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

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[…..]

Putting An End To DUI Deaths

ENDUI . . . No, it’s not pronounced on-dou-ee and it’s not a fancy French sausage. It’s pronounced end-dee-you-eye and it’s an app newly developed by the Maryland Highway Safety Office as one more weapon in the arsenal intended to save lives which could be taken by drunk drivers. ENDUI is an app which can be downloaded free from the iTunes or Google Play stores. It works on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android devices. Its purpose is to help people evaluate whether they have had too much to drink to safely be behind the wheel. Drunk driving accidents are preventable, and yet they account for a significant portion of traffic injuries and deaths – not to mention untold grief for families and a huge economic impact. In 2012, 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes – that’s one every 51 minutes — and 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In this regard, regrettably, Maryland is no different than any other state. In fact, drunk driving fatalities represent about 32% of all traffic deaths in Maryland. The most dangerous time of the year on our country’s highways is the[…..]

‘Tis The Season

This time of year, newspapers and social media post photos of homes lavishly decorated and lit for the Christmas season. Homeowners associations often sponsor decorating contests, drawing sightseers to “oooh” and “aahhh” as they slowly wind through neighborhood roads illuminated by all manner of electric light displays. What doesn’t always make the news are the catastrophes caused by dangerously manufactured or damaged Christmas decorations. Even modest apartment displays can be the cause of tragic accidents when consumers unwittingly use defective products. Whether you are decorating with newly purchased supplies or you have retrieved some old ones from that box over the garage or in Grandma’s dusty attic, you should check them out from a safety standpoint before you deck the halls. Observe these safety tips published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Make sure all lights have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, like UL; use only lights that have fused plugs. Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires or loose connections. If a bulb has burned out, replace it with one of the same wattage. Don’t use more than three sets of lights on one extension cord and make sure[…..]

The Dangers Of Space Heaters

As cold weather settles in again, a tragic accident in Westminster, Maryland, reminds us that space heaters, when improperly used, can be the cause of serious injuries, property damage and death. Early in the morning on November 9, Bernie Toporzycki opened the door of a backyard shed and was met with a huge explosion. Mr. Toporzycki received second and third degree burns and died two days later at the Johns Hopkins Burn Center in Baltimore. The Toporzycki home and those on either side were so severely damaged that they were condemned. As many as 11 homes in the neighborhood were harmed by the blast. The Maryland State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the explosion. Officials said the explosion may have happened because of a space heater that was placed too close to propane tanks. Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch told WUSA 9, “We’re always reaching out to the public, ‘Please make sure you have a 3 feet area around any portable space heater, wood stove or fireplace.” Space heaters cause 25,000 home fires a year and 6,000 emergency room visits, according to the Harvard University Environmental Health & Safety group. Statistics from Nationwide Insurance indicate that[…..]

Privacy Rights In Nursing Homes

We recently wrote about the use of “granny cams” in nursing homes and the provisions in Maryland law which protect the right to privacy of nursing home residents. The right to privacy is a feature of the Bill of Rights for nursing home patients, included in the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA). Certain aspects of patient privacy are also protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Maryland permits a nursing home resident or family member to request installation of a fixed video camera in the resident’s room (although the facility is not required to grant the request), but care must be taken not to record a roommate or any other resident, to safeguard their privacy. But what about videos or photographs taken by nursing home staff? Are they allowed? Not if they violate the resident’s privacy. An employee who takes, and perhaps shares, unauthorized pictures or videos may be guilty of violating §483.13(b) of the NHRA, which prohibits mental abuse – and that includes humiliation – and/or §483.15, which requires nursing homes to maintain the dignity and respect of each resident. Unfortunately, with the widespread availability of cell phones with still and video camera capabilities, we’re hearing[…..]

Hot Tub Infections A Hot Topic

Maybe you’re one of those folks who have tickets to board a cruise ship in Baltimore to escape the chilly days of winter in the Northeast. We couldn’t blame you for wanting to sail to a hotter climate, but if you spend part of that cruise sitting in a hot tub, you may come back with more than cheap souvenirs. The concern about health problems arising from the use of cruise ship hot tubs is nothing new. Back in 1994, a Legionnaires Disease outbreak aboard a Celebrity Cruise ship killed one passenger and sickened 50 others. Legionella bacteria was found in a filter that recirculated water for the ship’s three spas. More recently, on October 24, 2014, a Maryland man filed a complaint in federal court in Miami alleging that he developed a serious skin infection after using the hot tub on a Carnival cruise to the Caribbean last November. Charles Atwell alleges bacteria in the hot tub were responsible for a large and painful abscess which had to be surgically treated and drained. The suit alleges a pattern of bacterial infection in Carnival hot tubs and negligence on the part of the cruise company. The Carnival cruise line also[…..]

10 Things You Need To Know About “Granny Cams”

The website reports that, according to recent studies, between 1 and 2 million people over the age of 65 residing in a nursing home setting are victims of abuse or neglect. That number may be understated since many elderly nursing home patients are either afraid or unable to communicate to their loved ones that they are being mistreated. Many advocacy groups are urging the use of technology to document the conditions under which vulnerable older people live. Video cameras – sometimes called “granny cams” — may tell the story that abused patients cannot tell. Maryland is one of only five states in the U.S. that allows the placement of cameras in nursing homes. (The others are Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Washington.) In fact, Maryland was one of the first states to consider electronic monitoring. The first attempt at legislating this form of patient protection was sponsored in 2001 by Maryland State Delegate Sue Hecht, who witnessed the abuse of her grandmother, Vera, in a nursing home. The bill failed to pass during that session and was introduced again in 2002; that bill also died in committee. Finally (as they say, three times is a charm), Vera’s Law became[…..]

Dangerous Supplements In Dietary Supplements

About half of the American population uses dietary supplements, spending an estimated $32 billion per year in an effort to be healthier, skinnier, stronger or sexier. The FDA regulates dietary supplements, to a certain degree and only AFTER they have been put on the market, unlike prescription or over-the-counter drugs, which have to be approved BEFORE they can be sold. This has exposed millions of people to potential harm, because, ironically, dietary supplements often contain ingredients which are actually pharmaceuticals, and sometimes pharmaceuticals which were banned as prescription drugs. Approximately half of all FDA class-I drug recalls since 2004 have involved dietary supplements adulterated with banned pharmaceutical ingredients, according to Food Safety News. For example, on October 10, 2014, the FDA advised consumers not to purchase or use Sit and Slim II, a product promoted and sold for weight loss. The reason: Sit and Slim II contains sibutramine, a controlled substance that was removed from the market in October 2010 because it is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke. This product also contains[…..]

Amusement Park Accidents Aren’t Amusing

On Sunday, August 10, two dozen roller coaster fans got more than they bargained for at Six Flags America, 30 miles southwest of Baltimore. They had purchased tickets to ride the Joker’s Jinx, a roller coaster that propels riders from zero to 60 mph in a little more than three seconds. But a computerized system stopped the ride while some were almost at its highest point, nearly 80 feet in the air. The Prince George’s County Fire and EMS worked for four hours to rescue the riders, using a tower ladder and rescue bucket. Fortunately, no one was injured in this amusement park incident. Earlier this summer, on July 7, a tree branch fell on the tracks at Six Flags Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles, derailing the Ninja roller coaster, leaving it dangling and stranding occupants for hours. Four passengers were injured. Last summer, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington shut down its Texas Giant roller coaster after a woman was thrown from her seat and plunged to her death. Do these incidents mean you’re taking an unreasonable risk if you take your family to an amusement park? No, but there is a risk. In 2012, 30,342 people visited[…..]

Airborne Thrills And Spills

JetLev is one model of a relatively new type of recreational device, commonly known as a jet pack, that allows thrill-seekers to take flight. The jet packs, strapped over the shoulders and worn on the back, propel riders into the air with a stream of water. The equipment is tethered to a small, pilotless boat while the rider, using hand-held throttles, controls the speed of up to 25 miles per hour and height of up to 30 feet. Sound like fun? It could be. But, as the website for the JetLev Flyer warns, any activity involving speed, heights, water or power equipment is inherently risky. Some adventurers have gotten more “excitement” than they bargained for. In March, a flyer in Newport Beach, California, shot up and backward after accelerating too quickly, so an operator on the ground remotely cut the throttle, sending the man falling back toward the water. He hit the watercraft connected to the jet pack and required medical treatment. In 2012, a customer sustained a concussion after falling from the air during a jet pack ride; his lawsuit was settled for $100,000. Currently in Maryland, there are three businesses, all located in Ocean City, which offer jet[…..]