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Across the United States, there has been a spike in motorcycle sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, giving rise to concerns about how a new generation of motorcycle riders will cope with the safety issues involved in riding these vehicles.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted many industries, and at the beginning of the outbreak the motorcycle industry was not spared. Motorcycled sales tanked as the financial devastation wreaked by the pandemic resulted in people putting off purchases of non-essential items like motorcycles and other recreational vehicles. However, it soon became very apparent that the pandemic would continue for much longer than expected, and most US cities, including the metro Atlanta region placed restrictions on the use of mass transit.

Once some sense of routine returned to the working sector, a very interesting phenomenon occurred.  Large numbers of people who were required to go back to work had to look at other forms of transportation in order to avoid using mass transit and to ensure physical distancing, one of the key ways to prevent infection with the virus.  To that end, two-wheeled personal forms of transportation, such as motorcycles, seemed like the most attractive option. Many commuters also believed motorcycles were safer than bicycles.

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Diagnostic errors are some of the deadliest medical errors causing often irreparable patient harm. A new initiative aims at recognizing hospitals for their efforts in preventing these errors.

The new initiative has been launched by The Leapfrog Group, which is a national organization of patient safety advocates. The initiative is called Recognizing Excellence in Diagnostics, and aims to publicly recognize and applaud hospitals that have done an exemplary job in reducing the risks of diagnostic errors.  The project is a collaboration with the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and has been funded by a grant by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

According to Leapfrog, diagnostic errors are some of the deadliest medical errors. Across the country, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and other types of diagnostic errors figure in the top 10 causes of death every year. Annually, between 40,000 and 80,000 patient deaths are linked directly to diagnostic errors. In fact, these errors are much more widespread than people believe. The Leapfrog report claims that diagnostic errors will affect as many as 12 million Americans annually and 250,000 persons will be harmed by these errors.

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Motorcycle riding has become increasingly more popular over the  years.   The rise of popularity of motorcycle riding spreads across many age groups, young and old.  Older motorcycle riders, however, suffer a higher rate of mortality when involved in a motorcycle accident, according to recent studies performed by the National Institute of Health.

These recent studies by the NIH have also found that even if a motorcycle accident does not result in a fatality, older riders tend to suffer more serious injuries than younger riders.  Older riders have a higher risk of suffering not only head and abdominal injuries, but also multiple fractures.  Fractures are some of the more common injuries that occur in a motorcycle accident. There are several types of fractures that can occur, from simple fractures to the more complicated ones such as comminuted fractures.

Many of the types of fractures suffered by older motorcycle riders are comminuted fractures.  A comminuted fracture occurs when a bone is broken into more than two splinters. A simple fracture can heal easily, but a comminuted fracture is more complicated to treat.  These kinds of fractures typically occur in high-impact accidents. When extreme pressure and force are applied to the bone, there is a chance that the bone will fragment into more than 2 pieces. Comminuted fractures are even more likely to occur in a motorcycle accident, because of the lack of protection that a motorcyclist has against severe impact in a crash.

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On the surface of it, it would seem that private nursing homes would be able to deliver the kind of high- quality care that residents require. However, when nursing homes are run for profit, care may not necessarily be at the top of the agenda. In fact, according to a recent investigation, the opposite may be true.

Nursing homes, especially those that are taken over by private equity firms, actually seem to have lower standards of care compared to facilities that are not taken over by such buyout firms.  Private equity firms are companies that take over struggling companies or companies that are close to bankruptcy in order to turn them around.  Often, that turning around comes at great cost to employees and other stakeholders in the nursing homes. In recent years, a lot of private equity investment has flowed into the healthcare and nursing home industries.

The investigation by CBS found that there was a higher risk of death for residents of nursing homes that were taken over by these buyout firms. According to the investigation, these residents had a risk of dying during their stay at the nursing facility and approximately 3 months after leaving for home, that was 1.7 percentage point higher, compared to residents in other types of nursing homes. A 1.7% increase might not seem like a significant increase, but according to the investigation, this can mean an excess of 20,000 deaths over 12 years.

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Speed racing or drag racing is surprisingly not uncommon in Atlanta, but much to people’s dismay, these races have become much more widespread during the pandemic. Georgia’s Governor is throwing his weight behind proposals, that would significantly penalize persons for street racing or drag racing.

When the pandemic hit, shelter-in-place restrictions went into effect and there was initially a marked reduction in the number of vehicles on Georgia’s roads. That, unfortunately, led to an epidemic of street racing by drivers using the newly empty streets to race against each other in reckless and dangerous behavior. Such behavior has become even more dangerous now as shelter-in-place restrictions have eased and more motorists are travelling again on the roads and highways. Street racing increases the racer’s risk of being involved in an accident and endangering innocent motorists who may be sharing these roads with them.

