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Woodstown New Jersey Legal Blog

Distracted driving is often caused by daydreaming

Most of the distracted driving accidents that took place in New Jersey and around the country during the last five years were caused by motorists who were daydreaming, according to a study released on April 3 by Erie Insurance. The Pennsylvania-based company says that the findings, which contradict the generally accepted view that the surge in distracted driving is being caused by cellphone use, are in line with the results of a similar study conducted five years ago.

After scrutinizing data about motor vehicle accidents that claimed the lives of 172,000 road users, the Erie Insurance researchers concluded that cellphone use was only a factor in 14 percent of the distracted driving crashes. The researchers determined that distraction played a role in about 10 percent of all traffic fatalities, and daydreaming emerged as the chief road safety danger. Motorists who were lost in thought caused 61 percent of the fatal accidents studied, and the researchers believe that the figures may not be telling the whole story.

Stacking up the statistics on distracted driving

It’s no secret that distracted driving has become an epidemic. Even though most people understand the risks of texting while driving, many unfortunately still do.

Many people – especially teen drivers – simply cannot resist the ping of a new notification. Or, they think that sitting at stoplight reduces the risk of a crash enough to send a quick text. The statistics say otherwise.

Radiology software can reduce diagnostic errors

Patients in New Jersey going to the doctor or entering the hospital may be worried about misdiagnosis or the potential failure to diagnose a serious disease like cancer; this is especially true if their illness is currently undiagnosed. Incorrect diagnoses and other doctor errors can lead to serious consequences for patients as mistaken treatment can be applied, causing side effects. Then, the correct treatment may not be received, which of particular concern in the case of progressive diseases. Misdiagnosis can lead to worsened medical conditions and even fatalities if illnesses become untreatable.

The dangers posed by misdiagnosis highlight the importance of reducing diagnostic errors for hospitals. Maintaining excellent patient care and reducing liability exposure both require curbing incorrect diagnoses. When bone density scans are performed using ultrasound or dual-energy X-ray radiology, between 6 and 28 percent of all reports from these tests contain some form of error. While many of these errors are simple or minor, they could carry severe consequences for patients if a physician relies upon them when making a diagnosis. The use of data entry software in radiology departments can lead to a significant reduction in diagnostic errors.

Misdiagnosis major source of malpractice claims

A mistaken diagnosis may be one of the worst fears for New Jersey patients headed to the hospital for an undiagnosed, concerning or serious illness. In fact, diagnostic errors are the most common reason that Americans file medical malpractice claims, according to a study conducted by a medical malpractice insurer. In reviewing 10,618 malpractice lawsuits filed between 2013 and 2017, the report determined that one-third of all malpractice claims were made due to errors in diagnosing the patient's illness.

Common errors include the provision of incorrect treatment, which can sometimes lead to a worsened medical condition. Of the claims involving misdiagnosis, the report noted that approximately 50 percent involved incorrect or poor medical decisions by doctors and other health care professionals. Even as other types of malpractice claims have declined over the years, diagnostic errors have remained a steady and significant source of lawsuits.

Patient charts are key in malpractice cases

New Jersey residents might be surprised to learn that medical mistakes lead to roughly 250,000 deaths annually in the United States. In many cases, the cause of these errors can be ascertained by reviewing the clinical files of involved patients.

Determining the cause of an adverse medical event requires close scrutiny of the patient's clinical chart and other medical records. Unfortunately, reviewing records and determining the ultimate cause of an adverse medical event is made significantly more challenging when there is no clarity or consistency in the patient's clinical chart. If a nurse makes an error or omission in record keeping, it can lead to liability issues for the nurse and the facility.

A delayed diagnosis is as devastating as cancer itself

Nothing can prepare you for hearing the following three words, “you have cancer.” It can feel like all the oxygen in the world could not help you breathe after digesting the meaning of the sentence that just got thrown at you. When you think it cannot get any worse, the doctor admits that this diagnosis is three months in the making. Suddenly a “few months” takes on a whole new meaning. It can be the difference between life and death.

Hitting home

The types of injuries that can occur in a car crash

New Jersey residents who are involved in a car crash may experience a variety of physical and mental injuries. For example, post-traumatic stress disorder is a common form of mental health issue that may make it difficult for a person to get into a car or drive after an accident. Among the most common physical injuries after a car accident is whiplash.

Those who suffer from whiplash may experience neck or back stiffness. Bruising, lacerations or broken bones may also occur in a minor or severe accident. Injuries to the head such as a concussion are not uncommon after a vehicle wreck. The extent to which a person is hurt may depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident. For instance, if a collision occurs on the driver's side of the car, that person is more likely to be injured compared to those on the other side of the vehicle.

The prevalence of soft tissue injuries

Car collisions can cause the body to be jolted back and forth. This stretches the muscles, tendons, ligaments and other non-bony parts considered soft tissue. Anyone who has been in a car wreck in New Jersey will want to know the symptoms of soft tissue injury because getting prompt medical attention is essential to proper healing.

Soft tissue injuries usually lead to chronic pain, swelling and bleeding. Victims may also experience a diminished ability to move their neck. Since X-rays cannot detect these injuries, diagnosis can be difficult. It's also important to remember that symptoms do not always appear right after the accident. In fact, it may take days for them to manifest.

The stages of a medical malpractice case

In order for medical malpractice to occur, certain elements must exist. The existence of a doctor-patient relationship is fundamental. There must also be a standard of care owed to the patient.

When medical malpractice happens, there is a deviation from the standard of medical care, causing patient injury. In order for a medical malpractice claim to have validity, the patient must be able to prove negligence contributed to the injury. For victims of medical malpractice, determining what steps to take afterwards can be challenging.

Misdiagnosis of cellulitis is common and preventable

Cellulitis is a potentially serious condition that develops when the skin becomes infected by bacteria, but a study suggests that it may not be as common as doctors believe. Patients in New Jersey and around the country whom are diagnosed with cellulitis are often prescribed powerful antibiotics to fight the underlying infection, but the use of these drugs was curtailed for 136 of the 165 patients studied by dermatologists at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The dermatologists also recommended that half of the patients they examined be sent home. These patients had all received a preliminary diagnosis of cellulitis and had been scheduled for admission, but the specialists determined that about a third of them were actually suffering from less serious conditions known as pseudocellulitis. When doctors made follow-up calls to the patients who had been discharged, none of them reported that their symptoms had worsened.

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