“Keyhole” Surgery Leads to Surgical Injuries


Minimally invasive surgical methods, or keyhole surgeries, are the preferred ones when confronted with the need for a procedure, mostly because healing times are faster and there is a lower risk of excessive blood loss. Laparoscopy, which uses cameras inserted into small incisions in the abdomen, was one of the earliest and most popular of these methods, and it is still being used today.

A relatively recent entrant in the field which has grabbed a substantial share in the market since its introduction 13 years ago is the da Vinci Surgical System, which is a robot-assisted surgical method. Recent events, however, has served to somewhat tarnish the reputation of the metallic automaton in the field of surgical instruments.

At least 70 deaths have been directly linked to the use of the da Vinci robot, landing its manufacturer Intuitive Surgical Inc. in legal hot water and affecting its standing in the market. More adverse events have been reported, and some studies say underreported with the machine’s use, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch an investigation to determine the extent to which the da Vinci robot may be said to have directly caused unnecessary surgical injuries. And now, Intuitive itself has issued a statement regarding defects in certain components of the system which may inadvertently cause even more damage to the patients.

Intuitive sent Urgent Medical Device Notification in May 2013 to those who purchased the da Vinci system regarding potential problems with the Monopolar Curved Scissors (MCS), commonly called the Hot Shears. Micro-cracks along the shaft that developed when the shears were reprocessed, maintenance performed on all instruments periodically after a certain number of procedures done. These micro-cracks may allow electric current to “arc” from the instrument to living tissue, possibly causing burns and tissue damage. Less than a year ago, the tips of the scissors had been recalled, but Intuitive does not confirm that these defects caused injury to any patient.

The initiatives were classified as part of the company’s efforts to improve the products, and had nothing to do with the surgical injury lawsuits already filed against it. Taken one by one, these adverse events may be said to be part and parcel of the risks associated with surgery, but taken together, they represent a serious problem with the technology.

Even After Divorce It is Always Your Kids You Ought to Worry About


Research shows that only a small percentage of children experience serious problems in the event of divorce; it does not, however, show how much fear, confusion and uncertainty these children actually suffer. Though parents suffer before and through the divorce process, it is really the children who carry the brunt of the separation.

A number of children would even think that they are the cause of conflict and separation, while other would take the responsibility of trying to bring their parents back together, even if it would mean sacrificing themselves. Obviously, divorcing parents always leave their children out of whatever issue or conflict they have with each other, so that by the time the children become aware of the situation, it is already too late.

Children always look to adults to help them make sense of the world. This is why when conflict and anger overtake the values they have been taught to live, they begin to misunderstand things (as well as get misunderstood) and rebel. From the very start, when parents begin to lose the love and respect that bind them together, parents ought to find how to tell their children what is happening, what their involvement is in the whole thing, how it might affect them and what will happen to them – all these are to prevent whatever misdirection the children may experience.

WebMD Magazine published an article on the “Top 5 Mistakes Divorced Parents Make”; these are actually pointers M. Gary Neuman, an expert on family and divorce, offers exes:

  • Never make your children your messenger – asking your children to relay your message to your ex-spouse would only certainly cause them further stress
  • Don’t make your child your therapist – making your child your cohort by sharing with him/her your anger towards your ex or the details of the divorce may only do more harm than damage.
  • Try to “get” your kid – never impose your thoughts or what you want on your kid. Divorce can turn a child’s world upside down; listen to him/her more but without telling him/her what to think.
  • Avoid the third degree – make your child’s weekend with your spouse a comfortable experience.
  • Repair the damage you’ve already done – saying ‘sorry’ to your kids (as they reach their teen years) for whatever mistake you’ve done that led to the divorce is important, as well as telling them that you are changed man and will never let mistakes get in the way again.

While these aren’t the only ways to help smooth over the process of divorce for your children, they are a good place to begin.

Slip and Fall Accidents: Their Usual Causes and Effects


Sometimes, an ordinary case of slip and fall can result in injuries that no one would even think can be severe. Many victims, however, will tell you that some incidents of slip and fall have resulted to fractures which have caused them great pains or impairment.

According to the Chris Mayo Law Firm website, falls are listed among the top causes of injuries in the US. This information is clearly substantiated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which says that more than two million fall injuries are recorded every year. The commission further gives the following details about this common cause of personal injury:

  • The most serious consequence of falls is fracture, hip fracture
  • Slips and falls are the leading causes of work injuries, especially for people between 15 and24 years old, and of lost days from work
  • The most common causes of the accident include spills on floors, weather conditions, plumbing issues, uneven steps or floors, inadequate lighting, unnecessary clutter, slick or slippery floors, lack of guardrails, railings and warning signs, exposed wires and other trip hazards

Though an injury sustained through a slip and fall accident may be blamed on the injured person him or herself, the property owner, is mainly responsible for making sure that his or her establishment or property, is free from hazards that may cause such falls, especially if it is a commercial or public place (like a mall, a restaurant or eatery, any paved establishment).

Failure by the owner to ensure safety on his or her property can amount to negligence which, if it results to an injury, may require compensation for the injured individual. Injured victims on the other hand, will definitely find having a legal professional on their side an advantage in fighting for their rights and interests.

Work-related Injuries or Illness and the Benefit of Workers’ Compensation Insurance


Before employers in the US were mandated by the government to carry a workers’ compensation program in behalf of their employees, the latter had to resort to legal proceedings whenever they sustain work-related injuries. Suing their employers was for the sole purpose of recovering lost wages and future earnings, as well as getting the compensation that will enable them to pay for medical expenses. Majority of the employees, however, did not only lose the case, but the case also damaged their relationship with their employer. To win cases, employers always resorted to the following arguments:

  • Assumption of risk – it stated that the injury was an accepted danger normally connected with the job;
  • The fellow worker rule – that it was a fellow worker’s negligence that caused the injury;
  • Contributory negligence – the injury was due to the negligence of the worker himself/herself

If ever there were occasions when an employee won the case, the compensation would either be delayed or it would be much lesser than the amount stipulated by the law. Thus, the establishment of the workers’ compensation law in 1908 (which initially covered federal employees) started an insurance program that would greatly benefit both employer and employee. Majority of the states began adopting their own version of the program between 1911 and 1920; this insurance program, the oldest in the US, was then mandated on most managers or business owners.

The workers’ compensation insurance benefit is aimed at providing financial assistance to employees who sustain work-related illnesses or injuries. The benefits will cover lost wages, medical, disability [temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial disability (TPD), healing period, permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD)], vocational rehabilitation and death.

Though the same benefits may be enjoyed by employees regardless of the state they’re in, there are also differences such as coverage and statute of limitation. In Iowa, for instance, an employee whose work is principally based in Iowa or who is hired in Iowa is entitled to all the benefits even if the injury was sustained somewhere else; this is one relevant information mentioned on one of the web pages of LaMarca & Landry, P.C., a law office based in the same state. The page also mentions that the employee ought to inform his / her employer of the injury within 90 days after it was sustained.

Though the workers’ compensation program provides workers with guaranteed benefits (the amount of compensation employees ought to receive cannot be lower even if the injury is due to their own fault) and removes the burden of time- consuming and costly proceedings, there are times when an application gets denied due either to the worker’s failure to fill out the forms correctly and completely or file the application on time. If denied of the compensation benefit or if the amount you receive is lesser than what you believe it ought to be, it would be good if you will seek the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney, as this will make the processing of application much clearer and faster for you.

Defective Air Bag: Cause of Injury rather than a Device for Safety


A research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows the top four causes of death in car-related accidents: drunk-driving; speeding; distracted driving; and, bad weather. In all four causes, the research also showed that those who suffered the severest injuries and those who died on the spot of the accident were either drivers or passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt.

While seatbelts remain thus far the best devices for restraining vehicle driver and passengers, saving them from impacts and crashes that can either severely injure them or cause their untimely death, another device, which is a perfect supplement to seatbelts has been introduced – the air bag, also known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 or FMVSS 208.

Designed as a vehicle safety device, air bags provide a cushion between the occupants and solid objects inside the car, like the windows, the dash board and the steering wheel and, thus, lessen the possibility of crash injuries. These are made from flexible nylon fabric, folded into the steering wheel, dashboard and other areas of the car, and are connected to a sensor which makes them inflate quickly during moderate or severe collisions.

The use of car air bags was first introduced by Ford in 1971; General Motors followed suit in 1973, incorporating the air bag in their Chevrolets. It was not until July 11, 1984, however, when the U.S. government mandated that cars manufactured after April 1, 1989, ought to be equipped with a passive restraint, such as a seat belt or an air bag and, through the motivation of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this same mandate was applied on light trucks beginning in 1997.

The 2,788 lives saved because of air bags only show that the device is effective. However, one cannot simply dismiss reports on how some air bags have malfunctioned or never functioned at all, causing severe injuries or death instead of protecting and saving a life.

