Personal Injury Updates

Information about Personal Injury in Washington State

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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Quality Control at Washington State Hospitals Becomes More Transparent

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By Jacob W. Gent. Posted on .

In an effort to promote greater transparency and allow health care consumers more information to make informed choices about where they receive care, Washington legislators recently passed a law requiring hospitals to post patient infection rates online.  According to MyNorthwest.com (click to view), this is the first time such information has been made available to the public.  This measure expands the scope of quality assurance information reported by hospitals statewide and includes data on which hospitals adhere to proven infection prevention safeguards.   A comparison of the infection rates and other important quality measures among hospitals throughout the state can be found at: http://www.wsha.org/hospitalquality.cfm.

While the purpose of this measure is to assist “consumers in making good decisions about hospital care,” it may not go far enough.  According to a recent Seattle Times article (click to view), the infection rates published by state-wide hospitals may not be as reliable to evaluate patient safety as the new law’s sponsored had hoped.  This is largely due to the methods hospital administrators and quality assurance personal use to collect and report the data on infection rates.  For example, studies have identified “significant discrepancies” in the incidence of central-line infections as reported by hospitals, and the rate of similar infections found by an independent audit of the hospital’s infection data.  These studies suggest the publication of hospital-specific infection rates may be biased and self-serving, rather than concerned with consumer protection.

In a somewhat related matter, a recent University of Washington study revealed alarmingly high rates of MRSA contamination (a drug-resistant strain of staph infection) among Snohomish County firefighters and paramedics.  Not only were these first responders found to be carrying the potentially deadly bacteria on their persons and clothing, but it was also found in the aid cars where patients ride, as well as the kitchens and living quarters of fire houses.  According to a King5.com report (click to view), the Snohomish County Fire District has enacted several new measures to reduce the risk of contamination to employees and the public.

New Publication from Richard H. Adler

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By Richard H. Adler. Posted on .

According to the National Safety Council, 1 in 8 drivers will be involved in a motor vehicle collision each year.

Chances are great that the “one” is either you or someone you know, and traumatic injuries often result. For many, the injuries can be long term or life altering. Those with traumatic injuries have to confront the realities of their injuries, changes to their daily activities, dealing with insurance companies who likely have conflicting interests, adjusting to economic losses, and getting traction onto the road to physical, emotional and financial recovery.

From Injury to Action provides the background and information you will need to stay ahead of insurance companies trying to take advantage of you as they protect their profits at your expense. And whatever your injury, you will learn about the likely cause of your pain, your treatment options, and strategies to put you in the best position to reach an optimal outcome for your health and financial recovery.

To order a free copy of this book, click here to order online.

What do you do if you slip and fall at a retail store?

Categories: Premise/Slip and Fall

By Arthur D. Leritz. Posted on .

Slipping and falling in a retail store can not only be embarrassing, but could result in serious injuries.  The strength or weakness of your case can depend on several factors, such as what you tripped or slipped on, the length of time this hazard was on the floor, who caused the hazard (customer or employee) and even what area of the store the hazard is located.  Just is important is what you do or don’t do after a fall.  Here are a few simple steps to follow in the event you have an injury in this situation:

  1. If you are hurt, stay where you are.  Too many times injured patrons limp or hobble out of the store because they are embarrassed over what just happened.  If you do that, it becomes very hard to prove your injuries occurred because of a hazard on store property.
  2. Tell someone immediately.  Get the attention of an employee who can assist you and contact management to ensure emergency aid is called if needed.
  3. If another store patron saw what happened, get their name(s) and telephone number(s).  Good Samaritans may come to your aid, but often leave the scene and are never heard from again, so get their information while they are there.
  4. Document the hazard that caused your injury.  Just about every cell phone has a camera, so take a picture of the hazard.  Whether it’s a squished tomato, crack in the concrete or frayed carpeting, documenting the hazard is very important.  Often that hazard will never be there again or in the same condition as it was when you were injured, so snap as many pictures as you can.
  5. Ask that the store fill out an incident report.  If you have to bring a claim later, this will be an important piece of evidence and also triggers certain duties with the store’s insurance company.

Ask the store if they have video surveillance.  This a common practice in retail environments, so if they have video ask them to save it.  Saving this data should be common practice for a store with this technology, but this information is not always saved when it is not favorable to the store and can get “lost” or “erased.”