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Pharmacy Negligence Debate Revived after Chicago Investigative Report Reveals Flaws

In the last post, this blog discussed a Chicago Tribune investigation that uncovered problems with filling prescriptions in pharmacies throughout the Chicagoland area. A reporter sought to have two prescriptions filled at more than 250 area pharmacies. The common medications are known to interact with each other, producing severe muscle breakdown in the human body.

This is no minor issue, as the effect of the harm from the drug interaction could be fatal. Roughly 52 percent of the pharmacies filled the prescriptions without even providing the reporter with any warnings of the potential harm that the combination of the drugs could produce.

Officials, Including Senator Dick Durbin, Speak Up

The story gained national attention -- including calls for reform at the state and national levels to better protect consumers from medication errors, according to the Chicago Tribune. Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, says that each state should pass stronger laws to ensure that pharmacists counsel patients when filling their prescriptions.

Dangerous Drug Combinations are Flying Under the Radar

People who have experience taking medications will vividly remember physicians or pharmacists detailing the precautions that need to be taken with these medications. People receive instructions about which foods to avoid and to avoid drinking alcohol while taking the medications because of the dangerous side effects that can result from certain interactions.

In addition, when people take more than one medication, these medications can interact with each other in dangerous ways. These side effects can have serious impacts on a patient's health. It is the pharmacist's job to avoid these interactions. That is what makes the following information particularly concerning.

Legal liability for medication errors that cause injury or death

We all rely on medical providers to carry out their duty to follow accepted standards of professional care to keep us healthy and safe. Unfortunately, when a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other medical personnel breaches that duty in the prescribing or administration of a drug, a medication error may cause severe injury or death.

What Chicago and Illinois has done to keep cyclists safe

Statistics maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation reveal that thousands of cyclists are injured in crashes on an annual basis. The most recent statistics are from 2014, revealing 3,014 crashes resulting in injuries and 27 crashes resulting in deaths.

In response, the State of Illinois and some of its municipalities have taken measures to help keep people on bicycles safe. These steps as well as a greater public awareness of bicycle laws can help prevent tragedies from happening.

Texting while driving is illegal in Illinois and extremely risky

One of the keystones of Illinois traffic-safety laws is the ban on texting while driving that applies to all types of drivers of all ages. Of course, it is logical that texting while your eyes and attention should be on the road and your hands on the wheel is a dangerous activity. Not surprisingly, the statistics paint a grim picture of just how hazardous texting behind the wheel actually can be.

FAA drone regulations are changing with developments in technology

As Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology has developed, drones have become more accessible than ever. More and more people are using drones for personal enjoyment and professional use and the laws regarding the operation of unmanned aircraft are changing to reflect this. As of August 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration has put into effect its most up-to-date regulations, specifically regarding "small unmanned aircraft."

The newest rule, part 107, clarifies the use of small unmanned aircraft and defines them as unmanned aircraft that weigh less than 0.55 lbs. The regulations regarding drones are divided between drones flown for personal enjoyment and drones flown for professional uses.

Will speed limiters on trucks improve road safety?

In working to improve road safety, federal agencies are considering if equipping trucks with speed limiters could decrease the severity of crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities. Some trucking organizations and private citizens, however, claim there is a lack of evidence the devices mitigate hazardous incidents and suggest they actually might cause more problems.

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a proposal for a new federal rule that would mandate all large trucks -- those weighing more than 26,000 pounds -- be equipped with speed-limiting devices.

Think Mobile Apps Are A Part Of Distracted Flying? Not Necessarily

Issues related to distracted driving, including the use of Smartphone apps, texting behind the wheel and other forms of distraction have received a great deal of public awareness in recent years. In February, this blog reported that the National Transportation Safety Board put out a nationwide call for drivers to disconnect from electronic devices while in the car. The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration view driving a car and flying a plane from different perspectives. In fact, the FAA has authorized Smartphone apps to allow pilots to keep up-to-the-minute on weather conditions, according to the Insurance Journal.

NTSB statistics show that fatal aviation accidents involving privately operated aircraft have declined recently, with recorded deaths in 2015 falling to the lowest level in 20 years. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association recently released a report showing a 17.8 percent decline in fatal aviation crashes involving private planes in the three-year period in 2015 as compared to the previous three years. The association believes that the decline is related to improvements in pilot training and safety devices such mobile weather apps.

Traffic Fatalities Generally Increase From July through September

Traffic fatalities are generally higher in the United States during the late summer months than any other time of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency recently released its "Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2015." The report shows that (with the exception of 2014) more people were killed in traffic accidents during the third quarter (July to September) each year from 2005 through 2015.

2015 Was a Deadly Year on U.S. Roads

The NHTSA estimates that traffic fatalities increased 7.7 percent in 2015 as compared to the year before, making last year the deadliest on U.S. roads since 2008. 

The Link Between Vehicle Speed and Fatal Pedestrian Accidents

When a car strikes a pedestrian, there is very little chance the pedestrian will escape without injury. Even at low speeds, cars are capable of doing tremendous damage. A recent analysis of the relationship between vehicle speed and the likelihood of a fatal pedestrian accident demonstrates just how dangerous cars are to people on foot. The study further broke down accident data to show how the age of the victim affects the survivability of a car-pedestrian collision.

Serious injuries and fatalities are possible at surprisingly low speeds. A collision between a car going 18 mph and a 70 year-old pedestrian carries a 10 percent mortality rate. At 23 mph, the collision mortality rate for an average pedestrian reaches 10 percent. At 34 mph, half of older pedestrian victims will die. At 42 mph, half of all pedestrians will die. A collision at 50 mph will kill more than 90 percent of older pedestrians and three-quarters of pedestrians of all ages. 

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