Distracted Driving Puts Pedestrians, Cyclists at Risk

A distracted driver hitting another motorist seems to be in the news daily. However, it’s not just drivers and occupants of vehicles who are in danger. A new report reveals that the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed by distracted driving has risen dramatically.

From 2005 to 2010, the number of pedestrians struck and killed by distracted drivers in the United States went up nearly 50 percent, from 344 to 500. For cyclists, the numbers of those killed rose from 56 to 73 – a 30 percent increase.

cross walk

Sadly, statistics related to distracted driving may actually be underreported since it is difficult for law enforcement to prove. Although safety features in cars are helping to reduce the number of motorist deaths, bicyclists and pedestrians remain vulnerable. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths.

‘Tis the Season

While we should always focus on our driving and refrain from texting or other distracting behaviors, the holidays pose a special risk. This time of year brings an influx of drivers and pedestrians to many areas as we all rush around, buying gifts and preparing for parties. The attorneys at Elk & Elk remind you that one text or call could wreck it all. Please commit to distraction-free driving.

Ways to keep pedestrians safe

On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. To raise awareness, the NHTSA has launched a new campaign entitled Everyone is a Pedestrian.

Drivers can…

  • Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
  • Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians, too.
  • Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.

Pedestrians can…

  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

 

Source:  Fatalities of Pedestrians, Bicycle Riders, and Motorists Due to Distracted Driving Motor Vehicle Crashes in the U.S., 2005–2010” by Jim P. Stimpson, PhD; Fernando A. Wilson, PhD; and Robert L. Muelleman, MD; Public Health Reports, University of Nebraska Medical Center, November-December 2013.

New Federal Seat Belt Rule for Buses

Rules requiring seat belts on buses were first proposed in 1968, following a deadly crash that claimed the lives of 19 people. 45 years later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has finally issued a federal rule mandating seat belts on new motorcoaches and other large buses.

The new rule, while a step in the right direction, can hardly be viewed as a true win for consumers. New tour buses and buses that provide service between cities must be equipped with seat belts starting in late 2016. However, existing buses will not be retrofitted – leaving millions of passengers without a seat belt each year.

The motorcoach industry opposes retrofitting; arguing buses not designed for seat belts may not be strong enough to withstand the repeated pulling of straps. They also claim it would be cost-prohibitive, placing estimates at $35,000 per bus. Since many motorcoaches are on the road for about 20 to 25 years, it could be decades before all passengers are protected. And, unfortunately, school buses and city transit buses are exempt.

Long Road

It’s been a contentious debate. On one side, safety advocates joined with crash victims and their families in favor of more regulations, which were recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Opposing these regulatory changes were industry groups, such as the American Bus Association, commercial bus companies, and other lobbyists.

Unfortunately, the NTSB can only pass along its recommendations to others within the Department of Transportation because it lacks the authority to impose rules. Another federal agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has that power but has taken an excruciatingly slow approach over the decades.

Things reached a tipping point on March 2, 2007, when a charter bus carrying 33 baseball players and coaches from Bluffton University plunged off a highway ramp. Of the 36 people on board, seven were killed.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a bill co-sponsored with former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas in 2007, again in 2009 and finally in 2011. While Brown’s Tour Bus Safety bill became law on July 6, 2012, it has not yet been fully implemented. Entitled the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act, it is based on NTSB recommendations, some of which were first proposed in 1968.

According to the NHSB, an average of 21 people in large buses are killed each year in crashes, and nearly 8,000 others are injured annually. Seat belts could reduce fatalities and moderate-to-severe injuries by nearly half. About half of all motorcoach fatalities are the result of rollovers, and about 70 percent of those killed in rollover accidents were ejected from the bus.

Brown said Seat belts are “a common-sense safety measure that is long overdue.” He urged the NHTSA to move forward on two other safety measures that have been sought nearly as long seat belts — windows that prevent passengers from being ejected from buses in rollover crashes, and stronger roofs that aren’t crushed in such crashes.

 

Sources:

Seat belts on commercial buses delayed 45 years” by Joan Lowy, USA Today/AP, November 17, 2013

Deadly crash of bus carrying Bluffton University baseball team behind new rule on seat belts” by Allison Grant, The Plain Dealer, November 20, 2013

Gov’t to Require Seat Belts on Large Buses” by Joan Lowy, ABC News/AP, November 20, 2013.

Lack of Oxygen at Birth Caused by Human Error

baby and dadA 15-year Norwegian study published in a journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that human error is the most common cause of infant asphyxiation at birth.

