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First, I hope that my readers and friends have had a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day. Given the fact that this is one of, if not the most, high motor vehicle traffic days in the year, staying safe on the roads can be a challenge.

Right now, I’m vacationing with my wife Debbi on Maui, Hawaii (Note: If you’re a current or prospective client, don’t worry: All my cases are being covered by my colleagues!) When most people get away on vacation, they usually don’t think of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. You’re on vacation, right? What can go wrong? The answer: Plenty. In fact, more than you think – and the reasons are obvious: Problem #1 – “How Do You Work This Thing?”: When traveling a long way from home (vs. locally,) most people are driving a rental car. Rental car drivers are not familiar with the vehicle they’re renting, so the risk of operator error increases substantially. Problem # 2 – “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” – The layout of the roads, the terrain, directions, are all strange and unfamiliar – and this increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident even more. Problem #3 – “I need some sleep”: Travelers driving rental cars are probably quite tired from the stress of travel – and this too, increases the risk of a car accident. Problem #4 – “Get Outta My Way:This is probably the worst one: Our impatient and often insensitive, inconsiderate culture. So many people these days just don’t care about consideration and civility toward other drivers. So many people will cut you off in a heartbeat, just to get a couple of car lengths ahead of you; just to ‘beat the light” ahead of you. This behavior is, of course, what earned Massachusetts drivers the nickname “Massholes” – and unfortunately, as a Boston Massachusetts motor vehicle accident lawyer, I can regrettably attest to the truth of this term. Continue reading

When most people think of medical mistakes, medical malpractice or similar, they think of surgical errors (such as operating on the wrong patient or body organ,) or medication mishaps.

Hospitals spend billions of dollars collectively every year in quality control, quality assurance, and patient review systems.  Almost every hospital has what is known as a Committee on Mortality & Morbidity Review, to review and hopefully correct any patient errors that occurred under its roofs.  Entire organizations, such as the National Institute of Medicine, exist to improve patient care in large-scale hospital settings.  Continue reading

I’ve blogged here several times previously about the dangers of texting and driving – actually, of any smart phone use while driving.  But most of my posts have had to do with the everyday drivers out there – known legally as “private passenger vehicle operators.”

As annoying as it is to look at the car next to you and see an inconsiderate driver using his or her cell phone while behind the wheel, imagine seeing the driver of a 12-wheeler doing it.  And that’s the other major threat on the roadways:  Commercial truck drivers.  People who drive trucks for a living – whether as an employee of a company or as an independent trucker – are known legally as “CDL Operators.”  This stands for “Commercial Driver’s License.”  The legal penalties that CDL operators, or truck drivers, face for texting while driving and/or cell phone use while driving are more severe than for non-commercial drivers – and with good reason:  Weighing in at potentially several more tons than a private passenger vehicle, it takes much longer to stop or re-direct a truck, than it does for a sedan.  This is simple physics.  Most of those stiffer legal penalties are federal, not state – and many states need to catch up on making these laws tougher throughout the country. Continue reading

In my previous post on this subject, I wrote of how new products in prenatal testing have caused several false testing reports, causing many expectant couples to elect abortions, out of fear that the fetus would be born with severe birth defects.

The tests, which can be conducted as early as nine weeks of pregnancy, detect placental DNA in the mother’s blood and test it for chromosomal abnormalities, as well as gender. The tests were originally designed for older women and women at high risk of pregnancy difficulties, but many of these tests are now marketed to all pregnant women.  Industry analysts estimate that between 450,000 to 800,000 of these tests have been performed in the United States since 2011.  Several companies are racing to corner what some analysts predict could be a $3.6 billion global industry by the year 2019. Continue reading

A decade ago heralded an exhilarating time for medical scientists: The sequencing of the human genome – the foundation for all human life; the genetic “instruction manual” from which each of us is created. This historic effort ushered in a new, supposedly more accurate platform of prenatal screening tests, which are primarily designed to determine if a fetus has inherited a debilitating or fatal genetic disease.

