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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.
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top 10 patient safety concern ECRIEvery year, ECRI publishes a list of the top 10 patients safety concerns. This year the number one safety concern is the disparity of treatments based on races and ethnicities. The maternal mortality for example is 3.3 times higher for black mothers than white ones.  The Covid19 crisis also highlighted this concern with a much higher number of black and Latino Americans dying from the disease.  While looking at Covid19 deaths in the US, 32.5% of the victims are from Hispanic descent while Hispanics represent 18.5 % of the US population. Race disparities are also significant while looking at deaths from strokes. While black adults are 50% more likely to have a stroke than white adults,  black men are 60 % more likely to die from it than white men and black women 30% more than white women. Health organizations must incorporate health equality in their strategic planning.

The top 2 patient safety concern identified by ECRI is the emergency preparedness and response in aging services. The covid19 pandemic and previous hurricane situations have shown that aging services such as nursing homes and other elderly facilities are not well prepared for emergency situations.  Plans must be developed and communicated to all parties from resident, to staff, families, public and emergency responders.

The top 3 patient safety concerns that were uncovered during the actual pandemic is that, globally, the US Health system was absolutely not ready for a pandemic. From the inability to triage and plan patients flow, under capacities, inadequate supplies of medical equipment, mortuary mismanagement and the mishandling of infection prevention and control, the crisis showed that pandemic preparedness across the health system is a major patient safety concern.

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It is very disappointing to see how some motorists in NYC have so little concern about pedestrian safety. In the video below, a man driving a pick up truck makes a right turn without yielding to an elderly pedestrian in Brooklyn, knocking him down to the ground and just continuing on his way as if nothing happened.  The police are now looking for him.

location of the Boulevard of Death accidentAnother pedestrian recently died from the injuries he sustained in a similar accident.  Last Friday afternoon , 55 year old Jaipaul Persaud was crossing Queens Boulevard, also nicknamed “Boulevard of Death”, when a motorist making a left turn off 84th Drive onto Queens Boulevard fatally struck him (see location of the accident on Google map picture to the left). The pedestrian was in the crosswalk with the light in his favor. The 33 year old woman who struck him also travelled at the green light but was supposed to yield to pedestrians while making her left turn. The impact was so intense that Persaud who was hit by the front bumper of the car, flew onto the windshield and then crashed down on the street. Persaud was rushed to the emergency room but he died from his injuries on Sunday. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and so far has not been charged (read more in the Daily News and in the LIC Post )

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NYC Medical Malpractice Attorney Jeff BloomCongratulations to our partner Jeffrey Bloom for being ranked 19th on the City & State list of the 100 most powerful legal professionals in New York! Jeffrey joined Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf immediately after he graduated from  law school in 1979. He became one of the most prominent personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys in New York and has achieved multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients in personal injury cases related to car accidents, construction accidents, product liability and medical malpractice.  He also served as lead counsel, representing the Estate of Joan Rivers in a medical malpractice action arising from her death following surgery at an ambulatory surgical center.

Jeff is  co-chair of the Medical Malpractice Committee and LAWPAC of New York (the influential Trial Lawyers’ political action committee) for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He combines his vast knowledge in the field with his political acumen to effectuate change and preserve justice for those injured through the fault of others.  Jeff who has successfully represented multiple clients whose cancer was misdiagnosed, was instrumental in passing the “Lavern’s Law,” which mandated that the statute of limitations in cases on behalf of cancer patients and their families begins to run when the patient reasonably discovers that he/she has been the victim of malpractice.

For more than a decade, Jeff has been listed yearly in Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. He is also a member of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers which limits the number if its members to 500.

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e-scooter-4496668_640Electric scooters have become extremely popular and New York City finally is implementing a first e-scooter share program in the Bronx (see previous blog). The e-scooter wave started around 2017 and researchers have been accumulating data worldwide for a few years that are allowing them to provide pertinent reviews on the risk of accidents and injuries related to e-scooters.

Yesterday, the Injury Prevention online section of the BMJ Journals released “Injury patterns and circumstances associated with electric scooter collisions: a scoping review”, an in depth study on e-scooter collisions and the resulting injuries conducted by Manish Toofany  (Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada), Sasha Mohsenian, (Faculty of Science, The University of British Columbia), Leona K Shum (Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia) Herbert Chan and Jeffrey R. Brubacher (both part of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine The University of British Columbia and the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation (C2E2) in Vancouver).

The researchers were able to gather the materials that have been published worldwide about scooter collisions and their injuries during the previous years  to identify injury patterns such as cause, type, body location, and severity of the injury

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fall prevention 2021Despite safety regulations and awareness campaigns falls continue to be the number one cause of deaths and injuries among construction workers.  According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, among the 1008 construction worker fatalities recorded nationally in 2018, 320 were fall fatalities.

