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Keep the Holidays Safe: Don't Drink and Drive

  • 30
  • November
    2010

A drunk driver recently drove his van into an off-duty NYC police officer. While the drunk driver, Michael Bowen, was only slightly injured in the auto accident, Officer Andre Menzies was killed, leaving behind his wife and two children.

The risks and potential consequences of drunk driving cannot be overstated.

N.Y. to Allow Jail for Careless Drivers Who Injure Pedestrians or Cyclists

  • 12
  • October
    2010

A fatal accident in downtown New York that killed Hayley Ng, 4, and Diego Martinez, 3, and injured their fellow preschoolers led to the enactment of a new law that will increase the possible penalties for careless drivers who cause injury.

The Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez law -- informally Hayley and Diego's law -- was signed by New York Governor David Paterson in August and becomes effective today, October 12, 2010. The new law allows for stiffer penalties, including imprisonment, for drivers who unintentionally harm pedestrians or cyclists when driving without "due care."

False Positives: New Hope for Increased Accuracy in Cancer Diagnostics

  • 20
  • September
    2010

A recent New York Times article references a 2006 study that estimated 90,000 cases in which women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (D.C.I.S.) or invasive breast cancer either do not have the disease or received incorrect treatment based on another error by their pathologist. Another study in 2002 reviewed pathology in 340 breast cancer cases and found that 7.8 percent of them had errors serious enough to change plans for surgery.

Reforming New York No-Fault Law

  • 07
  • September
    2010

This year, the New York legislature passed a bill that increased the property damage threshold for accident surcharges. Automobile insurance companies may not assess a surcharge on premiums unless the damage to property in an accident exceeds $2,000. According to Professional Insurance Agents (PIA), the most recent increase to the threshold was in 1991, when the bar was raised from $600 to $1000.

Since even a minor fender-bender can result in over $1,000 in damage, nearly all car accidents could result in surcharges before the recent change. Moreover, New York drivers arguably bear the burdens of the state's no-fault insurance system, at least indirectly. The American Insurance Association (AIA) claimed in a recent news release that no-fault claim costs in the state have increased by 58 percent since 2004, and no-fault fraud and abuse in New York is costing insurers and drivers more than $200 million per year. Soaring costs have both insurers and drivers calling on the legislature for reform.

Using Checklists as a Tool for Reducing Medical Errors

  • 17
  • August
    2010

Medical care checklists have been in use for a decade now, with mixed success. In his 2009 book The Checklist Manifesto, author Atul Gawande examines the checklist and its role in improving outcomes. Gawande, a surgeon and journalist who writes for Slate and the New Yorker, suggests that physicians, nurses and all health care providers should be mindful of how their specific duties fit into the increasingly complex business of health care.

The Checklist Manifesto distinguishes "errors of ignorance" (mistakes made by people who do not actually have the knowledge required to make a particular decision) from so-called "errors of ineptitude" (those resulting from misguided decision-making in the heat of the moment). Checklists are a way to combat both types of errors leading to medical malpractice.

Federal Regulators Fine Company for Lead in Toys

  • 18
  • June
    2010

Daiso Holding USA and its subsidiaries signed a consent decree agreeing to pay the Consumer Product Safety Commission a fine of $2,050,000 in connection with charges that it imported toys contaminated with lead. The consent decree also bars future imports until Daiso establishes a comprehensive safety program that includes product testing and a recall procedure. The Daiso fine is on the high end of the scale for CPSC fines, with the highest to date being a $2.3 million civil penalty levied last year against Mattel Fisher-Price.

More Deaths From Medical Errors Than Car Accidents?

  • 18
  • June
    2010

According to a report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. That number surpasses even the number of deaths caused by car accidents.

In 2009, the Hearst Media Corp. conducted an investigation that revealed that preventable medical mistakes and infections received while in the hospital are likely responsible for 200,000 deaths in the United States every year.

You are much more likely to hear about people dying in car accidents than to hear about a patient who died due to a doctor's mistake. If these medical deaths were more publicized, it's possible that we could change this trend.

New Jersey Patients Beware: Wrong Site Surgeon Who Removed Healthy Lung Returns to Hoboken

  • 18
  • June
    2010

In June 2008, surgeon Santusht Perera, practicing at Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus, N.J., had his medical license suspended for only 2 years after performing wrong-site surgery -  in which he removed a healthy portion of his patient's right lung rather than the diseased portion of his left lung and then he altered the medical records to try to cover up his gross malpractice. The two-year suspension was abbreviated when the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners granted the doctor's request to shorten his suspension (to six months). Perera is once again working, now at New Jersey's Hoboken Medical Center.

FMCSA Listening Sessions Wrap Up

  • 21
  • April
    2010

In a series of five listening sessions that began in Washington, D.C., and finished at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration were recently given the chance to hear firsthand feedback from truckers on the state of the hours-of-service rules that control how long interstate truckers can drive per day, and on how much rest.

Chiropractic Board Rejects Proposal

  • 15
  • April
    2010

Following the public hearings earlier this year, the Board of Chiropractic Examiners in Connecticut has decided against requiring that chiropractors in the state warn of the risk of stroke from neck manipulations before administering treatment.