Georgia’s Governor has shown his support for new pieces of legislation that aim at keeping residents safer by increasing penalties for street racing and drag racing. These new proposals would penalize not just the street racers themselves, but also promoters of street racing. In fact, one bill would also penalize people who are watching these races. The goal is to discourage such rash practices that endanger the lives and safety of Atlanta residents.

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Research has shown that pedestrians are much more likely to be killed in accidents involving sport utility vehicles, compared to smaller passenger vehicles. The result is not unexpected given the sheer size of SUV’s.  But the reason this is bad news for pedestrians is because SUV’s have become increasing popular over the past decade.

According to the results of a new study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, accidents where a pedestrian was struck by an SUV travelling faster than 19 miles per hour were much more likely to result in a fatality than accidents involving a smaller vehicle travelling at a similar speed. When vehicles were travelling at between 23 and 25 mph, the accident fatality rate for SUVs was 30%, compared to 23% for smaller passenger vehicles.

When SUVs were traveling at 40 mph, all 3 accidents involving SUVs in the study data resulted in pedestrian deaths, compared to 7 out of 3 fatalities in accidents involving small passenger vehicles. Not surprisingly, there was little difference in the fatality rate when the speed of the vehicles was below 20 mph, with passengers in both types of accidents sustaining minimal injuries.

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Recent headlines across the country have revealed that a significant percentage of COVID-19 deaths in the United States have involved residents of nursing homes.  One of the key reasons for this unfortunate result is understaffing at these facilities.

For decades, elder care advocates have tried to spotlight the problems involving understaffing in the nation’s nursing homes. In far too many nursing facilities that cater to the elderly or the infirm, staff numbers are far too low to ensure adequate care for their residents.

At several nursing homes across the country, the COVID-19 outbreak has raged unchecked. At these facilities, advocates say that the protocols for prevention of infections are simply not being followed as stringently as they should be in order to avoid a massive outbreak. Basic protocols like wearing of personal protection equipment have not been followed at these homes. In addition, hand-washing and hygiene protocols have also been neglected.

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The weather is getting warmer and the roadways have been emptier than they normally are.  This combination can make for a motorcyclist’s dream.

The National Safety Council has deemed the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.   This is the time to bring awareness to both motorcyclists and drivers alike to the special safety challenges faced by motorcycle riders.

Although riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, it also comes with some sobering statistics.  Fatal accidents among motorcycle riders and passenger vehicles have more than doubled in the past 20 years.  Since 2017, motorcycle accidents account for 14% of all traffic related deaths.  Of these motorcycle death, older riders, age 50 and up, accounted for 36% of the deaths.  What’s more, 91% percent of those who died in motorcycle accidents were male.   And in a recent study, statistics showed that more motorcycle accidents occurred during the weekday versus the weekend.  The study also released that accidents that occurred at night were more serious, and often fatal, than those accidents that occurred during the daytime.

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The number of vehicles on our roads has plunged during the pandemic, but the risk from reckless and speeding drivers is ever present. According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association, there has been an increase in reckless driving across the country since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association recently released a news alert urging motorists to adhere to their regular safe driving routines to avoid accidents, especially during these highly uncertain times.

The lower number of vehicles on the roads seems to have triggered a false sense of confidence among motorists during the pandemic that they are able to disregard normal driving laws. The organization is reporting an increase in speeding across the country. Several states have reported finding drivers now frequently exceeding the 100-mile an hour mark. In some states, drivers have routinely been found to be driving at speeds exceeding 20 to 40 miles over the limits. Many states are also seeing an increase in negligent or reckless driving.

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During the difficult recent times, there are limited options for people to engage in outdoor or recreational activity.  For those who own a boat, being out on the lake may be one of the few options left. Boating at anytime of the day or year must be approached with skill and care.  However, boating at night presents its own unique challenges.

Boating at night time is not something we recommend, because of the diminished visibility as well as the fact that sudden surprises or dangers might blindside you on the water in the dark. However, many Atlanta boaters do enjoy being out on a boat after sundown. In some cases, people may find themselves inadvertently stuck out on the water well past sundown, and have to make their way back to shore.

There are safety precautions that you can follow, however, to keep yourself and everyone on your boat safe at night. For one, understand all of the safety precautions that you follow during the day also apply, and even more stringently, at night. Most importantly, you absolutely must not be operating the boat without any boating experience or without basic boat safety training.

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