Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. When asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs, mesothelioma can develop. After being exposed to asbestos, symptoms such as persistent coughing, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing can signal mesothelioma. If you have experienced these symptoms and suspect you have been around asbestos, a few steps are essential when diagnosing mesothelioma.

A doctor will often want your medical history to determine risk factors as well as possible asbestos exposure. This often includes providing your doctor with a complete work history. A physical exam is also often performed to test for fluid buildup in the chest, abdomen, heart, or other areas commonly caused by mesothelioma.

If after these procedures mesothelioma is detected, imaging tests will often be performed. These imaging tests can be used to determine if there are cancerous cells present and areas of the body being affected by cancer. Chest x-rays will be taken if a patient is experiencing symptoms such as coughing and chest pain. The chest x-ray can show fluid build up or abnormal thickening of the pleura, which are both caused by mesothelioma. CT scans can also be used to determine this but go further in detecting all areas of the body for cancerous cells. This can also help determine the stage at which the cancer has progressed. If a doctor suspects you have fluid around your heart caused by mesothelioma, an echocardiogram can be performed to look at the heart. PET and MRI scans can also be used at a precise way to determine the location of cancerous cells. If anything suspicious is seen during these imaging tests, patients are often referred to a doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer who can test blood and fluid to see if it mesothelioma. Due to the symptoms being associated with other diseases, mesothelioma can often be misdiagnosed as a less serious disease or another form of cancer. This is why it is important to take all necessary steps recommended by your doctor if he suspects you may have gotten mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. Click here to learn more about asbestos exposure and options if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

A New Treatment for PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is still a topic psychologists are trying to fully understand. Many methods have arose in hopes of remedying PTSD, but no full-proof idea excepted by the entire psychology community has come about yet.

According to the New York Times, a method created by Albert Pesso – a dancer who worked with Martha Graham – is a go to exercise for psychiatrist, Bessel van der Kolk.

The method, which van der Kolk named “structure” entails the patient gaining acceptance or closure from people role playing those involved in the traumatizing situation. He believes that the key to curing trauma is through the body instead of the mind. This ideology stems from the fact that trauma is created by the outside world, as opposed to internally.

Van der Kolk lost a lot of credibility as a medical professional when he publicly defended repressed-memory therapy. This type of therapy is based off of the idea that victims repress traumatic experiences and have no recollection of them happening. The therapy’s purpose is to uncover these “lost” memories. A once fairly respected theory soon became a joke o the psychology community when people started claiming that through repressed-memory therapy they “remembered” getting abducted by aliens and other radical situations. Van der Kolk’s support for the theory caused him to lose his affiliation with Harvard Medical School.

However, the structure method he practices gave him a new place to feel at home amongst body-oriented therapists. He currently runs his own non-profit trauma clinic.

In a medical field where not only a diagnosis but also the disease itself can be easily disputed, it is very common for professionals to misdiagnose or incorrectly prescribe. The website of Jeff Sampson says that when the standard of care is not respected a followed, it can lead to severe consequences.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that support cells attached to the brain. It is responsible for communicating messages back and forth from the brain to the body. When the spinal cord is injured, it can result in long-term or permanent injuries. Partial or complete paralysis is a common consequence of many spinal cord injuries. There are also more likely to be permanent changes in muscle strength, sensation, and body functions beneath the site of the injury. Spinal cord injuries occur when a blow is sustained in that area. Car accidents, gun shot and knife wounds are all possible events that might cause a traumatic spinal cord injury.

A non-traumatic spinal cord injury can be a result of cancer, arthritis, an infection, or disk degeneration of the spine. After the initial incident affecting the spinal cord, further damage is possible and likely due to bleeding, swelling, and fluid accumulation around the spinal cord. About 4,500 people suffer partial paralysis, or paraplegia, every year. Paraplegia is usually when an individual loses motor functions in the lower half of the body. The condition results from a spinal cord injury to the lumbar region of the spine, affecting the legs, bowels and bladder control, and sexual function. Total paralysis, or quadriplegia, occurs when the damage to the spinal cord is in the torso area. This type of injury can affect the functions and movement of almost the entire body.

