What Are the Odds?

R.I.P

When something unusual occurs, we may wonder out loud, “What are the odds?” As it turns out, when it comes to how people die, we can determine what the odds are of certain types of death for an entire population. We don’t mean to be morbid, but the truth is, everyone dies eventually. Perhaps you’re afraid of dying in an airplane crash or from a terrorist attack, or maybe because of a lightning strike. According to the CDC, about 2.6 million people died during 2014 in the U.S. That’s about 824 persons per 100,000 in the population. Remember that these odds are enormous generalizations across all ages and health conditions. For example, you do not necessarily have high odds of dying from cancer if you don’t have certain genetic or lifestyle risk factors—or if you die young from an accident. (Most cancers happen to us when we live a long time.) What We Aren’t Worrying About There are many causes of death, and some of them don’t worry us as much as they probably should. What kills a large number of us is disease and addiction. Judging from the way some of us treat our bodies, we probably aren’t worried[…..]

Still Hurting After the Accident? It Could Be a Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc Crash

After a car crash, are you still suffering from back pain that is not getting better? You’ve received medical attention and do not have any fractures, but the doctor did say you might have a herniated disc. Further testing was recommended to determine the cause of your pain. All types of back and neck injuries are common after motor vehicle collisions. While an injury might appear to be minor at first, as the hurt grows and other symptoms set in, you realize you need help to stop the numbness, the muscle weakness, and, of course, the pain. A study done by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine indicates that, after a car crash, more than 70 percent of those who sought emergency treatment were still suffering from pain. Not all of the pain reported was from a back injury, but a review of the hospital records for 948 patients determined that, six weeks following a motor vehicle accident, the most common injury for those admitted to the hospital was neck and back pain. What is a Herniated Disc? The sudden, strong forces exerted on your spine during a crash can injure the cushions between the bony vertebrae; these[…..]

Do You Know Maryland’s Right-Of-Way Rules?

Maryland Road Way Rules

Right-of-way laws bring order to traffic situations where it might be difficult to determine who should yield to whom. Failure-to-yield is the second-most common driving mistake, and it is the leading cause of fatal crashes in seven states. In Maryland, failure-to-yield will cost you one point on your driving record and a significant fine, even if no accident occurs. With that in mind, we are providing the right-of-way rules for Maryland; more information can be found in the Maryland Driver’s Manual. Intersections and Left Turns Intersections, especially if one or more drivers are turning left, can be dangerous places. Over 53 percent of intersection collisions are caused by drivers making left turns; for comparison, only 5.7 percent of intersection crashes are caused by right turns. In fact, left turns are so risky that UPS prohibits its drivers from making left turns unless no alternative exists. The right-of-way rules for four-way Maryland intersections are: You must yield the right-of-way to all opposing traffic (vehicles that are facing you) if you are trying to turn left at an intersection. Right-of-way belongs to anyone already in the intersection. This includes bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. Right-of-way belongs to all other vehicles and to pedestrians[…..]

Look Out for Unsafe Lane Changers

Truck Accident Lawyer

Reckless lane changes cause a lot of crashes on our roads. While the danger is usually greater when a heavier commercial vehicle is part of the mix, the reality is that abrupt lane changes by any vehicle can be responsible for injuries and fatalities. Changing lanes unsafely, whether due to weaving and other aggressive acts or drifting caused by distraction, involves vehicles of all types and sizes. Two recent local examples in the Baltimore-Washington area were: According to Maryland State Police, on March 24, 2018, an Inner Beltway crash killed a man. Improper lane changing and failing to yield the right of way were the charges. Also in March, 2018, an unsafe lane change by a tractor-trailer caused an 18-vehicle collision that resulted in injuries to four people, two with life-threatening injuries. All four southbound lanes were shut down during rush hour for more than two hours. The large white semi that caused the crash sped away unharmed. The Numbers Unsafe lane changes cause a lot of crashes on our roads. Not staying in the proper lane causes about 11 percent of all passenger motor vehicle crashes. But when a tractor-trailer is packing more than 80,000 pounds, the chances of[…..]

Should We Lower the BAC to 0.05?

Drunk Driving Accident

We’ve taken great strides to reduce drunk driving in the U.S. From the early 1980s to the early 2000s, we increased the drinking age to 21 and lowered the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to 0.08 percent across all states. These changes worked; alcohol-related traffic fatalities were cut in half, with the greatest decline in deaths seen among teenagers. Changes in drinking and driving laws saved at least 150,000 lives from 1982 to 2001—more than the total number of lives saved by airbags, increased usage of seat belts, and bicycle and motorcycle helmet usage. However, after the early 2000s, the achievement of further reductions in drunk driving slowed dramatically. Eventually, DUI figures began to rise again; currently, one-third of all traffic fatalities are the result of at least one person in a crash driving under the influence. Two out of every five persons who died in alcohol-related crashes are not even drunk drivers, but are victims. The most recent fatality figures for deaths caused by drunk driving are stubbornly stuck at slightly more than 10,000 each year. Because of the lack of continued progress, safety officials went back to the drawing board in an effort to find ways to[…..]

Should We Slow the Development of Autonomous Cars?

