Monthly Archives: July 2015

California leads the way in reducing pregnancy complications

Pregnancy and delivery have often presented dangers to the mother who is giving birth. However, the incidence today of a death during a pregnancy are about 18.5 per every 100,000 live births in the United States. While this number has risen from a low of eight per 100,000 live births in 1987, the rate is not climbing in all parts of the country.

In California, the number of deaths during pregnancy is roughly six per every 100,000 live births, which is down from more than 17 per 100,000 in 2006. The decrease is largely attributed to the state’s actions to better manage obstetric hemorrhage and preeclampsia, which are the leading causes of preventable maternal death. Due to the success that California experienced, the goal is to better manage causes of preventable maternal death such as severe hypertension nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hope to implement these new procedures within three years. The hope is that maternal deaths will be halved in the United States within five years. Furthermore, it is hoped that the expansion of Medicaid in some states under the Affordable Care Act will help women get access to the care needed to be healthy enough to avoid complications during a pregnancy.

A pregnant woman who is injured during delivery may want to consider filing a lawsuit against the health care practitioner if negligence can be demonstrated. The hospital where the delivery took place may also be liable for damages. An attorney who has experience in medical malpractice litigation can assist the injured client by examining the applicable medical records and consulting with records in an attempt to demonstrate a failure to provide the requisite standard of care.

Myelin damage may be key to prognosis after brain injury

A recent study conducted by researchers at two California universities indicates that brain injury recovery times may be linked to myelin, a fatty substance that acts as an insulator for nerve fibers. The research team hypothesized that trauma may damage the brain’s myelin, and thereby lessen the speed of information transmission in the brain.

One of the study’s authors, a postdoctoral researcher at USC, suggested that the research may be useful in making prognoses following brain injuries, so medical personnel can more readily identify high-risk patients. The research focused on a group of 32 young people between 8 and 19 years old who had experienced moderate to severe injury to the brain during the prior five months. The individuals in the group were given tests of cognitive flexibility, verbal learning and short-term memory.

The UCLA researchers examined brain electrical activity to see how quickly the young people’s brain nerve fibers were transmitting information. Those young people who showed the most myelin damage performed 14 percent slower than individuals in a control group on the mental tests. Those who had suffered a brain injury but whose myelin was nearly intact were 9 percent faster than those with more severe myelin damage, but still slower than the control group.

The study indicates that the integrity of the brain’s myelin impacts how quickly a child or teenager regains information processing and recall after a concussion or other head injury. Symptoms of brain injury may take days or weeks to manifest following a traumatic event. Individuals who have suffered a brain injury caused by the negligence of another may wish to consult an attorney regarding the advisability of filing a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages from the responsible party.

Teen charged after hit and run kills pedestrian in California

A California teenager faces criminal charges after a fatal car accident involving a pedestrian in San Leandro on June 18. The 18-year-old male from Hayward was charged on June 27 for the accident that took place at the intersection of Thronally Drive and Hesperian Boulevard.

The pedestrian accident occurred at around 9 a.m., when a 26-year-old woman was crossing the street. A probable cause report written by a San Leandro police officer, reported that the teen ran a red light in his Toyota pickup truck, while traveling at a high speed, and hit the woman. She was taken to a hospital, but later succumbed to her injuries.

After the accident, the teen driver fled the scene. His truck was found on June 19, and he turned himself in later. He faces a misdemeanor charge for vehicular manslaughter and a felony charge for leaving the scene of an accident. The Hayward teen is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, and the officer’s probable cause report said that the teen’s actions indicated a disregard for public safety and were negligent.

Negligence can occur when a driver disregards the safety of others on the road and an accident happens that causes injuries to someone else. Speeding and running a red light are two examples of negligence that could lead a victim or a victim’s family to seek compensation in court. Pedestrian injuries can be especially serious, since an individual does not have much protection against a vehicle. When a pedestrian suffers severe injuries, the responsible driver may be liable for the victim’s medical costs and other damages that have been incurred.

Moving around appears to be beneficial to TBI sufferers

Recent research has produced important findings for California residents who have suffered an injury to the brain. The prevailing medical wisdom has been that the increased blood flow associated with exercise could be harmful to those who have suffered brain trauma, and those who have come from surgery were strongly encouraged to lie still and rest as they recuperate. However, a recently-published study of over 600 patients showed unmistakable benefits from early mobility. The patients studied were persuaded to get up and move around to the limits of their ability as soon as possible, often on their very first day in the intensive care unit. They showed marked improvements over patients who remained bedridden.

A traumatic brain injury can be devastating to the victim. Authorities on the subject acknowledge that getting people with TBIs up and moving can be an excruciating challenge. A case was cited of one patient who required the assistance of multiple people for nearly an hour just to move from a bed to a chair. However, the benefits are unmistakable.

TBI patients who get up and move around show a host of positive effects. Although the healing of the brain is notoriously difficult to measure, it is undeniable that secondary issues such as pressure sores and time on a ventilator are ameliorated. More research is necessary to gauge exactly how helpful mobility is and whether it is equally helpful for all cases.

Individuals who have suffered a TBI because of the negligent action of another may want to consult with legal counsel to determine whether any methods of obtaining compensation exists. Based on the circumstances of the injury, an attorney may find it advisable to seek damages from the responsible party through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the victim.

Source: NPR, “People With Brain Injuries Heal Faster If They Get Up And Get Moving”, Gretchen Cuda Kroen, July 6, 2015

Mild brain injuries may prove fatal, research finds

For California residents who have suffered a head trauma, a new study gives cause for concern and further reason to pursue compensation for brain injuries caused by negligence. Results published in the Journal of Neurology, NeuroSurgery and Psychiatry show higher rates of death after a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury. Direct causes of increased mortality were not identified, but there were hints that lifestyle changes may lessen the overall impact of brain injuries.

The study that was conducted in Scotland consisted of matching 2,428 patients with two control groups. One control consisted of case-matched individuals along specific socioeconomic variables, and the other control was made up of patients in the selected hospitals who were not diagnosed with mild brain trauma. People in a control group who had previously had a head injury were excluded for purposes of the study.

The compiled statistics show that the diagnosis resulted in 4.2 times greater risk of death versus controls for patients between the ages of 15 and 54. In older populations, the increased rate of death was less pronounced at 1.4 times higher. One suggestion of these findings is that the outcomes of brain injuries are not fully understood and may be worse than generally suspected. Though lifestyle changes may reduce the impact, mistakes in diagnosis would make this mitigation more difficult.

California residents who suspect a misdiagnosis of a traumatic brain injury may be at greater risk than first suspected. Victims of this type of medical negligence may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and increased risk of future health problems incurred as a result. A medical malpractice attorney may be of assistance in examining an injured victim’s medical records and obtaining other evidence to establish a failure to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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