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Dayton Personal Injury Law Blog

Case illustrates hazards associated with 'distracted doctoring'

A case recently filed in Texas is shedding light on a specific safety hazard affecting patients in Ohio and across the nation. Most Americans are familiar by now with the issue of distracted driving. Motorists who fail to keep their hands on the steering wheel, their eyes on the road and their minds on the task of safely operating their vehicles risk harming themselves and others around them. Similarly, when physicians take their focus off the task of delivering a quality standard of care, they risk harming any patient affected by their distracted state.

The Texas case alleges a kind of “distracted doctoring” that may have both led to surgical errors and to the death of an innocent patient. According to the claim, a 61-year-old woman checked in for routine heart surgery in order to correct her irregular heartbeat. Depositions indicate that the anesthesiologist assigned to the woman’s surgery failed to notice that her blood-oxygen levels had fallen to dangerously low levels until roughly 15 or 20 minutes after the woman had turned blue.

Lawmakers aim to ensure more effective auto safety reporting

By now, most Americans are familiar with the allegations made against General Motors in the wake of a recent safety recall of approximately 2.6 million G.M. vehicles. The defect involves an ignition switch that can too easily be turned from the “run” position to the “accessory” position. This can even occur while the car is being driven.

But the risks are greater than just a sudden engine shut-off. If and when the ignition switch fails and the engine loses power, drivers may also lose key safety features in the car. These include the deployment of airbags, power steering and power brakes. Dozens of car accidents and at least 13 deaths have already been linked to the defect.

NHTSA will mandate certain new vehicle technology by 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has finally issued a rule that many Americans have waited years for. According to the newly released rule, all new light vehicle models weighing less than 10,000 pounds built after April of 2018 will come with new rearview technology. This new rearview technology will help to prevent back-over car accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.

Congress passed legislation requiring the NHTSA to pass such a rule back in 2008. However, the agency cited numerous research-related obstacles in delaying this requirement of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act multiple times over the past several years. Thankfully, the NHTSA has finally announced the finalization of the rule and an effective date for mandatory installation of new rearview technology.

Worker Dies At West Carrollton Workplace

A 48-year-old Vandalia man died Monday in a West Carrollton work accident.

The accident occurred at Certified Heat Treating when the worker got caught in a piece of equipment. Few details have been disclosed, but the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began investigating the same day.

Improper machine guarding and heavy equipment mishaps are the 10th leading cause of industrial workplace accidents in the U.S., according to OSHA. Industry-heavy Ohio has more than its fair share of machine accidents, and the consequences are often severe.

Common injuries from moving machine parts include:

Dayton Courtroom Hosts Battle Over Traffic Cameras

Dayton has been using cameras to enforce red lights for 10 years, but the addition of speed cameras in 2011 has sparked controversy. The issue may be reaching a boiling point, as new lawsuits in Montgomery County are challenging the use of the speed-enforcement cameras.

These suits follow suits in New Miami and Elwood Place, where plaintiffs successfully argued that the speed cameras are unconstitutional and violate due process. In those cases, judges were convinced that the speed cameras were little more than revenue-generators for the city where any traffic safety concerns were an afterthought.

Will Dayton outlaw speeding cameras? The trend in Ohio courtrooms would indicate yes, but Dayton-specific camera data will be a huge factor as the cases unfold.

Avon Lake Pit Bull Attack Has Sad Ending

Whether or not you believe there is no such thing as bad dogs - only bad owners - anybody who has owned a pet knows that losing it is a difficult thing to suffer through. A pit bull owner in Avon Lake will have even more to mentally process, as his or her dog harmed another person before it was killed by Avon Lake police.

The attack occurred on Williamsburg Road, when a resident and his or her golden retriever were attacked by two pit bull mixes. The victim suffered two dog bites to the leg before the animals targeted the golden retriever.

Police arrived and shot the pit bulls to cease the attack. One of the pit bulls died and the other escaped, but was later captured and treated for gunshot wounds.

GM's Decision To Ignore Ignition Switch Defect Proving Costly

General Motors Co. befuddled much of the public when it recently announced that it was recalling some its models from roughly a decade ago. About 1.6 million small sedans from that era like the Chevy Cobalt contain a faulty ignition switch, a dangerous defect blamed for at least 12 deaths.

But the story gets worse: GM was aware of these defects beginning in 2001, but chose to do nothing about the problem - until now.

Customers and regulators are justifiably angry at GM and deserve an explanation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will hold GM accountable for breaking rules and regulations, while injury and wrongful death victims may hold the auto manufacturer accountable through product liability lawsuits.

Man Pleads Not Guilty To Manslaughter In Truck-Motorcycle Crash

In September, a fatal truck accident killed a 21-year-old motorcyclist in Columbiana County, Ohio.

The truck driver, a 28-year-old Tennessee man, recently pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter charges stemming from the crash. It seems the case is destined for a hotly contested and emotional trial, as both the truck driver and deceased motorcyclist had oxycodone in their system at the time of the collision.

It is not necessarily unlawful for a truck driver to have oxycodone in her or her system - assuming it is medically necessary and used properly - but it is a source of controversy in commercial driver licensing.

Oxycodone is a Schedule II opioid that can have a powerful effect on a trucker's ability to safely operate an 80,000-pound vehicle. Many reputable trucking companies will not employ commercial drivers who use opiates. Drugged driving remains a serious safety issue in the trucking industry.

Hospital Death Raises Malpractice, Premises Liability Issues

Doctor's orders were for Lynne Spalding to be monitored closely and not left unattended. The 57-year-old woman was hospitalized at San Francisco General Hospital for treatment of an infection, but the woman's mental health was lacking and she presented a danger to herself.

Sadly, the orders from Spalding's physician were ignored, allowing the unstable patient to leave her hospital room. She then proceeded to an emergency exit stairwell and became trapped.

Spalding was reported missing, prompting an ineffective search of the hospital campus. Sheriffs were asked to help search, but did not. Further, they failed to investigate after a report of a person lying in a hospital stairwell.

Spalding's body was found 17 days after she went missing. Her son and daughter have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, which operates the hospital and sheriff's department.

Another Ohio County Rules Against Traffic Cam Tickets

Last week, a Butler County judge ruled that the village of New Miami has used traffic cameras in a way that violates due process. The court ordered village officials to cease use of the cameras.

The latest ruling continues a trend of Ohio courts determining that traffic camera citations are unconstitutional. The schemes vary among municipalities, so one Ohio community may be using traffic cams lawfully while another is using them in a way that violates due process. Still, the emerging trend is for judges to rule them unlawful and hope that the Ohio State Supreme Court will settle the dispute in the near future.

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