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Chiariello & Chiariello
118-21 Queens Boulevard Suite 609
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Phone: 888-692-1540

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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Could better roadway signs have prevented tragic Queens crash?

Serious car accidents are not always caused by drivers themselves. Often, collisions are caused by drunk, fatigued, distracted or otherwise reckless drivers, but in some cases there are other parties to blame. For example, General Motors' recent massive recall is a reminder that sometimes defective motor vehicles can result in catastrophe. In other cases, ill-conceived or poorly designed roads and crosswalks or a lack of roadway markings  lead to pedestrian accidents or car accidents. In the aftermath of any car accident that results in injuries or death, it is critical to uncover the cause of the accident and determine who is at-fault in order for victims to seek justice and compensation.

The New York Department of Transportation is currently looking into whether road signage across the city is up to par. The department is tasked with ensuring signs adequately communicate road conditions and other information to drivers. When signs are not in place or are not in good repair, this can lead to car accidents. 

Medical malpractice takes center state at New York theater

This weekend, a New York theater will present “Lady from Limerick,” a play based on the true story of a woman that died from post-plastic surgery complications in 2005. The play is receiving positive reviews because of its neutral approach to medical malpractice and its effects. Instead of vilifying the surgeon that performed the procedure, the play aims to focus on the flaws in the medical system that cause so many people to suffer every year.

The play is the true story of Kathleen Kelly Cregan, an Irish woman who told her family that she was going to a conference in Dublin before flying to New York to undergo plastic surgery. Her intent was to come home with a new look as a surprise for her husband. Instead, she suffered a blood clot after surgery, went into cardiac arrest and eventually passed away.

Study: ER doctors miss stroke warning signs at alarming rates

A new study is shedding some light on what appears to be a life-threatening issue: emergency room doctors are missing the warning signs of strokes in a large number of patients. Interestingly, the study found that nontraditional stroke patients such as women and people under the age of 45 were more likely to experience a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.

In the study, researchers analyzed emergency room and inpatient records collected from nine states during 2008 and 2009. They found that, of all of the hospital admissions for strokes, there were nearly 24,000 potentially missed stroke diagnoses during the previous 30 days. This included about 2,200 “probable missed strokes,” which are defined as emergency room visits in which the patient was discharged with dizziness or a benign headache. 

New York lawmakers debate funding for spinal cord injury research

In 1998, a law took effect in New York which devoted up to $8.5 million every year to the state's Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, which finances grants for research into the treatment of paralysis and other serious back and neck injuries. But in 2010, amidst a massive state budget deficit, those funds were cut.

In recent years, spinal cord injury research funding has been restored, but it is nowhere near the levels provided for in the 1998 law. Last year, the legislature placed $2 million in the research program, and the same amount has been proposed for the 2014-2015 budget year. However, lawmakers from both legislative houses are fighting to increase that amount.

Technology aims to prevent surgical never events

There are a certain category of surgical errors that the health care industry considers “never events,” which means, quite simply, that they should never happen. Unfortunately, that is not the case. One example of this is when surgeons or surgical assistants accidentally leave sponges and other medical equipment inside a patient’s body. Despite being labeled as a never event, sponges are left inside patients’ bodies fairly often. But because there is no comprehensive system for tracking these errors in the U.S., the exact rate of occurrence is not entirely known.

In one three-year study, the Mayo Clinic found that the rate of “retained foreign objects” was about one in every 5,000 surgeries. Another study, which looked at 20 years of medical malpractice settlements, found that this particular type of never event occurred approximately five times per day, with an estimated 2,024 claims every year.

Do water births create a greater risk of birth injuries?

In recent years, water births have grown more popular in New York and throughout the country, with proponents arguing that giving birth in a tub of warm water can ease labor pain, speed up delivery and make the birthing process easier for both mother and baby. Of course, there are many who do not support water births as a safe and healthy birthing option. That group now includes U.S. obstetricians and pediatricians who, in a statement, said that the safety of water births has not been sufficiently proven.

In their statement, the doctors distinguished water births from laboring in a tub, which most believe is completely safe. Giving birth in a tub, they say, creates a risk of birth injuries such as choking or drowning, which can occur when a baby takes his or her first breath underwater.  

Report: Distracted driving crashes kill 9 every day

It will likely come as no surprise to most of our blog readers that distracted driving has become a huge problem in New York and every other U.S. state. Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report which demonstrates just how harmful distraction can be.

According to the CDC report, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured every day in car accidents in which distraction is identified as a cause. And that doesn’t take into account the crashes in which distraction is merely suspected. If it did, the number of fatalities and injuries would likely increase significantly.

Should New York doctors undergo drug testing?

If you have read our New York medical malpractice blog for any period of time, you are probably well aware of the myriad of situations in which medical treatment can go wrong, causing significant harm or even death to patients. Before undergoing treatment, you will have to suspend the fear that your doctor, nurse or other medical professional will inflict harm upon you, either negligently or intentionally. Doing so can be a daunting task.

Many people believe that hospitals and medical facilities should do more to alleviate patient fears and reduce the potential of harm by taking additional precautionary steps to prevent medical malpractice. One example of this is detailed in a recent New York Times editorial, which proposes that doctors, nurses and other medical professionals undergo random drug testing.

More than 4,000 at risk after insulin injections at NY hospital

A New York hospital has notified more than 4,200 patients that they may be at risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis after receiving an injection of insulin at the hospital. Officials say that the hospital has discontinued the use of the dangerous injection method that caused the infection risk, but it is not yet clear just why that risky practice was used in the first place.

The method in question is injection via a pen-shaped injector, which holds the insulin in a reservoir or cartridge. The CDC recommends that the pen injectors are only used by one patient because of the risk that blood can be regurgitated into the insulin reservoir after injection. This significantly increases the potential of blood contamination and the spread of blood-borne pathogens, even when the needle is changed after each injection.

New York pedestrian hit by bus; fatal crashes on the rise in 2014

Earlier this week, a New York woman suffered serious leg injuries when the MTA bus she was attempting to board was slammed from behind by another bus, causing her leg to catch and become injured. The woman’s injuries are not life-threatening, but the accident is still disconcerting to those that rely on the bus system to get around the city. As of this writing, MTA officials had not yet stated the cause of the accident.

There have been five fatal crashes involving MTA buses so far in 2014. This is especially unsettling considering the fact that there were only 10 fatal bus accidents during all of 2013. According to the MTA, officials review every deadly crash thoroughly, looking both at the actions of every person that played some role in the accident as well as the training records of all employees involved in order to determine the cause of the accident. In addition, all drivers reportedly take an annual refresher course.