Earlier this month in Westover, Maryland, a contractor who was working on an upgrade to the electrical system at Eastern Correctional Institution was killed when he was electrocuted in a tragic workplace accident. According to one local news report, the man was working with another sub-contractor as a part of GE Industrial Solutions when the accident occurred.

electric-fence-warning-1407752-mEvidently, the second-largest prison in Maryland required an upgrade to the electrical control system. However, during the upgrade, something went wrong and both sub-contractors were electrocuted. One man was shocked so badly that he died almost immediately. The other man involved received timely medical treatment and is expected to recover.

The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A report is expected to be released shortly.

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Earlier this year, the Baltimore Sun published an article lauding the fact that Maryland traffic accidents hit a 66-year low in 2014, with a total of 442 deaths. According to the article, this figure is about half of the highest number of traffic fatalities in one year, which was 772 recorded back in 1968.

financial-crisis-1093355-mThe article points out a number of interesting trends. For example, the following types of accidents are less common than they were several years ago:  drunk driving, speeding, and aggressive driving.

With that said, the report indicates that drunk driving is still responsible for one-third of all fatal Maryland car accidents. Other types of accidents are becoming more common, including:

  • Accidents involving older drivers,
  • Motorcycle accidents,
  • Distracted driving, and
  • Accidents where the victim was not wearing a seat belt.

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Earlier last month in Ireland, a mother filed claims against the doctor who delivered her third child, claiming that the doctor’s “poor performance” caused her child to be born with the incurable disease cerebral palsy. According to one local news source, the woman was admitted to the hospital for the birth of her third child on June 15, 2015.

stethoscope-1-169182-mThat day, during the birth, the mother’s uterus ruptured, and the infant’s heart rate reached dangerously low levels. This necessitated an emergency cesarean section. However, during the delivery process, the child was distressed from the lack of oxygen it was receiving and needed to be put on anti-seizure medicine. This, however, was not told to the mother.

It wasn’t until later when the mother’s sister, who was also a nurse at the hospital, asked about the course of treatment that it was discovered the doctor did not order hypothermic, or “cooling,” treatment for the baby. This alarmed the baby’s aunt, who was aware that there is research suggesting that cooling therapy goes a long way to help prevent permanent and irreversible damage in children who are deprived of oxygen at birth.

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Protests in Baltimore continued last week despite the Mayor’s recent announcement that he will be enforcing a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew throughout the city. According to a recent article published by NPR, police responded to last week’s events with smoke and flash grenades. It is not clear how many people were injured by police in the riots so far.

police-squad-1-501818-mOf course, the impetus for the crowds in the streets of Baltimore was the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a black male who after being arrested by police mysteriously suffered a serious spinal injury that eventually claimed his life.

Police Violence and Citizen’s Rights

There may be no more apt time than the present to discuss the rights of citizens to remain free from violent police actions, given the recent events in Baltimore. Generally speaking, police must act within the dictates of the law and may not use more force than necessary to effectuate a lawful arrest. Once an arrest is made, police are not permitted to “rough up” or otherwise harm someone who is in their custody. Indeed, this is what was so upsetting about the Freddie Gray situation.

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The father and guardian ad litem for a child born with severe brain damage has brought a suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the hospital system that delivered his daughter. According to a courthouse news source, the father is claiming that his daughter’s seizure disorder and brain damage was a result of the medical negligence of the medical professionals who assisted in the labor and delivery. The complaint alleges that, given his wife’s past deliveries, her labor should have been more closely monitored, and that failure resulted in his daughter’s condition.

baby-feet-1439528-mIn 2010, the mother and father of the child went to St. Vincent Hospital to give birth to their daughter. Kaiser and Providence contracted with St. Vincent’s Hospital to use their services for labor, delivery, and newborn care. This particular child was born with the assistance of Kaiser’s medical staff.

The mother of the child delivered her other child via a Cesarean. However, for this birth the doctor and the mother agreed that they would attempt a vaginal birth before a Cesarean. The couple’s daughter was born after 12 hours of labor, and she was unfortunately found to have been suffering from the effects of the loss of oxygen to her brain. It was alleged that the loss of oxygen during labor was not detected by the hospital staff, and as a result the child suffered permanent brain injuries.

