Recently in Unintentional Injury Deaths Category

August 15, 2012

Fire Deaths are At a Record Low in Maryland

Fire Deaths are down 21% compared to 2011, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. Only 22 people have died in fires so far this year. 28 people died during the same time last year.
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16 out of the 22 people that died so far in 2012, died in 13 separate home fires. Four out of those 16 deaths occurred in three fires where there weren't any smoke alarms, and three of the deaths occurred in two fires where the smoke alarms weren't operating correctly or at all.

Therefore, starting October 1, 2012, a law will be implemented in Maryland where sprinkler systems will be required in all new single family homes. Reports have shown that there have been no fire deaths, in new townhomes, where sprinkler systems were installed, since 1992.

It has been proven that having both smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in a home increase the survival rate by as much as 80%. Therefore; there must be a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in each sleeping area. The alarms should be regularly tested and their batteries should be replaced yearly.

August 1, 2011

Ways to Prevent Childrens Deaths from Hyperthermia

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The summer heat is dangerous for children left in cars. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Hyperthermia, otherwise known as heat stroke, is the leading cause of deaths for children under the age of 14 in non accident vehicle deaths in the United States. An average of 27 deaths from children suffering from hyperthermia, are reported yearly.

Here are a few tips recommended by the NHTSA to keep children safe in cars during the hot summer months:
- Never leave a child in a vehicle alone
- Never let a child play unattended in a vehicle
- Never leave infants and children under the age of 14 in parked cars. Not even if you leave the windows slightly open, or if the car is on and with the air conditioning on.
- If you see that a child has been left alone in a hot vehicle, do not hesitate and call the police. Even if you see that the child's face is red, hot, moist, or even extremely dry, no sweating, nauseated or acting strangely. Remove the child from the vehicle and call the police or ambulance for assistance.

These deaths are 100% preventable, if the right steps are followed by parents, caregivers, and the community.

September 7, 2010

Costs of Traffic Accidents Have Increased in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study that shows; that the costs associated with injuries from automobile crashes is more that $99 billion a year, nationwide. These costs include medical care costs and loss of productivity costs. Of this, $58 billion was due to fatalities, $28 billion for nonfatal injuries that required hospitalization, and $14 billion was for people treated as outpatients at hospitals. The study was released in August 2010. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this number increases considerably when you factor in higher insurance premiums, taxes and delays in travel, to nearly $230.6 billion. Grant Baldwin, Director of the CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention said, "This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related injuries from a cost perspective."

Injuries to occupants of motor vehicles, is about $70 billion, motorcyclist $12 billion, pedestrians $10 billion and Cyclists $5 billion.
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Injuries and deaths from traffic accidents, however, have been falling. The lowest level since 1961 occurred in 2008, but traffic accidents are still the 9th leading cause of deaths worldwide. It is expected that by the year 2030 deaths caused by traffic accidents will become the 5th, surpassing diabetes, HIV/AIDS and Heart Disease. In the United States, 15 to 16 fatalities as a result of traffic accidents occur per every 100,000 people.

Motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths are preventable in the United States, if more laws were implemented that require helmets for motorcyclists, stricter seat belt, drug, alcohol and texting laws, as well as increasing teen rules until the age of 18.

May 17, 2010

Traffic Cameras Used in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia to Make Streets Safer

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All along the streets and highways of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the use of cameras has become more and more visible. The two types of cameras used are red light cameras and speeding cameras. Some communities in these states and the district embrace the devices, while others believe them to be used solely to generate revenue during our economic downturn.

The Federal Highway Administration says "such technology can make highways safer." The National Safety Council also supports such enforcements solely for its safety benefits. Speeding is a factor in more than 31% of traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 762 people were killed and about 137,000 injured in crashes that involved red light running in 2008.

In a federal study, it was found that red light cameras cause a 25% decrease in crashes. Red light cameras are used in 441 communities in 25 states and the District of Columbia and speed cameras in about 56 communities in 12 states and the District. The Fines for running a red light camera in MD is $100, in VA is $50 and in the District is $75, while Speeding Cameras in MD is $40 and $75 in the District.

You can not have cops everywhere at all times, so these cameras allow cities and communities in the states in which they are used to decrease the amount of accidents, fatalities and to make streets safer, while gaining much needed revenue in these states. In principle, photo enforcement is valid when implemented correctly.

April 29, 2010

Medical Errors Are Costly and On the Rise

Research has shown that medical errors may result most frequently from system errors. One out of 25 patients in hospitals are injured due to medical errors, and an estimated 48,000 to 98,000 patients die from these errors a year. Even if you consider the lower estimate of 48,000 errors a year, it is still higher than the annual mortality from motor vehicle accidents (43,458), breast cancer (42,297), or even AIDS (16,516), thus making medical errors the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. These errors, besides causing death, have also cost the economy from $17 to $29 billion each year and cost more that $5 million a year in large teaching hospitals, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

For Patients at Risk, Medical errors may result in the following:

- A patient being given the wrong medicine
- A clinician misreading the results of a test
- An elderly person that shows up to an emergency room with ambiguous systems, such as: shortness of breath, abdominal pain and dizziness, whose heat attack is not diagnosed by the medical staff

How Errors Occur:
- Medication Errors:
These are preventable mistakes in the prescribing and delivering of medications to a patient, these errors include: prescribing two or more drugs whose interaction is known to produce side effects or prescribing a drug to which the patient is allergic to.
- Surgical Errors
- Diagnostic Inaccuracies:
This leads to ineffective treatment and/or unnecessary testing, which is costly and can be invasive to the patient.
- System Failures:
This is the way health care is delivered and the way that resources are provided to the delivery system.

Medical Mistakes are also made by distracted nurses. It is believed that if medical facilities had more nursing staff that could focus their attention on fewer tasks at a time that medical mistakes would decrease, patient safety increase and it would reduce the risk of medical malpractice. When nurses are interrupted, it increases the chance of a procedural failure by 12.1%, and the chances of a clinical error by 12.7%, as indicated by the Archives of Internal Medicine study published in Australia in 2008.

April 12, 2010

Prescription Drug Poisoning Has Surpassed Automobile Accidents As the Leading Cause of Unintentional Injury Deaths

Rx bottle.jpgIn a report by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, prescription drug poisoning now surpasses automobile accidents as the leading cause of unintentional injury death among people of ages 35 to 54.

Currently the number of people that are hospitalized due to overdoses from prescription drugs is 65% higher than they were between 1999 and 2006. Such drugs are OxyContin, Fentanyl and Morphine. The use of these drugs, whether illegally or as a suicide attempt rose 130% and accidental overdoses rose by 37%. No other prescription drug causes such a high occurrence of hospitalizations in the United States, according to Researchers from the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Overdoses from drugs such as tranquilizers, sedatives and painkillers, has also risen by 65% in the last couple of years, making drug poisoning the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S.

In 2009, an average of 71,000 people, were hospitalized for painkiller overdoses. This is a huge increase from the 43,000 people that were hospitalized in 2008. Methadone is the drug that saw the largest increase in poisoning hospitalizations. Among other drugs that saw an increase in hospitalization is Valium, which saw a 39% increase. Barbiturates and antidepressants actually saw a decrease.

It is due to these huge increases in drug overdoses that caused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve a new tamper-resistant version of OxyContin. This new version of the drug is supposed to resist the efforts to cut, chew, or crush the pills in order to defeat the slow medication release design of the pills.