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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Crashes among mobile workforce go up 12.3 percent

The mobile workforce in Oklahoma has become constantly connected via smartphone, and this may be the reason why it sees such high auto accident rates in recent years. Motus, the vehicle management and reimbursement platform, has made a link between the two trends in its 2018 Distracted Driving Report.

Motus found that as smartphone ownership among mobile workers went up from 55 to 77 percent between 2013 and 2017, so the number of car crashes they were involved in went up from 5.7 million to 6.4 million. In addition, it found that while smartphone use was most prevalent during mobile workers' morning and evening commutes, the peak time was between 2pm and 4pm.

Rehab input included in new TBI guidelines

The treatment for Oklahoma patients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury is typically based on established clinical practice guidelines. An update to guidelines for patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries being implemented in Canada could provide guidance for health professionals in the United States. The update was based on input from the rehabilitation professionals directly involved with many of the main aspects of patient care, from the initial assessment through follow-up care. The goal is to better address the many needs of TBI survivors.

The new clinical practice guideline is one of several updates that have been made to improve the standard protocols for the care of anyone with a brain injury. Another reason for the guideline update is because of a move towards community-based rehabilitation as an alternative to long-term hospitalization. Many rehab professionals generally agree with established TBI guidelines. However, suggested protocols aren't used too often in everyday practice. A separate survey found that while a high percentage of care recommendations were mostly or fully implemented, there are still multiple gaps in implementation.

What drivers should know about hydroplaning

Oklahoma residents should know about the danger of hydroplaning; that way, they will be prepared the next time they head out in the rain. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle slides or skids uncontrollably on a wet surface. The risk for hydroplaning is at its greatest during the first 10 minutes or so of rainfall because the water will immediately mix with the oily residue on the road; after that period, the residue tends to wash away.

Driving in the rain causes a thin layer of water to develop between the tire and the road. This layer can thicken and cause the tire to lose traction. The risk becomes greater when a tire's tread is worn, so drivers will want to ensure the right tread depth before the rainy season arrives. They should also check for proper inflation.

New research shows hope for brain injury therapies

Oklahoma residents who may suffer from brain injuries might be interested in promising new research that could lead to new therapies. Neuron cells from the central nervous system, unlike most other cells, do not regenerate, making many brain injuries permanent. However, researchers may have discovered hope through experimentation.

Researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center have been able to successfully mimic the effects of a traumatic brain injury on neuron cells. In the study, neuron stem cells were exposed to large levels of glutamate, a chemical released in the brain after concussions. The glutamate left the cells in a similar state as brain tissue after a concussive injury. Researchers then attempted to stimulate recovery in the cells by delivering electronic impulses designed to disrupt the post-injury pattern of the cells, which adopt a synchronous pattern researchers were able to monitor using specialized equipment. As a result, the cells within the petri dish demonstrated growth and recovery.

Dismissal of female pain leads to frequent misdiagnoses

When women arrive at emergency rooms in Oklahoma and report severe abdominal pain, they will wait an average of 65 minutes for treatment compared to 49 minutes for men. If the problem is a heart attack, doctors will misdiagnose the condition in women seven times more often than men will. Frequently, doctors decide that women have mental health problems instead of legitimate physical complaints.

The medical profession has a long history of attributing female complaints to emotions instead of actual medical conditions. This entrenched bias has skewed medical research. Pain studies make use of male mice or men 80 percent of the time, although 70 percent of people complaining of chronic pain are women. It was 2016 before the medical community recognized a study that confirmed that menstrual cramps could hurt as much as a heart attack even though one in seven women report debilitating menstrual pain.

Many radiology-related mistakes end in death, says Coverys

Researchers at Coverys, the provider of liability insurance to medical practitioners and health systems, have analyzed over 10,000 radiology-related medical malpractice claims filed between 2013 and 2017 and now closed. Their intention was to identify major risk factors and safety vulnerabilities. The results of their study should be of interest to Oklahoma residents.

Among diagnosis-related claims, most of the allegations involved general medicine providers, followed by 15 percent that involved radiologists. 80 percent of these claims arose from the misinterpretation of clinical tests. Researchers state that radiology mistakes are all too common and often lead to missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses. More than 80 percent of the diagnostic mistakes analyzed ended in serious, permanent injury or in death.

Teen drivers are less safe after they receive their licenses

Oklahoma residents, especially teen drivers and their parents, might be interested in the results of a study conducted by the National Institutes for Health. Together with Virginia Tech University, researchers analyzed the behaviors of 90 teen drivers in Virginia from the time they obtained their learner's permits to their first year as licensed drivers. Using dashcam footage and software data, they found that licensed teen drivers are less safe.

Specifically, the risk for a crash or near-miss went up eight times from the last three months that drivers had their permits to the first three months that they were licensed. Parental supervision during the permit phase can keep teens from developing skills that they can only learn alone, according to the NIH. Therefore, a better understanding of how teens learn safe driving is necessary.

Doctor errors may be more common in the afternoon

When people in Oklahoma are sick or injured, they should not have to worry about the quality of medical care they receive. However, studies show that, in many cases, health care outcomes can be worsened when people go to the hospital in the afternoon. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon that can reflect the natural circadian rhythms of the body, but patients have a right to receive excellent care at any time of day. When they do not, the consequences can be devastating.

While people in all professions may be aware of the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion that often sets in around 3:00 p.m., the consequences can be much more concerning when a physician is involved. For example, studies show that anesthesiologists make more mistakes during procedures that begin in the mid-afternoon hours. In a review of 90,000 surgeries performed inside hospitals, anesthesiologists were only 1 percent likely to make a mistake during morning surgeries, but that risk increased to 4.2 percent by 4:00 p.m. As anesthesiologists deal with the delicate administration of powerful drugs, avoiding medical mistakes can be particularly important for patient health.

Most drivers unconvinced by cellphone dangers

Drivers distracted by cellphones are involved in about one in four motor vehicle accidents around the country. Public information campaigns warning Oklahoma motorists about the dangers of using cellphones while behind the wheel have had little impact, and most road safety advocates believe that the problem will get worse rather than better in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers polled 447 drivers about their attitudes toward distracted driving and cellphone use, and they found that more than two-thirds of them thought the dangers were overblown.

The driver survey also revealed that women are more likely than men to use their cellphones to make phone calls or send text messages, but the responses suggest that this kind of behavior becomes less common as motorists become more experienced. The study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology, was published by the Society for Risk Analysis.

New technique can diagnose difficult breast cancer lesions

Scientists have developed a new way to detect subtle breast cancer lesions, according to a new study funded by the European Union. The findings could improve the prognosis of breast cancer patients in Oklahoma and worldwide.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide. Luckily, doctors are getting better at detecting the disease in its earliest stages, and a patient's chances of survival are relatively high. However, certain types of breast cancer lesions are notoriously difficult to diagnose. In response, researchers from the MAMMA project have created a new method for detecting complex tumors.

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