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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.

Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Hospital PatientMost medical devices used by hospitals are legacy devices that are still operating on Windows 7 that Microsoft no longer supports.  Manufactured at a time when cybersecurity was not a preoccupation, these devices can now easily be hacked and potentially be dangerous to patients. As a result, on top of safeguarding traditional IT assets, hospitals now have to figure out a way to secure tens of thousands of legacy devices from hundreds of manufacturers connected to their network.  It is a real headache for most hospitals and healthcare organizations as many of them do not even keep an inventory of their medical devices. According to a recent study only 36% of healthcare organizations know where their medical devices are.

While some devices that can cause fatal injuries, such as insuline pumps or pacemakers, are being actively monitored and recalled by the FDA, it is estimated that all other medical devices have an average of more than 6 vulnerabilities per device and that 40% of devices used by hospitals are at the end-of-life stage and do not have security patches or upgrades available.

Not surprisingly, FDA regulations in this field are lagging with the agency only saying both hospitals and manufacturers are responsible for protecting devices from cyber attacks. Hospitals are pointing fingers at manufacturers for not providing the necessary support and want the FDA to mandate lifetime support of medical devices by manufacturers.  So far, the further the FDA went was to publish post-market guidance for medtechs on what they should do to secure their products. This is not enough as hospitals find themselves dealing with thousands of devices that they are supposed not only to track but also patch to prevent cyberattacks. With the ongoing Covid19 crisis, hospitals are unable to handle this task and as a result they become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks that could injure or kill patients.

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NY pileup due to icy conditionsFreezing rain caused dozens of car accidents around New York City and in the tri-state area on Wednesday morning. While accidents resulted mostly in pile ups and damages to cars at least one man died and multiple people were injured.

Driver who exited from his car fatally hit by other car sliding on ice

The fatal car accident occurred on a ramp connecting the eastbound Cross Country Parkway to the northbound Bronx River Parkway in Mount Vernon.  After multiple vehicles collided on the ramp due to icy conditions, a man whose vehicle was stopped, got out of his car and was fatally hit by another vehicle that slid on the ice. The passenger of the same vehicle attempted CPR on him and so did the emergency personnel at the scene but the man could not be saved.

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storm drains can be deadlyWhen people died in flooding that occurs after heavy rain there is usually not a lot of information about the cause of the death except for “the person drowned”. However a recent investigation by ProPublica highlights the danger of the actual drainage system in the US. Giant storm drains with no grates have been constantly “swallowing people” during heavy rains and flooding.

A recent case occurred in New Jersey last September. A couple who was driving back from a visit at a North Jersey mall was driving back at night on September 1st when the remains of Hurricane Ida abated in New York and New Jersey. Extremely heavy rain left motor vehicles stranded on the road. The couple, like many other motorists, decided to abandoned their car, thinking it would be safer to walk in the muddy water and find a safe place to stay until a family member could pick them up. As they were walking in the muddy water, they suddenly were sucked under water into what looked like a large black vacuum. The woman, Kavya Mandly was able to grab a bridge railing and did not get sucked in but her fiancée, Dhanush Reddy who was only holding her hand, was not as lucky and disappeared in the drain. Reddy had just been sucked into a 3-foot wide storm drain. As the police arrived they started to look at the exit of the drain. They found another 18 year old man hanging in a tree who also had been pulled in a drain. He was still alive. Reddy was not as lucky and was found dead in a wooded area the following day, blocks away from the entrance of the drain.

Unfortunately Reddy is not the only one that has died after being pulled in a storm drain. Stories like this one are actually quite common but cities and communities are reluctant to put grates in front of these dangerous drains because of the cost of not only installing them but also keeping them clean so they are still functional when a storm occurs.

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location of the deadly drag racing crashA 17 year old behind the wheel of a 2018 Honda Civic crashed his car and died during what might have been a drag race according to the Police.

Last night around 9:25 pm, Antonio Fonseca was driving at high speed on the Henry Hudson Parkway in the Harlem area.  He was in the left lane. On the center lane was another Honda Civic driven by a 20 year old and on the right lane was a Honda Pilot driven by a 26 year old.

Antonio Fonseca lost control of his vehicle and sideswiped the Honda in the Center lane which then collided with the Honda Pilot on the right lane. As for Antonio, his car stroke the median and overturned several times before stopping in the middle of the center lane. He was rushed to the hospital but did not survive his injuries. Read more in the Daily News

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Sadly Thanksgiving Holidays are not only associated with good family time but also with a rise in car accident fatalities and injuries. National statistics show that car crashes increase by 17% during the day and the night before Thanksgiving as families travel across the United States to get together. Consumption of alcohol is also a contributor in many accidents that occur during the Holidays.

overpass where the deadly crash occurred NY19 year old loses control of vehicle packed with 5 passengers killing two of them and seriously injuring two others

In the New York area, two young people died in a car accident in Long Island on Thursday night. According to the police, the driver of a Honda Pilot who was carrying 5 other passengers sideswiped a Toyota Corolla on the Southern State Parkway near Hempstead and lost control of the vehicle. The car then crashed into an overpass located near exit 21.  The driver, identified as 19 year old Herson Gonzalez survived while two 23 year old passengers, Patricia Rakissoon from Bay Shore and Elliott Bryant from Brooklyn, died. Two other passengers were transported to the hospital with serious injuries while the driver and another occupant were also transported to the hospital to be examined. The occupants of the Toyota were not injured. The exact causes of the accident are still being investigated.  (read more in the Nassau Daily Voices) (Picture of the location of the deadly crash: courtesy of Google Map).

