Domnick & Shevin
Tips for Managing Distractions While Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,474 people were killed in 2009 in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. Looking at the big picture, that means 16 percent of all fatal crashes and 20 percent of all accidents across the country in 2009 involved distracted drivers.

Here are 10 tips from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) for managing some of the most common distractions while driving:

  1. Turn It Off - Either turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car.
  2. Spread The Word - Set up a special message that tells callers you’re driving and will respond as soon as you can. You can enable some phones to do this automatically when you get in the car.
  3. Pull Over - If you need to make a call, pull over and stop in a safe area first.
  4. Deputize Your Passangers - Ask your passengers t answer or make calls for you. Conversely, if you are a passenger, offer to answer the driver’s phone.
  5. X the Text - Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web, or check email. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.
  6. Know the Law - Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you start driving. Some prohibit the use of handheld cell phones in addition to texting. The GHSA offers this useful chart.
  7. Prepare - Review maps and direction before you start to drive. If you need help when you are on the road, ask a passenger or pull over to review your directions again.
  8. Secure Your Pets - Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
  9. Keep the Kids Safe - Pull over if you need to address situations with your children in the car.
  10. Focus on the Task at Hand - Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, reading, and any other activity that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off your driving.
Patient Safety

Introduction

This article looks at medical errors and steps you can take to protect yourself. A medical error is when a mistake is made tat can negatively affect the patient. Examples include errors in diagnosis or in surgical procedure, mistake in giving medications or in the use of medical equipment, misinterpretation of a test or lab results, and others. A medical error can involve the failure to carry out a plan of action or use of the wrong plan. An individual can cause the error or it might happen because of a failure in the system.

Medical errors can take place in health care facilities, pharmacies, your doctor’s office, and even in your home. The can involve complex systems like how a hospital tracks the medical services given to patients, or common tasks like giving food high in salt to a patient who needs a salt-free diet.

While advances have improved medical care and extended the lives of many people, the complexity of the American health care system also contributes to medical errors. Poor communication between patients and their health care providers can lead to mistakes as well.

Topics Include:

Health Care Team

Medicine Safety

Safety in Health Care Facilities and in Home Care

Prevention of Infections

Prevention of Falls

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Kira Gilbert, a college student from Cincinnati, took generic Darvocet that her doctor prescribed for pain in advance of knee surgery. She never woke up. it should have been a routine surgery, but at age 22 the accomplished young woman was dead. She’d taken just six pills spread over eight days. The FDA later pulled Darvocet and the generic from the market after linking them to sometimes fatal heart abnormalities. Hundreds of lawsuits have since flooded the courts handling the matter.

But while the lawsuits involving name-brands move forward, cases involving those who took generics - like Kira Gilbert - were dismissed. Why? Because generic drug manufacturers won a ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 saying they don’t need to warn patients when they learn of a new and dangerous side effect.

Karen Bartlett, of Plaistow, N.H., was prescribed a drug for shoulder pain that was filed with generic sulindac. Soon after, two-thirds of Karen’s skin began shedding off from a hellish condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). She spent months in a burn unit in a medically induces coma, covered in gauze. Karen enured 13 eye surgeries and numerous implants. She now has trouble walking, is legally blind and will need care for the rest of her life.

Karen was awarded significant damages after her legal team successfully argues that the drug’s design was dangerous and defective. But Karen won’t receive a dime unless the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear her case in Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. vs. Bartlett, reverses its 2011 ruling. 

Read more here.

Understanding Prescription Drug Costs

Introduction

Prescription drugs are important in the treatment of many diseases and health conditions. At the same time the cost of prescription medications is a concern for many consumers. This article can help you better understand the pricing of drugs, ways in which you can possibly save money, and programs that might offer assistance. The article also includes questions you might want to ask your health insurance plan, health care provider, or pharmacist.

Topics in this article include:

  • The Prescription Drug Market
  • Compare Drug Prices
  • Talking to Your Health Insurance Plan
  • Talking to Your Health Care Provider
  • Talking to Your Pharmacist
  • Programs to Help with Drug Costs
  • Annual Review of Medications and Supplements
  • Does Your Doctor e-Presribe?

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How To Handle Bullying

The APA defines bullying as “aggressive physical contact, words or actions to cause another person injury or discomfort.” Psychology Today goes further, describing it as a “pattern of deliberately harming and humiliating others”. And Stopbullying.gov ads that it “involves a real or perceived power imbalance.”

