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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Automakers use virtual pedestrians to test autonomous cars

Several automakers are racing to get their autonomous vehicles on roadways in Iowa and around the world by 2020. However, a series of deadly accidents involving self-driving vehicles in recent months has profoundly shaken public confidence in the technology. As a result, manufacturers are stepping up their testing techniques to bring autonomous technology up to speed and ensure public safety.

For instance, Swedish automaker Volvo is using computerized "virtual humans" on a private track to test its autonomous car's ability to detect pedestrians. The test is a direct response to the March 2018 incident in which a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a woman as she crossed an Arizona street. According to experts, the accident shook up the industry and caused engineers to take a closer look at their testing procedures.

What are the risks for birth injury in at-home births?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) maintains that the safest place to deliver a baby is in a hospital, but planned home births are on the rise. In the U.S. 1 out of every 62 births in 2017 occurred outside of the hospital. But how safe is it to deliver at home?

Some women tell emotionally powerful stories of giving birth in their living rooms. The reality is that not every pregnancy is eligible for a home birth and you must consider the serious risks and costs before you decide the best option for you.

Watch out for plows on Iowa roads this winter

You may be ready for spring, but our recent weather shows no sign of its approach. If anything, Iowa seems to have even more snow in its future. Unfortunately, that means more accidents on the road. As if other cars weren’t enough of a problem, drivers also must watch out for dangerous snow plows.

Iowa woman killed in vehicle crash on snowy roads

The snow just keeps coming this winter. Des Moines broke its previous record for the snowiest start to the year. According to a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, on Feb. 19, the state capital had received 37.8 inches of snow. The former record was 37.4 inches which was set in 1962.

GHSA: speeding a persistent factor in car crashes

Iowa residents should know about a report released by Governors Highway Safety Association because it is concerned with a widespread issue: speeding. According to the report, nearly one in three traffic deaths every year are caused by excessive travel speed.

Most of these crashes can be avoided with a reduction of speed. Not only that, but even a slight decrease in speed can lower the severity of crashes and the injuries that might result. This can save lives, especially the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists. However, speeding is considered culturally acceptable among many drivers; it comes with no stigma the way that DUI or driving without a seatbelt does.

Iowa clinic misdiagnoses cancer, removes prostate by mistake

Two years ago, an Iowa clinic mistakenly removed a man's healthy prostate gland after misdiagnosing him with cancer. The case involving the 67-year-old Iowa native is now set to go to trial this April.

Back in 2017, the clinic confused the patient's slides containing tissue samples with a patient who tested positive for prostate cancer. As a result, a urologist removed the prostate gland in April of 2017 at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Tragically, after the surgery, another doctor noticed that the prostate was perfectly healthy. Sadly, these types of medical errors occur every day across the United States.

IIHS study highlights growing distracted driving problem

The results of a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study suggest that cell phones are encouraging people in Iowa and around the country to engage in increasingly reckless behavior while behind the wheel. The study adds to the growing body of research about the addictive nature of electronic communications and the importance of cell phones in American life. The IIHS researchers reached their conclusions after observing how drivers in four Virginia communities used their cell phones in 2014 and 2018.

Many road safety experts link a recent and worrying rise in car accident fatalities with explosive growth in cell phone use, but the IIHS found about the same number of motorists using cell phones in 2018 as they did in 2014. However, they observed a noticeable change in how the cell phones were being used. In 2014, most drivers used the devices to make or answer calls. In 2018, drivers were far more likely to be using their cell phones to write or read emails or text messages or access the internet.

Migraines can be mistaken for other conditions

Individuals in Iowa and throughout the country may feel a variety of symptoms that are the result of a migraine headache. However, since migraines can mimic the symptoms of other conditions, it can be difficult for medical professionals to accurately diagnose them. It is also possible that someone who is actually experiencing a different medical condition has been diagnosed with a migraine. An accurate diagnosis is critical as it can lead to proper treatment in a timely manner.

Migraines are frequently misdiagnosed as panic attacks because both can cause dizziness, vomiting and nausea. For some, not knowing what it is making them sick can give them anxiety or panic attacks. Hemiplegic migraines are sometimes diagnosed as a stroke. This is because symptoms may not include head pain. However, they do generally result in loss of function in one side of the body, and they can last for several days.

While birth injuries are on the decline, lawsuits are on the rise

In Iowa and across the U.S., the number of birth injuries is steadily declining year after year, and infant mortality rates are going down as well. At the same time, the number of birth injury lawsuits is growing, and the settlements that result are reaching previously unthinkable figures.

The CDC recorded 3,945,875 live births in the U.S. in 2016 and 23,161 infant deaths. Frequent factors in these deaths were premature delivery, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome and congenital issues. Birth injuries ranked fifth among the causes of death, often leading to the development of lifelong conditions. These ailments can require great expenses from families.

Pregnant moms with the flu pose a risk to their children

A recent study found that some pregnant women with the flu give birth to babies suffering from a variety of problems.

The new study, published in the journal Birth Defects Research, found that pregnant women admitted to an intensive care unit suffering from 2009 H1N1 influenza were more likely to deliver preterm babies and babies with low birth weight and low APGAR scores.

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