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Thomaston Legal Blog

Breast cancer in men is on the rise

Less than 1% of breast cancer patients in Georgia and across the U.S. are men, but these men tend to be diagnosed later than women are and have lower survival rates. Breast cancer trials have not included men, but now the FDA is recommending their inclusion. This comes at a time when the number of male breast cancer patients is, in fact, rising.

In 2016, 1.21 per 100,000 men were diagnosed with breast cancer whereas in 1975, the rate was 0.85 per 100,000 men. In 2019, an estimated 2,670 men in the U.S. will develop the cancer. The lower survival rate holds even when researchers factor in variables like socioeconomic status and access to care.

Hidden injuries to look out for after a car accident

A recent ranking of fatal car crashes in every state showed Georgia has far many more than most drivers likely realize. The state ranked 14th in the country for total number of fatal car accidents with other nearby southern states also ranking high on the list. 

A majority of auto accidents that occur in Georgia result in injuries rather than fatalities. However, you still need to pay attention to your body following a collision because some injuries can be disastrous if left unattended for too long. This is a problem because many common injuries you can sustain in a car accident may not be apparent until weeks after the incident. 

Study reveals rise in sleep-deprived transport workers

A study from Ball State University has determined what professions have seen a rise in sleep-deprived workers. Researchers compared the years 2010 and 2018 and found that while 30.9% of all respondents reported getting less than seven hours of sleep in 2010, that percentage went up to 35.6% in 2018. Truckers in Georgia will want to take note because the transport and material moving industry was deeply affected.

At the top, those in the police and military reported the most cases of poor sleep (50%), followed by those in the health care industry (45%). More than 40% of both truckers and workers in production reported a lack of sleep. As for how many of the truckers were long-haul drivers, the study did not say. It is clear, though, that sleep deprivation often arises in those professions that tend to have 24-hour shift work.

Genetic testing may lead to more accurate diagnoses

A study published in the medical journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology suggests that genetic testing may be useful in detecting hereditary angioedema, also called HAE, which could protect people in Georgia from misdiagnoses. HAE is a genetic disease that causes sudden, repeated instances of swelling in deep layers of the skin. It can be divided into three types. Types 1 and 2 are related to mutations in the SERPING1 gene; type 3 is caused by a mutation located in the F12 gene.

Other forms of HAE exist though, according to researchers, for which the exact cause remains unknown. These forms of the disease are collectively referred to as HAE-U. The disease carries a combination of severe symptoms and a high likelihood of misdiagnosis, which can lead to further injury to the patient. The researchers involved in the study examined 2,820 people who did not have any genetic disorders to see if they had the variant genes. Only one person in the test population was found to have either of the variants, a 31-year-old woman.

Why Lyme disease is so tricky to identify

Lyme disease is a serious illness that can cause problems with joints, the heart and the nervous system. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, there are almost 300,000 people dealing with Lyme disease each year in America. Despite so many instances of the disease, it can be hard for one suffering from this illness to be diagnosed correctly. Georgia residents might like to know more about the difficulty of diagnosing Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headaches and a rash on the skin. However, these symptoms could also point to many other ailments. Not all symptoms are present immediately, and symptoms could take years to present.

Ineffective brakes could ground Georgia drivers

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance claims that it placed 1,667 commercial vehicles out of service during a surprise safety blitz earlier this year. Those vehicles were taken off the road for brake safety violations. Overall, that figure represented 16.1% of all trucks that were inspected in the United States during the May 15 event. Another 1,620 vehicles were inspected in Canada with 13.5% being taken out of service for similar violations.

The focus of the event was on violations related to brake hoses and tubing as they are deemed among the most important parts of a brake system. They need to be adequately flexible, be free from damage and not have any leaks to pass an inspection. Furthermore, these parts must be attached properly to not be in violation of CVSA rules. Throughout the first half of 2019, there were 37,737 violations for chafing or kinking of brake hoses or tubing.

When not to replace a child’s car seat after a collision

From your smartphone to your sunglasses, you have a few items you always take with you when you drive. Your most precious cargo, though, is your son or daughter. By always strapping your young passenger into a safety-rated car seat, you help keep your child safe. Following a collision, though, you may have to replace the car seat to ensure your son or daughter does not sustain a serious injury in a subsequent car crash. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing a child’s car seat after a moderate or severe collision. You do not necessarily need a new car seat after a minor crash. How do you know whether a crash is minor, though? If all of the following five criteria are true, you can likely continue to use your child’s existing car seat. 

Rear seat safety not as advanced as that of front seats

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in a study focusing on frontal crashes that injured rear-seat passengers, has found that rear-seat safety is lagging behind front seat safety, though not because of any defect. Rather, front seats have been getting so much attention that rear seats are now deemed the less safe of the two. Residents of Georgia may be wondering what can improve rear-seat safety.

The IIHS mentions several areas where safety is deficient. First, rear seat belts lack force limiters, which use webbing to diminish the force with which the belt tightens against the occupant. Second, rear seats do not come with forward and side curtain airbags. Some automakers are developing forward airbags, though.

Medication errors are top cause of EHR-related malpractice claims

Georgia readers may be interested to learn that over 30% of all patient harm events involving electronic health records in medical malpractice claims are caused by medication errors, according to a recent study. The study was published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

For the study, researchers analyzed 248 EHR-related malpractice claims submitted to the CRICO database between 2012 and 2013. They found that 31% of EHR-related claims involved medication errors, another 31% involved treatment complications and around 28% involved diagnostic mistakes. They also found that nearly 70% of EHR-related cases that led to patient harm took place in ambulatory care settings. Meanwhile, the study found that medicine was the top service area for all claims while surgery, nursing, obstetrics/gynecology and radiology rounded out the top five.

Study: patient complications arise from surgeons' bad behavior

JAMA Surgery has published a study linking reports of unprofessional behavior on the part of surgeons with a higher risk for patient complications. Georgia residents should know that between 70% and 80% of surgeons in the U.S. never receive a complaint about their behavior. Still, that leaves a sizeable group of surgeons who do.

The study involved reports of unprofessional behavior from the co-workers of 202 surgeons. Researchers also looked at 13,653 patients for signs of complications within 30 days after surgery. It turns out that 1,583 patients did experience complications and that they were more likely to experience them with surgeons who had more reports filed against them.

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