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[…..]

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[…..]

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[…..]

“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[…..]

Scarring and Disfigurement Caused by Automotive Defects

Scarring and Disfigurement Caused by Automotive Defects

Some of the most common injuries in a motor vehicle crash are disfiguring facial injuries, often resulting from burns and flying projectiles. We all know that car fires can cause burns, but did you know that airbags can also be responsible for facial injuries from the chemicals and shrapnel inside the bag? Our faces are our identity. If we look in the mirror and do not see the person we recognize as ourselves, the emotional and psychological pain can be staggering. Steven H. Heisler has a proven track record of providing successful legal representation and guidance for injured clients and their family members. If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury or facial scarring in a motor vehicle accident due to product defects or another person’s negligence, please give Steve a call. Facial Injuries Explained Burns sustained in a car accident can be caused by a fire or by the chemicals that activate inside an airbag. Briefly, burns are classified by degrees: A first-degree burn is superficial and contained within the top layer of skin. The skin is red, with no blisters. Scarring is not likely unless complications such as an infection arise. A second-degree burn is[…..]

Can We Prevent School Shootings?

Can We Prevent School Shootings?

The March 2018 shooting at southern Maryland’s Great Mills High School has spurred action among Maryland legislators. In early April 2018 they passed legislation that would improve safety in our state’s schools. The bills provide either school resource officers or police coverage for the Maryland public high schools that don’t have any. In all, local jurisdictions gain $10 million for this purpose. The bills also require lockable classrooms and age-appropriate drills for dealing with active threats in our public schools. State Senator Steve Waugh, R-St. Mary’s, whose district includes the Great Mills High School, noted, “We have really done something very important for the state.” The Great Mills Confrontation A male student used a handgun to shoot a 16-year-old female he knew on March 20, 2018. An armed deputy joined in. By the time it was all over, the girl had suffered critical injuries, a 14-year-old boy was injured, and the 17-year-old shooter had sustained fatal wounds. The Maryland attack came hard on the heels of the February Parkland, Florida, tragedy, when 14 students and three adults died. The school superintendent for St. Mary’s County and for Great Mills High, J. Scott Smith, spoke out after the shooting, saying, “If[…..]

If You Own a Kia or Hyundai, Read This

If You Own a Kia or Hyundai, Read This

Certain Kias and Hyundais from model years 2011 through 2014 are vulnerable to spontaneous fires. Vehicles affected include the Kia Sorento SUV and Kia Optima sedan, as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV and Hyundai Sonata sedan. While the fires have not been associated with any crashes, it’s estimated that six persons have suffered injuries from the fires. Petition Submitted to NHTSA The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) has petitioned Deputy Administrator Heidi King of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because of the fires. The petition, submitted June 11, 2018, noted that the NHTSA has on file 120 complaints of fires where no crash occurred, as well as 229 filed complaints that mention melted wires, smoke, and odors indicating something was burning. When the number of Hyundai and Kia reports was compared with other competing makes and models, the CAS discovered only 22 reports on file that mentioned fires without collisions for all other competing vehicles. The Hyundai Sonata had the most complaints at 47, with 10 for the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Sixty-three fires were reported to the NHTSA for the two Kia models. Dangerous Fires The CAS petition mentioned several fires, including the following ones:[…..]

Summer Travel and Safety Tips

Summer Travel and Safety Tips

The majority of people who take vacations do so during the summer—that’s about 59 percent of us. Regardless of how you plan to vacation this summer or where you’re going, avoiding injury and staying safe should be one of your biggest concerns. We have some ideas that can help you do so. Safety While on the Road Do you plan to travel by car? Keep in mind that drivers tend to do 10 percent more distracted driving during the summer and spend 15 minutes of every hour in a distracted state. Here’s how to limit distraction: Know where you’re going, so you don’t have to consult maps. Keep in mind that GPS and paper maps may not be accurate. Especially don’t follow GPS blindly. Leave your phone alone, or give it to a passenger to monitor if you must have it on. Don’t multitask. Driving is Job One. Secure children and pets so they don’t distract you, and bring along items to keep the kids entertained. Carry an emergency kit and supplies should you become stranded, including water, protein bars, and other snacks. Use the “teddy bear system” to prevent leaving kids in hot cars because you were distracted. Keep[…..]

First Death from Exploding Vape Pen Is Official

On May 5, 2018, a man in St. Petersburg, Florida, was discovered in a blazing bedroom with burns on 80 percent of his body. But apparently what killed him weren’t his burns, but his vape pen blowing up while he was using it. After an autopsy, the medical examiner listed the cause of death as projectile wounds to the man’s cranium from two pieces of the vape pen driven into his head by the force of the explosion. The type of vape pen the man was using is known as a “mechanical mod.” His model carried the Smok-E Mountain Mech Works logo; the company is based in the Philippines. Mechanical mods differ from other vape pens and have their own set of problems. Smok-E believes the explosion is due either to the atomizer or to the use of a cloned battery (a non-authentic knockoff battery that is often of inferior quality and safety). Smok-E insists that their product does not explode. What Makes Mechanical Mods Distinctive? Mechanical mods are simpler than other vape pens because they are nothing but devices that deliver power directly to the atomizer. The atomizer supplies the fumes that users inhale; the entire vape pen is[…..]