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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Daydreaming linked to most distracted driving accidents

Oklahoma residents may be aware that the increase in distracted driving accidents has largely been blamed on the proliferation of smartphones and other electronic devices, but a study released by Erie Insurance suggests that drivers who daydream or become lost in thought while behind the wheel may be a far more serious road safety hazard. The Pennsylvania-based insurer determined that distraction was the cause of about 10 percent of America's road fatalities over the last five years, but cellphone use was cited as the distracting influence only 14 percent of the time.

Daydreaming or allowing one's mind to wander was determined to have distracted drivers 61 percent of the time according to information gathered from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, but the researchers were quick to point out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's database may not be revealing the full scale of the problem. The researchers say this because it relies on police reports and distracted drivers are rarely keen to admit to their negligent behavior.

The truth about distracted driving

If a person in Oklahoma does anything while in a vehicle to take his or her focus off of the road, it is considered distracted driving. For instance, if a person is eating, drinking or on a cellphone, that driver is not fully focused on the task of driving safely. Those who send or read text messages will take their eyes off of the road for five seconds.

If the vehicle is traveling at 55 miles per hour, it will have traveled the length of a football field while the driver was looking at the phone. When a driver is distracted for any reason, it can significantly increase that person's chances of getting into an accident. In 2015, distracted driving accidents resulted in 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries. It is estimated that 660,000 people are on their phones while driving during daylight hours.

Benefits of using radiology software

Oklahoma patients may be interested to know that data entry software can limit errors in dual-energy x-ray and ultrasound radiology results. According to researchers at the University of Colorado, the software can also save as much as $1 million worth of radiologist wages over a span of five years.

The study conducted by the researchers showed that the data entry errors made by sonographers or radiologists varied depending on the type of report produced. However, the errors were present is six to 28 percent of the DEXA and ultrasound reports.

Diagnosis mistakes and malpractice claims

Diagnostic errors are the primary cause behind medical malpractice claims in Oklahoma and throughout the nation. This is according to the results of a recent study conducted on malpractice claims filed from 2013 to 2017.

The study determined that 33 percent of malpractice claims could be attributed to mistakes that occurred while patients were being diagnosed. This led all other causes for malpractice suits. Over half of those claims pertained to poor clinical judgment.

Common mistakes that lead to medication errors

Hospital patients in Oklahoma may know that medication errors are among the most common form of medical malpractice. They're also one of the most deadly as more than a quarter of a million Americans die from health care mistakes every year. These errors often arise from issues in the charting and documentation stage.

For example, nurses may fail to record patient information such as the existence of allergies, diseases or other chronic health conditions. They may also incorrectly note dosage amounts or negative reactions to certain drugs. Sometimes, all a nurse has to do is cross-check the chart with doctors' orders. If they notice a patient developing new symptoms, they should convey their suspicions to others.

Soft tissue injuries, and their many symptoms

The soft tissues refer to the non-bony parts of the body like the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These can be stretched to the point of injury through any sudden, uncontrolled movement, which explains why they often result from car collisions. Drivers in Oklahoma will want to know more about the symptoms of soft tissue strain, sprains, and tears because they cannot be detected by any X-ray and are hard to diagnose.

A typical soft tissue injury will lead to chronic aches and pain as well as swelling and a loss of function in the affected limbs. In severe cases when the soft tissue is bruised, blood may well up inside. Symptoms may appear hours after a crash or several days after it. Because of this, many victims delay medical treatment and wind up hindering the healing process.

Expert warns new blood test can miss concussions

Oklahoma readers may have heard about a new FDA-approved blood test that can supposedly detect concussions. However, a concussion expert from the University at Buffalo says the test isn't that straightforward.

According to the expert, who is the medical director of the University at Buffalo Concussion Management Clinic, the blood test does not actually tell doctors whether or not a patient has a concussion. Instead, the test measures protein levels in the blood to determine whether the patient has a potential brain bleed and is in need of a diagnostic CT scan. Therefore, it is possible for patients with a less serious brain injury, such as a concussion, to receive a negative test result.

Dermatology consults can reduce cellulitis misdiagnosis

Cellulitis can be difficult for doctors in Oklahoma and across the U.S. to diagnose. However, a new study finds that being examined by a dermatologist at an early stage can help prevent misdiagnosis of patients with presumed cellulitis. The study, which was published in JAMA Dermatology, was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Cellulitis is a common bacterial infection of the skin, but there are currently no diagnostic tests that can definitively confirm a patient has it. As a result, doctors must make a diagnosis based only on the physical appearance of a patient's skin and the symptoms a patient reports. This can be problematic because many other medical conditions can mimic the appearance and symptoms of cellulitis.

Bile duct injuries and their symptoms

Anyone in Oklahoma who has undergone gallbladder surgery will want to know about one complication that could arise from it. In roughly 1 percent of all gallbladder operations, patients find themselves suffering from injuries to the bile duct, which carries bile from the liver to the gallbladder. This is usually due to trauma during surgery.

The result is that the bile duct forms scar tissue, which blocks the bile from draining into the intestines and causes it to leak out into the abdominal cavity. Obstructive jaundice is the most common symptom of these bile duct injuries, and it is the primary symptom among patients who experience immediate symptoms. On the other hand, symptoms may not appear until weeks or months after the procedure.

Study finds drowsy driving causes 10 percent of crashes

Drowsy driving is a big problem on the roads of Oklahoma and across the United States, according to a new study. In fact, sleepy drivers may cause up to 10 times the number of car accidents as previously thought.

Researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety placed dashboard cameras and other equipment in the vehicles of over 3,500 American drivers from six different areas of the country. The drivers were monitored between October 2010 and December 2013. Researchers recorded 701 crashes over the study period and found that drowsy driving played a role in 8.8 to 9.5 percent of them. Sleepiness also played a role in 10.6 to 10.8 percent of accidents that resulted in injuries, the deployment of air bags or serious property damage. The findings are significant because previous government statistics have found that drowsiness is a factor in only 1 to 2 percent of car accidents.

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