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Alton Medical Malpractice Law Blog

SUV crashes into Dairy Queen at 3:30 a.m.

A recent car accident in Illinois put two people in the hospital when the SUV they were in slammed into the side of a Dairy Queen. The Dairy Queen was closed at the time, as it was 3:30 in the morning, but the two people in the car suffered injuries and needed medical treatment.

When authorities arrived at the scene, they found that the passenger had been able to get out of the crumpled vehicle, despite getting hurt in the wreck, but the damage was so bad that the driver was trapped in the vehicle. Firefighters had to extricate that driver so that both people could be taken to the hospital.

How often do surgical errors really take place?

Surgical errors can change your life forever. You entrust a doctor with your health and perhaps your life. When that doctor is negligent or even reckless, not giving you the standard of care you deserve, the ramifications can be enormous.

Before surgery, you may find yourself wondering how often these types of cases really take place. It is important to look at two crucial statistics. To find them, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the RAND Corporation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs looked at 138 papers that examined surgical mistakes.

What are signs of post-surgical internal bleeding?

Errors made during surgery can lead to a lot of different complications, one of the most dangerous of which is internal bleeding. It can be potentially life-threatening, but many people have never experienced it before. They may not realize what is happening as quickly as they would with another type of issue.

To that end, it is important to review potential symptoms of internal bleeding so that you know exactly what to watch out for. They include:

  • Orthostatic hypotension. This is when you stand up and you get dizzy. Some people feel like they are about to pass out.
  • Unexplained pain. This is because of the internal inflammatory response from contact with blood. The actual damage itself could also cause pain, though some patients have a hard time identifying this because they naturally expect pain while healing from surgery.
  • Localized bruising. This happens when internal blood loss pushes that blood toward the skin's surface. If it is on your flank, it is known as Grey-Turner's sign. If it is near the umbilicus, it is called Cullen's sign.
  • Blood in the urine or the stool. This can take time for patients to notice.
  • Blood in your mouth. This may be most noticeable when you cough, but it can also appear without coughing.

4th of July motorcycle crash claims 1 life

The 4th of July is often cited as one of the most dangerous days to drive, and motorcycles carry an even higher degree of risk -- no matter what day it is -- than passenger cars. This year, both of those statistics came together in Illinois, as a motorcycle accident on the holiday took one life.

The crash happened at the intersection where Shannon Road and Illinois Route 72 come together, right around 11:30 in the morning. It appears that a motorcycle with a driver and a rider was heading down Route 72. At the same time, a passenger car was going south, driving down Shannon Road. The car got to the intersection, hesitated briefly at the stop sign, and then drove into the motorcycle's path.

Injuries are a potential sign of nursing home neglect

Nursing home neglect comes with a variety of symptoms. Some residents will see their general hygiene decline if they do not get help with showers, changing clothes and brushing their teeth. Others will see their emotional health dip as they feel neglected, forgotten and ignored by the staff.

One key thing to look out for, though, is the presence of physical injuries. While accidents do happen, neglect can make them more likely. If there is any sort of pattern -- similar injuries happening repeatedly -- then that is a serious red flag.

Why are nurses so fatigued?

When you get care from a nurse or any other medical professional, you need that person to be alert and ready to give you high-caliber care every step of the way. Unfortunately, many nurses battle serious fatigue issues, and some experts believe the problem is getting worse. Tired nurses may make mistakes that can lead to serious injuries and complications.

Why are nurses so tired? Many reasons contribute to this, including the following:

  • Nurses may not get enough sleep. This is a stressful occupation. Going home for the night does not mean that a nurse just falls right into a restful sleep for the entire night.
  • Nurses often work night shifts. Hospitals do not close. Medical professionals must be on the job all around the clock. This can be exhausting, even for those who try to sleep during daylight hours.
  • Nurses work long hours. Many do not have the freedom to just clock out after eight hours, like many office workers. They work long shifts or respond to emergencies. They can get worn out.
  • Nurses may not report all incidents. Experts ask them to talk to supervisors when fatigue-related accidents occur. This can help them get a handle on how common these are, when they happen and what can be done to prevent them. If nurses do not report all incidents, it just inhibits this process.

Lack of communication can lead to serious surgical errors

During surgery, communication is critical. Many people are involved in the process from beginning to end, from the patient to the support staff to the surgeon. One little mistake as information gets passed through this chain can lead to serious and even fatal errors.

For instance, one teenage girl needed a lung and heart transplant in a now-infamous case. She went in for the surgery and got the new organs: A heart and two lungs. This was a hard, rare surgery, but it appeared at first to be successful.

Alcohol, speed and boating accidents

Some boating accidents happen because of freak storms. Others happen because of equipment failures. Still others result from inexperience.

However, experts note that speed and alcohol often combine to cause crashes that could otherwise have been avoided. In some cases, people do not realize that standard DUI laws apply to boats as well as cars. Driving a boat while your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.08, or while you are intoxicated and it impairs your ability to drive, is illegal.

As people live longer, nursing home care becomes necessary

The impact of medical science has been felt in many areas of life, and it has actually stretched life expectancy to far beyond what people knew just a few generations ago. While this is certainly a positive trend, it does come with some distinct challenges. Aging is not easy. As people live longer, more and more of them wind up in nursing homes.

Did you know that about 33 percent of the U.S. population will be at least 65 years old by 2050? That projection comes from the Congressional Budget Office. That's about a third of the population, a huge percentage. Along with that, they claim that around 4 percent of people in the United States will be at least 85 years old. That's a far smaller total, but people of that age are virtually guaranteed to need assistance.

Pickup trucks pose the greatest danger to pedestrians

Any pedestrian accident is potentially fatal. Even at low speeds, unprotected pedestrians can be seriously injured or killed. The odds of death climb dramatically as that speed increases.

What about the type of car that hits those pedestrians? Could the style of vehicle play a role?

John J. Hopkins: From Working Iron To
Representing Those Who Work

ALTON —Like any successful trial lawyer, John Hopkins knows the importance of preparation. But he usually doesn’t write out the questions he plans to ask witnesses in depositions or in court.

View Article “I like to react to what the witness is saying—not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it,” Hopkins says.

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