Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.
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A NYC bus crashed in a snowstorm injuring more than 30 yesterday. The bus which had left New York in the morning was driving 55 passengers to the Mohegan Sun Casino.  Around half past noon, the bus was driving through a snowstorm on  Interstate 95 in Connecticut when it flipped over just beyond Exit 61. Ambulances were immediately dispatched to the scene and passengers injured were transported to several hospitals in the region. Among the injured passengers, 6 were listed in critical condition.

So far it is difficult to know if only the bad weather triggered the bus to flip on its side. The police are still investigating the cause of the accident. The highway was closed to the traffic for many hours.

The bus belongs to Dahlia Travel and Tour, a New York City based bus operator. Yeserday’s accident happened 13 years after a Dahlia bus on its way to Atlantic City crashed on the highway, killing two people and injuring many.

 

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deblasioAs the investigation continues into the causes of Friday’s fatal crane accident in Lower Manhattan, De Blasio announced new safety measures that took place yesterday.  The measures are temporary while a task force will draft long term safety measures over the next 90 days. One of the measures requires crawler cranes to stop operating and to go into safety mode when the wind forecast are for steady winds speeds of 20 miles per hour or higher or gusts of at least 30 mph. Before the rule was respectively 30 mph for steady winds and 40 mph for gusts of wind. Additionally cranes will have to be brought to safety the day before winds are forecasted  to be above the security level.  Pedestrian security will be enforced with the help of the Department of Buildings, Department of Transportation, NYPD, and FDNY anytime there will be a securing of a crane. Before that only construction workers were responsible to secure the site. Nearby residents will not only be informed about when a crane is installed but also when it is moved.

Read the transcript of the Press Conference

 

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Every month almost 100 auto accidents in New York City are caused by drivers who fell asleep or who are drowsy behind the wheel. According to a recent article in the Post, Uber drivers must work more than 19 hours every day to make ends meet. This situation is putting Uber passengers, pedestrians and other New York road users at the risk of dangerous accidents.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission regulation prohibits cabbies from driving more than 12 hours straight. However very few Uber driver seem to respect this rule. If they would they would simply not make enough money.

Limo Drivers were protesting last week at city airports against a cut of 15% of the fares that took place at the end of January. Uber may have simplified the life of many New York commuters but for cabbies and limo drivers conditions have only gotten worse. Those who owned yellow taxi medallions have seen the prices plummet with Uber competition and regular limo companies have lost many clients to Uber.  Limo drivers are making so little money on their fares these days that they are forced to work long hours.

The graphs below shows a surge in accidents that are related to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. While in 2013 there were approximately 50 accidents caused by a sleepy driver, this number doubled to close to a 100 every month in 2014 and 2015. It would be interesting to know how many were Uber drivers?

 

Car accidents caused by fatigue and drowsiness in New York

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A construction worker suffered critical personal injury after being hit by a block of concrete that fell on his head. The accident happened at a building demolition site located at 317 Madison Ave between 42nd and 43rd street in Midtown Manhattan. The worker was on the 20th floor of the building when he was hit by falling debris.  The worker lost consciousness during the accident. He was transported to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition. It is not the first time that an accident happened on this specific demolition site. Last July two construction workers were injured in a ceiling collapse.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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A construction worker fell to his death in New York last Thursday. The 62 year old man was working on a construction site located on East 107th Street near Lexington in East Harlem New York. He was standing on a fire escape at the back of the building when the accident happened. Another worker who was standing on a nearby scaffold was passing some equipment to him when he lost his balance and fell six stories. The man wasn’t wearing any safety equipment. He died at the scene of the accident.   Falls are the number one cause of death in Construction in the US. Almost 300 construction workers are dying every year after falling on the job.

