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New Mexico Legal Issues Blog

Reasons truck accidents occur

Collisions between a car and a semi-truck can be deadly. An estimated 475,000 large trucks are involved collisions every year. This results in more than 140,000 injuries and 5,000 fatalities. These collisions are caused by distracted driving, over-tired, over-worked truck drivers, failure to properly maintain equipment, excessive speed and a host of other causes, all of which are preventable.

How some dosage errors occur

New Mexico patients may be interested to learn that some harmful errors in drug prescribing occur because of 10-fold dosage mistakes. For example, a trailing zero, such as 1.0 mg, might be misread as 10 mg. Similarly, the lack of a leading zero could lead to confusion between .5 mg and 5 mg.

One way this kind of error could be prevented is by not developing doses that differ by a factor of 10. Another possibility is in naming conventions. One company labeled its 12.5 mcg dose as Duragesic-12 to distinguish it from the 125 mcg dose.

Increases and decreases in truck accident trends

New Mexico drivers who regularly share the roads with truck drivers may know that, when a large commercial truck becomes involved in an accident, the size and mass of an 18-wheeler is more likely to cause serious or even life-threatening injuries to occupants of other vehicles. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that, while the number of large trucks that were involved in injury accidents slightly decreased, the number of trucks involved in fatal accidents increased.

The numbers from 2014 to 2015 also show that the number of large commercial trucks involved in fatal accidents rose by 8 percent. On the other hand, the number of trucks that were involved in accidents that resulted in injuries actually decreased by 1 percent. Likewise, the number of large trucks that were involved in incidents that caused damage to property also decreased by 1 percent.

Brake Safety Day event held throughout North America

New Mexico truck drivers may have heard about the Brake Safety Day that took place on May 3 and was sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. It was an unannounced event that resulted in 9,524 inspections in 33 states and 10 Canadian provinces. Of the trucks inspected, 1,989 were taken out of service, and of those, 1,146 were taken out of service because of brake violations.

Overall, brake-related issues are the most common reason why trucks are taken out of service during roadside inspections. During the May 3 event, there were 4,635 trucks that were determined to need ABS systems by law. Of those trucks, roughly 8 percent were taken out of service because of ABS violations. The next Brake Safety Day has been announced for Sept. 7.

Diagnosis failure results in jury award

New Mexico patients who are concerned about whether their illnesses have been properly treated may be interested to learn of a case in which a hospital was required to pay $29 million to a patient because of a failure to diagnose her condition. The patient, who has Wilson's disease, is now suffering from significant complications because of a delayed diagnosis. According to the jury, the rare condition the woman had may have been treated with little difficulty if the hospital had given a diagnosis and treatment in a more timely fashion.

Wilson's disease is a genetic disorder that results in an accumulation of copper in critical organs and occurs only rarely. The brain and the liver are the organs that are most affected, and it can result in permanent neurological disorders and brain damage and the deterioration of speech, cognitive and motor skills.

Driving dangers and the Fourth of July

New Mexico residents who planned a road trip for the Fourth of July should know that it is considered the most dangerous summer holiday with regard to motor vehicle accidents. The Insurance for Highway Safety states that for the last10 years, the holiday has been, on average, the most dangerous day for drivers. A major insurer states that 7 percent more accident claims are filed for the Fourth of July as well as the three days before it than are filed for the Labor Day and Memorial Day holidays.

Because the holiday results in very congested roads, drivers may be weary, unfamiliar with their routes or not properly focused on driving. This can result in an increased risk for auto accidents, which is why it is important for drivers to pay attention.

E. coli outbreaks threaten our food supply

E coli poisoning is one of the most frightening kinds of poisoning. It has led to thousands of instances of people getting sick and numerous deaths.

Because it often originates in the processes of meat processors, fruit growers, canners and water supplies, E. coli poisoning has led to many significant lawsuits.

Many labeled with penicillin allergies are not really allergic

Someone designated as allergic to penicillin in New Mexico might not really have the allergy. It's important to know that being misdiagnosed with this allergy could alter someone's health care for a lifetime. Less effective and more expensive alternative drugs might be necessary when patients have penicillin allergies.

However, some symptoms get labeled as allergic reactions when really they are common reactions to antibiotic treatments. A diagnosis of penicillin allergy could happen to someone during childhood and then stick with that person for life. Unless an allergist confirms a penicillin allergy, it could very well be a misdiagnosis. A survey conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that 80 percent of general practitioners rarely or never referred such patients to an allergist.

Preventing wrong-patient errors

New Mexico patients may be interested to learn that situations where a treatment or procedure is administered to the wrong patient still occur in all stages of diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, health care providers may document a patient's information in the wrong medical record or fail to verify that they have the right patient before making a diagnosis or administering a treatment. These errors can result in serious medical consequences or even death.

Annual truck inspection event has concluded

From June 6 to June 8, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted its annual International Roadcheck. The inspection was conducted in New Mexico and throughout the U.S. and Canada. The CSVA says that the purpose of the yearly event is to check for compliance, enforce rules and educate drivers. Cargo security was among the top priorities this year.

The non-profit organization says that drivers can avoid violations by loads and equipment are properly tied down. They should also make sure that tie-down equipment is not worn or damaged. Drivers may be cited for loads that shift or or fall out of the bed in addition to having insufficient or damaged tie-downs. Overall, one truck is inspected every 15 minutes during the inspection blitz, and in 2016, 21.5 percent of trucks inspected were taken out of service as well as slightly more than 3 percent of the drivers.