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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Delayed diagnosis continues to be a concern for HIV

People in Iowa and across the United States are still waiting for HIV diagnoses that are often delayed, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Studies show that HIV detection rates are improving, but many people live with HIV for some time before receiving a diagnosis. This is often true even for people who have seen a doctor.

In 2015, it took people in the United States three years on average to get an HIV diagnosis after contracting an infection. In 2011, that time was about three years and seven months. Furthermore, the number of people with HIV that is well-controlled by medication is also up, and annual new cases are down, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2015, approximately 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV, and half of them had the disease for three years before they were aware of their diagnosis. Even more, one-fourth of this group of people had HIV for seven years before being diagnosed. For 20 percent of the people studied, their HIV had already advanced to AIDS before a diagnosis was made.

What to do in case of dog bites

Anyone in Iowa who has been bitten by a dog knows from experience that dogs are not always man's best friend. In fact, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with one out of every five requiring medical attention afterwards. In the majority of cases, the victims are bitten by dogs they know, such as a neighbor's dog or even their own pet.

Experts give several tips on how to avoid dog bites. Since children are bitten more often than adults, parents should never leave their youngsters alone with a dog. Always approach a dog slowly so that it has a chance to approach first. If a dog becomes aggressive, make no sudden movements but slowly back away without making eye contact with it.

How teens with ADHD can avoid car accidents

Teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are one-third more likely to be in a car accident than those without the condition, according to a study published in 'JAMA Pediatrics." Researchers also say that individuals with ADHD tend to get their license at a later age than others. However, drivers in Iowa need not be too alarmed.

The authors of the study say that the crash risk is ultimately manageable. They also commend teens for choosing to delay getting a license as this demonstrates maturity when it comes to driver readiness. ADHD normally results in a maturational lag of three to five years, so parents should encourage their teens to wait until they are familiar with the intricacies of driving.

Misdiagnosed skin disorders

People in Iowa who suffer from certain skin conditions may be surprised to learn that such ailments are routinely misdiagnosed by doctors. Because the symptoms for many skin diseases can mimic other conditions, they can be easily misdiagnosed. As a result, patients might not receive the proper medical care that they need.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most frequently occurring skin cancer in the United States. However, it is often mistaken for a simple blemish. The cancer might begin as a small pink bump that can be likened to acne. If a skin blemish appears, remains for three weeks and is progressively getting larger or bleeding, dermatologists recommend an examination by a dermatologist.

Daylight standard time can be risky for wildlife accidents

For drivers in Iowa, the annual return to standard time can also have an impact on car accident rates. In particular, auto crashes involving wildlife can be a greater risk as the hours of daylight decrease. The switch from daylight saving time to standard time coincides with mating seasons for many animals.

Deer can be particularly active at this time. On the other hand, bears are also active during the time change period. They are actively scouting for food and consuming calories prior to their hibernation in the winter. While animals are most active between the hours of dawn and dusk, later dawns and earlier dusks mean that more people are on the roadways while animals are roaming.

8 young people die every day in distracted driving accidents

The phone buzzes in your pocket on the way to the store. You're driving down a four-lane road, a route you take every day. It's just a mile and a half to the store, but you don't want to wait.

Do you dig the phone out and see who texted you? To save time, do you send that reply before you park? On a familiar road, do you think you can easily text and drive because this is an "easy" drive?

The misdiagnosis of type 3c diabetes

Many people are aware of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Iowa residents who have a family history of diabetes may be interested to know that a third type may be frequently misdiagnosed.

The third type of diabetes is a result of a damaged pancreas. However, according to one study, there is a chance that the condition has been misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes. This type of misdiagnosis is significant as the treatment for the two conditions are different. Misdiagnoses can result in a waste of money and time used to administer useless treatment plans while the patients continue to have high blood sugar levels.

Opioids and anticoagulants cause many drug-related claims

In recent years, an aging senior population and the increased availability of healthcare options for younger people has resulted in a growing number of Iowa residents receiving medical treatment. However, with more people visiting doctors and receiving prescription medication, the number of medication-related liability claims will likely rise as well.

According to a report from the Boston-based medical liability insurer Coverys, between 2012 and 2016, nearly a quarter of all medical malpractice suits involving prescription medications were related to opioid drugs. The report goes on to describe how anticoagulants are responsible for 16 percent of liability claims, making opioids and anticoagulants a "dangerous duo" accounting for approximately 40 percent of drug-related malpractice suits by themselves. Among the more than 10,000 closed medical malpractice claims that were analyzed, drug-related liability claims were the fourth most common reason for litigation. The three leading causes of liability claims in the report were listed as diagnostic-related claims, surgery-related claims and claims related to medical management.

Disparities still remain in breast cancer survival rates

Although the rates of death from breast cancer have fallen, the American Cancer Society reported that black women were still more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Breast cancer deaths declined by 39 percent between 1989 and 2015 as more advances in breast cancer treatments were made. However, survival rates between black women and white women started to change in the early 1980s and never improved.

Part of the reason is that different types of tumors develop in white and black women. For example, white women develop higher rates of HR+/HER2- breast cancers while black women tend to develop triple negative tumors. This latter type of breast cancer is more difficult to treat. Further, black women have less access to effective breast cancer treatments, like Tamoxifen, which can improve the chances of survival.

Older cars generally more dangerous than newer ones

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people who drive older cars are more likely to be killed in an accident than those who drive newer cars. Specifically, those who are driving a car that is 18 years or older have a 71 percent greater chance of being in a fatal accident than someone driving a car that is three years old or newer. Iowa parents of young drivers who are looking for an affordable used vehicle might want to take these statistics into account.

The NHTSA study did take into account other variables such as driver age and how much alcohol a driver may have had before getting behind the wheel. It also took into account the time of day and how fast a driver may have been going when a crash occurred. The type of road a crash took place on as well as whether a driver was wearing a seat belt was also looked at.

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