Edwards & Kautz
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Paducah Legal Issues Blog

Lawsuit over nursing home death ends in $13 million settlement

In April 2013, a 68-year-old former judge for Jefferson County, Kentucky, died after 24 days in a nursing home when he failed to receive necessary antibiotics. The judge had been treated at a hospital for an infection, received antibiotics and then moved to the nursing home two weeks later. He was supposed to take the antibiotics for a period of four weeks at that nursing home, at which time he would have been fit enough to leave.

As a result of this negligence, the infection returned and killed him. Representatives of the judge's estate filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, Masonic Homes of Kentucky, and against the pharmacy, Med Care Pharmacy. It appears that Med Care Pharmacy failed to take steps ensuring that the decedent received his antibiotics. The facility was also negligent in failing to notify family members of the death. Six weeks passed before the wife was notified.

Helping workers avoid heat-related illness in the summer

Employers in Kentucky know that with the summers bring with them high temperatures and the risk for heat-related illnesses. Therefore, they must do all they can to protect their workers, whether indoors or outdoors, from heat-related hazards. The first recommended step is to establish an injury and illness protection program, tailoring it to the work crew's size and shift lengths.

Next, employers may set up training for heat stress prevention. Workers should know the effects of heat and the symptoms that can arise from heat-related illness. OSHA provides training resources and guidelines, and the Occupational Safety Councils of America offers a Heat Illness Prevention Program for both employees and supervisors. Third, it may be good to have a tool for assessing the heat index and the impact of heat for each day.

Teens 15% more likely to be in fatal crash in summer

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teen drivers are 15% more likely to get in a fatal car crash during the summer: in particular, in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The reason is that teens, who are inexperienced to begin with, spend more time on the road during this season. Kentucky residents can imagine how events like the Fourth of July celebrations also have a role to play in more drivers, and potentially inebriated drivers, being on the road.

To keep teen drivers safe on the road during the summer as well as the rest of the year, AAA encourages parents to set up safe practices with their teens. Together, parents and teens should ensure that the vehicle is properly maintained. It's dangerous to go out with bad brakes, bald tires or under-inflated tires. Teens should have their routes planned out beforehand. Parents and teens should know each other's phone numbers.

Medication reconciliation training reduces med list oversights

Patients in Kentucky can be seriously impacted by prescribing or medication list errors. This is one of the reasons why a group of physician assistant student researchers has developed a new patient medication interview process. It's meant to serve as part of a medication reconciliation training program for medical record technicians.

In order to determine how effective their approach to medical reconciliation might be, researchers conducted a pre-implementation review. They identified medical record technicians who were not sufficiently trained in conducting reconciliation procedures. Some of them might have not been familiar with patients' electronic records. Researchers also found that patients may come to visits without updated medication lists, or they may not be able to recall what they are currently taking.

Speeding: still a leading cause of car accidents

As you know, there are speed limits for a reason. Speeding can significantly increase the chance of car accident and the likelihood that any injuries or damage will be serious. With the prevalence of distracted driving and the known dangers of drunk driving, it's easy to overlook how speed plays a role in many grave or fatal accidents in Kentucky. 

If you were hurt in a car accident, it is possible that speed was one of the reasons you suffered injuries. In fact, statistics suggest that speed has been a factor in as many as two-thirds of all motor vehicle accidents for more than two decades. Driving over the posted speed limit is reckless, and it places every motorist on the road at an increased chance of an injury.

What happens to the brain after a car accident injury?

A car accident can change your life in an instant. In the moments that it takes an accident to happen, you may find yourself left with serious injuries and property damage that can impact your life for years to come. This is especially true if you suffer a brain injury.

Brain injuries are complex, and no two recoveries will be the same. Whether you suffered a minor head injury or you are facing long-term debilitation because of your TBI, you may need extensive help and support to move forward after your accident. It can help to learn more about what to expect from a brain injury and what you can do to make sure you have what you need to get better and move forward.

Sport coupes, subcompact cars among deadliest on road

With the addition of automatic braking systems, airbags and crash avoidance technology, car manufacturers are making cars safer than ever before. Unfortunately, over 37,000 people in Kentucky and across the United States died in 2017 as a result of a car accident. When looking for a new vehicle, shoppers are taking note of technology advancements that can help reduce these statistics.

Data released from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows that some makes and models of cars have higher rates of death in motor vehicle accidents than other models. Taking this into consideration when buying a vehicle may help keep families safe. All 14 of the cars on the list are sport coupes or small cars. Those driving larger and heavier vehicles have a greater likelihood of surviving an accident. Additionally, people who drive sports cars may engage in driving at greater speeds and in riskier driving behaviors than those who drive other cars.

Preventing construction falls and injuries from falling objects

Wherever there is a construction site with elevated surfaces, there is the danger of workers falling and those below being struck by falling equipment and other objects. Falling objects are the third leading cause of death in the construction industry, according to OSHA, and they resulted in 45,940 injuries in 2017. That came to 5.2% of all workplace injuries throughout Kentucky and across the U.S.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 17% of all workplace fatalities in 2017 were caused by falls. In that year, fatal falls reached their highest level since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries was established back in 1992.

Even rain drizzle can increase the risk of deadly accidents

Even drizzling rain can significantly up the risk of getting into a car crash in Kentucky and elsewhere, according to a new study. The findings were recently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

For the study, researchers at the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies analyzed data from 125,012 fatal car accidents that happened across the Lower 48 states between the years of 2006 and 2011. Previous studies have used police reports and data from the nearest weather station to analyze crash conditions, but this study utilized information from weather radar, which is more accurate. This data helped researchers determine the rate at which rain or snow was falling at the time of an accident.

Patients with anxiety may be improperly diagnosed

Kentucky patients and others who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may not actually have the condition. This is according to a study from Johns Hopkins University that analyzed 78 cases referred to the Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic from February 2011 to July 2017. In 54 of those cases, an individual was predetermined to have schizophrenia. However, only 26 of those individuals actually had the condition while the others were deemed to have anxiety or other mood disorders.

One of the takeaways from the analysis is that primary care doctors should get second opinions when they aren't sure about a mental health diagnosis. Typically, doctors will refer patients to specialists if they show signs of cancer, heart disease or other ailments. Another takeaway is that patients who are misdiagnosed may not get the treatment that they actually need in a timely manner.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

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