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Thomaston Legal Blog

How to avoid a DUI during the holidays

Getting a DUI is a long and intensive process. Last year around the holiday season, former Husker defensive back Alfonzo Dennard, who is a native of Rochelle, faced arrest and DUI charges, to which he pleaded "no contest." 

While there are resources available if you find yourself on trial for driving under the influence, it would be best to avoid arrest in the first place. The best advice during this season, which is rampant with holiday parties, is to avoid drinking and driving. Here are some tips for resisting the temptation so that you can have a safe holiday season with your family: 

How opioids factor into many fatal two-car crashes

Georgia residents may be aware that there is a nationwide opioid crisis. This has had its effect on crash rates. A new study published in JAMA Network Open analyzed 18,321 fatal two-car crashes recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and found that 1,467 of the drivers involved in these crashes tested positive for opioids. Not only that, but there were twice as many at-fault opioid users than there were users who were not at fault.

Specifically, 918 of the opioid-using drivers were to blame for a crash compared to the 549 who were not to blame. Researchers discovered that these fatal two-car crashes were most commonly caused by drivers drifting out of their lanes. Among opioid users, the most frequently detected opioids were hydrocodone at 32% and morphine at 27%.

The increasing danger presented by driving while distracted

Georgia residents may find it interesting to learn that according to the National Safety Council, around nine people in the United States die every day, and approximately 100 others are injured in automobile accidents stemming from distracted driving.

There are a lot of sources of distractions for drivers. Cellphones, which are illegal to use while driving in many areas, are on the top of the list of distractions. There are other non-tech distractions that drivers face, including interacting with passengers, disciplining children, handling pets and eating while driving.

Four safety risks that patients face in ambulatory care

The ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization has released a report detailing the safety hazards that patients face in ambulatory care settings. Georgia residents should know that diagnostic errors were the top risk, accounting for 47% of the 4,300 safety events analyzed in the study. After this came medication-related safety events at 27% and patient falls at 14%.

The safety events analyzed occurred between December 2017 and November 2018. Ambulatory care settings provide patients with doctor consultations, diagnoses, interventions and a range of other services. Among the diagnosis-related safety events that arose in these settings, 69% involved laboratory tests, and 21% involved imaging tests. Researchers recommend the use of decision support tools so that the right tests are ordered.

Highest rate of distracted driving crashes is among teens

A study from Michigan State University has resulted in some important data regarding teen drivers and distractions. It comes just in time for Teen Driver Safety Week, which is from Oct. 20 to 26. Parents in Georgia will want to make sure their teens understand the risk they run when driving distracted.

This study is unique in that it was able to monitor the actions of 3,400 teen drivers both inside and outside the vehicle. Previous studies relied on police crash reports to determine what happened prior to a crash whereas the MSU researchers could tell what distractions were most common and what distractions led to a crash.

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.

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