Nursing Home Negligence

Advances in medicine are steadily improving the quality of life of people, enabling them to live longer and healthier than ever. Unless there is a traumatic event or until a loved one’s health declines to the point they lose their independence, placing someone in the care of others is not something frequently contemplated.

But when family members cannot adequately care for a loved one because of advanced age or infirmity, they must often reach out and find professional caregivers.

Choosing a nursing home or assisted living facility for a loved one is one of the most difficult decisions a family can face. Knowing that loved ones are properly cared for and that their medical needs are met is of paramount importance. But if a facility search is not carefully conducted, the patient’s life could be at risk. Sadly, nursing home negligence is not easy to identify until it’s too late.

An investigation conducted last January by the Arizona Department of Health Services charged the nursing home Emeritus at Catalina Foothills and its executive director with numerous counts of neglect. The investigation found that on 19 separate occasions the facility and its caregivers failed to give a patient his prescribed medication. One of the excuses the executive director gave for the medication error was that she was on vacation. The executive director was placed on six months probation and the facility was assessed fines for each of the 19 violations.

When trying to find a facility for a loved one, conducting a web search is simple and can raise red flags about facilities that have failed inspections. Visiting provides immediate access to ADHS’ inspection information page to research the nursing home or assisted living facility you are evaluating. The website will confirm if any enforcement actions have been taken against a facility.

Carefully researching a healthcare facility for a vulnerable family member can provide peace of mind that your loved one will receive the care and attention you expect.

Distracted Driving

As drivers, our ability to recognize danger and appropriately react to hazardous situations depends heavily on our sense of sight. When we drive, our eyes are constantly transmitting messages to our brain to help keep us safe.  But if you are distracted, even for just a couple of seconds, you increase the probability of putting yourself and others in danger.

We’ve all been behind or next someone guilty of distracted driving–who drifts into our lane or brakes suddenly because they aren’t paying attention to the road, or who is bobbing his head with the self deception that he is able to drive safely while texting.

According to Donald Fisher, a mechanical and industrial engineering professor at the University of Massachusetts and director of the Human Performance Laboratory, which studies driver behavior and safety, it takes two seconds for a driver to notice and react to a change in the road. Dr. Fisher says that a driver who texts is taking his or her eyes off the road for intervals of more than two seconds. He says finding the right key on a cell phone keypad can take longer than two seconds. Dr. Fisher also found that young, inexperienced drivers tended to have more frequent and longer periods of looking down, away from the road.

Many individuals have great confidence in their reaction time, but they don’t realize that texting involves visual, manual and cognitive attention, making texting the most consuming and fatal distraction they can do while driving.potentially

When driving, there are three different components involved in reacting to a hazardous road situation. The first is the mental processing time–the time it takes the brain to process that a hazardous condition exists and that it must respond accordingly. The second is movement time, which involves the action the driver has to take to avoid an accident by braking, speeding up, swerving, etc. The last is the device response time, which is the time it takes the vehicle to respond to the action taken by the driver to the situation. For example, a car will not stop immediately when a driver steps on the brakes. The amount of time it will take a car to stop depends on how fast the car is moving plus the condition of the road.

When a driver’s ability to make quick decisions is slowed or restricted by inattentiveness they place themselves in a much higher statistical risk of being in a motor vehicle accident. Making sure you’re using all your perceptive skills and senses while driving could make the difference between life and death. Next time you get behind the wheel of a car, take a couple of seconds to put your cell phone away before you hit the road. Those two seconds could just save your life.

Does Your Car Have a Black Box?

For over a century the development of the automobile has been a symbol of freedom and independence. A new government rule that takes effect this fall may change Americans’ perceptions of their carefree mode of transportation.

Beginning September 1, 2014, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration will require that all new vehicles have an Event Data Recorder, or a Black Box, as some may refer to it.

Some automakers, like GM, began putting EDRs in cars as early as 1996. Learning that the car you drive has been recording your movements might be a bit disconcerting.  Some may even feel their privacy is somehow being invaded.

EDRs measure and record events up to five seconds before a collision, including force of impact, engine speed, vehicle speed, direction, steering input, airbag deployment, safety belt usage, acceleration position and braking status.

The data collected by EDRs is increasingly being used in lawsuits and in high profile motor vehicle accidents. However, obtaining the data may be a tricky endeavor. Law enforcement agencies may have to obtain a search warrant and insurance companies may need a court order, unless the owner consents to the retrieval of the data.

In the near future, the black box data from accident vehicles may allow insurance companies to potentially change drivers’ rates and perhaps the liability the insurance company claims when you are involved in an accident.

The newly mandated rule by NHTSA should be a greater incentive for consumers to practice better and safer driving, making any data collected by a black box to work in their favor in the event of an accident.