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April 2013 Archives

NTSB Questions FAA, Boeing Over 787 Battery Testing

The National Transportation Safety Board recently concluded a two-day hearing into the problems with the lithium ion battery system used in Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. After several incidents involving the system, all 787s were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year. The hearing did not reach a conclusion as to the cause of the overheating batteries. The investigation into the overheating, including at least one situation where the batteries started a fire, is expected to continue for several months.

Missed, Delayed And Incorrect Diagnoses And Medical Malpractice

Recent research has shown that diagnostic errors were the most common basis for successful medical malpractice claims from 1986 to 2010. A study of such claims in the National Practitioner Data Bank revealed that incorrect, missed or delayed diagnoses made up 29 percent of the nearly 350,000 successful malpractice claims filed during that period. The study was conducted by neurologists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and appears in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Surgical Errors May Increase Profits For American Hospitals

According to a study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, surgical errors can greatly increase the profit margin for the hospitals where they are committed. The research was conducted using data from more than 34,000 surgical patients who were operated on in selected Texas hospitals in 2010. The study looked at Medicare patients, privately insured patients, Medicaid patients, patients who paid out of pocket and patients using other forms of payment.

NTSB: Helicopter Pilot Was Texting Before Deadly Crash

Federal investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have indicated that text messaging by the pilot in a fatal 2011 medical helicopter crash contributed to the accident. Texting and flying was not the only contributing factor to the aviation incident listed by the NTSB, but it did mark the first time that text messaging was cited as a contributing factor in a commercial aviation accident. The crash claimed the lives of four people, including the pilot, a nurse, a paramedic and the patient the helicopter had picked up

Truck Drivers And State Marijuana Laws

Individual states have taken steps to legalize medical and even recreational use of marijuana in recent years. While the states have the right to make these decisions, commercial drivers, pilots and operators are still bound by federal regulations concerning safe operation of buses, trains, planes and trucks. Truck drivers are still in violation of these rules if they have any marijuana in their systems while operating their vehicles. This is an important consideration for the victims of truck accidents as state laws establishing safe limits for THC in the blood could be used to deny liability. Regardless of the state where the accident occurs, if the driver has THC levels higher than zero, he or she is in violation of Department of Transportation guidelines for commercial drivers.

Drowsy Driving And Caffeine Intake Among Truck Drivers

Long, uninterrupted stretches of driving can challenge a person physically and mentally. Boredom and exhaustion set in and can increase the likelihood of a serious accident. These stretches are the working reality for many commercial truck drivers. Rules limiting the hours of service in which a truck driver can work do not ensure that the driver is well-rested or alert during a shift. A new study conducted on Long-haul truck drivers in Australia reveals that drivers who drink caffeinated beverages are less likely to have an accident than drivers who have not ingested caffeine.

General Aviation Accidents Concern Safety Organization

The National Transportation Safety Board has listed general aviation safety on its Most Wanted List of safety improvements for three consecutive years. Following last month's fatal plane crash in South Bend, Indiana, the NTSB issued five safety alerts intended to make general aviation safer. The NTSB cited the fact that more than 1,500 GA accidents occur per year in the United States and that the majority of those accidents are preventable. The safety alerts offer practical remedies to problems that are commonly associated with general aviation accidents.

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