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Phoenix Personal Injury Law Blog

More about medical malpractice settlements

Arizona patients may benefit from learning more about a study that recently reviewed existing trends among medical malpractice lawsuits. Researchers discovered that the majority of the settlements included various nondisclosure provisions, some which actually impose restrictions beyond the scope of improving health care for patients. The study involved reviewing settled malpractice cases from over 6,000 physicians. According to the researchers, there were nondisclosure clauses included in 90 percent of the final settlements.

The lead author of the study described the current health care system as being well-intentioned in attempts to be transparent and fair. He also noted that those operating within the constructs of the system only face a small risk of litigation. However, the researchers did observe a trend of behavior exhibiting secrecy and silence associated with medical errors. During the three increments of time totaling six years, there were 150 settlements made from the 715 claims in the University of Texas hospital system.

The riskiest days to drive

As some Arizona drivers may know, there are certain days when driving might be more risky. While driving safely is always important, extra care may be necessary on such days of the year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has documented that the Memorial Day holiday involves more highway deaths than on average weekends. Results from yearly surveys show that 400 individuals die each year on this holiday weekend. This represents an increase of about 13 percent over non-holidays. Since 36.1 million drivers are on the road and alcohol use is a common feature of the celebratory process, authorities concede the combination may be responsible for crashes.

Lack of communication by hospital staff hurts patients

Patients in Arizona hospitals are at a serious risk of injury when nurses and doctors have poor communication skills. Each year, 200,000 people are killed as a result of medical errors. Many people believe that these errors would be less likely to occur if hospital staff members were more willing to point out their colleagues' mistakes.

A report called Silence Kills that was published by VitalSmarts and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in 2005 found that lack of communication was a dangerous problem in medicine. After surveying 1,700 physicians, nurses, administrators and clinical care staff, researchers found that 50 percent of the people who were surveyed had watched their colleagues make mistakes, show poor teamwork and demonstrate incompetence on the job. However, only 10 percent of the people surveyed said that they had addressed their concerns with their colleagues.

Arizona crash claims 2 lives, injures 3

A collision involving a pickup truck and a car in West Phoenix left two people dead and three injured, according to reports. The fatal accident happened near Indian School Road during the evening hours of May 3.

Law enforcement officials stated that an individual driving a pickup truck collided almost head on into a vehicle on 67th Avenue, fatally injuring two people who were in the vehicle. It was unclear if they died at the scene or were first taken to a nearby hospital.

Lawsuit filed against Bruce Jenner for a February accident

As some Arizona residents who follow celebrity news may know, a lawsuit has been filed over Bruce Jenner's involvement in a four-vehicle February crash that killed another motorist. The suit claims that the reality TV star's negligence was the cause of a 69-year-old woman's death.

The accident happened on February 7. According to reports, 65-year-old Jenner was behind the wheel of an SUV hauling a trailer when other vehicles ahead of the him slowed as they approached a traffic signal. Jenner reportedly hit a sedan that preceded his SUV. The sedan then struck a third car in front of it, causing it to move into opposing traffic. A fourth vehicle, traveling the opposite way, struck the vehicle head-on.

Inducing labor for large babies may prevent complications

Shoulder dystocia is a condition caused during birth when a baby's head is delivered but the child's shoulder or shoulders become stuck on the mother's pelvic bone and are not able to emerge. Although this occurs only in about 1 percent of normal-size births, one in 10 oversized babies will experience this complication. Doctors have discovered that inducing labor may help to prevent this issue.

A European study, led by a member of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland, indicates that inducing labor at 37 or 38 weeks may help prevent shoulder dystocia. Although it is normal for doctors to wait for a full 39 weeks, which is a full-term of pregnancy, before inducing labor, in these cases, the benefits may outweigh the potential risk of an early birth.

Mild TBI may impact cognitive function

Brain trauma often causes serious and life-changing injuries for victims. Those who have been injured in an accident involving a blow to the head may suffer from permanent problems including loss of cognitive ability, physical disabilities and other issues. Phoenix accident victims who suffer a head injury may spend the rest of their lives fighting these problems. Now, a new study shows one reason why brain injuries may be so devastating.

Recent research has revealed that individuals who are suffering from mild Traumatic Brain Injury show changes in the white matter of the brain that can affect verbal memory. A group of scientists studying brain injury established that victims of mTBI, especially those who lose consciousness for any period of time, show structural abnormalities in the brain when measured with a Diffusion Tensor Imaging scan. These changes have now been linked to decreased verbal memory performance.

Risks of lung cancer screenings

Arizona residents may be interested in how some physicians have become more hesitant to screen smokers for lung cancer. A study published in 2011 revealed that spiral CT scans may have the ability to help lower the rate of lung cancer fatalities by 20 percent. As of February 2015, smokers aged 55 to 77 who averaged a pack a day for at least three decades may be qualified to receive an annual screening test for lung cancer, free of charge.

The CT spiral screenings may help save thousands of lives every year. Over 150,000 people are killed by lung cancer annually -- more than colon, prostate and breast cancer all combined. The scans have enabled physicians to detect potential risks during the preliminary phase and before the cancers mature and begin affecting the body. The scans are even powerful enough to detect low-level threats that may never develop into cancer.

Arizona car accidents and what to do

When people are involved in a car accident, they may be so traumatized that it is difficult for them to think about what to do. It is very important that people take certain steps after an accident in order to protect themselves and to preserve their claim against the negligent driver who caused it.

Insurance companies are in the business to make money, and so they will often attempt to find ways to deny claims or make settlement offers that are insufficient. After an accident, the person should make certain to get the other driver's information, including their name, insurance policy number and the make and model of their vehicle. If witnesses are available, the person should get their names and contact information along with a brief statement of what they saw.

Fatal accident at Disney World's speedway

A man has died after an auto accident at Walt Disney World Speedway, which is an attraction visited by people from as far away as Arizona and Alaska. According to Florida police, a 36-year-old man was the passenger who was pronounced dead at the scene. The 24-year-old driver suffered only minor injuries and was taken to Celebration Hospital before being released.

Authorities say that the 24-year-old man was attempting to regain control of his speeding Lamborghini, but the vehicle hit a guard rail before he could slow it down. Both men were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. The reason for the crash is still being investigated at this time. Speedway at Walt Disney World offers a number of high-speed attractions, allowing customers to ride in powerful NASCAR vehicles and other high-risk cars.

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