Hundreds of thousands of newly-pregnant women have taken these tests in the past couple of years – through an everyday blood sample taken in their doctor’s office. Many women have considered this process “no big deal.” But a recent investigation by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has discovered that companies manufacturing these tests have been overselling and overstating their accuracy, while simultaneously doing little to inform expecting parents, or their doctors, about the serious risks that these tests can produce ‘false alarms.’

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I love what I do for work, but sometimes it just amazes me how – sorry to be so blunt – downright stupid some people can be.

How stupid, you ask?

How about driving a car while you’re dialing, talking, or texting on a smart phone? But don’t a lot of people do it, you also ask? Yes. And a lot of people drive drunk, too – which is, in terms of neurological motor skills, functionally about the same as using a cell phone while driving. Yet so many drivers continue to do this – placing not only themselves, but more importantly, their own passengers and other drivers at risk of horrific injuries and even death.

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Readers of this blog know that I’ve reported previously on the subject of how many Massachusetts nursing homes have been found to advertise that they “specialize” in dementia care and Alzheimer’s Disease – when in fact, they have received no such credentialing from the state, at all. We all have the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and New Hampshire to thank for exposing this serious problem.

This trend, of course, is little more if anything, other than a craven attempt by many nursing facilities to capitalize on the growing population of elders afflicted with these tragic disorders – and in the process, capture more market share. Now, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has publicly released the names of the Massachusetts nursing home facilities that have been cited for either outright false and misleading advertising about dementia care, or failing to submit required paperwork to prove that they are in compliance with particular state requirements for Alzheimer’s and other dementia-afflicted patients.

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If there is one bit of informal advice I’d give to newly-arriving Massachusetts college students, as well as to new grad school students in the Boston area, it’s this: Watch out when you’re traveling on a bicycle adn even walking as a pedestrian: The roads in Massachusetts, in particular the metropolitan Boston area, are anything but easy to navigate or understand. Massachusetts bicyclist-motor vehicle accidents, as well as pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents, are increasing in frequency. Accidents like this tend to spike with the annual late August arrival of hundreds of thousands of new students to the eastern Massachusetts and greater Boston area: Massachusetts is, after all, known (among other appellations) as the “College Capital of the Nation.”

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In my previous posts on this important subject, I wrote of the growing number of Massachusetts nursing homes that are making advertising and marketing claims that they “specialize” in caring for Alzheimer’s Disease patients and other patients suffering from dementia. They like to use terms such as “Memory Care Center,” “Alzheimer’s Specialty Units,” and similar.

I’ve previously warned my readers not to buy this marketing so quickly. Over 60% of it is pure lies: Gross exaggerations that seek to capitalize on the growing population of people suffering from dementia. This week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Mass. DPH) announced the enactment of regulations that (in theory) prohibit Massachusetts nursing care centers and nursing homes from making these claims, unless they have first complied with certain qualifications.

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In my previous post on this important subject, I discussed how many Massachusetts nursing home centers, have in the recent past begun to advertise themselves as “Alzheimer’s Care Centers,” or claim that they “specialize” in caring for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. Many will adopt names such as “Memory Care Centers,” and similar. You’re seeing this sudden increase in such advertisements, because of businesses seeking to maximize profits from the exponential increase among the population in the number of people being afflicted with Alzheimer’s and similar memory-related disorders or dementia.

Much of this Massachusetts nursing home advertising is false, driven by nothing more than the never-ceasing corporate desire to take advantage of new profits – at almost any cost (the truth being the least important.) As revealed in my previous post on this problem, the Alzheimer’s Association of Eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire recently released a study showing that almost 60 percent of nursing homes make such false claims, and are engaging in false advertising. Worse still, these businesses – many owned by large chains – are flagrantly violating state laws designed prohibiting nursing homes from making false claims about their nursing and patient care services.

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