In our popular consciousness, bullying used to mean Nelson and his gang of thugs on The Simpsons rolling Bart home in a trashcan. Or the countless incarnations most of us have seen in movies and television of anyone small being closed inside their locker. Almost always, the bullying was done by a single individual or a small group (typically male), and as bad as it was, the victim could escape his or her tormentors by running home or at least getting away from school.

Real kids in today’s world, though, don’t have the same luxury. With the technological advancements of the last 20 years, bullies are able to continue harassing their prey 24/7. Kids are bullied via text message and through nasty posts on their social media profiles. Bullies can send emails and harass them in chat rooms. Some even go so far as to upload embarrassing photos or videos or create entire websites devoted to making fun of someone.

It’s important to know how far-reaching bullying can become because far too often adults can feel like kids are “safe” when they’re home or engaged in certain activities, but it’s just not true. Severe instances of bullying touch practically every part of a victim’s life, and he or she can end up feeling like there’s no escape.

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Watch the video to see Michael Lawley explain why he’s fighting against expanding Florida’s medical malpractice laws.

A year ago this month, Michael Lawley of Melbourne disconnected the respirator that was keeping his brain-damaged daughter alive.

Shannon Lawley had entered a Brevard County emergency room suffering from what an autopsy would later determine was acute pancreatitis. She waited five hours as the understaffed team failed to monitor her vital signs or transfer her to intensive care, her father told the House Subcommittee on Civil Justice last week.

Doctors eventually administered heart medicine without realizing Shannon’s heart was functioning properly, he recalled. She went into cardiac arrest. Her lung collapsed as the medical team attempted resuscitation and her brain was deprived of oxygen for seven minuted, causing irreversible brain damage and gangrene, he said.

"After multiple tests and second opinions, I took her off the respirator and died two days later," Lawley told the panel. "My daughter deserved better. She didn’t get it. The health care system in Florida failed her."

Read more

Nursing Home Care in Florida

This article provides information to help you choose a nursing home for yourself or a loved one. Nursing homes serve both long-term residents and people who come for a short period for rehabilitative care. Some also provide respite care, which is when a person comes for a short stay to give relief to a primary caregiver.

A nursing home can be a freestanding facility or it can be part of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). A CCRC allows residents to move from one level of care to another, as needed, and can include independent living, an assisted living facility, and/or a nursing home. Additionally a hospital can have a skilled nursing unit which includes designated beds within the hospital that serve patients who need short-term care and rehabilitation services.

Topics in this article include:

  1. Nursing Home Services
  2. Find and Choosing a Nursing Home
  3. Questions You May Want to Ask
  4. Checklist for Visiting a Nursing Home
  5. Financial Resources
  6. Prior to Admission
  7. Moving into a Nursing Home
  8. Nursing Home Admission
  9. Important Phone Numbers and Websites
  10. Alternatives to Nursing Home Care

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skank0saurus:

This is in memory of the 27 people who lost their lives today in Newtown, Connecticut. You are forever in our hearts.

skank0saurus:

This is in memory of the 27 people who lost their lives today in Newtown, Connecticut. You are forever in our hearts.

End-of-Life Issues: A Practical Planning Guide

Introduction:

Many people are uncomfortable thinking about or talking with others about the end of their lives. However, learning about end-of-life arrangements and talking in advance with your loved ones and your health care provider can help lessen fears. Such preparation can also let those close to you know how you would like matters to be handled, making it more likely that your wishes will be carried out.

This article looks at various choices available to you, whether you are preparing in advance or if you are a patient, family member, or friend already dealing with a terminal illness or with a sudden death.

You have the right to decide what king of care you want or do not want, to chose where you spend the last days of your life, and to make clear what you would like from people close to you. You have the right to choose how you want matters to be handled after your death. We plan for other life events, like birthdays, graduations, and weddings, but often we leave preparation for the end of our lives until the very end.

At some point each of us will come to the end of our life. Thinking and talking about it can make the experience less difficult for ourselves and for those we leave behind. Being open can help us break through isolation, give us comfort and a chance to live our lives fully even as we face our mortality.

Topics in this Article Include: Facing Death, Medical Concerns, Legal and Practical Concerns, Grief and Loss, and Final Arrangements.

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A Patient’s Guide to a Hospital Stay

If your doctor decides you need medical treatment that will require a stay in the hospital, this article provides information and questions to help you prepare.

Before going into the hospital ask your doctor to explain your condition and the treatment you will receive. Ask if there are other choices of treatment available. You can also request a second opinion from another doctor, or you may be referred to a specialist.

Ask the doctor for written material about your condition and treatment that can help you know what to expect and how best to help in your healing. You might also find information on the internet.