An individual suffering from quadriplegia generally loses control of all body parts below the neck. It can even be difficult to breath in severe cases. The impact of a spinal cord injury is serious and the consequences are severe for the injured individual. The stress associated with a long-term or permanent injury of this nature can worsen with the financial, emotional, and psychological pain associated with motion impairment or immobility. If you believe that you are a recipient of a spinal cord injury due to a workplace injury or negligent third-party, call an attorney in your area to help find you the compensation you deserve.

The Tooth of the Matter is Oral Health Matters

Dental care is not a top priority for most people; that is, until something starts to hurt. When that happens, you can’t get to a dentist fast enough because when something in the mouth hurts, your whole life is a misery. But the fact is, the best type of oral health is one that is preventive. It is one of the more important aspects of overall health because it is the first indicator of the general condition of the body. In addition, poor oral health can lead to many complications ranging from tooth decay to stroke.

Oral health is much more than the condition of the teeth in terms of esthetics; it also includes the gums, tongue, and jaw. Studies indicate that there is a correlation between gum disease and pre-term babies with low birth weight, heart disease and stroke. While many will argue that the primary function of the dentist is to ensure that the teeth are healthy, problems with other parts of the oral cavity can have a significant impact on overall health, and dentists are specialists trained specifically to oversee oral health.

Most (90%) of systemic diseases (those that affect more than a particular part of the body) such as diabetes and chronic liver disease can also be detected in the mouth, so a well-trained and attentive professional may detect the first signs of a serious health problem. This is why it is important that people visit their dentists regularly and not only when there is an obvious problem.

Prevention and early detection are key aspects of maintaining oral health, and while the teeth are the main focus of attention of most people, dentists know when incipient trouble is brewing even when the teeth are healthy. Make your oral care a priority in your life and you will avoid a lot of health complications now and later in life.

Reducing Your Risk of Rolling Over

In the United States today, single-vehicle rollover accidents account to the biggest percentage of fatalities as compared to other types of vehicles. Sports utility vehicles, or SUVs, are more prone to rollover accidents than other vehicles because of the way they are built – they have a higher center of gravity and track width. Because they were not built to initially be passenger vehicles, they had automotive defects that lead to a great number of accidents and fatalities.

Because of the high probability of SUVs to get into rollover accidents whenever they make fast turns or change directions, engineers and manufacturers of these types of vehicles have been trying to change fundamental design flaws, such as lowering the center of gravity or widen the track width in order to make the vehicle more stable. However, many of these changes can be expensive, thus some manufacturers have chosen to go with less effective modifications.

For drivers, there are ways they can take to lower their chances of a rollover accident when driving an SUV. One thing they can do is to be careful when driving on rural roads, since these roads are not leveled and rough roads can easily “trip” SUVs and send them tipping to the side or over. When you are in a situation where you may go off the road, consider reducing your speed and avoid panicking while steering. Make sure your tires are properly maintained; ensure that loads are properly distributed. Lastly, avoid driving when you are not fit to drive – reckless or negligent actions or behaviors such as DUI or speeding can increase your chances of getting into an SUV rollover accident and diminish your chances of filing for an injury or insurance claim. Too many driving mistakes, and insurance companies might refuse to take you on as a customer. When this happens, people are forced to take what is called an SR-22 policy. More information about SR-22 policies can be found on this website.

Gun Control Laws in Texas

Texas has the most permissive gun control laws in the US. Certain gun types are still illegal such as explosive and automatic weapons, but when purchasing legal firearms there is no “cooling off “period. This means that you can buy a gun off the shelf and take it home with you. You do need a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry a handgun outside your private property, but not a license to possess. There is even a movement to allow open carry of guns (Open Carry Texas) in public places which has recently stirred some fierce debating between gun control and right to bear arms advocates.