Birth asphyxia occurs when a baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen before, during or immediately after birth. Without oxygen, cells cannot work properly. Waste builds up in the cells and cause temporary or permanent damage. Birth asphyxia can lead to brain damage and death.

Estimates have put lifelong compensation for injury caused by birth asphyxia averages about €430,000 ($574,000) in Norway, with costs exceeding $5 million in the United States.

While fetal brain injury or death is uncommon during childbirth, when it occurs the effects are devastating,” explains Dr. Stine Andreasen with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Nordland Hospital in Bodø, Norway. The study investigated claims made for neurological injury or death following birth asphyxia.

Researchers analyzed 161 cases associated with birth asphyxia in which compensation had been awarded. In those cases, 107 infants survived, with 96 having neurological injury, and 54 children who died.

Study Results: Human error was the most common cause of birth asphyxia

  • 50% attributed to inadequate fetal monitoring
  • 14% lack of clinical knowledge
  • 11% non-compliance to clinical guidelines
  • 10% failure to ask for senior medical assistance
  • 4% errors in drug administration

“In most compensated cases, poor fetal monitoring led to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the infant,” said Dr. Andreasen. “Training for midwives and obstetricians, along with high-quality audits, could help to reduce claims for compensation after birth asphyxia.”

Birth asphyxia may lead to cerebral palsy, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, developmental disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or impaired sight. In the most severe cases, asphyxia can lead to organ failure and death.

 

Source:

Human Error Most Common Cause of Birth Asphyxia” by Stine Andreasen, Bjørn Backe, and Pål Øian, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, November 17, 2013, DOI: 10.1111/aogs.12276

A Look at the Car Accident Statistics in the State of Ohio

crashby Arthur Elk

A car accident attorney can help you if you’ve been injured in an auto-related collision, but the best way to protect yourself is to do all that you can to prevent an accident on the road. The state of Ohio has seen an overall increase in the number of law enforcement stops in the past five years. These stops are made in an attempt to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place, but results are ambiguous.

With December still to come, confirmed fatalities appear to be down from last year. However, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the number of crashes investigated through November 2013 has already exceeded those in 2012. The numbers of motorists driving under suspension as well as seat belt and OVI enforcements have also increased. These numbers may be a result of more aggressive measures taken by police officers.

Ohio Car Accident Statistics

(Last updated 11/18/2013)

YTD Activity

2013

2012 

Enforcement Stops 544,953 512,944
Confirmed Fatalities 846* 1,021
Crashes Investigated 54,935 54,547
OVI Enforcement 21,360 21,704
Driving Under Suspension Enforcement 29,017 25,351
Seat Belt Enforcement 90,177 85,238

* There are an additional 25 provisional unverified traffic fatalities to date.

Being a more alert and responsible driver can help keep you safe. Even when you’re not the one at fault, you can possibly prevent an accident from becoming life threatening. Keeping a safe distance from those driving haphazardly could enable you to swerve and avoid a collision. If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto collision, no matter who was at fault, it’s best to consult with a car accident lawyer who can help protect your rights.

Hidden Truth Behind Hospital Death

 

When we enter a hospital due to injury or illness, we look to the doctors and hospital staff to provide a certain level of care to help us feel better and get healthy again.

Unfortunately, sometimes patients do not receive the care they deserve and when a hospital stay leads to further injury at the hands of caregivers, it can be confusing and disturbing. The family of a young woman felt these emotions and more when their 21-year-old daughter died while in the hospital.

She was admitted after being sick with flu-like symptoms and doctors diagnosed her with a routine infection around her kidneys. After a few days on antibiotics, it appeared she had turned a corner for the better; but she fell unconscious during the night and died.

The real issue is how the hospital handled this situation. They maintained the young woman was found unconscious after her visitors left and could not be saved. Everyone involved at the hospital was questioned and all medical files were requested. For months, the hospital repeated the same story throughout the discovery process. Those months turned into years with the same story being told repeatedly. It was only at trial, when a nurse saw the devastation of the family, did she come forward with testimony proving the hospital had lied. She provided the much-needed evidence that pointed to the hospital’s negligence. After four years of no clear answers, the family finally was told the truth, the matter was resolved and the hospital held responsible.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above, read our blog, and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Jay Kelly

Thanksgiving Dinner Safety

The last thing you need with a house full of relatives is food poisoning or other holiday disasters. With a little preparation, your Thanksgiving feast can be fun, safe event. Remember that turkeys can carry salmonella and other harmful bacteria. Be sure to wash your hands, utensils and other surfaces that come into contact with raw poultry to prevent contamination.

