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Appleton Personal Injury Law Blog

Oregon woman dies after hospital administers wrong medication

Residents of Wisconsin may have heard about a mistake at an Oregon hospital that resulted in the death of a 65-year-old woman. She was given a paralyzing agent instead of the anti-seizure medicine she was supposed to take, and the switch-up caused her to suffer from brain damage and cardiac arrest. A representative from the hospital said that this is the first time a case such as this has happened, and they take full responsibility for the accident.

Three hospital employees have been placed on paid leave because of the mistake, and investigators are trying to figure out what caused the error to happen. To determine this, they are looking into how the drug was labeled, how it was ordered from the manufacturer, how it was given to the patient, and other steps of the medication process. The ultimate goal of the investigation is to discover whether or not human error was involved in the tragedy. According to the woman's son, her family does not yet know if they will take legal action.

Statistical facts regarding uninsured motorists

In regards to the number of uninsured motorists in 2012, the state of Wisconsin ranked 25 in the country with 11.7 of its motorists being uninsured, according to a report by the Insurance Information Institute. The state of Massachusetts carried the fewest amount of uninsured motorists, and Oklahoma carried the highest amount at 26 percent.

It appears that the numbers have steadily been decreasing over the last 20 years, however, with 15.6 percent of motorists being uninsured in 1992 as compared with 12.6 percent, or roughly one in eight drivers, in 2012. This may be because motorists who reside in the 20 designated states and the District of Columbia are required by law to carry underinsured or uninsured coverage on their car insurance policies. Moreover, other states, such as Texas and Nevada, are cracking down on uninsured motorists by identifying them through online car insurance checking systems.

Wisconsin man seriously injured by drunk driver

The Marathon County Sheriff's Department reported that a drunk driver struck and seriously injured a 39-year-old man on Nov. 7. The accident happened on Highway K around 6 p.m.

According to authorities, the victim, who is a Wausau resident, was directing traffic around a prior accident involving a car and a hay trailer when a third vehicle hit him. He was taken by ambulance to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for treatment of serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Understanding traumatic brain injuries

Brain injuries can be particularly devastating for families. If brain function is limited due to damage, then quality of life can fall drastically. There are two basic types of traumatic brain injury: closed and penetrating.

With penetrating injuries, a foreign object enters the brain. One example would be a bullet going through the skull and brain. Surgeons can examine the patient and conduct tests to determine which area suffered damage, and symptoms will vary based on the area that was damaged. With closed-head injuries, the brain is damaged as the result of a hard blow to the head. Examples include falling, hitting the head on a car dashboard or being struck with an object.

Facts on traumatic brain injuries in Wisconsin

A traumatic brain injury may result from a variety of causes. The aftermath of brain trauma may include permanent disability or a prolonged coma. The medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitation and long-term care needed to care for a person with brain damage can be considerable. These traumas are a major cause of death and disability in Wisconsin and across the U.S., contributing to nearly 30 percent of deaths caused by injuries.

Brain trauma may result from a bump, jolt or blow to the head or the penetration of a foreign object into the head. A brain injury may be classified as mild to severe. Mild brain injuries are the most common and include concussions. In 2010, the nation experienced 2.5 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to brain injuries.

How many injuries occur from drunk driving accidents?

Alcohol-related crash injuries in Wisconsin have steadily declined since 1979, but deaths due to drunk-driving accidents have remained relatively stable since 1982, according to statistics. The state saw an all-time high in drunk driving fatalities and injuries in 1979. As laws became stricter and enforcement increased, the overall numbers dropped, but they are still problematic as alcohol is still the largest cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the state.

In 2012, more than 5,000 alcohol-related crashes occurred, representing a rate of one person killed or injured in a drunk-driving accident every 2.8 hours. While significantly better than in 1990, 2012's rate still meant that 37 percent of all accident fatalities in the state for the year were due to drunk driving.

Surgical sponges harm patients when surgeons leave them inside

Though surgical tools like sponges are useful and help the surgeon perform operations, they are not supposed to be left in the patient’s body. When surgeons sew up patients with a sponge still inside, the patient can sustain internal injuries. They will likely need more surgery to remove the sponge, and they might die from this form of medical malpractice.

Surgical sponges are not like kitchen sponges. They are squares of gauze that absorb blood. Medical professionals have struggled for years to find a reliable way to keep track of all the sponges used during an operation, so that the surgeon removes them all before finishing up. But techniques like having a nurse keep count, X-raying the patient or using bar codes have not eliminated the problem.

Distracted drivers often harm children in school zones

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the United States. Unable or unwilling to focus their attention on the road, too many people choose to use their cellphone or other electronic devices while driving. Others believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that eating or putting on makeup behind the wheel are safe and won’t cause a car accident.

Even the areas where children get on and off the school bus are not safe from distracted drivers. American Traffic Solutions, a company that provides traffic-light cameras, says that more than 100 children are killed each year in car crashes in school zones, and more than 25,000 injured.

Are Wisconsin drivers required to have insurance in case of crash?

Drivers in many states are legally required to have car insurance. Wisconsin is among those states. The law says that motorists must carry auto insurance, except in limited cases where another form of security like a surety bond or personal funds can be substituted.

According to the state Commissioner of Insurance, for policies issued or renewed as of Nov. 1, 2011, motorists must have at least $25,000 for injury or death of one person in a car accident. The policy must have a minimum of $50,000 coverage for injury or death of two or more people, and $10,000 for property damage.

Mayfly swarm causes 3-car accident in Wisconsin

Wisconsin motorists know to be ready for anything on the road. In wintertime, this means snow, ice and sleet, which can make streets and highways slippery. Drivers who do not adjust by slowing down and allowing for more following distance risk getting into a car accident.

Late in July, a different sort of natural phenomenon may have caused a three-car crash in western Wisconsin. At least two people were injured, though one of them was not seriously hurt. The condition of the second victim was not known.