Author Archives: heisler

Baltimore Hospitals Ranked in New Survey

Baltimore Hospitals Ranked in New Survey

The rankings are in from the biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades survey. The survey gave letter grades to 2,600 hospitals nationwide, looking at the numbers of errors, infections, injuries and accidents that occurred in these healthcare facilities in the previous six months. Leapfrog Group, which performs the survey, is a non-profit healthcare watchdog organization. Where did Maryland’s hospitals rank overall in safety? As a whole, the state’s hospitals performed poorly, coming in at 38th in the country. While this ranking shows there’s lots of room for improvement, Maryland hospitals did move up nine places since the spring survey this past April. In that one, they were ranked 47th.  So things are at least moving in the right direction. In this most recent survey, 20 percent, or eight, of Maryland’s hospitals were awarded A’s. None of the state’s hospitals got F’s.  Out of the eight hospitals awarded A’s, five are in the Baltimore area. They are: Anne Arundel Medical Center (Annapolis) Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (Baltimore) Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore) Joseph Medical Center (Towson) Greater Baltimore Medical Center (Baltimore). Four Baltimore-area hospitals earned B grades, and 10 received C’s. Bon Secour and St. Agnes Hospital were given D’s on their[…..]

Too Many Parents Are Using Cell Phones While Driving Children

Too Many Parents Are Using Cell Phones While Driving Children

A recent survey shows that 50 percent of parents and caregivers use cell phones while driving kids. Survey researchers asked 760 parents and regular caregivers of children ages 4-10 from 47 states about their cell phone behaviors with kids in the car during the three months prior to the study, which took place earlier this year. The survey was conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Approximately 52 percent of people surveyed said they talked on hands-free phones while behind the wheel, and 47 percent used handheld phones. Nearly 34 percent of parents and caregivers said they read texts while driving; almost 27 percent admitted to sending texts, and approximately 14 percent used social media while driving their most precious cargo! Another interesting and rather disturbing thing the survey found was that 14.5 percent of people surveyed didn’t use car seats or other child restraints with their young children. These respondents, as well as people who had a history of driving under the influence, were more likely to use cell phones while driving. Distracted Driving Crash Numbers People who use cell phones while driving children must wise-up and stop placing their children—and[…..]

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

With winter come rain, sleet, ice, snow, slush, and just plain old cold and dangerous driving weather. Seventeen percent of crashes nationwide occur in winter weather conditions, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. While you probably won’t step outside when temperatures begin to drop without first donning appropriate cold-weather clothing, is your car, truck or other vehicle also safely prepared for the upcoming chill? If it isn’t, you still have time to get it done. Winterizing your vehicle will help keep it operating safely throughout the season and keep you from possibly being stranded in plummeting temperatures or, even worse, injured in an accident. In addition to avoiding potential mechanical problems by staying on top of tune-ups and maintenance all year long, here are steps to take to get your vehicle ready for winter: Ensure that tires are inflated to correct psi levels for your vehicle. Your owner’s manual can advise you as to the correct level. As temperatures get colder, tires lose air, and tires that are not adequately inflated can affect maneuverability. Check tire tread for wear. Balding tires lose traction and are dangerous on icy and snow-covered streets. Do the penny test—with Lincoln’s head pointing[…..]

The Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal Is Spreading to Maryland

The Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal Is Spreading to Maryland

After a report from a Pennsylvania grand jury detailed the sexual abuse of over 1,000 children spanning seven decades, other states’ attorneys general have launched their own investigations to uncover similar abuses around the U.S. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh hinted that one such investigation might be underway here, too. Though Frosh hasn’t directly addressed the existence of an investigation, the attorney general’s website displays a message to victims of abuse in Maryland churches and schools encouraging them to come forward with information. Governor Larry Hogan has expressed a willingness for an investigation like the one in Pennsylvania, which exposed more than 300 so-called predator priests for the abuses they committed upon young people. The process in Maryland would vary somewhat from Pennsylvania’s because Frosh would be required to coordinate his efforts with a local state’s attorney’s office. Frosh has faced pressure from victims and their advocates to be more aggressive in his investigations of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. A spokesman of Frosh’s challenger in the recent general election alleged that the attorney general’s office has failed to respond to inquiries from advocates. While the status of a mass investigation in Maryland remains unclear, concerns about abuse[…..]

Baltimore Drivers Rank Dead Last in National Survey

Baltimore Drivers Rank Dead Last in National Survey

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about why Baltimore’s drivers are terrible: people cut each other off, people don’t stop for red lights or stop signs, and, of course, there are the ever-present potholes we hit. All of these reasons may be true a lot of the time. It’s quite likely they’re true at least part of the time. But insurance companies rely on numbers, not opinions, and the numbers rank Baltimore drivers emphatically last. Allstate’s Rankings of Best and Worst Drivers Allstate Insurance recently examined how many years drivers generally average between insurance claims. Across the United States for 2017, the average number of years between the filing of automotive crash claims is 10 years. Baltimore’s average is fewer than four years—3.8, to be exact. Allstate Insurance also looked at how often drivers brake hard, which you might need to do to avoid rear-ending someone. The national average is about 19 incidents of hard braking for every 1,000 miles. For Baltimore drivers, the average is 29.3 incidents of hard braking per 1,000 miles. After crunching all of the numbers, Allstate compiled a list of 200 cities, from best drivers to worst. Baltimore’s rank was 200 out of 200. The[…..]