However, there are still restrictions in place dictating when and where guns may be carried legally which are not preempted by the possession of a CHL or by obtaining the permission of the property owner to carry a weapon. As discussed on the website of Ian Inglis Attorney at Law, failing to follow regulations embodied in the Texas Penal Code (§46.03 and §46.035) constitutes an unlawful weapons violation. Carrying a firearm is prohibited if the licensee is:

  • Intoxicated
  • At any event in any educational institution except in sporting events requiring the use of a handgun
  • At any racetrack
  • Inside any building or passenger vehicle owned by a public or private educational institution
  • In any establishment which derives 51% or more of its income from serving alcoholic beverages if a ban on firearms is posted conspicuously on the premises
  • In any secured area in any airport unless the firearm is legal, properly packaged, and subsequently checked in as baggage subject to regulations imposed by the airline and Transportation Security Administration
  • Within 1,000 feet of a correctional facility where an execution is scheduled for that time provided notice of the event is posted in a conspicuous manner
  • In any court or court-related office unless exempted by written regulations or authorization of the court
  • In any designated polling place on the day of an election

Firearms are also prohibited from the following areas provided oral or written notice is given in accordance with Texas Penal Code §30.06:

  • Amusement parks
  • Places of religious worship
  • Hospitals or nursing homes
  • Any meeting of any governmental body

If you have been charged with an unlawful weapons violation, you could be facing significant consequences. Contact a gun crime lawyer in the area to protect your rights and mount your defense.

Insurance Bad Faith in Texas

It is a sad fact that insurance companies will often go to the legal limit to delay or deny claims, but this is perhaps understandable; they are in the business of making money, not helping people. It is absurd when an insured is grateful for receiving payouts for a valid claim within a reasonable period; it is their right after all. But, that’s human nature, and when insurance companies deal fairly with their policyholders, they should be allowed to make profit from other people’s good fortune.

But when an insurance company acts in bad faith by delaying the processing or outright denying a legitimate claim, they are violating all manner of laws. In Texas, the state’s Insurance Code Title 5 deals with Deceptive, Unfair, and Prohibited Practices, and Chapter 542 in particular deals with Unfair Claim Settlement Practices. Dallas insurance bad faith lawyers will be particularly familiar with subchapter A, referred to as Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act, which states that an insurer is in violation of the Code under the following conditions (§542.003):

(1) knowingly misrepresenting to a claimant pertinent facts or policy provisions relating to coverage at issue;

(2) failing to acknowledge with reasonable promptness pertinent communications relating to a claim arising under the insurer’s policy;

(3) failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under the insurer’s policies;

(4) not attempting in good faith to effect a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim submitted in which liability has become reasonably clear;

(5) compelling a policyholder to institute a suit to recover an amount due under a policy by offering substantially less than the amount ultimately recovered in a suit brought by the policyholder;

(6) failing to maintain the information required by Section 542.005; or

(7) committing another act the commissioner determines by rule constitutes an unfair claim settlement practice.”

If you have made a claim with an insurance company in Texas and experienced any of the above violations, you may have to file a lawsuit to get what you were entitled to in the first place. Consult with a knowledgeable insurance bad faith attorney in your area to get started.

Medical Records and Reports in Medical Malpractice

One of the first things that any medical malpractice lawyer will ask prior to filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is the medical records of the patient in question. Most personal injury lawyers take on only cases that has a good chance of being won because they work on a contingent fee basis, and in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the records are the key element to prove negligence. State laws on the confidentiality of medical records and relevant reports differ, but they are generally discoverable. In Kentucky, for instance, a recent state Supreme Court ruling established when certain medical documents are considered confidential under federal law i.e. Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. Specifically, the defendant hospital claimed that they could not release the post-operative incident report concerning the fatal surgery that claimed the life of the patient because it was prohibited by federal law. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the report in question was part of the hospital’s regular reporting and discoverable under state law, and that the federal law was not intended to intervene in the state regulation of healthcare facilities. In Massachusetts, the medical record rights of the patient under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule and state law include the right to:

  • See and obtain a copy of your own medical records
  • Amend medical records to correct inaccuracies
  • File a complaint for violation of these rights

When a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer asks a potential client to obtain their medical records, the healthcare provider may not refuse, and generally should comply within 30 days, although delays are common. The client also has the right not to disclose the reason for the request to obtain a copy of the medical records because this is an absolute right. If you are planning to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for yourself or an immediate family, make a preemptive strike by obtaining the relevant medical records immediately. This will save a lot of time and effort for both you and your medical malpractice lawyer.

Liability for Falling Power Lines

It is inconceivable for most Americans to live without electrical power on demand. Some make do with generators or have adopted an Amish-like lifestyle that has nothing to do with electrical appliances, but in most cases having no electricity in the home is a big problem.

Most people are aware but spare little thought for the fact that electricity is piped to the home by way of electrical power lines that are stretched overhead. That is, until something happens that brings it to our attention—such as falling power lines. This can happen during a storm, when a branch or tree falls, or when sagging lines snag a passing truck. When this happens, not only will whole neighborhoods lose power, but it has the potential to create an electrical fire or to electrocute people in the vicinity. When this happens, it is highly possible that the utility company will be liable for any property damage or personal injury.

Electric utility companies are considered public service companies even if they are privately owned, and most states have adopted the guidelines set under the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC). While strict liability does not apply for any injuries or damage done by falling power lines, the NESC does set strict standards for electrical utility companies to avoid foreseeable danger to the public. When these standards are breached, they can be held liable.

The NESC has been adopted in some form by all US states with the exception of California, so a Houston Lawyer, Ali Mokaram, will have recourse to 5 or so state laws governing liability for falling electrical lines rather than the NESC. A Louisville personal injury lawyer who will refer to the Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 278.042.

If you have suffered serious personal injury from unintentional contact with falling power lines because of some negligence on the part of the electrical power company, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your state for a more thorough discussion of your legal options.

The Benefits of a Court Reporter in Divorce Cases

Divorce can be simple, or it can be highly complex to the nth degree. It depends on the issues that may come up. In complex divorce cases, it may be important to have depositions made of the parties involved or other witnesses that will help in pre-trial discovery.

Depositions are out-of-court sworn statements that are recorded and transcribed for later use at trial. Prior to taking a deposition, the deponent is asked to swear to the accuracy of the statements that will be made in answer to the deposer’s questions, much like taking an oath while in court. In a divorce case in Texas, for example, while the deposition may take place in the lawyer’s office, a court reporter will be the one to administer the oath, record the deposition, and transcribe it.

If you are in Iowa but your witness is in Texas, the office of your Cedar Rapids divorce lawyer may be too far for the witness to go to. In such cases, video conferencing can be used as long as a court reporter is present during the entire process.

A court reporter is necessary for taking depositions to validate the accuracy and objectiveness of the transcript, because this is may be a crucial element in a civil or criminal court proceeding. It can be used to rebut a witness’s testimony, or take the place of a terminally-ill, since-deceased, or otherwise unavailable witness. It is also a valuable tool for refreshing the memory of a witness who suddenly forgets what happened.

The benefits of a court reporter in divorce cases are to obtain and produce deposition transcripts that can help clear up some murky issues. This may help speed up the process because depositions can be very convincing. For example, if the issue of child custody hinges on whether or not alleged domestic violence by one parent can be proven, depositions by witnesses such as neighbors, domestic workers, or family members are invaluable, especially if they all indicate the same state of matters. Other issues where depositions can be crucial involve the financial aspect of a marriage such as facts about income, bank accounts, and property.

If you anticipate a difficult divorce, you may have need of a court reporter’s services. Your divorce lawyer most likely has contacts with a reputable court reporting service provider to handle depositions for you.