Topics in this article include:

  1. Before You Go Into the Hospital
  2. Questions You May Want to Ask the Doctor
  3. Consumer Tips
  4. A Child’s Hospital Stay
  5. Questions for the Doctor
  6. FloridaHealthFinder.gov - Information at Your Fingertips
  7. Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
  8. If You Have a Complaint

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Shocking hidden camera footage at a nursing home reveals physical abuse from staff. This kind of nursing home abuse is illegal and an egregious crime against humanity. Our most vulnerable citizens reside in nursing homes and they deserve to be treated and respected like human beings.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse (physical abuse, developing pressure sores, or suffering falls), make a call for justice and contact Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Michael Brevda.

First 10 Minutes, First 10 Hours After a Road Accident

First 10 minutes after a car accident:

  1. Stay calm- assess the health and safety of your passengers before you do anything else.
  2. Call 911 immediately if you or anyone else in your car is injured.
  3. Get out of harm’s way- if property damage is minor and you can do so safely, move cars and people out of traffic.
  4. Turn hazard lights on to warn other drivers.
  5. Exit your vehicle safely and check on the drivers and passengers in other vehicles for injuries. Make sure help is on the way, if necessary.
  6. Call police even if the accident is minor and there are no injuries. Don’t leave until they arrive.
  7. Be polite, don’t blame others, and don’t admit fault.
  8. Take pictures if you have a camera and if it’s safe to do so.
  9. Exchange information with other drivers: name, address, phone number, licnse plate number, driver’s license number and insurance company details.
  10. Ask witnesses for names, phone numbers and addresses.

First 10 hours after a car accident:

  1. Secure vehicle for transport; remove valuables or other personal items.
  2. Seek medical attentions as soon as possible if you were injured, even if you think your injuries are minor.
  3. Write notes for your records on everything about the accident, including weather, time, location, statements made, etc.
  4. Contact your insurance agent.
  5. Revisit the accident scene and take photos. Look for skid marks or anything else that seems important.
  6. Photograph your injuries if they are visible.
  7. Obtain police reports as soon as they are available.
  8. Evaluate damage to your car and get repair estimates.
  9. Contact your employer if you cannot work.
  10. Contact your attorney:
  • If you are injured and.or there is extensive property damage.
  • Before providing any information to an adjustor from another driver’s insurance company.
  • If anyone is pressuring you into a quick settlement.
  • Before the time period allowed for filing a claim expires.

Read the full article here.

Trial opens in case of West Palm Beach widow accusing tobacco company in husband’s death.

For years, Shirley Baker implored her husband to quit smoking.

She nagged. She cajoled. When warning labels were put on cigarette packs, she held one up to his face and demanded he read it. In the words of their son, Richard, who also urged his father to give up the deadly habit, “she rode him like an older Harley.”

But despite their efforts, Elmer “Perry” Baker didn’t quit. In 1993, months after being diagnosed with lung cancer, he died. He was 65.

To Shirley Baker and her attorneys, Perry Baker’s inability to quit is a testament to an addiction that was fueled by decades of lies and deception from tobacco companies.

"This is a case about greed, about money, about how the defendant R.J. Reynolds put sales over safety and profit over people," her attorney Harry Shevin told a Palm Beach County jury Tuesday.

To attorneys representing R.J. Reynolds, which produced the Lucky Strikes, Winstons and Pall Malls that ultimately produced a tumor in Baker’s chest, the longtime ambulance company owner didn’t quit simply because he didn’t want to.

"Mr. Baker was a willing smoker who chose to smoke because he enjoyed it," attorney Mark Belasic, who represents the tobacco giant, said. "He knew the risks and he chose to smoke anyway."

The case is one of about 8,000 that were spawned statewide when the Florida Supreme Court in 2006 threw out the $145 billion a jury awarded smokers in a class-action suit. While upholding the jury’s findings that the cigarette-makers lied about the dangers of smoking, the high court ruled that each smoker had to prove how he or she was uniquely harmed.

By the end of May, when a Broward County jury ordered four tobacco companies to pay $75.35 million to the family of a Lauderhill smoker, 65 cases had gone to trial. Of those, 43 were won by smokers or their families. In the three cases tried in Palm Beach County, two ended with multi-million-dollar verdicts for smokers while one resulted in a win for cigarette-makers

The companies have appealed all of the unfavorable verdicts. In a handful of cases, the decisions have been upheld and the victims compensated.

Like the other cases, Shevin said he will be seeking millions for Bakers, 84, who ran Love’s Flower Shop in West Palm Beach for years before turning it over to one of her sons.