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Is Nov. 4-11, 2018

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Is Nov. 4-11, 2018

Responsible people don’t get behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink, yet they may not think twice about driving when they have had too little sleep. Unfortunately, these drowsy drivers put themselves and others at risk when they take to our streets and highways. Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which takes place November 4-11,  was started to call attention to this dangerous driving habit. According to the National Sleep Foundation, which sponsors this annual public awareness campaign, 70 million people in the United States are sleep deprived or have sleep disorders and 50 percent of people admit to regularly getting behind the wheel when they are sleepy. Even more frightening for all of us on the nation’s roads, 40 percent of those who say they drive while drowsy have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in their lives. Crashes Involving Drowsy Driving Every year 100,000 vehicle crashes that are reported to police involve drowsy driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The actual number of accidents that involve sleep-deprived drivers may be much higher than this number, however, because accidents are not always reported to police; even when they are, it[…..]

“Feel Different, Drive Different?”

“Feel Different, Drive Different?”

From August 15, 2018, through Labor Day Weekend, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ran the publicity campaign, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different—Drive High, Get a DUI.” The campaign recognized that vacation and holiday periods are the times that traffic deaths caused by alcohol and drugs are likely to spike higher. August through Labor Day is one of the deadliest periods to travel on our roads. The National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress in 1913, applauded the NHTSA’s efforts to curtail impaired driving in our nation. Pointing out that almost 10,000 people lose their lives on our roads each year due to alcohol alone, the NSC has expressed concerns that the number of fatalities will rise because of the increasing incidence of drugged driving. Driving under the influence of anything is a disturbing and growing problem. Unpacking the Phrase What does it mean to say “feel different, drive different”? While grammar hawks may wince at the usage in the phrase, it doesn’t negate the message. Think about how your mood affects your driving. When you are tense about work responsibilities, upset because you had words with someone, or elated by a personal victory,[…..]

Keeping Our Children Safe: Teen Driver Safety Week

Keeping Our Children Safe: Teen Driver Safety Week

When it comes to teenaged drivers, we often pay a great deal of attention to the “100 Deadliest Days,” which run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and forget about the rest of the calendar year. While it’s true that teen motor vehicle deaths spike during the summer by an average of 16 percent, danger exists the rest of the year as well. National Teen Driver Safety Week provides the perfect opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and discuss information that might otherwise be shunted aside during the heady days of summer, beach, and fun. In 2018, National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 21 through 27, providing you with a valuable opportunity to give your teen important safety tips. Although talking with your children about safer driving can and should occur any day of the year, sometimes having a springboard topic such as a safety week can lead to a more natural discussion with your teenaged driver. Too Many Children Are Dying Too many of our teens are being killed in car wrecks. Motor vehicle crashes rank a dubious first among the causes of teenaged deaths, ahead of all other injuries, disease, or violence for[…..]

Pressured to Work While in Pain

Pressured to Work While in Pain

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) released a report in August, 2018, detailing the use—and abuse—of opioid pain medication in the construction industry. Researchers now know that Massachusetts workers in construction have a much greater risk of dying from pain medication overdoses than workers in other industries. When workers are injured on the job and are prescribed opioid pain medication, they often start by taking pain pills in order to keep working but end up being addicted. Such opioid prescription pain medications are known as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, and morphine. Unlike some full-time employees who have benefits, construction workers generally aren’t paid when they aren’t on the job. Even worse, they could lose their employment simply by not working when they’re sick or injured, regardless of the severity of their injury or illness. Injured workers often take pain pills to keep going every day and to keep food on their family’s table. As Jodi Sugarman-Brozan, the executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health put it, “There is a lot of pressure to work in pain.” Steve Heisler, “The Injury Lawyer,” can help evaluate your Maryland claim, get in touch with expert witnesses, conduct a thorough[…..]

Platooning: The Latest Development with Large Trucks

Platooning: The Latest Development with Large Trucks

Technology can change our lives quickly these days, sometimes in surprising ways. If you’ll be driving west or southwest of Maryland soon, you might notice one tractor-trailer “tailgating” another closely enough to be alarming in states like Indiana, Tennessee, or Georgia. This new wrinkle in the commercial trucking industry is called “platooning.” Platooning uses wireless communication technology to control the brakes of the rear truck, so that when the front truck stops, the rear one does, too, more or less instantaneously. The time lag is often less than ten milliseconds. For this reason, one truck can follow another at frighteningly-small distances (as little as 30 feet) while traveling at highway speeds. For perspective, the average large SUV is 17 feet long. Are These Trucks Self-Driving? Platooning does not use self-driving trucks. Both vehicles rely on drivers to remain in full control and completely involved in the driving process. Trucks in a platoon, however, can be equipped with new driving technologies such as automatic braking and collision avoidance systems. Because the rear truck can’t see what’s ahead, a video link between a camera on the front truck and a screen in the rear truck shows the driver what’s going on. The[…..]