Aware of automobile defects, the website of Habush & Rottier, S.C., indicates the three top reasons how air bags can cause injuries:

  • Air bags inflating even when there is no collision
  • Inflating ahead of time and then immediately deflating, failing to provide the needed cushion during actual impact
  • Late deployment

The possible reasons behind these malfunctions can be a flaw in the design, a manufacturing defect, incorrect assembly or installation, improper folding, overpowered inflators, venting problems or inaccurate software. Some of the injuries defective air bags can cause can include broken bones, head injury, traumatic brain injury and chemical burns.

Knowing your rights, when accidents occur due to a defective air bag inside your vehicle, is highly important; and who else, other than a truly knowledgeable lawyer, can explain to you the law and what it says regarding your legal rights? It the event of an accident, make sure you have an automobile defect lawyer on your side.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance: What It is and How to Apply for It


Job sites are common venues where individuals sustain personal injuries and, of the many different sites of work, the ones where the highest number of injuries are sustained are construction sites.

The top four causes of severe injuries and untimely death at construction sites are falls, being struck by construction vehicles or equipment, being caught-in-between / pinned between equipment and a solid object and electrocution, which can cause burns, explosions and fire.

Due to the financial losses and costly medical expenses an employee can suffer from in the event of an accident, a workers’ compensation insurance becomes truly beneficial. Also known as the workman’s compensation insurance or employers’ liability insurance, this benefit is mandated by the state on firms that regularly employ at least three employees, on those operating as limited liability companies and partnerships, sole proprietorships or corporation (firms with only one employee, but whose work requires exposure to radiation, ought to have the coverage too).

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program intended to provide financial benefits/assistance to employees suffering from job-related illnesses or injuries. It offers wage replacement (usually one-half to two-thirds of their regular wage, but which is tax free) and medical, disability, rehabilitation or death benefits to employees regardless of the cause of the injury or who was at fault for such injury. In exchange for this benefit, employees are to waive their right to sue to their employer for damages.

There are workers, however, who are not covered by this compensation benefit; some of them are certain railroad employees, some sellers of agricultural products and farm laborers, domestic servants, casual employees, independent contractors and company owners. Commuting to and from work are not covered by the insurance, as stipulated in the Coming and Going rule; running errands for the employer, transporting goods and traveling as required by the job, though, are.

The essential steps that will lead to availing the benefit include:

  • The independent medical examination (IME), which is performed by a doctor authorized by the insurance company whose examination of, and report about, your injury will help determine the amount of compensation you’ll be offered;
  • Notifying your employer within 30 days after your injury was sustained or when your illness began (some states allow a two-year statute of limitation) is actually the first step in filing for a claim. Your employer will supply you with the claims forms required, otherwise, you can get them from your state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.
  • Filling out all forms and supplying all required information, such as: your name, address, the date and time when injury was sustained, the place where the injury was sustained, full description of your injury, your Social Security Number, your employer’s name and address, the date your employer was informed of the injury, the date you received your claim form, your salary, the dates you were not able to work, plus other vital information.

Getting a claim denied, though, has been a common woe to many applicants; but such denials, as identified in the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., are simply caused by failure to fully and correctly fill out the forms, failure to submit the forms within the statute of limitation, exaggerating a claim or filling out the wrong forms altogether. To be able to complete all required forms correctly and submit everything on time, make sure you seek legal assistance whose help can save you all the confusion, delays or, worse, denial of your claim.

Methamphetamine Possession: Its Worst Effects and Harsh Punishment


Crimes related to drugs are serious offenses any person can commit; thus, many US states have imposed harsher punishments and higher fines on offenders, in an attempt to greatly reduce the number of offenders. According to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, criminals caught can suffer up to 180 days in jail and be asked to pay a $2,000 fine. Worse than these penalties, though, are the effects of a charge and a conviction to a person’s dreams and more so to his / her relationship with his / her family and community.

A drug crime may be committed through any of the following acts: drug selling / trafficking / distribution, drug manufacturing and / or delivery, possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine and possession and use of drug paraphernalia.

Methamphetamine is a synthetic or artificial stimulant that influences an individual’s central nervous system; this illegal substance is also known to be extremely addictive. Methamphetamine can take the form of crystals, a yellowish or white crystalline powder, or pills. It is also known under the names meth, yellow bam, uppers, trash, poor man’s cocaine, stove top, yellow bam, crank, glass, fire, yaba, tweak, crystal, methlies quick, ice or speed. Individuals who swallow, inhale, smoke or inject the substance into themselves can suffer rotting of the teeth, mania, organ failure, paranoia, brain damage, obsessive compulsive behavior, psychosis.

A more damaging drug than others, mere possession of methamphetamine can mean up to a $10,000 fine and a jail term of up to 2 years. Possessing large amounts of this drug, however, will result to a $100,000 fine and no more than 99 years imprisonment.

