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October 2010 Archives

Vaccine Product Liability Case Before Supreme Court

The teenage daughter of a Pennsylvania couple received a DTP vaccine made by Wyeth when she was an infant. She developed a seizure disorder afterward and is now profoundly impaired. After many years, her case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, and its ruling will have a huge effect on whether federal law protects vaccine manufacturers in product liability lawsuits.

Study: Surgery Error More Frequent Than Commonly Perceived

For people needing further confirmation that doctors are not infallible and that hospital record-keeping and procedures are not routinely accurate, an exhaustive study of medical errors committed during surgery that was recently published in the Archives of Surgery provides ample proof.

Social Security Disability Rule Changes Forthcoming for Some

The Social Security Administration has just announced new rules - accessible through the Federal Registry online - that will enable what it calls America's "most vulnerable citizens" to qualify more quickly for Social Security Disability benefits. The rules will be effective November 12, 2010.The persons who will be eligible to have their applications fast-tracked will be those persons with the most severe disabilities. Under the agency's Quick Disability Determination (QDD) and Compassionate Allowance (CAL) processes, 88 specific diseases and conditions have been identified as qualifying for fast-track treatment without the need for medical approval or the input of psychological consultants.

Confronting the Future: Google's Robot Cars

Google may soon be known for far more than search engines. Driver-free cars developed by engineers under Google's sponsorship have been tooling around California roads for many months now, the "robot cars" having amassed more than 140,000 accident-free miles. Among the seven test cars motoring down Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles (and inside those cities, too), none has even come close to a car accident, except on one occasion when one was hit from behind by another vehicle while stopped at a light.

Govt: Consumers to Benefit from New Car Crash Safety Standards

Auto makers used to revel in, and prominently advertise, the 5-star crash test safety ratings they routinely received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA"). Those ratings encompassed performance standards achieved in gauging safety in front and side impact tests, as well as resistance to and stability in a vehicle rollover.

Fatal Truck, Bus Crashes Put Focus on Stronger Traffic Barriers

Several truck accidents in Maryland from years past, as well as a recent fatal Beltway accident in which a charter tour bus hit a guardrail and fell nearly 50 feet to Interstate 270, have drawn the close attention of various safety groups. They are questioning whether taller and stronger concrete traffic barriers should be constructed on overpasses, underpasses and bridges to prevent fatalities in vehicle falls from roads and to shield other motorists from plunging vehicles.

Update on Cardiac Stent Medical Malpractice Matter

In a blog post from August, we reported on a medical malpractice case that has prominently resurfaced in the news, as developments in the matter continue to go forward on several fronts. We update the story here.

New State Law: No Handheld Phones While Driving

A memorable rite of passage likely ensued for many Maryland drivers on September 30, as they said good bye to their cell phones and either opted for a hands-free headset or speaker system while driving or simply decided to motor along without talking to anybody.

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