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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Safety technology leads to fewer driving fatalities

Individuals in New York can reduce the chance that they will be in a fatal car accident by spending less time in the car and taking advantage of available safety technology. Driving remains one of the most dangerous activities most people engage in although one study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that since 1960, the number of lives saved by safety technology, including seat belts, has increased.

The study looked at data from 1960 to 2012. In 1968, the government began to mandate the inclusion of seat belts in cars, but some manufacturers had already begun including them several years earlier. Over the time period studied, safety technology saved an average of 11,575 lives per year, but in 2012, 27,600 lives were saved.

Early detection of prostate cancer declines

New York health care providers are among those who have been affected by changing recommendations for cancer screening. A conclusion made by the United States Preventive Services Task Force in 2012 noted that PSA testing to screen for prostate cancer was potentially causing more problems than it was solving due to issues such as unnecessary surgical procedures and radiation activity. These problems typically occurred in men who were not at a significant risk of death due to the slow-growing nature of the cancers involved.

A more recent study indicates that screenings have decreased by nearly 20 percent among men who are at least 50 years of age. A similar decrease has occurred in the group of men between 60 and 64 years of age. Meanwhile, early detection of prostrate cancer has also decreased. While this decrease in detection could be a positive sign, there is a concern that a lack of screening for some individuals could lead to a delayed cancer diagnosis.

Drowsy driving and car accident risks

New Yorkers are injured in car accidents caused by drivers who are sleep-deprived every year. While people may be aware that drowsy driving is dangerous, they may not be aware of how common the practice is.

According to a 2015 AAA survey, 43 percent of U.S. drivers that responded admitted driving while drowsy at least once in their lives. Of drivers between the ages of 19 and 24, 39.6 percent admitted to driving while they had a difficult time remaining awake at least once in the previous month. When all age groups were looked at, approximately 31 percent of the respondents admitted to doing so.

Common misdiagnosis of aspirin allergy

Many New York residents who have cardiovascular disease treat it with aspirin. However, according to a new study, many patients who have been told they have an aspirin allergy and cannot use it for treatment may not be allergic. The study was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting

Patients were diagnosed with an aspirin allergy on the basis of having had gastrointestinal issues in the past, but 34 percent of those told that they had an allergy did not. Only 2.5 percent actually did, and none of the people had been sent to an allergist to have the diagnosis confirmed. The type of reaction people had was not adequately documented in 39 percent of the cases. One of the people had a respiratory reaction and another had an anaphylactic reaction. Skin reactions occurred in 19 percent of cases.

Levels of spinal cord injury determine symptoms

An individual involved in a serious accident in New York might wonder about the implications if the spinal cord has been injured. A complete injury can be especially serious due to the irreparable nature of the situation. An incomplete injury may result in some permanent damage, but there may be an opportunity for improvement. The level at which an injury occurs determines the severity of the impact on one's activities of daily living.

The spine is divided into three major sections. The cervical spinal levels are located in the neck. Injuries at the upper four levels, C1 to C4, are the most serious because they can affect one's control over the entire body. Such an injury may imply the need for around-the-clock care as paralysis can occur not only in all four extremities but also in the trunk. An individual suffering a complete spinal injury in the lower cervical spine might retain some control of arms and elbows, but there may be significant paralysis of the hands, wrists, and legs.

Public service efforts to reduce underage drunk driving

New York residents may recognize the dangers of drunk driving, but young drivers may still be tempted to take to the road after consuming alcohol. Statistics indicate that an estimated 25 percent of fatal crashes involving young drivers involve alcohol. All states in the nation have set the minimum drinking age at 21, but underage access to alcohol continues to be an issue that carries over into driving activity.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is targeting this problem as it embarks on a new public service campaign. Sayings such as friends don't let friends drive drunk are derived from similar campaigns, and the NHTSA has excelled at making its messaging memorable. The goal of effecting change in the behaviors of teen drivers is important, and ad agencies and software developers have provided their services pro bono to support the effort. The public can expect the campaign to focus on party fouls, tapping into a point of social interest that is common for underage individuals who use alcohol. The long-lasting implications of a DUI auto accident will be emphasized.

Distinguishing between hemorrhoids and more serious conditions

Many New York residents will rely on Internet information to treat an irritating physical condition, but it is important to understand the importance of a proper medical diagnosis in certain situations. Rectal and colon issues, for example, can be mistaken for hemorrhoids due to similarities in symptoms. Unfortunately, ignoring a more serious condition could lead to a delay in treatment, which could also decrease the potential for a good outcome.

Hemorrhoids can involve discomfort in the rectal region, especially with bowel movements or extended periods of sitting. Blood in the stool can occur in connection with hemorrhoids as well. However, blood in the stool could also be an indicator of cancer in the colon or rectum. Although these conditions are not as common as hemorrhoids, a failure to diagnose cancer in its early stages could lead to a poor outcome if a serious issue is ignored. It is wise to avoid taking chances with what may appear to be hemorrhoids, especially if symptoms persist.

Automated cars and accident fault in New York

Automated cars are expected to become far more available to residents of New York and around the country in the next few years. Google has been testing its fleet of self-driving cars for a while, and Mercedes-Benz has already introduced a car that has semi-autonomous features. Tesla has also just recently launched a beta test of its self-driving automobiles, and there are rumors that Apple may start to work on an automated vehicle as well.

One of the reasons for the push for automated vehicles is that the majority of car accidents are caused by driver error. It is believed that over 90 percent of crashes are due to people making a mistake behind the wheel, so the more automated cars on the road, the less likely that accidents are to occur.

Motor vehicle traffic fatalities continue to decline

Drivers in the state of New York are among the least likely to die in a motor vehicle accident, according to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013, the state's motor vehicle traffic fatality rate was 6.7 per 100,000 people, making it the third-safest state behind Massachusetts and New Jersey, for which the CDC reported rates of 5.6 and 6.3 per 100,000, respectively. The District of Columbia led the list at 4.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

The CDC said the 2013 national motor vehicle traffic death rate was 10.7 per 100,000 and calculated a risk of death in the U.S. as the result of a motor vehicle accident at around one in 77. The risk of death due to heart disease, by comparison, was one in four. One in 46 Americans died from pneumonia or influenza in 2013.

Early detection of breast cancer important for survival chances

New York women should know that a study demonstrated that catching breast cancer at an early stage still matters when it comes to determining how long a cancer patient is likely to live after diagnosis. The study was published in a medical journal in October 2015.

Researchers based at several medical universities and organizations in the Netherlands used data from approximately 174,000 Dutch women. The results found that the survival of the participants was significantly shorter for those whose lymph nodes were impacted by the cancer than those whose cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes when they were diagnosed. Additionally, tumors that were larger and invasive were more likely to be fatal than tumors that were smaller.

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