Thawing your turkey

Some cooks prefer a “fresh” (not frozen) turkey, but for those of us who opt for a frozen bird, it’s important to remember that as soon as a turkey begins to thaw, bacteria can begin to grow. Never let a frozen turkey thaw out at room temperature. Instead, follow the USDA recommendations below:

Refrigerator thawing

This is the longest method, so it won’t work for last-minute shoppers. Be sure to allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below. It’s important to place the turkey in a container to prevent dripping juices from contaminating other foods. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking.

Refrigerator thawing times for a whole turkey:
4 to 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds — 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds —5 to 6 days

Cold water thawing

First, make sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent water absorption. Next, submerge the wrapped turkey in cold (never hot) tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed to prevent it from getting too warm. A turkey thawed in cold water should be cooked immediately.

Cold Water Thawing Times
4 to 12 pounds — 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds — 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds — 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds — 10 to 12 hours

Safe Roasting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Turkey should be roasted, breast-side up in an oven set at a minimum temperature of 325° F. The color of cooked poultry is not a sign of its safety. The only way to know for sure if your turkey has been cooked to a safe temperature is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature must reach 165° in the breast, or 175° to 180° in the thigh. If the bird is stuffed, be sure the center of the stuffing registers 165°.

Stuffing

The safest way to cook your stuffing is separately in a casserole dish. If you prefer your stuffing in the bird, wait to mix the wet ingredients just before stuffing and stuff loosely – tightly packed stuffing cannot expand and cook properly. When trussing your bird, be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp skewers, as they may carry bacteria from the raw poultry. Finally, don’t forget, additional time is required for stuffed turkeys to reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Approximate Cooking Times

(325 °F oven temperature)

Unstuffed (time in hours)
4 to 6 lb. breast — 1 1/2 to 2 1/4
6 to 8 lb. breast — 2 1/4 to 3 1/4
8 to 12 lbs. — 2 3/4 to 3
12 to 14 lbs. — 3 to 3 3/4
14 to 18 lbs. — 3 3/4 to 4 1/4
18 to 20 lbs. — 4 1/4 to 4 1/2
20 to 24 lbs. — 4 1/2 to 5

Stuffed (time in hours)
8 to 12 lbs. — 3 to 3 1/2
12 to 14 lbs. — 3 1/2 to 4
14 to 18 lbs. — 4 to 4 1/4
18 to 20 lbs. — 4 1/4 to 4 3/4
20 to 24 lbs. — 4 3/4 to 5 1/4

Deep Fat Frying a Turkey

Each year, there seems to be at least one story on the news about a disastrous attempt at deep frying a turkey. The USDA offers the following guidelines:

A whole turkey can be successfully cooked by the deep fat frying method provided the turkey is not stuffed and has been completely thawed. The turkey should be 12 pounds or less in size.

Oil Safety

Select a cooking vessel large enough to completely submerge the turkey in oil without it spilling over. The oil should cover the turkey by 1 to 2 inches. To determine the amount of oil needed, do a preliminary test using water. Place the turkey in the cooking utensil and add water to cover. Then remove the turkey and measure the amount of water. This is the amount of oil needed. (Afterwards, be sure to pat the turkey dry, as placing water into hot oil will cause it to spatter.)

Select a safe location outdoors for deep fat frying a turkey

Heat the cooking oil to 350 °F. Slowly and carefully, lower the turkey into the hot oil. Monitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer constantly during cooking. Never leave the hot oil unattended. Allow approximately 3 to 5 minutes per pound cooking time.

Checking for doneness

Remove turkey from the oil and drain oil from the cavity. Check the temperature of turkey with a food thermometer. The turkey is safely cooked when the food thermometer reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

If the turkey is not done, immediately return the turkey to the hot oil for additional cooking. When the turkey is done, remove it from the oil and place it on a sturdy tray lined with paper towels. The skin can be golden to dark brown to almost black. Let it rest about 20 minutes before carving.

Allow the used oil to cool before pouring it into containers for refrigerator storage. The oil can be reused if it is strained, covered, and used within a month.

Leftovers

After your fabulous feast, be sure to store leftovers properly to prevent food poisoning. Leftovers should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.

Large quantities should be divided into smaller portions and stored in several small or shallow covered containers – food in small amounts will get cold more quickly. The temperature of the refrigerator should be 40° F or slightly below.