Methamphetamine makes the user withdraw from his or her peers and increases in the possibility of committing a crime, violent behavior, or suicide. With the consequences of meth possession ranging only from bad to worse, if you are being accused of a meth crime, you will definitely want a highly skilled and determined criminal lawyer by your side who may be able to save you from being convicted of a drug crime.

Risks of Eagle Ford Shale Injury


South Texas is home to the Eagle Ford Shale, a high-yield hydrocarbon formation that plays an important part in oil and natural gas production in the US. As such, it is a significant source of jobs and income for thousands of people, as well as for the growth of industry and economy in the area. But because the industries that grow out of it are inherently dangerous, the risks of incurring Eagle Ford Shale injury are high.

Thousands of oil and gas wells are currently in operation in the area, and for each of these leases there are hundreds of workers who extract the raw materials from the earth. Aside from the potential for physical injury such as slips and falls, malfunctioning equipment, and worker incompetence, there is always the danger of explosions and fires.

Aside from the workers who are down in the ground, so to speak, it is possible that some of the potential for Eagle Ford Shale injury could affect those who live in the surrounding areas. One of the potential sources of injury is damage to the roads and highways, which can lead to vehicular accidents. Air pollution from the drilling and mining activities can also mean that residents are breathing in contaminants, which may later bring on health problems. The same goes for the pollution of surface and ground water.

The Eagle Ford Shale provides massive benefits, not only for oil and natural gas companies, but also for the general population employment- and energy-wise. But it is also undeniable that unless safety measures and proper extraction procedures are observed to minimize the damage to surrounding areas, these benefits may not be so great in the long run. When workers and residents alike have health problems or sustain an Eagle Ford Shale injury in unacceptable numbers, it is time to remind those who operate the leases that safety for all is the first priority.

Cloudy with a Chance of a Motorcycle Wreck


A motorcycle wreck is not a pretty sight, but it is certainly worse if you or someone close to you is involved in one. Motorcycles are a convenient and economical way of getting around, and the cool factor is also a good reason for riding around in one. The likelihood of being involved in a motorcycle wreck, however, is quite high because of the inherent instability of the vehicle and the lack of any substantial protection for the rider.

Among the most common causes of single vehicle motorcycle accidents is road defect. A single uneven or slick patch of road can cause a motorcycle travelling at even moderate speeds to skid, spilling its rider with quite violent force. The top cause of death for motorcycle riders is head injuries, and even those wearing a helmet have a 1 in 3 chance of making it out alive.

Even for those who do manage to survive a motorcycle wreck, injuries can be quite serious. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, loss of limbs and road rash are just some of the types of damages that a motorcycle rider can sustain on any given day, although Saturday appear to have the highest incidence of single vehicle motorcycle accidents on rural roads. Inebriation is also a very good indication that a motorcycle wreck is looming in the near future for anyone foolish enough to ride.

Injuries sustained in a motorcycle wreck can mean a long hospital stay, extensive physical rehabilitation, loss of income, and life-long disability that could have been prevented. If you or someone close to you sustained injuries in a motorcycle wreck through the negligence or recklessness of others, a personal injury claim may be in the offing. Consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer with a good reputation in the field would be able to give an accurate assessment of the case.

Disability Benefits


With the Fourth of July just around the corner, fireworks stands are gearing up for the 10-day window in which they are legally allowed to sell their products. Although the spirit of the holiday is fun and relaxation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a notice for “increased safety awareness” in the fireworks industry in preparation for the 4th.

Fireworks are, by nature, volatile and explosive, with the potential to cause extreme property damage and personal injury. The OHSA announcement restates important guidelines for sale of any fireworks in the United States, from obtaining all necessary state and local permits, strictly prohibiting smoking within 50 feet of sales areas, and keeping fire extinguishers operational and accessible. The OHSA also requires all employees involved in the sale of fireworks to participate in safety training. Employees should also be aware of their ability to gain disability benefits if they are injured on the job.

The increased watchfulness comes after a tragic March 2012 incident, in which three workers at Missouri-based Global Pyrotechnic Solutions Inc. suffered severe burns after several pyrotechnics exploded. OHSA fined the company more than $117,000 for violating important explosive safety guidelines. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels reiterated the need for safety of pyrotechnics employees.

“Employers are responsible for keeping everyone safe on the job and taking appropriate measures to protect workers from serious injuries or death,” Michaels said.

Last year in San Diego, the Big Bay Boom 4th of July show quickly went south after a computer malfunction launched all the show’s fireworks at once. Fortunately, no one was harmed in the incident, which produced a miraculous fireball above the San Diego Bay.

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