth it. However, more Pennsylvanian drivers may want to consider giving full tort insurance a shot for the following reasons:

Study finds pediatric medication errors are often linked to EHRs

Hospitals in Pennsylvania and around the country rely on electronic health record systems to ensure that patient information is updated regularly. These systems are designed by computer specialists to provide doctors with all of the information they need to make prudent medication and treatment decisions, but the way this data is presented is sometimes so confusing that it leads to errors. Researchers from the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare studied 9,000 pediatric patient reports gathered at three hospitals between 2012 and 2017. Most of the errors they discovered were connected to EHR functionality.

The researchers found that medication errors were often caused by EHRs with cluttered displays that confused health care professionals. Other systems provided information more clearly but failed to warn doctors and nurses about potentially dangerous drug allergies. Medication errors linked to EHR usability were found in more than a third of the cases studied by the researchers. Overdoses and other forms of dosing errors were the most likely types of medication mistakes observed.

Warning signs of a brain injury

Car accidents are scary, traumatic and often leave the individuals involved with severe injury. At times, this can include a brain injury. If your head slams into your steering wheel or window with great force during an accident, you may have endured serious trauma to the brain.

According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries contribute to 30 percent of all injury deaths. That being said, how do you know if you, or someone you love, has been affected by a brain injury?

Could you have a brain injury?

Broken bones, cuts and scratches are visible injuries that people generally seek immediate treatment for, but some injuries are not so obvious, but require immediate medical attention, too. In fact, many of the most serious injuries are not readily apparent at all. Brain injuries in particular can be extremely severe and dangerous, but their symptoms might not always be as obvious.

If you were recently involved in a car accident, you might have suffered a brain injury without even realizing it. These injuries can have serious consequences but sometimes their symptoms do not appear immediately or obviously.

Study suggests that even minor stress can lead to surgical errors

Surgeons in Pennsylvania and around the country are more likely to make mistakes when they are under stress, according to a recent study from Columbia University. Researchers behind the study say that even minor irritations like an unexpected noise or a negative thought can endanger patients. These study results may be particularly worrisome to medical experts as operating rooms are extremely busy places and filled with machines that make all manner of electronic noises.

The researchers came to their conclusions after monitoring a Stanford Medical Center surgeon's heart activity while he performed 25 operations. The surgeon wore a special shirt under his scrubs during the procedures that kept track of his heart rate and the electrical impulses coming from his heart. This allowed the researchers to identify moments of increased stress. While he was wearing the shirt, a researcher observed the surgeon and kept track of any errors or mistakes he made. The times of the mistakes were then compared to the heart activity data.

Most common factors in drunk driving fatalities

Many drunk driving crashes in Pennsylvania end in fatalities. Across the U.S., drunk driving fatalities make up approximately a third of all traffic-related fatalities. There are several common causes of these fatalities, such as the incurring of head trauma and excessive blood loss. Hitting the steering wheel or another hard surface, as well as being struck by flying debris, generally results in trauma.

Blood loss often occurs internally when the organs are pierced by glass or traumatized by the steering column. Extreme blood loss leads to hypovolemic shock where the heart can no longer efficiently pump blood. If the lost fluids are not replaced in time, victims die.

Medical errors tied to use of electronic health records

A study published by Health Affairs indicated that electronic health records may be responsible for a large number of medication errors. The findings of the study might be valuable for Arizona residents who have suffered harm due to medical malpractice. Researchers looked at the safety reports for 9000 people who were admitted to one of three health care providers between 2012 and 2017. More than 50 percent of the errors reported were tied to medication and the usability of EHR systems.

The report's lead author said the biggest of the EHR usability issues have to do with the visual display and system feedback. The EHR systems may not always give doctors and nurses alerts when a patient is being prescribed a medication to which he or she could have an allergic reaction. In some cases, the visual display might be confusing or cluttered for the medical professional so alerts are missed.

External airbags can help keep drivers safe

Statistics show that cars with external airbags could experience a reduction in accident injury severity by up to 40 percent. However, there are some issues that will need to be addressed before Pennsylvania drivers have this technology on their vehicles. For instance, it will be necessary to ensure that the airbags only deploy when intended. The airbags would use a combination of lidar, radar and similar technology to determine if a collision is imminent.

The product itself would work as an extra crumple zone in an accident. Essentially, the external airbag would work as a large pillow that could help to absorb a portion of the impact of a crash. According to research from ZF Group, an external airbag would take about 15 milliseconds to inflate, which is comparable to the airbags that exist inside of steering wheels.

Safe winter driving in Pennsylvania

Drivers will want to prepare for the challenges of winter driving, and one of the first steps is to ensure a properly winterized vehicle. They could check antifreeze levels, replace the windshield wipers and consider getting snow tires. A mechanic could inspect components like the battery, spark plugs, brakes and ignition. Drivers should also carry jumper cables, tire chains, ice scrapers, flares and other essentials in case of an emergency.

Many are unfamiliar with the safety features in their own vehicles, prompting the National Safety Council to come up with a campaign called "My Car Does What?" Drivers can take advantage of this educational opportunity. At the very least, they should know if their vehicle comes with traction control and anti-lock braking.

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