Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cesarean sections: there is a balance between benefits and risk

The chances that our readers have been pregnant themselves or at least know a woman that has been are pretty high. During a pregnancy, due dates can be a funny thing. At first, they are extremely exciting. A day approximately nine months into the future gets circled on a calendar, and the weeks are checked off.

As the weeks add up, the due date becomes almost a source of frustration. “I’m x days past my due date!” is a common lament. Too far past that date, into a long labor or under certain conditions and a cesarean is often discussed as a delivery method. New guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine suggest that doctors might be jumping the gun in some cases.

The new guidelines were published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Data showed that the occurrences of cesarean delivery rose 60 percent from 1996 to 2011. Over half of these procedures were conducted in the case of a first-infant birth. A portion of these procedures may have even been unnecessary suggests the new guidelines, reporting that those in low-risk pregnancies should be given more time during the first stage of labor.

SMFM President Vincenzo Berghella MD reminded concerned parties that there is still a risk for birth injury in some cases when doctors wait too long to schedule a cesarean. “Physicians do need to balance risks and benefits,” he noted, “and for some clinical conditions, cesarean is definitely the best mode of delivery.” On the other side of the scale are unnecessary C-sections that “may pose greater risk than vaginal delivery, especially risks related to future pregnancies.”

Delivery specialists, like neonatologists and obstetricians, are trained with the knowledge and skills to make this determination. When a negligent decision is made in California, these and other responsible parties can be held liable in a birth injury claim for damages.

Source: Medscape, “Longer Labor okay to Avoid Cesarean, New Guidelines Say,” Laurie Barclay, Feb. 19, 2014

CHP focuses on distracted driving, hopes drivers do too

Inattention on the road is never a good thing. Looking down for a couple seconds, even at low speeds, can cause a car accident. When the collision involves two vehicles, a simple distracted driving fender bender might only result in an awkward conversation between drivers and a minor insurance claim. When the collision involves a pedestrian, even a low-speed crash can prove catastrophic for the pedestrian.

Although there are many distractions on the road, there is no doubt that cellphones have a high capacity to divert driver attention. The California Highway Patrol is no dummy when it comes to cellphones and the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and anyone else that could be affected by a distracted driver. One way that the CHP can help is through strict enforcement of cellphone-related laws, and that is exactly what the agency is doing.

In the year 2012, the CHP issued thousands of distracted driving citations related to either talking or texting on a cellphone. When the 168,000 total citations were divided by 12 months it came out to an average of 14,000 citations per month. Although this might be a good sign that the CHP is focusing on the issue, it is also an indication that there is certainly a problem.

No matter what the text or telephone message is, “It’s Not Worth It!” said Commissioner Joe Farrow. He’s right, and together with the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, his agency hopes to reduce the number of pedestrians injured by this negligent behavior.

Not all accidents can be prevented. The personal injury process was put in place to provide victims of negligence civil recourse after a crash. It is a system that addresses the consequences of a situation that they should never have been forced into, and an attorney is the tool that helps a victim ensure that they receive the intended benefit of this process.

Source: Orange County Breeze, “CHP advises drivers not to text while driving,” Feb. 8, 2014

Number of spinal cord injuries suffered in falls raises concern

As we age, it becomes harder to fight illness and injury. Our bones become more brittle, making a broken leg or a broken hip not only much more likely but also more difficult to repair. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news for San Francisco residents, but it does make the results of a recent study even more of a concern.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and cases involving spinal cord injuries were the focus. Historically, motor vehicle accidents have been the number one cause of spinal cord injuries across the nation. Data from this recent study showed that falls have surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of this type of injury.

According to the data, the overall increase in the number of falls that caused trauma to the spinal cord was due largely in part to an increase amongst the senior population, aged 65 and older. In fact, the number of spinal cord injuries suffered per million by those aged 18 to 64 actually decreased in the same time period from 2007 to 2009.

Not only are seniors suffering falls at a higher rate, but as noted above, recovery is more difficult at this age. In fact, researchers found that seniors are four times more likely to die while receiving emergency treatment for this type of injury at a hospital. For those seniors that make it out of the emergency department, a traumatic spinal cord injury is six times more likely to prove fatal during inpatient care.

Researchers speculate that the increase is in part due to the aging of the baby boomer generation or possibly to a more active elderly population. Safety features available in cars could even contribute to the increase in spinal cord injuries by preventing some of the collisions from becoming fatal accidents.

Source: Insurance Business, “Falls overtake auto wrecks as leading cause of spinal cord injuries,” Feb. 5, 2014

San Fran: elderly immigrants at higher risk for pedestrian injury

Pedestrian accidents continue to plague the streets in San Francisco. Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians often result in very serious injuries and fatalities. Pedestrian accidents can be horrific, and San Francisco is trying to raise awareness to the risks of pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents in order to keep everyone safe.

All pedestrians are at risk for being involved in a motor vehicle-pedestrian collision. However, a new report shows that elderly immigrants are more likely to be victims of pedestrian accidents in San Francisco. Specifically, data shows that elderly immigrants from Asia are involved in more pedestrian accidents in the city.

San Francisco police said that elderly immigrants may be involved in more accidents because they are confused by the city’s traffic system, which can be very different from what they are used to in Asia.

The police and the mayor of San Francisco both want to have more bilingual campaigns to help immigrants understand the traffic system in America as well as ways to stay safe while walking in the city. Safety campaigns that target specific cultures may help immigrants living in San Francisco avoid accidents, both as pedestrians and as motorists.

Pedestrians and motorists both need to be aware of one another and take steps to reduce the risk of a collision. This means that motorists need to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and in other areas with high pedestrian traffic. They also need to be aware of pedestrians walking near traffic on the sidewalk and in other areas.

Pedestrians can also take steps to stay safe. They should always follow traffic laws and make sure they are visible to motorists, especially at night. This means wearing more visible clothing or walking in areas that offer better visibility at night.

Pedestrians and motorists should both take steps to reduce the risk of an accident. In addition, hopefully the city will be able to come up with some new safety campaigns that help immigrants understand the city’s traffic laws and ways to stay safe.

Source: ABC 7, “Elderly immigrants most common victims of pedestrian accidents,” Vic Lee, Jan. 8, 2014

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