Leftover turkey will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Stuffing and gravy should be used within 1 or 2 days. Reheat leftover gravy to a rolling boil or 165 ° F before serving. For longer storage, package leftovers in freezer paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze them.

 

For a complete guide to food safety and more tips on holiday food preparation, visit www.foodsafety.gov.

 

Rising Statistics on Tractor Trailer Related Injuries

Attorney William J. Price discusses the pitfalls of proving lost wages
for a client injured in a tractor-trailer accident.

Each day, we go about our lives on the road — expecting those around us to be alert and aware of their surroundings so as not to cause an accident.

Despite improved safety measures, traffic accidents continue to occur across the country, with thousands of deaths and millions of injuries each year. Deaths from U.S. motor vehicle crashes rose 5.3 percent in 2012, according to new numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s the first time since 2005 that fatalities have gone up. National Safety Commission officials pointed to distracted driving and an increase in the number of heavy trucks on the roads as possible explanations for increase.

Trucking Accidents

Earlier this year, the NHTSA released a Large Truck Report stating that 287,000 large trucks were involved in accidents in 2011, resulting in 3,757 deaths and injuring 88,000 people. The number of registered large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) have steadily increased from around 8 million in 2011 to over 10 million in 2013.

While tractor-trailer drivers undergo special schooling to drive such a vehicle, it is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to be aware and cautious while on the road. The truck may cause an accident due to improper maintenance or equipment failure. The driver can also contribute to an accident by allowing himself to become distracted.

A truck driver can become distracted by the same things divert the attention of all drivers, including cell phones, playing with the radio or looking at maps. Additionally, tractor-trailer drivers may be affected by long hours on the road. Some truckers drive for many more hours than is legally allowed – and that’s just the driving portion. They may have other work, such as loading and unloading, and the cumulative hours without rest can greatly affect the abilities of a truck driver.

Truck accidents are less common than collisions involving private vehicles, but they are associated with far more serious injuries. If you are struck by commercial truck, you and your family may face substantial economic and non-economic damages,  including medical expenses, prescription drug costs, pain and suffering, lost wages and even future losses — as some injuries can be significant and/or permanent.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above, read our blog, and explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO.
I welcome your call.

William J. Price

Whistleblowers Receive $168 Million

In one of the largest payouts in history, people from three states will be taking home a share of the $167.7 million awarded to whistleblowers for exposing Johnson & Johnson’s use of improper marketing and kickbacks.

$2 Billion Settlement

SettlementIn a press conference yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and three of its subsidiaries reached an agreement to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil claims. J&J was accused of marketing prescription drugs for uses that were never approved and paying kickbacks to physicians, pharmacies, and nursing homes.

The settlement agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and 45 states involve J&J’s anti-psychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega, and the heart failure drug Natrecor. J&J subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, admitted in a criminal plea agreement that it promoted the off-label use Risperdal to health care providers for the treatment of elderly patients who suffered from dementia, even though the drug was only approved to treat schizophrenia.

Risperdal

Risperdal has many serious side effects, including tardive dyskinesia (drug-induced abnormal movements), diabetes, pancreatitis, metabolic disorders, and gynecomastia (abnormal breast tissue growth in boys). The off-label use of Risperdal and other anti-psychotics to deal with challenging nursing home patients and children with ADHD or other behavior disorders has been referred to as a “chemical lobotomy.”

“[T]hese companies lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers, patients, and the private insurance industry,” said Holder. He went on to say that J&J’s alleged conduct “…recklessly put at risk the health of some of the most vulnerable members of our society – including young children, the elderly, and the disabled.”

Johnson & Johnson was quick to assuage shareholder anxieties, telling investors through a press release that the settlement was not an admission of any liability or wrongdoing and that the company denies the government’s civil allegations.

In a separate matter, a three-judge panel recently ruled that a whistleblower case against J&J and its subsidiary Ehicon could proceed. Joel Lippman, former vice president of clinical trials for J&J’s unit Ethicon, claims he was fired in 2006 for raising concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the Ortho-Evra birth control patch and other products.

Whistleblowing claims

The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733 allows any person (called a “relator”) to bring a claim alleging fraud on behalf of the government. The act of filing such actions is known in the legal community as qui tam, but is commonly referred to as “whistleblowing.” Persons filing whistleblower claims usually receive about 15-25 percent of any recovered damages, but that amount may be higher or lower depending on specific circumstances.

