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Cook County Wrongful Death Law Blog

Federal law reducing unnecessary tests not being enforced

MRIs, CT scans and other diagnostic imaging tests may uncover diseases and help treatment. But unnecessary tests do not help prevent a missed diagnosis, may harm patients and impose unnecessary costs. A federal law passed in 2014 to reduce unnecessary tests, however, was not implemented.

Under this law, doctor must consult clinical guidelines created by the medical industry before Medicare pays for many common medical scans. Health care providers who greatly exceed these guidelines, the five percent of providers who order the most inappropriate tests, would be required to get Medicare pre-approval for diagnostic imaging.

Construction fall deaths persists

Government agencies and safety advocacy groups have taken steps to combat construction negligence. A recent report showed that the number of construction fall deaths increased from 2011 to 2017. Falls are the top cause of construction deaths. From 2011 to 2017, all types of falls, slips and trips increased.

Deaths from falls grew by 45 percent from 2011 to 2017, according to a report issued by the North America Building Trades Unions. The number of construction workers also increased in that time and the number of fatalities from all causes dropped 2 percent from 2016 to 2017 among construction workers.

Care center fined for resident's death

Nursing homes must remain constantly on guard to protect their residents against dangers that are unique to those facilities. Any neglect can have deadly consequences. The Illinois Department of Health recently fined a Springfield intermediate-care center $10,000 for the death of a 57-year-old man with Down Syndrome from a severe infection and for infections which also harmed three other residents.

The nursing home death occurred on February 1. Three other residents were also hospitalized for a sepsis infection. These infection cases were recorded in the center's health records between December and February.

Routine medical test death leads to $2.6 million settlement

Fatal medical negligence is not limited to complicated procedures. Like a surgical error, a routine procedure can also have deadly consequences. In one medical malpractice case, the University of Chicago paid $2.6 million to the family of a 61-year-old woman who died when her artery was damaged in a medical test. Her daughter, who filed the lawsuit, claimed that she literally bled to death.

The patient was diagnosed earlier with pulmonary hypertension, lupus and other ailments. She went for tests after having shortness of breath and failing to finish a stress test at a cardiology appointment. The day after that appointment, her doctor admitted her to the hospital for a cardiac catherization. The doctor threaded a tiny tube through a blood vessel in her groin to the heart to determine how it was functioning.

Is your loved one receiving high-quality care or not?

When your aging parent moved into an Illinois nursing home, it might have been a highly emotional experience for you. As an adult child, you want what's best for him or her, just as your parents have always had your best interests in mind when you were growing up. Once you researched and chose a particular nursing home that best fit your parent's financial, emotional and physical needs, you knew you'd have to trust care providers to keep him or her safe, especially in your absence.

Each time you visit your loved one, it's a good idea to pay close attention to his or her surroundings, to other patients and to staff members. Does the facility appear clean? Do the patients seem reasonably content? If you notice any issue that causes you concern, it warrants further investigation. In fact, your parent's health, well-being or very life might depend on it.

Construction crane deaths trigger scrutiny

Construction crane accidents have been under scrutiny after two fatal accidents earlier this year. Experts believe that construction negligence stemming from human error is usually responsible for these accidents.

Cranes are being used more frequently in cities where infill and high-rise work are common. Each year, approximately 44 people are killed and 175 are injured in crane accidents in this country.

Negligence blamed for death of nursing home resident

Failure to provide proper care, especially medical treatment, to nursing home residents can lead to tragic consequences. A Belleville elderly care facility's neglect led to the death of one of its residents almost two years ago, according to a wrongful death lawsuit recently filed by her family.

The special administrator for the resident's estate filed the lawsuit in the St. Clair County's circuit court. The facility is part of larger Oak Park elderly care provider.

Congress considers ending military malpractice immunity

Three U.S. Supreme Court cases from 1950 blocked lawsuits against the military for medical negligence. However, Congress is now considering legislation that would allow service members to sue the federal government for medical malpractice committed by military doctors and facilities.

In three separate opinions, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Tort Claims Act, which allows citizens to sue the government for wrongdoing by its employees or agencies, did not cover most service personnel who suffer injuries from the negligence of other members of the military. The Court reasoned that its ruling ensured that Congress was not burdened with the private bills of military personnel.

Construction dangers cited

The American Industrial Hygiene Association recently issued a list of the leading construction health hazards. Like accidents stemming from construction negligence, the hazards cited on the AIHA list may lead to life-altering or fatal consequences.

The AIHA recognized four common hazards. First, overexertion while lifting, pulling, pushing and carrying materials is the top cause of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. These hazards were involved in one-third of all construction-related work injuries and comprised about half of all workers' compensation costs.

Police face high hurdles with legalized pot and driving

Legalized marijuana in Illinois presents challenges for the detection of impaired driving. Car accident risks may grow because state law enforcement authorities are unprepared to detect drivers impaired by marijuana.

Unlike drunk driving enforcement, there is no breath test for marijuana. A police spokesperson said that technology for accurately checking marijuana-related impairment may be months or even years away.

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