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North Carolina Senate Reviews Domestic Violence Monitoring Bill

ritter and associatesThe North Carolina Senate is currently reviewing a bill with provisions to track domestic violence suspects using ankle bracelets that would alert authorities if the person came within a given distance of the victim’s residence or office.

However, because the bill pertains to those who have not yet been convicted of domestic violence, but have been served a protective domestic violence order, reviewers have questioned if monitoring before conviction could be qualified as illegal search and seizure. Senator Warren Daniel has also raised the question of effectiveness in situations where a monitored person is really dedicated to murdering the victim, although this is a rarer, extreme case of escalation in domestic violence.

The bill also suggests that the cost of constant surveillance on a person could be offset by fining the monitored person, from several hundred up to thousands of dollars, depending on what it would really end up costing.

Many committee members have agreed that while the main idea is worthwhile, these issues within the bill need to be studied and amended before the bill can travel any further in legislation.

It is likely that the bill will undergo revisions and be put up for review again at the North Carolina Senate’s 2014 session.

New Campaign by OSHA Promotes Fall Prevention

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration are responsible for regulating workplace conditions and protecting workers’ rights. Construction injuries are a special concern of OSHA, as construction is widely considered one of the most dangerous professions in the nation. In 2010, OSHA cited 774 fatalities in construction, over a third of which were caused by falls. The administration has created a Fall Prevention Campaign in order to answer this unfortunate statistic.

The Fall Prevention Campaign strives to educate construction workers on how to save lives through improved safety practices, in three basic steps. These points focus on planning ahead, providing correct equipment, and training workers to effectively use the safety equipment.

  1. Planning ahead – Have the details of a project hammered out before beginning. For example, know what needs to be done and how, as well as what safety gear the job requires
  2. Providing correct equipment – Make sure all the right tools are available for workers, including protective gear
  3. Training workers – Employers are responsible for teaching their employees how and when to correctly use the provided equipment in order to avoid accidents

The campaign resources include a website, training tools to help employers, worksite posters, and wallet-sized cards for workers to carry. Most of these are also available in Spanish.

Social Security Disability: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome results from nerve compression within the wrist, which gradually progresses from mild discomfort to severe pain, atrophied muscles in the hand, or loss of control over fine motor skills. Commonly characterized as a “desk job disease”, carpal tunnel syndrome is actually the most common in assembly line workers, and according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), “women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome”.

The earlier carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, the better. Besides general physical examination, specific tests used to recognize the syndrome include applying pressure to the median nerve in the wrist, a wrist flexion test, and other specific movement tests that would show carpal tunnel symptoms.

According to the severity of the nerve damage, treatment can range from over-the-counter painkillers or mild physical therapy, to wrist surgery. If surgery is necessary, it can take months to recover and physical therapy is usually needed to build up wrist strength again.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be debilitating and prevent a person from working during onset and recovery. However, someone in this situation may qualify for disability benefits through social security. Disability benefits claims are often denied on minor mistakes in paperwork, so it is recommended to consult a professional who can walk you through the claims appeals process rather than attempting to re-apply for a claim, and can get you the compensation you deserve.

Stem Cell Treatment a Possible Answer for Cerebral Palsy

In 2008, a German child, then just 2 years old, had a cardiac arrest that resulted in severe brain damage and a vegetative state. The situation seemed almost hopeless, with doctors quoting a six percent chance for just survival, let alone recovery. There is no known cure for cerebral palsy but the child’s parents proposed using stem cells in cord blood they had frozen as an experimental symptom treatment.

Doctors at the University Clinic of the Ruhr University of Bochum (UK RUB) began treatment nine weeks after the child’s cardiac arrest and regularly monitored his progress for forty months. According to a university report, following an unlikely recovery, “the child was able to eat independently, walk with assistance, and form four-word sentences”. While the doctors still hesitated to claim a causal relationship between treatment and recovery, researchers continue to explore the stem cell method.

Typically, cerebral palsy treatment involves consistent medical support for a patient’s entire life, whether it’s different kinds of therapy, medication, or a social worker helping with day-to-day activities. In 2013, Korean doctors claimed that they had successfully treated cerebral palsy using cord blood that was not originally taken from the patients. If stem cell therapy continues to develop and become more accessible, it could drastically change the futures of cerebral palsy patients.

Preparing for a Cerebral Palsy Claim

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects movement and muscle coordination. It is neurological in nature rather than muscular or neural, and results from a brain injury or abnormality. Depending on the severity of the neurological damage, cerebral palsy may range from severe to mild, but it will have a permanent effect on the child and long-term consequences for his or her family.

In some cases, cerebral palsy is a result of a birth injury that may be due to negligence on the part of the medical staff. In order to prepare for a possible birth injury claim, you need to follow certain steps.

First, confirm that cerebral palsy is present. Bring the medical records of the child to a neurologist who can assess if it is indeed cerebral palsy or another type of developmental disorder. Get copies of all the tests and get the doctor to give you a written diagnosis as well as the recommended treatments and devices to manage the disorder. These documents will be invaluable when presenting your case before a jury.

Second, request for all the medical records taken for the pregnancy and delivery. This can be quite a lot, as prenatal records tend to be extensive, but it will prove that due care was taken during the pregnancy, and there are no contributing factors evident in the medical history, physical condition or lifestyle of the mother prior to birth. The records will also show vital signs reports and who were present during the delivery.

Lastly, find a cerebral palsy lawyer conversant with the birth injury laws of Pennsylvania and present him or her with what documentary evidence you have been able to gather. Some of the records take some time to get, but you should not delay the initial consultation too much just to complete all the records. Make sure that the lawyer you retain has the required certifications for a medical malpractice suit in the state, and ask about the results and success rate in similar cases. A good lawyer will be able to prepare the mother for cross-examination, which can be somewhat distressing as the defense will most likely try to pin the blame on the mother.

It is important to remember that getting all the needed information will determine success or failure in a cerebral palsy claim. If you are convinced that a birth injury is the cause of the child’s cerebral palsy, making a successful claim will mean that the costs of managing the disorder will not place an impossible burden on the family.

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