Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

New York State joined a growing list of states this month when it sued Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, for the company’s role in creating the current opioid crisis. According to New York State, Purdue marketed the prescription pain medication as a more effective and less addictive solution to chronic pain – despite possessing evidence suggesting the opposite. The resulting crisis resulted in the death of 3,000 New Yorkers just last year. Overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that opioids caused 49,000 Americans deaths nationwide.

According to the lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, a statewide investigation found that Purdue’s deceptive marketing played an “important role” in the overprescribing of opioids. According to the Wall Street Journal,  more than 75 percent of opioid-related deaths in New York were caused by prescription pain medication, including OxyContin. In other instances, many patients become addicted to opioids through a legitimate prescription and then “graduate” to heroin for its cheaper and stronger high.  New York is suing for an unspecified amount and states the money will go towards funding rehabilitation and prevention programs, with Attorney General Underwood saying, “Our work won’t stop with this lawsuit.”

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Westchester County agreed to pay over $3 million in a lawsuit over the 2015 death of a local bicyclist. The bicyclist, Robert Small, an orthopedic surgeon at White Plains Hospital, died after an accident on the North County Trailway. Small, an avid and competitive bicyclist, according to LoHud.com, lost consciousness after biking into a marked pothole. The Briarcliff Manor resident did not regain consciousness and died four days later.

Small’s wife sued Westchester County, alleging that by failing to fill the pothole in the bicycle trail Westchester County acted negligently and caused the death of her husband. Steve Schirm, a surgeon who did not previously know Small, rode his bicycle in front of Small on the day of the accident. In a deposition taking during the trial process, Schirm recalled hearing the doctor yell and turned around to see Small flip over the handlebars of his bike. With one leg still attached to the bike clips, Small then landed head-first onto the ground. Though he was wearing a helmet, Small landed on his forehead.

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In a stunning and tragic case out of Florida, a new mother passed away after four medics allegedly told the woman she could not afford an ambulance ride. The woman, Crystle Galloway, had recently given birth to a son via C-section a few days before the event. According to Galloway’s mother, Nicole Black, Galloway was found slumped over in the bathroom and immediately called 911. According to Black, she told the emergency dispatcher that something was wrong, but that her daughter was still breathing

When the medics arrived later, Black says they told her that Galloway had suffered a stroke. Then, amazingly, told her that she could not afford a ride to the hospital in an ambulance and proceeded to “buckle-up” Galloway in her mother’s vehicle. Speaking to ABC Action News, Black says, “They never asked us if we had insurance, which we do.” She continued, “The whole conversation as the EMS put my child in the car was that was best for us because we couldn’t afford an ambulance. My daughter begged for her life, she begged!”

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According to the National Institute of Highway Safety, August 2 is the most lethal day for driving a car in America – with 505 deaths on the day just between 2012 and 2016. As the most common cause of death in America, car accidents tend to peak in the summer, with three of the five most dangerous days occurring during the warmer weather months. Perhaps surprisingly, Thursday 8/2 is the deadliest day of the week to be driving.

The summer is “prime vacation time,” according to Bloomberg, which reported on the federal government’s study. The first week of August, especially, is the most common time for a family to take a road trip in America. According to the researchers, the increase in travelers on the road is essentially the sole cause of the higher accident rate in August. Anecdotal evidence also shows that “driving habits” tend to be more erratic in the summer months – with no icy, dark roads to fear. Other data indicating that August is the most dangerous month for American drivers? According to Nationwide Mutual Insurance, more motorists report claims in August than in any other month.

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An “enforcement blitz” against speeding motorists is expected over the coming week as New York performs its an annual “speed week.” The initiative, funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, is entering its ninth year in the Empire State. Now an annual tradition, local police stations take to the streets and ramp up enforcement for driver’s disobeying speeding laws.

According to LoHud.com, Westchester residents should not expect any mercy or “warnings” if they are pulled over for speeding sometime in the next week. In fact, the entire slogan for the week is “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine,” according to the state government’s website. Speaking on the topic of “Speed Week”, New Rochelle Traffic Unit Supervisor Detective Sgt Myron Joseph told LoHud.com, “Speeding drivers put themselves, their passengers, and other drivers at tremendous risk. Our goal is to save lives, and we’re putting all drivers on alert – the posted speed limit is the law.”

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Amid a steady decline in pedestrian deaths, New York lawmakers will allow a law allowing speed cameras in school zones to expire this week. According to Mayor de Blasio, traffic deaths have decreased 55 percent in school zones equipped with cameras. Despite its effectiveness and relatively low cost, the Republican-led state Senate refused to renew the program while in session, despite its passing the Democratic-controlled state Assembly

Originally part of Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero,” the cameras originally went up across the city in 2014. Since that time, over 140 schools have been equipped with speed cameras across the five boroughs, according to NY1.  Hoping the Senate would be recalled from recess to extend the deadline before it reconvenes in January, Mayor de Blasio accused the state legislators of “effectively legalizing deadly driving in New York City school zones,” and failing to “protect New Yorkers.”

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Patient neglect causes serious issues in hospitals throughout the country, including pressure ulcers, falls and medication errors. However, a new company is attempting to gather data about patients using artificial intelligence which will, hopefully, led to fewer patients neglected in hospital rooms. The new sensor from start-up Inspiren is currently on trial at a hospital in Queens.

The sensor, which is roughly the size of a thermostat and possesses a glowing ring, will attempt to accurately report when a patient is “checked on” by a nurse or hospital staff member. While common procedure across the country, “hourly” check-ins by nurses are not uniformly followed when the hospital or staff are busy. The sensor, which is named “iN” will sit on a wall and monitor when a staff member enters and leaves a room. If the “iN” glows green, then the patient has been checked on recently. Unsurprisingly, yellow and red serve as warning signs that a patient may need assistance. Unsurprisingly, iN will come with an app notifying nurses whenever a patient has not been checked on in an hour.

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A new study released by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine showed that falls remain the second leading cause of death for workers across the country. The study showed that falls represented 14 percent of all workplace fatalities in the United States during an 11-year period between 2003 and 2014. Workers with the highest rates of fatal falls were employed in the construction industry, representing 42.2 percent of all fatalities, and installation, maintenance, and repair, representing 12.5 percent of all workplace fatalities caused by falls.

Overall, a total of 8,800 workers died in America as the result of a fall during this 11-year period. The falls were further divided into the “length of the fall” and, unsurprisingly, workers that fell a single story or more were more likely to die as a result – with 84.7 percent of all worker deaths caused by a fall of “more than one level.” For workers that fell, but not a full story or level, only 12.7 percent of workers died. The remaining 2.6 percent passed away from “all other types of falls.”

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Following a five-year pattern, New York’s traffic deaths continued to decline during the first six months of the year. From January to June, a total of 81 traffic fatalities occurred throughout the five boroughs. With the exception of motorcycle fatalities, all other traffic fatalities saw a decrease compared to the immediately preceding year. The continued decline is largely attributed to Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” campaign which aims to reduce vehicular deaths and pedestrian deaths to zero.

Across the city, vehicular deaths have decreased a full 30 percent since 2013. For pedestrian deaths, the decline is even steeper – at a full 45 percent compared to five years ago. According to The New York Times, pedestrian deaths are the lowest since at least 1910, when the city began keeping record of the fatalities.

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A new report found that New York doctors who received payments from opioid manufacturers were more likely to prescribe opioids to their patients. More disturbingly, the report, released by the New York State Health Foundation, found that as payments from the drug manufacturers to the doctors increased the prescription rate for their addictive painkillers increased almost lock-step. Overall, opioid manufacturers paid more than $3.5 million to New York state doctors between 2013 and 2015, as the opioid problem in the country began to reach epidemic levels.

According to the New York State Health Foundation, a nonprofit foundation established less than a decade ago, roughly one in 10 physicians received payouts from opioid manufacturers. The President and CEO, David Sandman bluntly said, “The more money you get, the more opioids you prescribe.” The data released by the agency confirms his statement. Doctors who received less than $20 from opioid manufacturers – approximately the cost of lunch or dinner – billed Medicare for an average of $34,000 just for opiates, which include hydrocodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl.

If the doctor received between $20 to $50 from the drug companies, the average billing went up to $50,000. For the 3,000 New York physicians who received more than $1,000 from these companies, Medicare was billed an astounding $1.24 million just in opioid prescriptions. The doctors who received payments from opioid manufacturers increased their prescriptions for these dangerous and addictive drugs by almost 37.2 percent in just two years. Doctors who did not receive any payment from the drug companies increased their prescriptions by just 15.6 percent.

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