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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Radiology-related malpractice frequently ends in death

While radiologists and pathologists are critical in the accurate diagnosis of cancer and other conditions, they are not always engaged by diagnostic teams in Iowa and other states. Coverys recently studied more than 10,000 of its medical professional liability claims, spanning the years 2013 to 2017 and all related to radiology, and it has come to some eye-opening conclusions.

Researchers found that general medicine practitioners were blamed for the majority of diagnosis-related claims, which are claims of a missed, delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Approximately 15 percent of the allegations were aimed at radiologists while 80 percent of the claims were due to the misinterpretation of clinical tests.

Driving risks spike for newly licensed teens

A July 2018 report from the National Institutes of Health shows that a typical teen driver is a lot more dangerous on the road during their first three months of being licensed. Compared to the last three months of driving with an adult, teens are eight times more likely to get into an accident once they start driving alone. While none of the 90 teen drivers tested in the study were from Iowa, experts believe that the results could apply to the entire country.

In order to gather results, the teen's vehicles were monitored with dash cams and recorders that measured speed and braking. The data showed that the teens often accelerated too quickly, braked too abruptly, and turned too severely. These behaviors increased the risks of near misses and accidents. The data also showed that teenagers were safer drivers at night and during bad weather, but their risks rose dramatically during clear days.

Texting nightmares: How texting impacts concentration on the road

While many people think about texting as an act that only teenagers do behind the wheel, the reality is that there are people of all ages who become distracted by texting and driving. Although most people agree that texting and driving is dangerous, most people do it anyway. In a new survey, 98 percent of motorists who own cellphones and text regularly said they were aware of the dangers, yet three-quarters of them admitted to texting while driving, despite laws against it in states like Iowa. 

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. 

Patients being sued for leaving negative reviews

While Iowa patients expect their doctors to have their best interests in mind, there are some doctors who do not listen to their patients or who do not provide appropriate service. Some patients who did not like the service that they received may turn to leaving negative reviews online. According to an investigation by USA Today, some doctors are fighting these negative patient reviews by filing lawsuits.

One example included a case where a physician sued a former patient after she posted a negative review about the doctor's practice. A hospital filed a lawsuit against an elderly patient's family members after they left a negative Facebook post and picketed at the front of the hospital. The family members had claimed that the hospital mistreated the elderly patient. A third case resulted in a financial settlement after a patient sent emails threatening to leave a post on Yelp that detailed all of the surgeries the doctor had scheduled at the same time the patient's surgery was completed.

Dog bites can cause serious injuries to young children

Dogs make great pets, service animals and companion animals. They are clever, strong and typically friendly. However, not all dogs tolerate people the same way. Some animals quickly become aggressive in a variety of situations. That leaves people, especially younger children, at risk for injury and trauma.

Small children don't often have the ability to read a dog's attempts at communication accurately. They may not understand that growling is not an invitation to play, but rather a warning. Sadly, children can suffer truly catastrophic injuries as the result of a dog bite. It's important to know your rights in Iowa after a vicious dog bite attack that injures your child.

Family files wrongful death claim over duck boat accident

Iowa readers may be interested to learn that the family of two people killed in the Missouri duck boat accident in July has filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the boat's owners. The accident claimed the lives of 17 passengers, including nine members of an Indiana family. The lawsuit was filed by the estates of a 76-year-old man and a 2-year-old boy from that family.

On July 19, a canopied duck boat operated by Ride the Ducks Branson sank during a severe thunderstorm. The lawsuit contends that the owners of the company knew their boats were dangerous, but they "repeatedly" placed profits above the safety of their passengers. It further contends that the captain of the boat broke company rules by not telling passengers to put on their life jackets when the storm hit. The lawsuit also claims he pulled down the boat's plastic side curtains, making it difficult for the passengers to escape as the vessel took on water and sank.

Study links frequent doctor burnout with malpractice

According to a study recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, more than half of all doctors in Iowa and across the U.S. suffer from burnout. This is a condition that many workers in high-stress environments develop, and it is characterized by physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion and depression. Burnout has a negative impact on doctor performance, often leading to medical mistakes.

Researchers conducted a poll of 6,700 clinic and hospital physicians. Each subject was asked if they committed a medical mistake in the past three months, how safe their workplace is and whether they experience depression, fatigue or suicidal thoughts. Over 10 percent said they did commit a medical mistake, and burnout symptoms were more frequent among this group. In all, doctors suffering from burnout were two times as likely to commit errors. Only 4 percent of doctors described their workplace safety levels as either "poor" or "failing."

Car crash deaths top 40,000 for second year in a row

Iowa motorists may be interested to learn that data from the National Safety Council shows that there has been a nationwide increase in car crash fatalities over the past few years. Its preliminary estimate for 2017 is that 40,100 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2017. This is down from the 40,327 deaths recorded in 2016. However, it was the second consecutive year where the number topped 40,000. Such a high number was last seen in 2007.

The NSC President states that aggressive action must be taken to improve road safety. Besides fatalities, there were 4.57 million reported cases of injury following car crashes in 2017. Car accidents and injuries cost society an estimated $413.8 billion last year.

If your child has cerebral palsy, learn to be flexible

A pregnant woman looks forward to bringing home a perfect bundle of joy after her delivery. While this is what happens in most cases, it certainly isn't always the reality. A woman might learn that her baby suffered from hypoxia before or during labor and delivery. This is a condition that means that the baby's brain didn't get enough oxygen-rich blood and has suffered some damage.

The results of hypoxia can vary greatly. One of the possible results is that the baby will have cerebral palsy. This isn't something that is noted at birth unless the condition is severe. Most cases will be diagnosed when the child is 1 to 3 years old. This can greatly change the course of the family's life as they cope with the needs of the child.

Manufacturers may soon turn to automated motorcycles

Semi-autonomous cars have been a rising trend throughout Iowa and the rest of America for some time now. Multiple manufacturers are now aiming to apply that same safety technology to different types of vehicles.

Until recently, there has been little in the way of driver-assistance technology for motorcycles. Since motorcycle fatalities happen 28 times more often per mile traveled than fatal car accidents, it seems obvious that there's a need for greater safety. Motorcycles would inherently benefit from driver-assistance technology given that their riders are exposed to far more danger.

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