Read more in the NY Daily News

 

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A pedestrian died after being hit by a school bus Friday evening in Brooklyn, NYC.  The bus accident happened on Atlantic Avenue near Schenectady Avenue in Crown Heights. The bus driver was driving East on Atlantic Ave when he swerved to avoid another car. He jumped the curb and fatally hit a 50 year old woman. During the accident the bus also hit two light poles, a gas station and multiple parked cars. The police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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A recent accident at the New York Nuclear power plant Indian Point has nearby residents worried about their health and the safety of their water.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered an investigation after a tritium-tainted water leak from the plant resulted in an increase of 65,000% of radioactivity in the ground. The New York nuclear plant is located in Buchanan, Westchester, 45 miles away from Manhattan in a densely populated area.  According to Entergy, the plant owner, the radiation hasn’t migrated off-site and doesn’t pose a safety threat.  However Governor Cuomo said in a statement that this last incident was unacceptable and that “This failure continues to demonstrate that Indian Point cannot continue to operate in a manner that is not protective of public health and the environment.”

Read more in the New York Times

Indian_Point

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crane collapse picA man died and four other people were injured in a crane collapse in New York around 8:30 this morning. The accident took place on Worth Street near Church Street. The accident occurred when a  massive construction  crane whose boom extended 565 feet high collapsed on a row of park cars.  The accident was caught on video by Glenn Zito, a construction worker  who was on the upper floors in a building across the street. Glenn and two of his colleagues had just been ordered to stop to work on the upper floors because the wind was too strong. He was on his way down when he capture the below video.

According to FDNY, 38 year old David Wichs had just exited from his car when the crane crashed on him and killed him. Mr. Wichs was an outstanding young man who immigrated from Czechoslovakia as a teenager, graduated from Harvard and worked in the financial industry. He lived with his wife in Manhattan on the upper west side. He was said by friends to be an extremely decent man.   Still in the car was 73 year old Thomas O’Brien who suffered head laceration but survived.  Another victim, 45 year old Dawn Kojima suffered leg injury and another person suffered minor injury after being hit by debris.

This morning the wind was blowing at more than 20 mph and it was snowing. The crew had suspended work and a decision was made to lower the crane to a more secure level. The accident happened as construction workers were lowering the crane’s boom in order to move it into a safe and secure position .

The crane was inspected yesterday by the NY Department of buildings after workers extended to boom length to 565 feet. The extension was reviewed and approved by the DOT.  This morning because of the heavy winds the crew decided to lower the crane for safety reason. Apparently part of the crew was directing pedestrians away from the street as the crane was being lowered.

The crane belongs to Bay Crane, a Long Island company. The crane operator, 56 year old Kevin Reilly, was cooperating with investigators to determine the cause of the crash.

Shortly after the collapse, Mayor de Blasio held a press conference during which he warned about the dangers of  a gas leak. Con Edison crews were on location and blocked the area.  A main gas line that feeds the neighborhood was cut as a precaution. The streets will most probably be closed to traffic for a few days. See article in New York Times.

 

 

 

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As medical technologies are getting increasingly sophisticated so do the risks for hospital negligence and medical malpractice. The ECRI Institute recently released its 2016_Top_10_Hospital_C-Suite_Watch_List and going through this list almost feels like reading a sci-fi novel. Link to 30 page detailed report on blog.  Here is an overlook of the top 10 new medical technologies that hospitals should put on their watch list:

  1. Mobile Stroke Units are high tech ambulances specially outfitted with equipment allowing patients to be diagnosed and if necessary treated directly at their home by a specifically trained staff.  The units are also equipped with telemedecine technology that allows the mobile staff to communicate directly with remote clinical personnel. Strokes are a leading cause of death and traumatic brain injury. Timing is crucial and a reduction of time between the diagnosis and the treatment can save lives and reduce severe injuries.
  2. Medical Device Cybersecurity is a major risk to patients that hospitals have been so far unable to fully control. Medical devices such as a pace-maker or infusion pump are connected through a wire or wifi  to the Electronic Health Record of a patient. These devices can often be too easily hacked. Thieves can then use the personal data for identity theft or to invade the home of the patient when he or she is in the hospital.  In other cases it may even be a murder weapon. Dick Cheney’s doctor had the wifi disabled on his pace-maker due to fear he may be hacked to be assassinated.
  3. Wireless Wearable Sensors allow doctors to monitor inpatients and outpatients health in continuous time. It may allow for patients early release and therefore cost reduction.  Wireless wearable sensors come in two types: movement/activity sensors and physiologic sensors. The most recent movement sensors are so sophisticated that they can detect normal movements from tonic-clonic movements in someone suffering from a neurological condition such as Alzheimers or Epilepsy. Physiological sensors analyse small amounts of body fluid to detect a change in patient status.
  4. Miniature Leadless Pacemakers are revolutionary devices that do not require surgery. These new types of pacemakers are still in development and so far are only authorized for use for 15% of the patients necessitating such a device. Hospitals should proprely consider product warnings and make sure the patient is eligible for this type of device. Device repositioning and fixation as well as long term safety should be monitored closely.
  5. Blue-violet LED Light Fixtures may be the solution to fight dangerous healthcare-acquired infections and super-bugs such as staphylococcus aureusClostridium difficile and Enterococcus.  Recent studies have shown that, in specific settings,  this new technology can reduce contamination levesl better than other existing technologies. This technology is particularly interesting for burn unit rooms.
  6. High-cost cardiovascular drugs such as  PCSK9 inhibitors and angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors may help reduce patients re-admission rates. Patients with high cholesterol are most of the time treated with statin doses. PCSK9 inhibitors are a different option for patients who do not respond well to statins. The angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors are a new heart failure drug. Its the first heart failure drug to be approved over the lat 20 years. These drugs are still very new and patients should be monitored very closely for adverse effects.
  7. Rapid changes in robotic surgery offer more options than before. The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System that was introduced on the market more than 15 years ago starts to seem obsolete compared to the new models that are about to enter the market in 2016.
  8. Spectral CT scanner which has been on the market for 10 year now are being improved with new technology and tools and a great deal of marketing is being promoting them. These scanners are supposedly providing improved soft-tissue contrast and tissue characterization. However so far clinical studies have been weak at demonstrating the benefits of such technology.
  9. Injected Bioabsorbable Hydrogel (SpaceOAR) protects the healthy rectum tissues from patients undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer. 20% of prostate patients who are undergoing radiation therapy suffer rectum injuries causing pain, diarrhea, urgency and bleeding. This gel limits the risk of rectal injuries during radiation procedures.
  10. Warm Donor Organ Perfusion Systems to prevent organs from being damaged during transportation. Organ transportation is extremely challenging. 2/3 of the lungs and hearts that are donated have to be discarded because they were damaged during transportation . This new technology is suppposed to impoved the viability of donated organs.  While conventional storage is very basic and use ice and coolers, the new systems are providing warm perfusion of donated organs. The technology is available for lungs and hearts and should soon be available for other organs such as liver.
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Falls are the number one cause of fatal construction accidents. Every year in America, more than 10,000 hard hats suffer serious personal injury  and more than 200 died because they fell while working on a construction site.  In 2012 a coalition of government, labor and management representatives launched a yearly campaign to raise awareness about this issue. This year, the campaign which consists in a National Stand Down will take place from May 2nd to May 6th.  On that day, OSHA is asking employers that hire construction workers to take the time to stand down and conduct a fall prevention workshop or other activity related to fall prevention with their employees. OSHA is providing interested employers with toolboxes to help them discuss specific fall prevention subjects such as ladder safety, scaffold safety or fall protection equipment.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently released a detailed report about the Safety Stand Downs conducted in 2014 and 2015. The reports shows that the campaign reached around 2 million workers over the last two years. Stand-downs were mostly organized by commercial construction companies but also by highway, governmental and residential companies. Most common activities conducted on stand-down last year included training, equipment inspection and audit as well as toolbox talks. The year before meetings and handing out materials to employees as well as training were the most common activities.

Even though the participation was lower last year, the organizers are hopping to see greater participation this year and to reach out to more construction workers. On February 16th the CPWR will organize a webinar related to this campaign . Leaders from CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will be discussing last year’s Stand-Down and highlighting the plans for 2016. People interested in attending this webinar can register here.

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Stand-down

In New York 194 stand-downs were organized in 2015 reaching out 21,136 construction workers compare to respectively 297 and 69,677 in 2014.