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In a recent case in front of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court refused to hold an employer liable for an employee’s criminal actions that took place while the employee was off duty. This was the court’s refusal to expand the Maryland state-law doctrine of “respondeat superior.”

great-fire-802961-mThe Facts of the Case

Several years ago, approximately 30 homes were allegedly set on fire by an employee of the Social Security Administration. The homeowners grouped together and decided to sue the Social Security Administration for their losses, arguing that the Administration, as the employer of the person who allegedly committed the acts, was at least in part liable for their losses. Since the named defendant was a federal entity, the case was filed in federal court.

The evidence submitted suggested that all the criminal acts took place while the employee was off duty. However, there was some suggestion that some of the planning for the crimes took place while the man was at work for the Social Security Administration.

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The recent listeria outbreak has been making national news over the past several weeks. According to a prominent news source, some leading organic food companies have had to issue recalls for some of their packaged foods. One organic food company had to recall almost 75,000 cases of frozen food because they possibly contained contaminated spinach.

spinach-933499-mListeria is a disease that can result in extreme illness and in some cases even death. Young children, the elderly, and those who have a weakened immune system are particularly prone to developing a serious case of the disease. Some of the common initial symptoms of listeria include diarrhea, nausea, headache, and stiffness. Often, listeria goes undiagnosed because the initial symptoms mirror the flu. Pregnant women also face a danger of miscarriage and stillbirth if they contract the disease.

Some common items that have been recalled in this most recent outbreak are various types of tofus, pasta shells, spinach pizza, brown rice and vegetable bowls, and other frozen dishes made by these companies. Sadly, five people have developed listeria after eating contaminated food, and three of those individuals have died as a result.

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Recent reports regarding the Maryland police officer who died in a car crash last month revealed that he had alcohol in his system at the time of the accident. A prominent news source has reported that the officer was killed when he was taking his girlfriend to her home in the early hours of the morning.

Evidently, the officer was off duty, but he was attempting to stop a speeding vehicle. He was speeding when he came around a curve in Lanham, Maryland. Unfortunately, he was not able to control his vehicle, and he ended up hitting a wooden fence.

dpd-157593-mInvestigations revealed that the officer had a blood alcohol level of about .07; the legal limit is .08 in Maryland. Additionally, he was driving around 106 mph and slowed to about 65 mph right before the accident. Although the officer was off duty, they believe that he was going to call in a traffic stop because he switched his radio on. Apparently, a new investigation has also made clear that the officer’s girlfriend was in the car with him at the time of the accident. Fortunately, she did not suffer any serious injuries.

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Earlier this week, a fatal rear-end accident on Route 50 took the life of one man and injured four others. According to a report by the Capital Gazette, the accident occurred around 2:45 in the afternoon last Saturday.

crash-1-1406893-mEvidently, a Nissan X-Terra was heading east on Route 50 when it came up on a line of cars that had stopped due to an accident up ahead. The driver of the X-Terra did not see the stopped cars in time and—although he tried to swerve at the last minute to avoid a collision—crashed into the rear of a Toyota Corolla. The force from the accident slammed the Corolla into a nearby Jeep.

The Corolla had three people inside. The two in the front of the car were flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with serious injuries. The man in the back seat was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Two people in the Jeep suffered minor injuries but declined treatment.

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In an earlier post, we discussed a pending bill in front of the Maryland State Legislature that would establish a no-fault birth-injury fund to help cover the costs associated with having a child with a birth injury. In a recent article by Southern Maryland News Net, the bill is discussed in greater detail.

toddler-and-mom-feet-1442012-mAccording to the article, Senate Bill 585 and House Bill 553 would establish a fund to help provide those families who give birth to a child with a neurological injury with the necessary means to care for and treat their child. Specifically, the fund provides money for the “living and care expenses” of the baby. The fund would be created by local participating hospitals that, according to actuarial estimates, would total around $25 million a year.

Pros and Cons of the No-Fault Birth-Injury Fund

The bill has been met by some harsh criticism, some of which is directed at the amount of money that the hospital would deposit into the fund. According to the bill’s sponsors, only about seven babies would qualify to tap into the fund each year. However, according to the Maryland Association for Justice, the number of eligible babies should be closer to 150 per year. If that is the case then the fund will be woefully inadequate to address the needs of all the children born with qualifying birth injuries.

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