Attorney Sean Domnick, who also represents Baker, told the eight-person jury that when the trial concludes next week, they will have a rare opportunity to tell corporate America that it will pay dearly for putting defective products on the market.

There is no doubt tobacco executives knew cigarettes were dangerous, Shevin said. Internal documents dating to the 1950s show cigarette-companies joined hands, in violation of anti-trust laws, to conceal the dangers of smoking. As late as 1994, tobacco executives assured Congress that cigarettes were neither harmful nor addictive. Their testimony came a year after Baker’s death.

However, Belasic said, the public was well aware of the risks of smoking. In 1899, Florida lawmakers decreed that selling or manufacturing cigarettes was a crime punishable by a maximum six months in jail and a $500 fine. While the law was ultimately repealed, in 1918 state officials required that Florida school children be taught about the dangers of smoking. As a Lake Worth native, Baker learned that lesson in school, he said.

Further, even before the landmark 1964 U.S. Surgeon General report that found the smoking-cancer link, numerous national and local publications warned that cigarettes kill.

"He was a human being who made his own decision," Belasic said. "He heard the warnings and he told people to shut up, (that) it’s my life."

For 14 years the Republicans have controlled all aspects of Florida state politics: The governor, the house and the senate. This is what we get. It’s time to change.

Florida is one of the three worst states in the nation for school funding equity.

That ranking comes from the Educational Law Center and Rutgers University.

The inequities are mostly connected to concentrated poverty.

Those high poverty areas in Florida, Missouri and North Carolina simply do not receive the resources they need.

The report identified four metrics that have to do with total school funding combined with equity measures.

So a state with good equity but low overall funding still would shortchange its students.

"Sufficient school funding, fairly distributed to districts to address concentrated poverty, is an essential precondition for the delivery of a high quality education through the states," the report stated.

Unfortunately, Florida rated low on all four measures with data through 2009. It’s fair to say that Florida’s overall school funding levels haven’t improved much since 2009.

The national child poverty rate in U.S. schools is 16 percent, but that is deceptive, since many of the low-income students are concentrated in schools with large numbers of them.

In counties like Duval where large proportions of students attend private schools, the poverty rate in the public schools has an even larger impact.

Notably, only a few states have even itemized the costs associated with providing equitable funding to high poverty areas.

So while states like Florida have set standards for high quality education, they have not adequately figured out the funding needed to meet those standards.

A high income family has a whole host of advantages, many of them difficult to quantify, over a high poverty family.

How do you quantify the impact of a two-parent family, both spouses with college educations, where the parents have time to volunteer at school?

It’s real and it’s an advantage.

Six states do well on all four metrics: Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Vermont.

Kansas is the most meaningful state here because leaders purposely began addressing equity issues recently.

Florida is new to the bottom group, having seen substantial drops in funding levels.

For instance, Florida’s effort grade was an F while Georgia received a B and South Carolina and A.

The point of equity ratings is that funding should increase based on the need of the students. So students from high poverty areas have greater needs and thus require more funding.

Student poverty is simply the easiest way to measure many related factors, such as race, English language learners, and student mobility.

"Most states continue to neglect growing student poverty by failing to direct resources to the students and schools most in need," said David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center.

"In some states and regions, the shortfalls in school funding are reaching crisis levels."

Students living in poverty are going to need more support to they are able to learn.

Florida should look at the states making big strides, such as Kansas and South Carolina, an move to an A grade.

The future demands it.

Tort Reform Reduces Your Insurance Premium? Think Again…

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater released a letter claiming that recent changes to the state’s Personal Injury Protection laws will reduce consumer premiums 14 percent to 24.6 percent. Almost immediately, insurers and regulators cautioned “other costs” could offset these savings. Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation warns, “These projected savings may actually mitigate premium increases, not reduce premiums.” Translation: rates probably aren’t going to drop at all. This is the typical pitch we hear from corporation-backed tort reform lobby. We will save you on your insurance premium through tort reform. But when it is time to prove that tort reform actually lowers premiums, we see that there are always “other costs” that offset the “savings”.

Corporate wrongdoing is rampant in our society. Personal accountability through injury lawsuits are one of the few incentives big corporations have to play by the rules. Domnick and Shevin prides itself on protecting injured individuals rights against powerful insurance companies, nursing homes and corporations. If you or a loved on have been injured by someone else’s actions, make a call for justice at 561-630-5363. If you have not been injured, be thankful. But don’t block someone else’s constitutional right to seek justice because the insurance lobby sold you the illusion of “tort reform savings”.