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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Study on outpatient misdiagnoses should concern Floridians

A new study shows reason for concern about the accuracy of diagnoses made at U.S. outpatient facilities. The study was led by a patient safety expert who just received an award from President Obama for his work. Researchers found that just over 5 percent of adults who go to a community health clinic or emergency room are misdiagnosed. Further, according to the study, in these cases there was enough information available for a correct diagnosis in one visit.

Five percent may not sound like a lot, but the study estimates that it adds up to 12 million people annually and that half of these patients could suffer harm because of diagnostic errors. Another doctor and patient safety expert says that while the study provides more substantial data than previous analyses, the numbers are still likely lower than the reality. "I would say this is a minimum," he asserts.

Ikea Recalls Children's Bed Canopies Due To Strangulation Risks

Swedish superstore Ikea is asking customers who have purchased children's bed canopies, which look like mosquito nets, to stop using the canopies and bring them back to the store for a full refund.

Ikea has idenitified a strangulation hazard associated with these products, which include the LEGENDARISK, MINNEN bed Canopy set, BARNSLIG BOLL, MINNEN Brodyr, HIMMEL, FABLER, TISSLA and KLĂ„MMIG models.

No injury has been reported, but Ikea has received reports of entanglements and when the fabric/net is pulled into the cribs/beds and entangled around infant's necks.

The worldwide recall concerns more than 2.8 million products sold since 1996. 

Florida widow wins wrongful death suit against tobacco companies

Many of our readers have been aware of the dangers of tobacco their entire lives. The first report by the U.S. Surgeon General linking smoking to lung cancer was in 1964, and warnings have been on cigarette packages since the following year.

However, in the 1940s, most people weren't aware of the dangers or the addictiveness of cigarettes. Just last month, the Clay County, Florida, widow of a man who began smoking in 1941 as a teenager prevailed in her wrongful death lawsuit against tobacco giants R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris USA. The woman, whose 69-year-old husband died of lung cancer in 1994, was awarded $5 million by a Fourth Judicial Circuit jury.

Florida Boy Electrocuted In Family Pool

A 7-year-old boy was electrocuted as he swam in his family pool one Sunday afternoon.

Calder Sloan was swimming under the supervision of his nanny when he received a severe jolt that catapulted him out of the water. 

Now, investigators are trying to figure out how the boy was electrocuted. 

According to Sloan's father, about nine months ago the pool light wasn't turning on so the family hired a contractor to fix it. 

North Miami requires permits and inspections on pool electrical work that is more complicated than simply changing a light bulb, said city spokeswoman Pam Solomon. City building department records don't indicate any permits pulled or inspections done at the Sloan home in the past year.

Records also indicate the home and the pool were built in 1961, though records dating back that far couldn't be retrieved by the city on Thursday.

Gary Sloan, uncle to Calder, said electricians told him earlier this week that the light switch to the pool didn't seem to be grounded properly, meaning power that should have been diverted from the pool was instead likely going directly into it. The power source could have been as much as 120 volts.

"Somebody did not do their job," Chris Sloan said.

Florida auto accident causes death, injuries at day care center

A day after a car crashed into a day care center in Winter Park after being struck by an SUV, the alleged SUV driver turned himself in to authorities. The man is accused of fleeing the scene of the April 9 crash, which left a 4-year-old girl dead and over a dozen other children and an adult injured at the KinderCare facility.

The 28-year-old man was charged with leaving the scene of an accident "with death." Authorities say that he abandoned his Dodge Durango after the crash and then rented another SUV. The Durango was located by law enforcement within hours after the crash, which occurred around 3 p.m. A Florida Highway Patrol spokesman said that a telephone tip led them to the vehicle. She also said that the man already had been arrested multiple times on drug charges and also had gang affiliations. His bond is $100,000.

Fatal California Bus Crash Possibly Linked To FedEx Cargo

Last week, 10 people were killed in Orland, California when a FedEx truck crashed into a bus full of high school students. 

Investigators are looking into eye witness accounts that the FedEx truck was already engulfed in flames prior to hitting the bus with 44 students on board. 

The truck hit another vehicle before crashing into the charter bus. A spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol could not confirm if the truck was on fire prior to the collision. 

Investigators will also look into whether the driver of the FedEx truck, who was one of the fatalities, was over the federally allowed hours of service. 

However, this is not the first reports of FedEx cargo going up in flames. Just one day after the collision, the cargo area of another truck caught fire in Corte Madera California due to an electrical malfunction or chemical reaction.

General Motors facing questions over defective products

When manufacturers discover product defects that could lead to harm or death, it is generally best to take action sooner rather than later. However, General Motors is facing questions from federal regulators about why it waited a decade to deal with ignition switch problems. In the interim, 13 deaths in more than 30 accidents have been linked to the problem in some of its models.

A Feb. 27 report in "USA Today" said that the defective product is the ignition switch, which can cause the engine to turn off if a driver has a heavy key chain or the ignition is jarred. When that happens, the car's front airbags can fail to deploy.

Crash test results may concern many Miami SUV drivers

Midsize SUVs are a popular choice for Miami residents looking for a comfortable way to transport their family around town and on vacations. However, recent crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on nine 2014 models found that they perform very differently in crashes.

The IIHS performs six different crash scenarios. A relatively new one is a front overlap crash. It is considered a more stringent test than the head-on crash test required by the federal government. In the overlap test, a quarter of the driver's side front corner strikes a rigid object or another vehicle at 40 miles per hour.

Evenflo's defective product recall has echoes of Graco's

Our Miami area readers with young children are probably aware that Graco Children's Products has recalled some 4.2 million of its child safety seats due to a problem with the buckles. They can become difficult to open if food or liquids dry on them. This can pose a real danger in an emergency. Now another well-known maker of products for infants and children, Evenflo, has announced a recall for a similar buckle issue.

Evenflo is recalling nearly 1.4 million of its restraints due to the same problem with buckles sticking. The recall includes nine separate models, although none of their rear-facing safety seats. The company is also offering to provide customers with new buckles at no charge. Both the faulty Graco and Evenflo buckles were made by the same company.

Dangers of Hospital-Acquired Infections

Josh Nahum was admitted to a Colorado hospital after breaking his femur and fracturing his skull in a skydiving accident.

The 27-year-old grew ill shortly after undergoing a procedure to drain excess fluid from his head. An antibiotic-resistant bacteria rendered him a quadriplegic, and he died shortly after.

A hospital-acquired infection, not falling over 12,000 feet, killed Nahum.

At FDBR, we know the dangers of hospital-acquired infections. Each day, 1 in 25 patients has at least one infection contracted from a hospital visit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Due to this statistic, hospital-acquired infections was one of the factors in a recent Consumer Reports study on patient safety, revealing that patients sometimes emerge from hospitals with additional and sometimes life-threatening illnesses.

So how widespread are hospital-acquired infections?

In a 2011 survey of 183 hospitals, there were approximately 721,800 infections in 648,000 patients. Around 75,000 of these patients died as a result of a health care-associated infection.

The most common infections were pneumonia, surgical site infections and gastrointestinal infections. Less common were urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.

According to Consumer Reports, Palmetto Hospital received the lowest ratings in South Florida for surgical-site infections.

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