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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Study reveals misconception in spinal injury theory

New York victims of serious spinal cord injuries may be interested to hear about a potentially game-changing study published in April 2016. Researchers believe they have proven that the scars associated with spinal cord injuries could actually promote nerve growth. For the more than 12,000 U.S. residents who sustain such injuries each year, these conclusions may result in improved treatments.

Prior to this study, many medical theories held that when special cells, known as astrocytes, build scar tissue at spinal cord injury sites, the scars get in the way of subsequent nerve regrowth. Astrocytes are assistive cells that are more than five times as common as the neurons that make up nerves, and they can move to injury sites to form scars with the help of immune system cells.

Who will pay my wages if I am going to be out of work for a long time?

When you have been in a motor vehicle accident, your first priority is your health. You need to focus on your own recovery and getting the treatment you need before you consider going back to work.

This can be difficult, however. Bills keep coming, regardless of how your treatment is progressing. Your rent, mortgage, utilities and other bills will still need to be paid. Who will pay for the lost wages you need to pay those bills? What options do you have to secure compensation while you recover?

Entrepreneur's test identifies father's cancer

Although New York men may be encouraged to go through screenings for prostate cancer as they reach ages at which this disease is a serious risk, PSA testing can miss some cases. Unfortunately, false negative results could allow the condition to go undiagnosed. In cases of aggressive forms of the cancer, the consequences of a missed diagnosis could be deadly.

Innovation in testing for cancer proved helpful in the case of an entrepreneur and his father. The entrepreneur's startup company is working in an area of biotech research that is targeting diagnostics of cancers with blood samples rather than through tissue biopsies. When his father's PSA test showed no sign of prostate cancer, he offered to use his own test to confirm the results. As it happened, his father actually had an aggressive form of the disease, which could have been deadly. The test caught the cancer so that timely treatment could begin. As research in this area continues, the cost and convenience of these blood tests could minimize the risk of a delayed cancer diagnosis for some of the most serious types of the disease.

Artificial intelligence may predict heart disease

The American Heart Association reports that approximately 6 million Americans have heart failure each year, but some researchers may have developed a method for early detection of the condition. With the research showing that artificial intelligence may diagnose heart disease up to nine months earlier than a physician is able to do so, people in New York and throughout the country might soon have their lives saved by computers.

Heart disease can be difficult to detect, and as a result, some people only learn that they have it after a heart attack. Researchers at California-based Sutter Health teamed up with others at the Georgia Institute of Technology to explore how computers could be taught to predict heart disease from analyzing electronic medical records. Because the task requires computers to make complex interpretations from varied data such as summaries of doctor visits or prescription records, it was necessary to use a method known as deep learning in which the computer does not need a human to tell it how to evaluate every factor.

Technology may be increasing the risk of distracted driving

The risks posed by a distracted driver who is talking on a cellphone or texting and driving have resulted in the passage of laws to restrict the practices in New York and other states. Talking on a cellphone when driving a vehicle is limited to the use of a hands-free device in some states while texting and driving is widely prohibited.

Questions are now being raised about the new technology auto manufacturers are making available to purchasers of new vehicles. Hands-free cellphone technology that allows drivers to make and receive calls through an onboard system competes with GPS systems and other technology for the attention of drivers who are supposed to be focused on the road. Asking the brain to multitask might be contributing to the risk of a car collision caused by the negligence of a distracted driver.

Those eligible to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit

Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder that affects newborn babies and children in New York and around the world. For every 1,000 births, up to four infants have it and, in many of those cases, it was caused by a negligent doctor, nurse or other medical party.

Since there is a statute of limitations regarding birth injury and other malpractice claims, it is best if it is filed shortly after the injury occurred. Therefore, those typically eligible to file these types of lawsuits are the parents or the legal guardian of the affected infant because the statute of limitations would probably run out if the suit were to be filed once the injured child became an adult. However, in some states, the statute of limitations is tolled for minors, making it possible for them to file a claim for compensation themselves.

Finding out about the history of doctors

When New Yorkers are going to see doctors about a medical condition, they may want to find out about those practitioners and their ability to treat patients. However, there is a lot of information about doctors that is not available to most people. Consumer Reports researched the issue and discovered that even if a doctor has a history of misconduct or has been sued for malpractice, potential patients may have no way of finding out about it.

While the National Practitioner Data Bank collects and maintains information about everything from malpractice payouts to disciplinary actions taken against doctors, this database is only available to certain individuals, such as law enforcement officers, lawyers and hospital administrators. Most people looking for a physician and who wanted to obtain information from this database probably wouldn't be able to get it.

Woman has wrong rib removed, sues Yale and doctors

New Yorkers may be appalled after hearing that doctors at a hospital affiliated with Yale University allegedly removed the wrong body part from a woman during surgery, according to a recent lawsuit filed against the operating team and the hospital. Reportedly, after the wrong part removal happened, at least one doctor then attempted to cover up the error.

The 60-year-old plaintiff alleges that she was scheduled for surgery to remove a portion of her eighth rib that had a precancerous lesion on it. The surgical team allegedly instead removed the woman's seventh rib, something she didn't learn until later going in after experiencing pain following the surgery.

Spastic conditions and research

Spinal cord trauma is one of the most devastating injuries that can be encountered, and many New York residents suffer from the debilitating and long-term effects of such an injury. Research into the mechanism underlying spinal trauma and associated motor conditions have made major strides forward, and it is now believed that the trauma-related chemical feedback loop that causes spasticity has been isolated and identified.

Spasticity occurs when a muscle becomes uncontrollably stimulated, spasming and contracting without the volition of the injured individual. This condition is both debilitating and degenerative, and there is at present no satisfactory treatment for it. The researchers have tracked the condition to a malfunction in the sodium channels of neurons. A signaling problem with the channels causes the neurons to excite unpredictably.

Automatic braking coming to New York by 2022

Automatic braking, currently offered as an option for some new car models, will come as part of the standard package for most cars in the U.S. by Sept. 2022. Major automakers have agreed to install automatic braking systems after the systems have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of rear-end collisions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, 10 automakers have agreed to install the systems in their vehicles. In excess of 99 percent of light vehicles in the country will have the systems. The braking systems brake automatically when a driver either fails to engage the brake or doesn't apply sufficient pressure to slow the vehicle.

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