Archive for category: Health and Safety

An Interesting Article on Medical Errors in Canada

Categories: Health and Safety, Medical Malpractice, Safe PracticesAuthor:

A recent article in the National Post, a nationally distributed Canadian newspaper that focuses primarily on financial issues, discussed at length the extent of error and “adverse events” in the Canadian health care system. The article concludes that the failure to publicly acknowledge errors harms patient safety:

The point of publicizing medical error, patient-safety experts stress, is not to shame or blame, or take away from the fact health care is replete with highly trained, dedicated professionals. Aside from a tiny smattering of true incompetents, no one comes to work expecting to dispense anything but exemplary care, says Rob Robson, a physician who led the Winnipeg health authority’s groundbreaking patient safety program for seven years. Read more →

Hospital Safety Scores

Categories: Health and Safety, Medical MalpracticeAuthor:

According to the Patient Safety Journal, 440,000 individuals die in the U.S. each year from medical errors.  This means that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country.  The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit devoted to improving health care quality, safety and transparency, recently published its 2014 Hospital Safety Score for U.S. Hospitals. This survey assigns each hospital a letter grade based on the ability to prevent errors, injuries and infections. In Vermont, Central Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center both received “C” grades.  Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medical Center and the University of Vermont Medical Center (formerly, Fletcher Allen Health Care) all received “B” grades.  Read more →

Workers’ Compensation Claim for Beryllium Disease Caused by Exposure at Rutland GE Plant

Categories: Health and Safety, Safe Practices, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

We are awaiting a decision from the Vermont Department of Labor in a workers’ compensation claim in which our client developed chronic beryllium disease (CBD) as a result of her exposure to beryllium while working as a machinist at General Electric in Rutland, Vermont. GE claims our client has sarcoidosis, not CBD. At the hearing, OKG attorney Michael Green presented testimony from Carrie Redlich, MD, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine and an internationally recognized expert on CBD. Dr. Redlich explained that CBD is often misdiagnosed as sarcoidosis. Dr. Redlich determined our client had CBD because of her history of exposure to beryllium at GE, as well as the results of a lung biopsy and beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT).

Lead Paint Poisoning in Vermont

Categories: Health and Safety, Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

Lead paint poisoning poses a major health threat to Vermont children. Many children are injured each year by ingesting lead dust or lead in paint chips. Lead that is absorbed in the blood and transferred through the body can seriously poison a young child whose brain and nervous system are still developing. Even a small chip of old lead paint, or inhaling lead in dust, can poison a child. It is well-documented, and medically accepted, that lead poisoning can cause a child to suffer permanent brain damage, loss of IQ, learning problems, developmental and behavioral disabilities, hyperactivity and other injuries.

Most Vermont children get tested for lead by their pediatricians. If the child tests positive, with a lead level higher than is allowed by Vermont law, the Vermont Department of Health takes action to protect the child’s health, and to make the property safe.

Vermont property owners and landlords are legally required to adequately maintain their properties so that children are not lead poisoned. In fact, Vermont has one of the strongest laws in the country protecting children in rental units from the hazards of lead paint poisoning. Vermont law requires owners of rental units (especially those built before 1978) to take reasonable steps to prevent children from being exposed to lead paint. Property owners who fail to meet their responsibilities can be sued by the parents or guardians of young children who have been severely lead poisoned. Those children can recover money damages from the landlords for all injuries they prove they suffered because of the lead poisoning.

Vermont Hunting Safety

Categories: Health and Safety, Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

Hunting is a cherished and time-honored tradition in Vermont. Generations of hunters have taken to the woods and fields in search of large game and small. In order to obtain a hunting license, Vermonters must take and pass a rigorous hunter safety course.

Most Vermont hunters are extremely safe, and take their responsibilities seriously. Despite this, and unfortunately, every year several hunters are injured, or even killed, in hunting accidents. Most of these accidents occur when a hunter fails to make certain that they know what they are shooting at, or fails to make sure what lies beyond their target.

If someone is injured or killed by a hunter, not only can the hunter be criminally prosecuted by the State of Vermont; the injured victim or their family can bring a civil claim against the hunter who shot them, seeking money damages. These claims are often covered by the at-fault hunter’s homeowner’s insurance policy.

The bottom line is that it pays to be safe when enjoying one of Vermont’s favorite past-times.

Seat Belt Safety in Vermont

Categories: Health and Safety, Safe Practices, Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

Seat belt usage in Vermont, according to the most recent numbers, runs at 87%. This is about a twenty point improvement over the last seven years or so. So what would happen if Vermonters were to increase their seat belt usage to 90%? The Vermont Department of Public Safety believes that it would save at least one life every year. Backing this up is another number: as of 2006, the latest data available, over 50% of fatal crashes in Vermont involved unrestrained drivers or passengers.

What does all this mean. Yes, air bags are great, but they do not replace seat belts. The combination of seat belts and air bags is the best combination to stay alive in a crash.

While the incentive to stay alive should be enough cause for most people to use their seat belts, there is another, reason: Vermont law requires it. Everyone in a motor vehicle must wear a seat belt or sit in a car seat or a booster seat.

Children under one year old and those weighing less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Children over one year old and weighing more than 20 pounds should ride in a federally approved seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old. Once a child reaches the age of eight, they should ride in a properly fitted seat belt.

As it relates to children, there is an important fact to remember. A very high percentage of children’s seat are not properly fitted. However, Vermont law enforcement agencies routinely hold clinics where, at no charge, they will check out child car seat installations and help owners correctly fit their car seat for the car.  As well, this Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator can help you find  an inspection stations near you.

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