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March 2014 Archives

Are Technological Advances Helping or Hurting Patient Safety?

8943758_s-200x300.jpgTechnology continues to move and change rapidly, opening doors and creating possibilities that, at one time, only existed in the imagination. While technological advances impact nearly every industry, they have a significant impact on the health care industry. Technology makes our lives easier in many respects, but the rapid technological advances in health care are leaving some to wonder: are all these technological advances helping or hurting patient safety? In many situations, a technology's improvements to patient care come at a price. For instance, many clinicians now use mobile health technology to communicate among medical teams, collect data at a patient's bedside, and monitor patients more efficiently. Despite the fact that enhanced communication and more timely alerts are improving patient care, there are several downsides to mobile health technology that puts patient safety at risk. For instance, as this article indicates, alarm fatigue - when health care providers become desensitized to the constant noise of alarms or turn off the alarms all together - was one of the biggest technology hazards in 2013 and will remain a top concern for 2014. Technological advances also carry security concerns, as well. As this Forbes article points out, many medical devices are vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches through the internet, infected flash drives, or other wireless technology, which could result in malware accessing patient data, monitoring systems, and implanted devices. Older medical devices are the most vulnerable to cybersecurity risks, especially if medical device manufacturers fail to provide timely security updates or if the devices are not updated by the medical facility or the patient. One technological advance that seems to have the clearest beneficial impact on patient safety is the introduction of electronic health records. Research shows that electronic health records "improve quality and safety and, as a result, prevent adverse events." While some fear that electronic medical records could create a false sense of security, supporters of electronic medical records say they cut down on medical errors and promote patient safety by making it easier for doctors to communicate with one another and to identify potential problems, such as medication conflicts and allergies. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting the public from substandard medical care and helping the victims of medical malpractice obtain full and fair financial compensation for their injuries. If you have been the victim of medical negligence, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim.   Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.  

Illinois Receives Top Marks for Drunk Driving Prevention Programs

6342526_s-300x200.jpgThe dangers of drunk driving are well known and cannot be understated. In fact, drunk driving takes the lives of nearly 10,000 people each year and leaves another 170,000 people injured, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. In Illinois, 335 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2012 - 35 percent of the 956 total traffic fatalities. In an effort to curb the amount of drunk driving, states are enacting stricter laws and enacting public awareness initiatives. In Illinois, the legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) is 0.08 for drivers over the age of 21, unless the driver has a commercial driver's license in which case the BAC is 0.04. Drivers under the age of 21 and school bus drivers have a BAC of 0.00. If a driver has a BAC over the applicable BAC, has used any illegal substance, or is impaired by medication, he or she is considered to be "under the influence" and may be subject to criminal or civil penalties. As a result of its strict stance on drunk driving, Illinois was recently rated a "Five-Star State" by Mothers Against Drunk Driving - the highest possible rating from the group. "We are honored to receive this recognition from MADD" says Secretary Ann Schneider.  "We have zero tolerance for drunk driving and along with law enforcement throughout the state, we work hard to put programs in place to keep our motorists safe." Among the reasons for Illinois' top rating are the all-offender ignition interlock law that went into effect in 2009 and the state's sobriety checkpoints. At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago auto accident attorneys are committed to keeping Illinois motorists and their passengers safe. We commend the state for its efforts to curb drunk driving and hold violators responsible. In addition to criminal penalties, drunk drivers also face civil liability for any accidents, injuries, damages, or deaths that they cause. In some cases, dram shop liability may also be assessed against the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver, as well. On behalf of alcohol-related accident victims, we are committed to seeking maximum financial recovery from drunk drivers.

When Medical Malpractice Happens Outside the Hospital

When a person thinks of medical malpractice, he or she typically thinks of a patient in a hospital who does not receive the medical care that he or she needs - whether it is obstetrical negligence during a birth or surgical malpractice during a medical procedure or the failure to properly treat during an emergency.

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