To continue raising awareness about the risks of fall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is partnering with multiple construction safety advocates and governmental organizations  such as  the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE),  the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA),  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),  the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the U.S. Navy to educate as many construction workers as possible on fall safety.

Any companies involved in construction can participate in the Stand-Down 2021 and will receive a certificate of participation if they do so

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safety on construction site is keyPreventing construction accidents and making sure every hard hat is safe on a job site should be a priority for every contractor and developer. Recently Construction Dive looked at the construction safety trends for 2021. Here is a summary:

  • OSHA penalties have been adjusted to the inflation rate and now the maximum penalty for serious and other-than-serious violations is $13,653 per violation compared to 13,494 last year. The maximum penalty for for willful or repeated violations is now $136,532 per violation. It was $134,937 per violation last year.
  • OSHA also announced that it changed the system used to collect penalties. Violators will receive a series of 3 payment letters that will be sent 7, 30 and 60 days after a violator failed to timely pay the penalty. A phone call will also be made 14 days after the payment due date. Establishments that are not on an affordable payment plan and did not pay a penalty will be put on a priority list for further inspection.
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NYC DOT scooter pilotThe NYC DOT recently announced that a new scooter pilot program is on the way but did not elaborate much as what will be done to prevent accidents and make the rides safe for users. In a recent press conference, the new DOT commissioner, Hank Gutman, just promised new dedicated bike lanes in the East Bronx to make the rides safer for scooter users and cyclists.

While it is exciting that commuters who have a long way to get to the closest train station can now benefit from such programs, it is important that these commuters can do so safely. Street safety activists believe that while encouraging New Yorkers not to use a car, the NYC DOT has been lagging behind in keeping cyclists and scooter users safe. Last year a record  number of people were killed or injured in bicycle accidents.

Scooter-share programs have now been launched in many cities all over the word. Every state has different regulations when it comes to safety  but they are not standardized like they are in some European countries. For example in Italy, a law requires all users of recreational scooters to use a helmet to reduce head injuries which are quite common in scooter accidents.

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location of the blakhoe accidentA New York City pedestrian crossing the street was killed by a backhoe on Friday afternoon. 61 year old Estelle Davis was walking in a crosswalk near New Lots and Van Sinderen Avenues. She was looking down at her phone when a backhoe that was doing work nearby struck her.  The backhoe belongs to Vail Industry, an independent contractor that was hired by Con Ed to perform some work in the area. Estelle Davis was on her way to work. She was a nurse working two jobs and also serves as pastor on Sunday.

The police thought initially that the woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver but a video surveillance captured images of the accident. Investigation is still ongoing but it is not clear yet why heavy construction equipment was backing up in a pedestrian area with no protection or warning. A flag worker was present at the scene but he was positioned on the other side of the machine. (Read more in the NY Daily News )

Extensive regulations have been developed by OSHA to prevent pedestrians being run over by heavy construction equipment

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location of the van accidentSeven pedestrians including two children were injured in a wild car accident in Manhattan last week. The accident took place on the Upper East Side, on March 5th, a little before 9:00 am. The 66 year old driver of a van lost control of his vehicle, striking a car on Second Avenue between 50th and 51st Street. The car went flying into the dining shed of Crave Fishbar, totally destroying it, while the van struck a food stand, a scaffolding structure and a traffic light post. Because it was early morning, the dining shed was empty however two young pedestrians, one 5 year old and one 7 year old, were injured by flying debris from the dining shack. The owner of the fruit stand as well 3 other pedestrians were also injured when the van crashed. The occupants of the car were the most seriously injured however none of the injuries were life threatening.

The driver of the van might have suffered a medical episode according to some media or might have been driving while intoxicated according to other media. The investigation is still ongoing. He was identified as 66 year old Noman Ahmed, a delivery driver for the Long Island based company Mega Elevator Parts. According to the Gothamist, the driver has been working with  the company for 20 years and never had any other incident.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W9jMmQxeOI

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In 2020, New York saw a record high in motorist (driver) deaths and bicycle injuries and deaths, a record low in pedestrian deaths and a much lower number of truck and bus accidents than usual. The Covid 19 crisis that lasted during most of 2020 had a significant impact on New Yorkers commuting habits around the city. Emptier streets have lead to reckless driving and as a result more deaths related to speed. A surge in bicycle accident injuries was also recorded as many New Yorkers are now using bicycles instead of riding the subway.

Surge in traffic accident deaths in NYC

Despite a slowdown in activity in the city , 239 people died in traffic accidents in New York City, compared to 214 in 2019, 199 in 2018, 209 in 2017, 223 in 2016, 235 in 2015, 250 in 2014 and 286 in 2013. The number of car accident deaths was almost back to the level it was when the Vision Zero program started. If it was not for a significant decrease in pedestrian deaths, the number of fatalities would have been over this level with all other categories of road users reaching record high number of fatalities.