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Light rail is safe, but accidents and injuries still happen

Published on Oct 12, 2017 at 10:39 pm in General Blogs.

Light rail serves many people in the Baltimore area. Industry statistics have Baltimore’s  Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) ranked 12th in the nation for passenger miles for this form of transportation.

Mile for mile, light rail is dependable, convenient and safe, but any kind of transportation carries risks. Accidents still happen, and injuries for the people involved range from minor to life-changing.

3 Common Medication Errors By Medical Providers

Published on Aug 9, 2017 at 10:19 pm in General Blogs.

Errors with prescription drugs are alarmingly common. While most mistakes cause little or no harm, they sometimes have disastrous consequences. The wrong med or wrong amount can lead to serious complications, including stroke, organ damage or death.

How do medication errors even occur? The medical professionals are supposed to protect us from harm, not cause it. Here are some common medication errors and what you can do to reduce the risk.

Wrong dosage

Many drugs are measured in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg). A doctor may inadvertently prescribe the wrong amount. Or a nurse or pharmacist could misread the doctor’s prescription, converting a 10-milligram dose into 100 milligrams. Ingesting 10 or 100 times the amount of certain medications could trigger a fatal overdose or irreversible damage. An underdose can also make the medicine ineffective or even life-threatening.

Can a repetitive stress injury cause permanent disability?

Published on Aug 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm in General Blogs.

Many people who use a computer on a daily basis have experienced bouts of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a repetitive stress injury involving the wrist. This is just one of several conditions that come under the heading of repetitive motion disorders. Many parts of the body can be affected.

Concerned employers can provide special equipment or ergonomic programs to help workers avoid issues, as repetitive stress injuries could result in lost time at work and workers’ compensation claims. Temporary disability is a very real possibility. If not treated properly, the worst-case scenario is permanent disability.

Play it safe around electrical equipment

Published on Jan 25, 2017 at 8:38 pm in General Blogs.

With great (electrical) power comes great responsibility

Electrical hazards are among the potential dangers encountered on a construction site. Workers (and visitors) may be exposed to serious events such as fire, explosions or arc flash accidents, causng electric shock injuries, electrical burns and even electrocution death.

Safe work practices and awareness will go a long way toward preventing accidents and serious injury, along with using protective equipment and maintaining your electrical tools properly.

De-energize electrical equipment

A break or gap in the insulation of an electrical tool or machine may cause metal parts to become energized and conduct electric current. Power cords and extension cords should be checked before operating the tool. Another way to defend against a potentially dangerous event is to make sure there is a path for stray current — a low-resistance grounding wire from the machinery to the ground, or a grounding strap worn on the wrist for handheld tools that may be energized or compromised.

Are EMTs and other emergency responders immune from patient lawsuits?

Published on Aug 30, 2016 at 5:56 pm in General Blogs.

Though they train for crisis situations, it is not fair to expect miracles or perfection from those who respond to 911 emergencies. They aren’t doctors or rolling hospitals. They must make quick decisions under chaotic or even hostile circumstances.

Maryland law shields first responders, EMTs, paramedics and ambulance drivers from liability for bad outcomes of good faith efforts to help those in distress. But emergency personnel and their employers may be legally accountable for injury or death when they are reckless with protocols or derelict in their duty.

Limited immunity for EMS personnel

The Maryland Good Samaritan Act provides volunteer fire departments, rescue squads and ambulance crews with immunity for ordinary negligence. The Maryland Fire and Rescue Act provides similar immunity to police officers, firefighters and medics employed by governmental entities. Although these laws do not extend to commercial ambulance companies, private ambulance drivers,  EMTs (emergency medical technicians) and paramedics are somewhat immune under the same good faith doctrine.

Can I sue for injuries involving a public bus, subway or commuter train?

Published on Aug 25, 2016 at 5:58 pm in General Blogs.

Hundreds of people — passengers, pedestrians and motorists — are injured each year in mass transit accidents in the Baltimore area. Some people forfeit their right to compensation by waiting too long to bring a claim. Other victims never pursue legal action, believing that government entities are immune.

A public transit agency can be held liable — the same as an individual or corporate entity — but there are special rules and restrictions. Your best recourse is to work with a lawyer who has actually filed and won such claims.

Do I have to be a public transit passenger to sue the transit agency?
No. Pedestrians who were struck by a bus or train, while crossing the street or waiting at the station or bus stop, may have claims. Occupants of other vehicles that collided with a bus or train may have grounds to sue. And of course, passengers who suffered lasting injury while riding, boarding or unboarding may have claims. According to Metrobus, the most common “customer injuries” (passengers) are collision-related, followed by slips, trips and falls.

Employers must record injuries related to alcohol consumption

Published on Jun 7, 2016 at 5:46 pm in General Blogs.

If a person in Maryland consumes alcohol before they go to work, they could be injured on the job as a result of their intoxication. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to record alcohol-related injuries if the injuries are severe enough that they require more treatment than simple first aid.

Though there are certain exemptions to OSHA’s injury reporting rule, the fact that an injury was caused by off-the-job alcohol consumption does not make the injury exempt from reporting requirements. OSHA allows employers to keep injuries that are related to self-medication for a non-work-related condition out of their work injury records. Injuries that are intentionally self-inflicted or directly caused by an employee’s personal grooming activities are also exempt from reporting requirements.

Cancer diagnoses hampered by potential inaccuracies

Published on Apr 12, 2016 at 5:29 pm in General Blogs.

Maryland patients may benefit from new technology that seeks to make up for inaccuracies in diagnostic processes. Although one in seven males suffer from prostate cancer, current techniques for diagnosing the disease commonly fail to catch it in time for effective treatment due to its lack of early symptoms. Annual prostate cancer screenings, often referred to as PSA tests, have also been known to result in false negatives in patients who actually have cancer.

Statistics say that prostate cancer claimed the lives of more than 27,000 men in the United States in 2015. To improve prognoses for suspected cancer sufferers, multiple startup firms have invested in diagnostic technologies known as liquid biopsies. Instead of using invasive tissue samples to hunt for cancer markers, these tools rely on the fact that cancer cells often release small quantities into the bloodstream.

Curbing insurance fraud in Maryland

Published on Mar 29, 2016 at 3:27 pm in General Blogs.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau workers’ compensation fraud is almost $7.2 million per year. Therefore, insurance companies are looking to take steps to prevent fraud before it happens. Two tactics that insurance companies may use in the future are social media and surveillance of a claimant. While there may be higher upfront costs related to monitoring someone who may be committing fraud, it could cut down on costs later on.

Looking for signs of a fraudulent insurance claim can make it easier to determine who may be attempting to commit a crime and catch that person in the act. One sign of fraud are claims being made on Monday morning for injuries that allegedly occurred the previous week. If there are no witnesses to the injury or conflicting reports of what caused it emerge, that could also increase the odds that a claim is fraudulent.

AAA study estimates drowsy driving is serious problem

Published on Nov 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm in General Blogs.

Drowsy driving is known to be a problem. Official federal crash statistics estimate that about 2.5 percent of all fatal car accidents involve a drowsy driver. But those estimates are not considered very accurate, as determining if a driver was sleepy before a crash is difficult.

In fatal crashes, the driver cannot answer any questions concerning his or her condition prior to the crash, and for drivers who survive a motor vehicle accident, they may not realize they were drowsy or may be to reticent to admit to a police officer that they fell asleep at the wheel. 

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