Whistleblowing claims may also be filed under numerous other acts. For example, OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.

The statute of limitations on such claims can be as little as 30 days. Therefore, in order to preserve your claim, it is important to contact a qualified attorney and file a claim with OSHA as soon as possible.

 

Sources:

$168 million payout to Johnson & Johnson whistleblowers” by Gregory Wallace, Money CNN, November 4, 2013.

J.&J. to Pay $2.2 Billion in Risperdal Settlement” by Katie Thomas, New York Times, November 4, 2013.

Additional documents and resources relating to the civil and criminal allegations are available on the U.S. Department of Justice website.

Surgeon Performed Unnecessary Operations, Took Kickbacks

Nearly 30 patients in California have sued neurosurgeon Dr. Aria Sabit for medical malpractice; alleging he subjected them to needless spinal surgeries using implants supplied by a company from which he profited.

Dr. Sabit has already settled six of the cases out of court for undisclosed amounts. In the latest suit, an elderly patient named Vicenta Aguirre sued Sabit for medical malpractice, alleging fraud, deceit, concealment and negligence.

Physician kickbacks

Among her claims, Aguirre accuses the surgeon of performing excessive surgeries on the elderly, profiting from the hardware he implanted, and failing to meet the standard of care for sterile techniques, resulting in high infection rates, longer recovery times, and the need for additional surgical procedures. The lawsuit also states that Sabit owned an interest in Reliance Medical and Apex Medical Technologies, medical products distributors.

Conflict of interest

These cases bring to light a growing problem in the medical community: Physician-owned Distributors (PODs), also known as physician owned companies or intermediaries. A 2011 congressional report titled “Physician Owned Distributors (PODs): An Overview of Key Issues and Potential Areas for Congressional Oversight,” by the Senate Finance Committee reveals:

The basic arrangement involves medical device companies formed to give physicians a share in the profits generated by the sale of implants and other medical devices… In effect, these entities act as a middleman entity that exists to give its physician investors the opportunity to profit from the sale and utilization of the medical devices they provide to hospitals.

Proponents of PODs maintain that such arrangements decrease costs by eliminating the profits of traditional distributors. However, in March of 2013, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a Special Fraud Alert, which found that PODs have substantial fraud and abuse risk and pose dangers to patient safety.

This month, the Office of the Inspector General released a 27-page report entitled, “Spinal Devices Supplied By Physician-Owned Distributors: Overview of Prevalence and Use.” The OIG concluded:

  • In 2011, POD-supplied medical devices were used in nearly 20 percent of spinal fusion surgeries billed to Medicare.
  • Spinal fusion surgeries that used PODs devices used fewer devices but did not have lower device costs
  • When hospitals began purchasing devices from PODs, their rates of spinal surgery grew faster than average and they performed more spinal surgeries than those that did not.

These results appear to confirm the OIG’s concerns that PODs are associated with corruption of medical judgment, overutilization, increased costs to the Federal health care programs and beneficiaries, and unfair competition.

Disclosure requirements

Some hope that new reporting required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (also known as “Open Payments”) will increase disclosure of such relationships. Designed to decrease the potential for conflicts of interest in health care, the Sunshine Act requires drug, biological and medical device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to annually disclose direct and indirect ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. However, as the OIG explains,

…disclosure in and of itself does not provide sufficient assurance against fraud and abuse…[because] disclosure of financial interest is often part of a testimonial, i.e., a reason why the patient should patronize that facility. Thus, often patients are not put on guard against the potential conflict of interest, i.e., the possible effect of financial considerations on the physician’s medical judgment.

Furthermore, not all PODs will be required to report under the Act. Although the rule is written to include most entities that purchase medical devices for resale to others, the language of the statute does not encompass all POD models.

When told an operation is necessary, many patients check the credentials of their surgeon. Websites allow the public to check a doctor’s board certification, hospital or ambulatory center accreditation, membership in prestigious fellowships or other organizations, and even online patient reviews. Now it seems we will also need to find out if our doctor is in the business of selling medical devices.

Bottom line: Always get a second opinion.

 

Sources:

“Alarming Allegations Against Spinal Surgeon” by Matt Reynolds, Courthouse News Service, November 1, 2013.

California Board Moves to Discipline Surgeon in Federal Probe” by John Carreyrou, The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2013

“Final Sunshine Rule Requires Reporting of Physician Ownership in GPOs and Health Products Manufacturers” by Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C., Health Law News, March 13, 2013.