Since 1980, a group of mothers got together to form a group to help prevent drunk driving. The name of the organization is “Mother’s Against Drunk Driving” or “MADD” for short. “The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.”

MADD is very pleased that due to their hard work and continuous effort to make people more aware of the true dangers of drunk driving, new fatality data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) shows that drunk driving fatalities declined 9.7% ; 11,773 in 2008 and 13,041 deaths in 2007. According to DOT, “the number of overall traffic fatalities reported in 2008 hit their lowest level since 1961.” The numbers for 2009 show a continued decrease so far.

Arizona and New Mexico lead the nation in reductions of drunk driving fatality with 20% less in Arizona and 21% drop in New Mexico. Both states require all drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock in their car which is believed to be the reason for the decline. The state-by-state fatality numbers are available at

Errors in Prescribing Medication

A 1990 study of prescribing medication errors in teaching hospitals detected an estimated 3.13 errors for each 1,000 orders written, and a rate of 1.81 significant errors per 1,000 orders. The high number of orders and the hectic nature of general and teaching hospitals makes it quite a task to get all of the medication and prescription orders correct.

The quality of healthcare and medication is very high in this country with superb standards other countries observe and assimilate into their own healthcare systems. When medication errors occur and result in personal injuries and fatalities, it is blight not only to our medical system but to our country itself.

The most common errors where medical malpractice is concerned is the volume of dosage given to patients. Other possible medication errors include:

  1. Diagnostic error, such as misdiagnosis leading to an incorrect choice of therapy, failure to use an indicated diagnostic test, misinterpretation of test results, and failure to act on abnormal results.
  2. Equipment failure, such as defibrillators with dead batteries or intravenous pumps whose valves are easily dislodged or bumped, causes increased doses of medication over too short a period.
  3. Infections, such as nosocomial and post-surgical wound infections.
  4. Blood transfusion-related injuries, such as giving a patient the blood of the incorrect type.
  5. Misinterpretation of other medical orders, such as failing to give a patient a salt-free meal, as ordered by a physician.

If you have suffered or know someone who is suffering from medical malpractice,contact us, Phillips and Lyon, for more information on medical malpractice and medication errors.


Birth Injuries

During labor and delivery, medical complications can result in birth injuries. Doctors and health care professionals must exercise the utmost care to avoid injury to babies during the especially vulnerable times of labor induction, Cesarean section, and mechanically assisted (forceps) births. Babies who experience severe oxygen deprivation to the brain, or head trauma, during these delicate obstetrical proceduresoften die or face lifelong disabilities. Approximately 10,000 babies each year develop Cerebral palsy (a condition which impacts the ability to control movement) as a result of oxygen deprivation. Oxygen shortage also causes brain damage. Other types of traumatic obstetric birth injuries include prenatal asphyxia, Erbs Palsy or Brachial Plexus Palsy, Klumpke’s Palsy, Torticollis, and Shoulder Dystocia. Fractures, spinal cord trauma, cephalohematoma and intracranial hemorrhage may be the result of preventable obstetrical damage. Common errors for which medical providers may be held responsible are as follows:

  • Difficult or prolonged labor (often due to a large baby);
  • Failing to detect the umbilical cord wrapped around a baby’s neck;
  • Unreasonable delay in performing an emergency Cesarean section;
  • Failure to test and treat conditions during pregnancy, or misdiagnosis
  • Failing to recognize negative fetal signs

Approximately 27 of every 1,000 births in the United States results in a birth injury. A “birth injury” is defined as any type of damage to an infant’s body before, during or just after birth. The March of Dimes cites 60 percent of birth defects due to unknown causes; however, thousands of developmental defects and fetal deaths are attributable to an expectant mother’s exposure to toxic substances. Studies have shown that women living within two miles of a landfill have an increased chance of giving birth to a baby with spina bifida, a hole in the heart, or other defects. Pregnant women exposed to high levels of pollutants have almost three times the risk of delivering an infant with a cardiac problem. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are well documented hazards to pregnant women and may inhibit a child’s intellectual ability, short and long-term memory and attention span. Microcephaly (an abnormally small head circumference) is caused by detrimental in utero factors such as pharmaceutical drugs, radiation, or a mother’s prenatal infection of rubella (German measles).

Heavy metals (gold, lead, mercury), cleaning solutions, paint, caffeine, radiation, drugs and alcohol are also culprits in causing birth defects. Manufacturers who fail to inform (via labeling) pregnant women of the risk can be held responsible for the birth defects caused by their products.

There are many “natural” circumstances wherein oxygen deprivation can occur during the labor and delivery process: the umbilical cord can become compressed or twisted in the birth process; the baby is too large to pass through the birth canal easily, or the baby is breach or sideways in the womb.

There are also many circumstances where brain damage or brain injuries are caused by mistakes made by doctors, hospitals or other medical professionals during the delivery process: a delay in performing a necessary C-section delivery, complication with a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) delivery – such as uterine rupture, use of excessive force during the delivery, or a miscalculation in the size of the baby, causing a traumatic delivery.


Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is the number ONE youth drug problem in the United States. About 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year due to underage drinking. This does not include sexual assaults, violence and injuries.

The minimum drinking age is the most studied public health law ever. As you might guess, lowering the drinking age costs lives. Some have suggested that we should experiment by lowering the drinking age and see what happens. Organizations have “experimented” with giving alcohol to teenagers 18 and 19 years old and studies find they are much more immature and irresponsible when they are drunk then the average 21 year old adult.

In 1999, New Zealand lowered its drinking age from 20 to 18. Not only did the alcohol-involved crash rate increase among 18 and 19 year olds (12% increase for males; 51% for females), but also among 15-17 year olds (14% increase for males; 24% for females).

A lower drinking age promotes unsafe binge drinking. Most European countries with lower drinking ages have not only higher drinking rates, but higher binge drinking/intoxication rates. As a result, several of these countries are considering increasing their drinking ages because the 21 minimum drinking ages is so effective. In the United States statistics prove that from 1983 (the year before the national 21 law) to 1988 (the year when all states had adopted it), binge drinking among 12th graders dropped 15 percent during the same time binge drinking rates were increasing among the same age groups in Canada.

In fact, all underage drinking is unsafe drinking. Research has shown that the brain continues to develop into the early twenties. The part that controls reasoning and cognitive ability takes the longest to mature; thus, underage drinking, especially heavy drinking, affects memory and reasoning. The part of the brain responsible for forming new memories is noticeably smaller in youth who abuse alcohol. Alcohol use in adolescence also decreases executive functioning, memory, spatial operations, and attention among adolescents. Research shows most of this damage is permanent.

Most Dangerous Room in the House

The most dangerous room in a house happens to be a tie between the kitchen and bathroom. Many people visit hospitals reporting injuries happening in these two rooms.

Every year, there are about 200,000 bathroom slip and fall accidents. The Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention compiles statistics on falls. The leading cause of injury among older adults, is a slip and fall accident in the bathroom resulting in a fractured hip or traumatic brain injury.

Each year in the United States alone, more than 100,000 people go to the emergency room reporting kitchen related injuries such as burns and cuts from knives. Hot water alone causes 3,800 injuries and 34 deaths each year in the United States. Water boils at 212 degrees and it only takes a second to get third-degree burns. A knife slip means a nasty cut, stitches or potentially even the loss of a finger or two. Propane stoves cause many fire accidents and a glass casserole dish left on top of a range burner can explode, sending shards of glass in every direction.

Be careful of the potential hazards throughout your home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen.