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The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan provide effective, aggressive representation to individuals injured in the New York area. Our priority is to maximize the recovery of our clients injured due to the neglect of others.

A recent study highlighted the improving areas of medical care in the United States. Released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the study tracked seven main criteria related to healthcare between 2000 and 2014 – person-centered care, patient safety, healthy living, effective treatment, care coordination, and affordable care.

Here is the breakdown on how America’s healthcare system changed according to each of the metrics:

  1. Person-Centered Care. The study defined “person-centered care” as whether or not a patient achieves their healthcare outcomes, not merely whether a disease has been effectively treated or managed. Overall, the trend for this metric has markedly improved since 2000. A full 83 percent of patients who had visited a doctor in the last 12 months reported improvement in person-centered care. Perhaps as important, none of the patients indicated their care “worsened” on this metric during the fourteen-year period.
  1. Patient Safety. Keeping a patient safe while in a hospital or doctor’s office also saw an improvement during the study. Overall 66 percent of patients reported an improvement in this metric, which reflects broader trends of data available in this area. Between 2008 to 2014, the number of infections related to a central venous catheter dropped from 1.9 per 1,000 patients to 0.67 per 1,0000. Similar improvements in patients receiving hip joint replacement surgeries. In 2009 a full 16.4 percent of Americans undergoing this notoriously tricky procedure reported “adverse effects”, a number that dropped to 9.8 percent by 2014.

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In the wake of the first pedestrian fatality caused by a “self-driving” car, New York renewed its autonomous driving program this month. The program will operate under the strict limits set by Gov. Cuomo a year ago and will last until April 2019, when government officials will re-examine the program and its effectiveness. The measured approach favored by New York contrasts with many states in the western part of the United States, including California and Arizona, which have provided car manufacturers more unfettered access to their roadways.

New York’s history with autonomous vehicles has been relatively brief. After quickly securing a permit last year to test its technology, Audi became the first automobile manufacturer to test a self-driving car in New York. The drive only lasted 6.1 miles, though and Audi has not performed any other test drives in the Empire State since its initial run. Cruise Automation was the only other company granted a permit to test drive the futuristic vehicles, but apparently never utilized the permit.

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In 2016, a total of 71 construction workers were killed on the job in New York State. This number represents a 29 percent increase compared to 2015 and brought New York’s construction fatality rate to a level not seen since 2002. New York consistently ranks among the “Top 10” most dangerous states for construction workers. Perhaps most concerning, construction fatalities are increasingly more likely outside of New York City, which actually saw a decline in construction deaths – from 25 to 21 – during the same period.

Construction workers have always performed a dangerous job with limited protections. However, the decline of unions coupled with the reduced power of regulatory agencies has only made the job even more dangerous. A construction worker in New York is now 4.6 times more likely to die while on the job than the average New Yorker, according to NBC New York. Accounting for almost half of all deaths, falls were the leading cause of death for construction workers over the last decade.

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A recent study suggests that marijuana use may cause fatal car accidents. The study, released by JAMA Internal Medicine, found there were more fatalities and car accidents on April 20, a “holiday” of sorts for cannabis enthusiasts, compared to the same period of time a week beforehand and a week afterward. This study comes on the heels of an increasing push by legislators and public policy experts to determine the effects of marijuana on driving habits, and consequently, to establish an objective standard for measuring intoxication by the drug.

To measure the effect of marijuana on car accidents, the researchers gathered data on car accidents on April 13, April 20, and April 27. April 20 is widely “celebrated” by marijuana users, and 4:20 PM on that day is traditionally regarded as a time to imbibe on the once-illicit drug. Consequently, researchers looked at the number of car accidents between 4:20 PM and midnight on April 20 and compared the results to the statistics during the same time period a week earlier and a week later.  The researchers compared the data over a 25-year period and in several different locations throughout the country. The results showed a 12 percent overall increase in fatal accidents between 4:20 PM and midnight on April 20. Further, the increase in car accidents was particularly notable in drivers under the age of 20. New York, along with Texas and Georgia, saw the sharpest increase in fatal car accidents on April 20.

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After a helicopter crashed into the East River last month and killed five passengers, the victims’ families and politicians are looking for answers to how the tragic accident  occurred. The deadly helicopter crash was part of a photo tour of New York City’s skyline, an increasingly popular tourist activity. Like most other scenic tours of Manhattan, the helicopter had its doors removed. As a consequence, the helicopter’s occupants used a unique safety system involving a snug harness that was tethered to the interior of the chopper. While this prevents the tour’s patrons from falling out of the helicopter mid-flight, it can also create a tragic disaster in the event of a helicopter crash because the harness, in the words of one of the victim’s family, becomes a “death trap.”

According to the New York Times, the helicopter’s engine began to fail near Midtown Manhattan. The pilot said he immediately told all five passengers to return to their seats – all of whom were apparently free to walk around because their harnesses were tethered to the helicopter. According to the pilot, one of the passengers was taking a photograph while dangling off the side of the helicopter, a so-called “shoe selfie”, when the engine lights began to indicate danger. On its website, the helicopter tour company, FlyNYON, advertises “dangling your feet for a #shoeselfie.”

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Combating the growing problem of distracted driving, New York State Police recently began an aggressive enforcement campaign across the state. Distracted driving, which includes a wide variety of activities that range from texting to changing the radio station, is illegal in New York and across many states in the country. While tickets for talking on the phone while driving have dropped in recent years, New York issued 20 percent more tickets for texting drivers in 2017 – bringing the total to 110,000 tickets. According to police, this high number of tickets still only represents a small fraction of distracted driving violations that occur across the state daily.

Nationwide, almost 3,500 people are killed each year by distracted driving. In New York alone, 160 people were killed and 33,000 injured in accidents caused by a distracted driver in 2015, the most recent year with data available. For drivers who are 29 and younger, distracted driving contributed to almost 30 percent of all car accident fatalities across the country, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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On March 19, New York City rolled out a new system for alerting residents about hit-and-run drivers in their area. The new system is modeled after Amber Alerts, but instead of offering information about a missing person, it will provide geographically targeted alerts about hit-and-run drivers and their vehicles. The new system is part of a broader push to reduce pedestrian accidents and traffic fatalities in the city.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the alert will only activate when the hit-and-run accident results in “serious injury or death.”  The alert, which will be sent by the NYPD within 12 hours of a serious hit-and-run accident, will be distributed via social media, email, texts, as well as phone broadcasts on iPhones and Androids. Similar to Amber Alerts, the short message will include the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the license plate or any other relevant information.

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In a tragic crash, an autonomous vehicle killed a pedestrian last week in Arizona. The self-driving car was driving 38 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone, according to the New York Times. The Governor of Arizona has halted all self-driving car demonstrations throughout the state until an investigation is completed.

Previously, Arizona has been at the forefront of self-driving vehicles with its permissive laws and flat, dry landscape. In 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared the state a “regulation-free” zone for companies interested in testing autonomous vehicles. “We needed our message to Uber, Lyft and other entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to be that Arizona was open to new ideas,” Gov. Ducey said at the time. When an Uber vehicle collided with another vehicle back in March, the Arizona Governor downplayed the significant, describing the accident as the fault of the other driver. Last month Gov. Ducey issued another executive order permitting cars on the streets without a human behind the wheel, the first state in the country.

However, that changed on Sunday, March 18 when a Volvo XC90 owned by the ride-sharing company Uber struck a woman with a bicycle who walked in front of the vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. The car also had a human driver behind the wheel, who was apparently unable to see the pedestrian either. The weather was clear and dry.

Cindy Frey, the widow of late Eagle’s co-founder Glenn Frey, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mt. Sinai hospital and physician Steven Itzkowitz. The lawsuit alleges the hospital and doctor were negligent in failing to properly diagnose and treat the health conditions that led to his untimely death in January 2016. Frey died at the age of 67 from complications resulting from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia, according to The Rolling Stone.

glen-frey-wrongful-death-300x158According to the lawsuit, Glenn Frey was under the care of the Upper East Side hospital and Dr. Itzkowitz between October 2015 and November 2015. The lawsuit alleges that a competent doctor, acting in similar circumstances, would have diagnosed and promptly treated the Eagles co-founder’s “ulcerative colitis and associated symptoms.” Ulcerative colitis is a form of irritable bowel disease. Further, the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, the lowest court in the Empire State, a competent doctor would have assessed Frey’s respiratory problems – the ultimate cause of his death. Dr. Itzkowitz, according to the lawsuit, did not properly check for the problems, diagnose the infection, or hospitalize him. Continue reading

food-safety-272x300A new lawsuit has been filed against Bartaco, the Port Chester restaurant responsible for a Hepatitis A outbreak last October. The lawsuit marks the fourth against the popular Westchester restaurant, including one class action lawsuit. All lawsuits seek unspecified remuneration for damages relating to the negligence of the restaurant.

Last October, a Westchester couple began experiencing fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea and poor appetite. A blood test confirmed the Yonkers couple had been exposed to Hepatitis A, a generally mild and short-lasting illness. After several other Westchester residents also tested positive for the illness, the Westchester County Department of Health pinpointed Bartaco as the cause. Stating at the time that “people have a right to expect that the food served to them at a restaurant is safe to eat” and noting that simple hand-washing is generally sufficient to prevent the spread of the illness, Westchester County began to notify the notify patrons of the popular restaurant.  Continue reading

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