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Seattle Personal Injury Law Blog

Can #TheatreCapChallenge save lives in the U.S.?

When you undergo a procedure in a Washington hospital, you may not be able to tell which person in the room is your surgeon, which is an aide or nurse, and which person will be taking care of anesthesia. The scrubs, caps and masks hide everything but the eyes of these relatively unfamiliar people. Perhaps alarmingly, the team performing the procedure might not know who is who, either.

According to eNurse, this problem has been noted in the medical community as a probable cause of errors and adverse events in the operating room. One anesthesiologist in Australia recognized the dangers of being unable to communicate effectively with other team members in life-or-death situations. To combat the issue, he wrote his name and position on his cap.

Negligent entrustment explained

It may be widely assumed amongst many in Seattle that teen drivers pose a greater risk to other motorists than adults. Yet is there any evidence to back up this assumption, and if there is, could those entrust teens with vehicles also be held liable for any car accidents they may cause? 

Statistics show that drivers between the ages of 16-19 are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident than those over the age of 20. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list the following car accident risks factors as being particularly prevalent among teens: 

  • Not recognizing dangerous driving conditions
  • Speeding
  • Driving during late hours
  • Drinking and driving
  • Not wearing seat belts
  • Following other vehicles too closely

Vacuum extraction risk factors and infant head injuries

During a difficult labor, a health care provider may determine that the baby is at risk if it cannot be delivered quickly. In such cases, one of the options that may be presented is vacuum extraction. A mother who opts for vacuum extraction at a Washington hospital should be aware that it is not a procedure without risks, although the primary alternative is typically a Cesarean section, a surgery that comes with its own set of risks.

The Mayo Clinic explains that vacuum extraction involves a cup, handle and pump. The doctor places the cup against the baby's head and applies suction with the pump, then guides it through the birth canal during contractions. A baby may have risk factors may make a vacuum extraction inadvisable, including the following:

  • A bleeding disorder
  • Weak bones
  • Unknown or breach position
  • Located above the birth canal midpoint
  • Less than 34 weeks gestational age

Victims of Amtrak train derailment have legal rights

Train-tracks.jpg

The Amtrak derailment near Tacoma, Washington, on December 18, 2017, was a devastating accident. The train was traveling from Seattle to Portland when it careened off its track over a stretch of Interstate 5.

The train was traveling at a speed of 80 mph on a 30 mph stretch of track. Investigators are saying it is too early to know why the train was traveling so fast.

Patient overdoses, anesthesiologist charged with murder

Because doctors are required to complete rigorous educational requirements and participate in extensive on-the-job training before commencing a career, many Washington people place a high level of trust in their health care provider. However, there are times when doctors are at risk of making critical errors, which can result from exhaustion, carelessness or lack of communication among other things. In serious cases, their mistakes can result in the sudden and alarming death or injury of their patients. 

This is what happened in a story that made national headlines when a California anesthesiologist allegedly gave his patient an excessive dosage of Demerol ultimately resulting in his patient's death. The man he was treating, another doctor, was receiving plastic surgery and was taking the drugs as preparation for a procedure. Investigators determined that the anesthesiologist had taken drugs in the form of injections, immediately before treating his patient and was under the influence at the time of his patient's procedure. Because of the extreme number of narcotics in his patient's system, investigators determined that the patient went into cardiac arrest which ended up killing him. The doctor is currently being charged with murder and could face up to 25 years to life if he is convicted of said crime. 

What Washington law says about negligent driving

A car crashed into you on I-5 and caused serious injuries that sent you to a Washington hospital. There could have been a number of factors that led to the crash, and it could be negligent driving. We at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., understand how state law defines negligent driving in the first and second degree, and what is necessary to prove it.

Was the other driver exercising reasonable care? This is a factor in determining negligence, so it is something a judge or jury would need to know. Reasonable care as it applies to driving includes following all traffic laws and paying full attention to the task of driving.

Should you be worried about birth injuries?

Anticipating the birth of your child probably includes some measure of anxiety about the process. Whether you plan to check in to a Washington hospital or birthing center, or have the baby at home, you may worry about all those things that are outside your control. 

No matter how natural the process seems, there are always going to be risk factors. As Medscape points out, the compression and contractions that any baby experiences as it passes through the birth canal can cause injuries. While medical devices must sometimes be used to help the process along, they may also add to the risk. In fact, midcavity forceps use is listed as a factor that predisposes you and your baby to injury. Vacuum extraction also may raise the chances of birth trauma. 

A closer look at the causes of falls in nursing homes

For many Washington families, the process of finding and selecting a nursing home for their elderly loved ones is not a decision taken lightly. Rather, many families spend significant time, thought and resources to find a perfect fit and a facility where their loved one will be treated compassionately with access to quality care. However, in many unfortunate instances throughout the nation each year, elderly people are subjected to abuse and neglect at the hands of trusted caregivers. 

One of the primary causes of injuries in many nursing homes across the nation is falls. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, there are many reasons why falls occur and nearly all of them are completely preventable. Some of the most common causes for falls in nursing homes include the following:

  • Poor foot care.
  • Problems with how an elderly person walks.
  • Improperly fitted shoes.
  • Poor maintenance or fitting of various walking aids.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Poor housekeeping and environmental hazards including wet floors, improper bed height and poor lighting.

How are reported medication side effects handled?

When you get a prescription in Washington, you probably get an informational pamphlet or printout with it that explains the possible side effects, along with the proper use of the medication. The information on the side effects is something drafted by the medicine's manufacturer and other agencies that monitor medications to ensure users know about the risks. Even though a lot of time and effort goes into identifying what adverse things could happen when you take a medication, there are still chances you may have a reaction that has not yet been seen.

If you have an adverse reaction to medication, Safe Medication recommends you should stop taking it and immediately contact your doctor. In some cases, reactions may be minor, but there is a chance for a severe reaction that requires further medical treatment. It is essential either way to contact your doctor. This allows him or her to keep records and document the reactions to the medication, which in turn helps to ensure medications stay safe for everyone.

What can you do to avoid distractions while driving?

If you have ever attempted to eat, text or even take a picture while driving, you are one of many Washington residents who do the same thing every day. The truth however, is that doing anything other than driving while behind the wheel can cause detrimental consequences including lapses in judgment that could result in injury or death to you, your passengers and other motorists. Fortunately, by practicing self-control and being aware of the behaviors that are distractions, you can avoid putting yourself and others in harm's way.

Geico has provided you with a list of tips for preventing distraction and maintaining focus on the road. Some of the things you should be aware of include the following:

  • Cell phones are for emergencies only: While you may be tempted to respond to texts, answer calls and write emails while driving, your electronic device should only be used for emergencies. If an important message is beckoning immediate attention, find a safe place to stop before responding. 
  • Save your snack for later: Eating while driving is a common behavior. There have probably been times when you decide to save yourself some time while eating breakfast on the way to work or having a quick snack on your way to the gym. However, if you are eating, your attention is diverted away from the road. In fact, people who accidentally spill their food are some of the most common culprits of distracted driving accidents.
  • Be well-rested: Drowsy driving is never worth the risk. You may be confident in your ability to continue driving even if your eyes feel heavy, but all it takes is a second of distraction for you to lose control and cause an accident. If you feel tired while you are driving, immediately pull over and take a rest to guarantee that you arrive at your destination safely. 
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