Driveless Car Accidents

Are autonomous vehicles safe for our public roads? The March 2018, death of a pedestrian near Phoenix, Arizona, would seem to indicate they may not be. The victim was walking her bicycle across the road when she was struck by an Uber SUV. Autonomous vehicle data, which the public interest group Consumer Watchdog says was ignored by the NHTSA, show that self-driving cars truly cannot drive themselves for any length of time. Consumer Watchdog’s late March report, which used data released by the California DMV, states that autonomous vehicles can travel a maximum of 5,596 miles, at best, before needing human intervention. Human Intervention Once Every Mile Almost six thousand miles between interventions might not sound bad. But many other documented situations show that a number of autonomous vehicles need intervention at many fewer miles. According to one analysis firm, of the six companies testing autonomous vehicles in Arizona, Uber was by far the worst. Their vehicles experienced what’s known as a “disengagement”—meaning a human being is forced to take control of the vehicle—once for every mile driven, on average. At the top of the research listing was Waymo (a Google company), which experienced one disengagement every 5,128 miles driven.[…..]

The Hidden Dangers of Gas Cans

Can of Gasoline

Gasoline engines have been with us for over a century, so it’s not unusual to keep a can of gas around for lawn mowers and other items we need to take care of our properties. Your gas can could be metal, or it could be plastic—both types are in use. Gas cans are so commonplace that you might not realize that they can be dangerous, especially the plastic type. Simply pouring gas from the can under certain conditions can create an explosive fire. From 1998 through 2015, more than 1,200 visits to the ER and at least 11 deaths were due to explosions that occurred while pouring gasoline out of a plastic can. Flame Arrestors: An Ignored Solution Any gas can, when stored or handled improperly, can burst and cause an explosion and fire; but plastic gas cans have special dangers metal ones do not that arise from static electricity. Plastic rubbing on plastic (such as your truck bed’s liner) or on carpeting (such as in the trunk of your car) easily creates the right conditions for a static electricity spark. When the volatile gasoline vapors inside the can combine with the static electricity spark, the resulting flame can travel[…..]

A New Weapon for Fighting Sepsis

Elderly Care

The problem of sepsis among already-sick patients is not a new one, but it is a big one: sepsis is the ninth most common cause of death in our country. In the ICU, it’s the number one reason for infection-related deaths. Sepsis is responsible for more than 250,000 fatalities and 1.3 million hospitalizations each year in the U.S. If you’ve ever watched a loved one battle sepsis, or if you are concerned about the problem because someone you love is in a nursing home, you owe it to yourself to learn more about this deadly medical syndrome. However, there is help for doctors in the battle against sepsis: a new iPhone app that assists them in better treating their septic patients. An Overview of Sepsis Sepsis always develops from an infection, generally severe and often untreated, from which you already suffer. When the infection initiates the body’s chain reaction of certain chemicals and inflammation as it attempts to fight the infection, the body can be damaged to the point of death. In the last stages, blood pressure drops too low to sustain life. Three bacteria are the most frequent triggers of septic reactions: Staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) coli (Escherichia coli)[…..]

Preventing Pedestrian Deaths with Optical Illusions

Optical Illusion

Pedestrian deaths have not decreased in recent years, despite expectations that they might because of a general down-trend in traffic fatalities. From 2003 through 2012, 47,025 persons on foot died across our nation. These deaths represented 12.3 percent of all traffic fatalities over the decade. But in 2012 alone, 15 percent of all traffic fatalities were pedestrians. Actual walking traffic deaths in 2010 were 4,280; but by 2011, the number had increased to 4,432. It increased again in 2012 — to 4,743. In a more recent report spanning 2005 through 2014, Maryland ranked 15th among all states for pedestrian danger, with total pedestrian deaths of 1,053 resulting in a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) of 77.8. Florida was No. 1 in pedestrian danger, with a PDI of 177 and 5,142 fatalities. (Higher PDI numbers mean greater danger.) Focusing locally, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metro area ranked 55th in pedestrian danger out of 104 metro areas, with 470 deaths and a PDI of 65.7. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL, was first, with a PDI of 283.1 and 165 deaths. For all of these statistics, the age group most at risk was 65 and over. Technology to the Rescue Advances in technology have brought some possible[…..]

The Costs of Treating Burns

Maryland Burn Injury Attorney

The pain and suffering from a burn injury is terrible—no question. The financial costs, however, can also cause you and your family pain. Part of the reason is that serious burn injuries require a lot of care, often in a hospital, and these days the care does not come cheap. Recent numbers that lay out the costs of burn injuries can be difficult to find. The lack of studies at a time when we need information about healthcare costs more than ever is a bit baffling. What we do know is that the annual costs of burn injuries in 2010 dollars are approximately $10.4 billion, with burn hospitalizations representing around 1 percent of all U.S. injuries. Complications of injuries can rapidly escalate costs; a severe burn with many complications can cost more than $10 million to treat effectively. Hospital stays for burns average 8.1 days, compared to 4.5 days for non-burn hospital stays. On average, hospital stays for burns are often twice the length and more than twice the cost of non-burn-related hospital stays. Something that illustrates how long a hospital stay can be for a burn patient is related to the percentage of the body that was burned. The[…..]