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Billings Personal Injury Law Blog

Medical mistakes can cause lifelong disability for your child

Labor and delivery are physically and emotionally stressful for most women. They rely on the doctors and nurses present during the process to protect them and guide them through a safe birth. Generally, doctors and nurses are attentive, compassionate and well-informed about what to do during birth. Sometimes, however, a mistake or oversight can end up having profound and lasting consequences for the patient.

Medical mistakes during birth can leave a mother injured or an infant with a serious birth injury, like cerebral palsy. The family shouldn't have to spend years paying for the mistakes made by others. When medical professionals make a mistake during birth that results in serious injuries, they should be held accountable.

The unique dangers of biking in Montana

Earlier this year, USA Today reported the tragic death of Brad Treat, a Forest Service law enforcement officer killed by a grizzly bear in a biking accident in Montana’s Flathead National Forest. Treat and a companion were riding their mountain bikes when Treat rounded a blind curve at 20-25 miles per hour and collided with the bear.

Although Treat was an experienced mountain biker and biked these trails up to six times each week, neither he nor his companion carried a cellphone that day, nor any type of firearm or bear spray. The companion, riding a number of yards behind Treat, heard the impact and then saw the bear standing over Treat, who was lying on the ground. By the time the companion was able to summon help, it was too late. Trent had been mauled to death by the grizzly and his bike helmet bitten to pieces.

Medical error leading to wrongful death

Montana residents, like people across the country, trust their doctor(s) to do what is best for them. They believe that while doctors cannot prevent accidents and injuries resulting in a hospital stay, they can and will treat their patients appropriately and the patients will leave the hospital in a much better condition than when they entered it. Such beliefs and trust are understandable, but unfortunately, they are not always warranted.

As reported in The Washington Post, medical errors have become the third leading cause of U.S. deaths. They may account for as many as 251,000 deaths every year, more than strokes, accidents, respiratory diseases and Alzheimer’s combined.

Frequency of wrong-site surgeries

When people undergo surgery in Montana, they trust that their surgeon will operate on the correct body part. However, wrong-site surgeries sometimes occur, and people may wonder how often this happens.

While people may think that a wrong-site surgery occurs because of a drastic mistake, this is usually not the case. Becker's Healthcare says that several small mistakes usually result in a wrong-site surgery. Variations in site marking and distractions in the operating room, as well as verification and booking errors, can cause these incidents, and an inadequate safety culture can also play a role. It is estimated that every week in the U.S., there may be up to 50 occurrences. A wrong-site surgery may be more likely to happen if someone has an operation on their spine, as surgeons may mistakenly work on the wrong level.

What is bike awareness?

Montana bicyclists have a lot to worry about every time they're on the road. Many of these concerns derive from the fact that they and their bikes are difficult to see. At the Law Firm of Edmiston & Colton, we work to bring awareness to issues unique to bicyclists like you, and help those whose lack of visibility has caused harm.

As most drivers and bicyclists alike know, bikes are hard to spot on the road. They're small, don't take up much space, and bike riders can easily dart into a car's blind spot without either of you realizing the danger until it's too late. This is why bike awareness is important. It's the responsibility of drivers of larger cars to look out for you, since they're more protected. Drivers should always check before making lane changes and keep an eye on their blind spot.

The alarming facts about truck accidents

Large truck crashes are a major contributor to highway deaths, not just in Montana, but also across the nation. A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 11 percent of highway deaths occur as the result of a crash involving a large truck. In 2015, the latest year for which national statistics are available, 3,852 people died in large truck crashes; 69 percent of them were in passenger cars and other vehicles, 16 percent were in the trucks themselves, and 15 percent were motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians.

A separate report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2015. This was an 8 percent increase from the previous year.

Top tips after a hit-and-run

Getting hit by another driver in Montana can be a terriying experience, especially if that driver does not stay around to make sure you are alright. You may be unsure about what to do next and how to ensure that you are following the law. We at the Law Firm of Edmiston and Colton have detailed the top tips to follow if you are involved in a hit-and-run.

The first thing you should do is ensure that you are not in danger of additional injury, states Infinity Auto. If possible, pull over to the side of the road. If your car is not drivable, you may need to put it in neutral and push it onto the shoulder. If you are unable to safely do this or your car is so badly damaged that it cannot be moved, make sure that you are in a safe place and try to signal oncoming traffic of the danger ahead. Be sure that any passengers are also okay and out of harm's way.

Common injuries from bicycle accidents

Cyclists in Montana face extra threats when sharing the road with motorized vehicles. Not only do they have very little protection, but they're also going at a much slower speed. Their small size can make them hard to spot as well, which culminates in a recipe for potential disaster.

Needless to say, with the increased risk of accidents comes an increased risk of injury. The American Family Physician shows that there are numerous ways for bicycle injuries to occur, running the spectrum from single-person accidents to crashes with other vehicles. The type of injury varies wildly according to what was hit, how fast the rider was going, and other factors. Smaller crashes commonly include things like scrapes, bruises, skin burns, and perhaps broken bones due to the rider impacting with the ground.

Why are truckers often fatigued?

Anytime you take to a Montana roadway, you run the risk of travelling near large commercial trucks whose drivers just may need some serious sleep. Nowadays, truckers are often overtired for numerous reasons, but when they drive fatigued, they are endangering far more than just themselves.

Per GorillaSafety.com, today’s truckers are up against a unique set of circumstances and job conditions that make driver fatigue an unfortunate, but often regular, reality. Truckers are often under immense pressure to meet tight deadlines, and they often must log long hours to meet those deadlines, particularly if conditions such as traffic or inclement weather are present. Some truckers you encounter on the roadway receive pay based on the number of miles they cover, and this, too, leads some who drive for a living to push themselves to the brink of exhaustion.

Complications associated with cesarean sections

Nowadays, a considerable percentage of mothers who give birth across Montana and the United States deliver their babies via cesarean section, and if you are among them, it is important to understand the unique risks involved. Any major surgery poses risks to you, but babies born via C-section also face risks of their own. At the Law Firm of Edmiston & Colton, we assist clients and their family members who suffer injury during surgical procedures, and we have a firm understanding of just how debilitating surgery-related injuries often are.

Anytime you undergo surgery, per AmericanPregnancy.org, you run the risk of developing a related infection. Not only do you run the risk of an infection directly within your incision site, but you also risk an infection to another internal organ, such as your bladder. Your incision site may also develop scar tissue or adhesions following your procedure, which can lead to problems during subsequent pregnancies or births and conditions including placental abruption and placenta previa.

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