May 2010 Archives

May 25, 2010

Oil Rig Explosions - Are Companies Placing Profits Over Safety?

As the BP oil rig continues to leak into the gulf, Congress continues to debate whether caps should be raised for oil companies involved in offshore spills. According to the Huffington Post, it has been nearly three weeks since a proposal for raising the liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion was introduced and there's been no progress on putting this bill into law.

Sadly, smaller - but still devastating and deadly - oil rig explosions and spills happen all too frequently, affecting New Mexican employees and workers throughout the country. Often the companies at fault fail to take responsibility. These companies continue to place profits over safety, with the result being catastrophic accidents involving physical injury and death, as well as horrific environmental damage. With low caps in place, little incentive exists for change

Placing profits over safety may have played a crucial part in the BP disaster. The Washington Post reports that pressure to save and money may have led to the accident. Rather than paying attention to warning signs, which if heeded could have prevented the explosion, BP workers were pushed to move forward with drilling plans in an effort to save time, which translated into a significant savings.

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May 17, 2010

Medical Mistake Puts Hundreds of New Mexicans At Risk

According to KOAT.com, Albuquerque News, dozens - if not thousands - of patients could be at risk for contracting disease. As part of a physician assistants program, students from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine provided free blood glucose tests to attendees of the American Indian Week Pueblo Days. Over 1600 individuals from around the world were in attendance. KOBTV4 reports that it's likely those who conducted the tests were untrained and used the wrong type of device to do the tests, consistently using the same needle over and over.

Because no records were kept, it is unclear just how many people were affected by this medical mistake. As a result of the failure to change the needles on the devices, those who received the test may be at risk for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and even HIV.

Studies show that preventable medical errors kill as four times as many people as the lack of health insurance. The eye opening Hearst Investigation, "Dead by Mistake" found that close to 200,000 people per year die from medical errors and infections in the United States. Medical malpractice is a national epidemic, one that affect patients of every state, age, and income level, with nearly 2 million Americans dying needlessly of preventable medical mistakes. It's not just the untrained who commit these errors, it happens at prestigious hospitals, at clinics, at doctors offices.

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May 10, 2010

Albuquerque Motorcycle Crash On Dangerous S Curve Underscores Need For Safety Improvements

Albuquerque's "S Curve" - the section of Universe Boulevard near Volcano Vista High School has long been known as a dangerous stretch. Sunday night's motorcycle crash, which occurred when a motorcyclist crashed into an SUV at the curve, re-ignited the debate between Albuquerque Public School and city officials over when the improvements will be made.

The curve is a dangerous stretch. It's heavily traveled - located close to an elementary school, middle school, a high school and soccer fields. It is also poorly lit and cars can have difficulty staying in one lane while negotiating the turn. If a driver fails to maneuver properly, he or she can easily end up in a head-on collision with another vehicle traveling the opposite direction. A crash can happen in an instant, but the injuries may last a lifetime.

Sunday's accident underscored the need for safety improvements along this road - including better lighting and improved signage. School board officials clashed with the Mayor's office over when these improvements will be made. Hopefully, the changes will come soon.

The S curve accident is a critical reminder that road conditions - including their design and maintenance can be significant factors in causing car accidents. As a result, those responsible for the design and maintenance, may be held liable for injuries received in automobile, trucking and motorcycle accidents, significantly affecting the compensation an injured party may recover.

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