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the house that went on fire in Long Island5 people died in an apartment fire in Long Island NY last Tuesday night. The fire erupted around 10:40 pm in a century-old house located on East Second Street in Riverhead. The house had 3 apartments with the landlord living in one of them on the ground floor and two other families living on the second and third floor. A total of 10 people lived in the house. 5 of them who were living on the top floor died in the fire. It was a mother with her son and daughter as well as her two nephews.

According to preliminary investigations, the fire might have been started by a cigarette. The fire was discovered by a resident of the second floor who had stepped out to walk his dog. As he was returning home he smelled the smoke and then heard the neighbors screaming “Fire”.

The investigators are still trying to figure out if there were smoke alarms installed in the apartment and if there were, why they didn’t work.

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Travis-ScottOur partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Howard Hershenhorn  talked to Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times on behalf of our client Kyle Green who was left partially paralyzed after attending a Travis Scott Concert at Terminal 5 in New York in 2017 (see previous blog).

“Our client, Kyle Green, is devastated and heartbroken for the families of those who were killed and for those individuals who were severely injured. He’s even more incensed by the fact that it could have been avoided had Travis learned his lesson in the past and changed his attitude about inciting people to behave in such a reckless manner,” Hershenhorn said.

Kyle Green was attending a Travis Scott concert in Manhattan when he was pushed over a balcony by a surging crowd. He hit the ground and could not move anymore. Instead of being proprely taken care of by paramedics, Green was picked up by security guards who lifted him up  “without a cervical collar, backboard and other safety precautions” and dragged him toward the stage.

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During the third quarter of 2021, a total of 71 people died in crashes in New York City including 24 pedestrians, 5 cyclists, 9 passengers and 33 motorists. Since the Covid19 crisis started, auto accident fatalities in New York City have peaked and  street safety activists are pointing fingers at the de Blasio administration for failing to keep the streets safe.

A total of 14,335 people were injured in traffic accidents in New York City during Q3 2021 compared to respectively 13,437, 16,083, 16,300, 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472, 14,900 during Q3 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013. Before 2015, the passengers category  was the one with the most injuries with usually between 5,000 and 6,000 passenger injuries during Q3. In 2015 after the introduction of the Vision Zero program, passenger injuries significantly declined to 4,121 while motorist injuries jumped from 4,502 to 6,043. The increase in motorist injuries is linked to an increase in accidents related to distracted driving and more and more people using their cellphone while driving. After the first year of Vision Zero, passenger injuries during Q3 went back above 5,000 and then, back below 5,000 after the Covid19 crisis hit in 2020. Motorist injuries, mostly linked to distracted driving continued to rise reaching a record high in 2019 with 7,437 motorists injured during Q3.

New York Auto Accident injuries by category during Q3
6,349  motorists were injured in car accidents in New York City during the third quarter of 2021 compared to 5,931 for the same period of 2020 and 7,437 for the same period of 2019. Motor vehicle accident injuries reached a peak during Q3 2019 in New York City and then dropped to levels never seen since 2014 when the Covid19 crisis hit.  They were up during this year’s Q3 but not as high as what they used to be during Q3 2019.

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Volvo-Cars-LogoVolvo recalled another 195,000 potentially defective motor vehicles last week in the US after the company learned that a US driver was killed by the rupture of an air bag inflator. According to Volvo, the front driver’s airbags inflator of XC70 and V70 wagons models from 2001 to 2007 was manufactured by ZF/TRW  and could potentially explode and send shrapnel in the car.

The 195,000 vehicles recalled in the US last week are part of a worldwide recall covering around 768,000 vehicles.

The recall is reminiscent of the problem faced a few years earlier by bankrupt Japanese airbag inflator manufacturer Takata. Defective Takata air bag inflators caused the death of 18 people worldwide including 19 in the US. 400 people were also injured in defective Takata air bag inflator explosions.

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FDA-logoAfter a recent study pointed fingers at the mismanagement of medical device recall by the FDA (see previous blog),  further investigations are confirming an outdated and broken system that leaves patients at risk of serious injury and death as unaware doctors continue to use defective devices on their patients.

A recent example of this outdated process is the recall of a sleep apnea ventilator device manufactured by Philips. It is not clear so far as to when exactly, Philips executives found out that the foam used to dampen the noise of the machine was breaking down and could potentially be inhaled or ingested by patients, exposing them to carcinogenic or toxic effects. However, the company announced publicly, on April 26th, while reporting Q1 earnings that it was creating a provision of 250 million Euros to cover costs related to possible risks to users in some sleep and respiratory care machines. While the company had probably already identified that the defective devices were the ones manufactured between April 2007 and April 2021, it waited almost two other months to initiate a recall and warn consumers of potential carcinogenic and toxic effects.  After the issuance of the recall, the FDA issued a safety communication on June 30. It took until July 22nd for the FDA to classify the recall as class I event and publish a public notification.

Does this mean that all patients have been contacted and had their ventilator changed? Not at all. In the actual process, the customers of the manufacturer, such as the hospitals, the providers, the retailers or the distributors are in charged of contacting the patients and they usually don’t do it.  Instead, doctors wait for the patients to come in with symptoms.