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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Obese Drivers More Likely to Die in Auto Collisions

Categories: Auto Accidents

By Jacob W. Gent. Posted on .

It’s not like we need another reason to get and keep excess weight off, but here it is.  A new study finds obese drivers are up to 80% more likely to die as a result of a motor vehicle collision compared to normal-weight drivers.

“Our findings suggest two things: first, that there is something about obese vehicle occupants that causes poorer outcomes. That thing is probably a higher prevalence of comorbidities — other health conditions — related to obesity that inhibit survival and recovery from severe injury,” said study co-author Thomas Rice, a research epidemiologist with the University of California, Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research & Education Center.

Second, earlier research has shown that the proper interaction between seat belts and the human body is inhibited in the obese, Rice said.  He stressed the importance of proper seat belt use, especially among the obese. “It is critical that the lap belt be positioned as low as possible on the lap and as close to one’s pelvis as possible,” he said.

The study examined used fatality data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 1996 to 2008.  During that time, details of more than 57,000 car accidents were documented. The study focused on collisions involving two cars resulting in a death. The data was refined further to include only collisions involving cars of similar size and type. In all, the final pool included more than 3,400 pairs of drivers.

Obesity was determined by body mass index (BMI), a measurement that takes both height and weight into account.  As the level of obesity increased, so did the odds of dying in the collision. Compared to normal-weight drivers, those at the lowest level of obesity were 21 percent more likely to die, those at the next level were 51 percent more likely to die and those who were most obese were 80 percent more likely to die.  Obese women had a greater risk of dying than obese men, the researchers noted, while underweight men were slightly more likely to die in a crash than normal-weight drivers.  These risks remained even for drivers wearing seat belts and even when the airbag deployed, the authors noted.

Although the study found an association between obesity and death rates in car crashes, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

SOURCES: Thomas Rice, Ph.D., research epidemiologist, Safe Transportation Research & Education Center, University of California, Berkeley; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Yale University Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Conn.; Jan. 21, 2013, Emergency Medicine Journal, online


Tablets As An Essential Rehab Tool for TBI Survivors

Categories: Other Physical Injuries

By Melissa D. Carter. Posted on .

iPad (2)There is no doubt that smartphones have revolutionized how we work, travel, stay connected and, well, live.  More than just finding the closest Starbucks, or finding the quickest route home during rush hour traffic, the latest smartphones and tablets have also revolutionized therapy for survivors of traumatic brain injury.

For TBI patients, rehabilitating short term memory is a difficult struggle that plays a major role in rehabilitation.  Many TBI survivors cannot recall basic details to get through the day without significant assistance, and cannot retain memory beyond a few minutes in time.  TBI survivors frequently rely on copious notes with lengthy details to simply navigate a single task in a given day.  Many rely on caregivers for cues and reminders to help them with daily tasks, such as remembering to take medication, or assistance with completing the preparation of a simple meal from beginning to end.

A new study suggests that tablets, such as Apple’s immensely popular iPad, can actually assist TBI survivors with short term memory rehab.   The Royal Centre in Sydney, Australia trained 21 TBI patients to use personal digital assistants (PDAs) instead of relying upon diaries and human reminders, for help with tasks and alarms that were pre-loaded into the calendar.  The patients received multiple alarms for reminders throughout the day for medications, and other pre-arranged tasks to help the patients handle their days.  Pictures of friends and family members were loaded into the PDAs to help patients put names with faces.  At the same time, another group of patients continued on without PDAs and relied upon the traditional diary method.  At the conclusion of the two-month study, the patients using PDAs had a greater level of improved memory function over those working with diaries only.[1]

In addition to improved memory functions, devices like the iPad and their applications, commonly called “apps,” have assisted TBI victims who struggle to communicate verbally.  Here is a list of 27 life-changing apps for TBI patients for the iPhone and iPad:

And for the android:

As research develops and continues to show progress in TBI recovery, insurance companies may start treating these devices with great deference and may start to cover them for patients undergoing rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury.



Getting In A Car Accident: It’s Like Having a Second Job, Isn’t It?

Categories: Auto Accidents

By Arthur D. Leritz. Posted on .

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how difficult your life can get.  Not only you do have to deal with painful injuries, but there are all of the doctor’s appointments that you need to go to and make time for.  It is not uncommon to have 4-5 doctor visits a week, if not more, following an accident.  This can be not only daunting, but overwhelming.

I can’t tell you how many times I speak with people who have been in an accident express their frustration and difficulty in keeping up with all of the appointments – it truly is like having a second job, as the hours can really add up in a week.  Many people simply give up care and stop going, because it can be just too overwhelming – which is exactly what the insurance company is hoping you will do.  The following pointers are meant to keep you on track so you do not lose faith.

Keep an electronic calendar

So far as I know, every cell phone out there has an electronic calendar on it that will allow you to enter appointments.  Use it to your advantage and make sure you are tracking and recording your appointments so you don’t miss any.   Also, make sure you set reminders to go off at least 30 minutes in advance.  Using an electronic calendar is also a good way to keep an accurate record of hours missed in the event you present a wage loss claim.

Group appointments together

To the extent you can, try to coordinate your care so that you are scheduling your appointments as close together as possible.  That way, you can limit the impact your appointments will have on your day.

Ask about alternate hours

Many offices have hours before and after typical 9-5 work days, so see what is available.  Also, some offices are open for limited times on weekends.  The more flexible the provider is, the easier it will be to get the care you need.  If the provider does not advertise they are open alternate hours, be sure to ask.  You never know.

Talk to your employer

People seem to have a tendency to keep their employer in the dark regarding an accident.  Some people feel like they will get treated differently, or they won’t get the “good” assignment, etc., but more often than not your employer will work with you to make sure you have the time needed to get to doctor’s appointments.   Remember, if you do miss time from work and are able to use sick time, PTO time or vacation time, keep a record of that as well because you will be able to claim that as part of your economic loss from the accident.  Even if your paycheck remains the same, the fact that you had to use benefits to keep it that way which you would not have used “but for” the accident, means the insurance company has to pay you back for that.

Remember, the worst time after an accident is typically in that first 3-6 months, so hang in there and make sure you are doing everything you can to keep those appointments.  If you miss appointments, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will make one of the following assumptions, neither of which are to your benefit: (1) you missed appointments because you really weren’t that hurt to begin with, or (2) you would have healed much quicker had you followed the treatment plan as recommended by your doctors – both of which can affect your claim.

If you are stressed and overwhelmed about getting the care you need following an accident, the attorneys at Adler Giersch, PS are standing by to help you.