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Phoenix Personal Injury Law Blog

Phoenix man receives prison sentence for fatal crash

On Oct. 6, a 28-year-old man from Phoenix, Arizona, was driving the wrong way on State Route 51. His vehicle struck an SUV head-on. The crash resulted in the death of a 55-year-old New York woman who was a passenger in the car and serious injuries to the driver who was hospitalized for days after the accident. The Phoenix man also suffered injuries, but he recovered and was arrested after his release from the hospital.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault. His sentence was determined on Aug. 15. He received 16 years in prison plus five years of supervised probation after his release. According to reports, drunk driving was a primary factor in the crash. The man had a blood alcohol content of .28 percent at the time of the accident, far above the legal limit of .08 percent. He also had two prior drunk driving convictions.

3 injured, 4 killed in head-on collision

A crash on Interstate 40 that happened approximately 20 miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona, killed four people on the morning of August 7. The car accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. when a vehicle drove across the median and collided with another head-on. Three people were injured in the wreck, and they were transported to Flagstaff Medical Center.

The accident resulted in the closing of the eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic. The westbound lanes were the last to be reopened around 2 p.m, and traffic had backed up for approximately 10 miles prior to that.

Changes in reporting hospital errors worry patient advocates

Arizona individuals who are searching for information about hospital errors will no longer be able to access data on certain types of mistakes such as people who had foreign objects left inside them after surgery. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says its new system of tracking and reporting is more accurate and useful to consumers, but patient advocates say more information should be available so that people can make up their own minds.

The CMS eliminated tracking of certain incidents and added several others such as MRSA infections. According to the CMS, the incidents that were removed were so rare that they did not provide patients with useful data. A representative from the American Hospital Association has pointed out that inaccurate data is not useful for patients. However, one study has shown that objects may be left in the body after surgery as often as 6,000 times per year. Patient advocates say that even if these types of events are isolated incidents, that is all the more reason consumers need to know about them. If a hospital has made an unusual and catastrophic error, that may sway a person's decision about using that hospital.

New monitoring and brain trauma research offered by NCAA

Arizona college sports fans may not know that the National Collegiate Athletic Association filed a settlement on July 29 in federal court in Illinois for $75 million to be used for head trauma research and medical monitoring of athletes. The NCAA will reportedly provide $70 million to set up a monitoring fund and $5 million over a period not to exceed 10 years for research into concussions.

The NCAA's offer follows a suit by former athletes including a leading Illinois University defensive back. The settlement does not prevent college athletes from filing a personal suit against the NCAA. According to an attorney for one of the players, many students in a variety of sports have dropped out of school due to brain trauma.

4 injured in wrong-way wreck

Four people suffered injuries after they were involved in a car accident in Arizona on July 30. According to the report, the crash took place on Interstate 17 near the Thomas Road exit in Phoenix at approximately 10:15 p.m.

Prior to the accident, officers with the Department of Public Safety received several calls about a vehicle that was traveling north in the southbound lanes of the interstate. One officer attempted to ram the wrong-way vehicle near McDowell Road, but the vehicle was able to drive around the officer. The wrong-way vehicle later struck a passenger car that was carrying two people then collided head-on with a Lexus.

Arizona car accident kills 1, injures 1

Authorities with the Oro Valley Police Department report that they are investigating a two-vehicle wreck that occurred at about 6:20 p.m. on July 20, leaving one person dead and another severely injured. A third person involved in the crash reported no injuries and declined transportation to a nearby hospital.

According to the preliminary investigation, the accident occurred at the intersection of West Lambert and La Cholla when a westbound white Chevrolet truck struck a southbound VW Beetle. Reports indicate that the truck driver failed to stop at the intersection's red light. The Volkswagen driver died from his injuries, and his passenger suffered major injuries. That individual was transported via medical helicopter to UAMC's trauma center. The truck driver was not hurt.

Medical malpractice and misdiagnosed conditions

Individuals in Arizona who are considering filing a lawsuit related to medical malpractice and a misdiagnosis may be interested to learn that such misdiagnoses are not uncommon. In fact, there are about a dozen chronic and acute illnesses that are commonly misdiagnosed in the U.S.

Some of those illnesses fall under the category of autoimmune diseases. Celiac disease, lupus and Lyme disease all have symptoms that mimic those of other illnesses and are frequently misdiagnosed; sufferers of celiac disease are estimated to go up to 10 years without a diagnosis.

New review says medication injuries and deaths could be reduced

Around 7,000 people die each year due to medication errors, according to the authors of a recent review of 63 studies. Many of these deaths are due to a breakdown in communication or misunderstandings between physicians, pharmacists and parents. The review found that many children are not getting their prescribed medications or are taking the wrong amount because of errors that could be reduced with greater cooperation between families and medical professionals. People in Phoenix, Arizona, could be at risk for medication injuries by taking the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage.

One of the ways to decrease harm to patients is for doctors to stop writing prescriptions by hand. The review authors stated that kids get prescribed an incorrect amount of medication or are given the wrong kind of medication between five and 27 percent of the time. Yet, when doctors used preprinted prescription order sheets instead of writing, medication orders errors decreased by as much as 82 percent.

Arizona wrong-way accident injures 1

One person was injured in an Arizona wrong-way accident that occurred on July 15. The victim suffered serious injuries in the car accident, including a broken leg. Police suspected that the wrong-way driver was impaired at the time of the collision and arrested her.

Emergency dispatchers received several calls shortly before 10 p.m. about a wrong-way driver traveling east in the westbound lanes of the Loop 202 freeway in Mesa. The sedan, driven by a 33-year-old Peoria woman, collided with an SUV near Gilbert Road about three minutes later. Paramedics transported the driver of the SUV to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn. A Department of Public Safety officer said that that driver's injuries were not life threatening.

Arizona bicyclist killed in hit-and-run crash

A 28-year-old man is facing a felony charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident after a July 11 incident in Maricopa County, authorities stated. The accident reportedly occurred near Mesa at approximately 4:45 p.m. and claimed the life of a bicyclist.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, officials located and detained the 28-year-old man after a witness noted the license plate number of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run accident on Apache Trail. Reportedly, the driver of that vehicle had veered into the right lane of the roadway before striking the bicyclist.

*Certified Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation by the State Bar of Arizona, Board of Legal Specialization