There are many health reasons to give up cigarettes for good, and you can start today as part of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, but if you need another reason to quit you may be motivated by knowing that smoking could lead to a doctor refusing to perform surgery on you.  In February 2018, the Charlotte Observer reported that a growing number of physicians have begun to ask patients to quit smoking or at least stop four to six months before and after the surgery.

stockfresh_3942704_cigarette-butt-no-smoking_sizeS-200x300According to the Observer, smokers do not fare as well as non-smokers following spinal fusion surgery and joint replacements, and one study found that smokers had an 80 percent higher chance than nonsmokers of needing repeat surgery after a joint replacement because of complications from an infection. This is because smoking inhibits blood flow, which in turn inhibits healing.

The Observer also reported that most doctors are paid through fee-for-service systems under which they are reimbursed for every appointment, test, or procedure and, thus, make more money when a patient has complications. Some surgeons who perform spine surgery and knee and hip replacements in Charlotte, however, have started using “value-based” systems in which a single “bundled payment” is accepted for each patient encounter. A doctor or hospital keeps the savings when care is delivered for less than the contract price but must absorb the extra cost when there are complications for which the patient requires additional care.

Grimes Teich Anderson is reviewing claims focusing on potential cases for people regularly exposed to Roundup as part of their work, such as landscapers, lawn and garden workers, and golf course maintenance personnel who sprayed Roundup for ground maintenance.

stockfresh_8936388_close-up-of-crop-sprayer-against-twig_sizeS-300x200A jury in Superior Court of California in San Francisco deliberated for three days before ordering agricultural giant Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper who claimed his cancer was caused by the company’s weed killers, such as Roundup, The New York Times reported on August 10, 2018. According to the Times, the case of 46-year-old Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging that Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers cause cancer.

Bloomberg reported that Johnson “mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of Roundup,” and his exposure included incidents in which he was “soaked from head to toe” in the herbicide. Johnson worked for the Benicia Unified School District and was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. He was given six months to live by his oncologist in July 2017 after chemotherapy and other treatments.

Road accident crash damaged car or wreck broken vehicle with used airbag

If you are a passenger in a car accident, it can be a confusing and stressful situation, especially if you are seriously hurt. You know the accident was not your fault, but whose insurance coverage is responsible for paying for your medical bills and other expenses you incur because of the crash?

Filing a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 230 people per day are admitted to the hospital for injuries caused by fireworks in the days leading up to the Fourth of July. Several of these injuries result in fatalities.

Fireworks have been known to prematurely explode and cause severe injuries. Most of the injuries due to the use of fireworks are burns to the head, face, ears, hands and fingers. Even fireworks like sparklers pose a huge safety risk since they can burn at over 2,000 degrees. Using handheld fireworks can be very dangerous and are the reason why so many people end up in an emergency room during the Fourth of July holiday.

Due to the dangers posed by fireworks, North Carolina has fairly restrictive laws. Fireworks that are illegal in North Carolina include:

The summer months are peak vacation time. This means that more tourists are in town, and more pedestrians and cyclists can be seen on crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 54% of car accidents happen during the spring and summer months. Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities amount to about 16 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Some of the most catastrophic types of traffic accidents happen when a motorist hits a pedestrian or a bicycle. Without the protection of being in a car, a pedestrian or a cyclist can easily suffer devastating injuries in a crash.

Bike Traffic Laws

According to a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, there is a noticeable spike in emergency room visits during the warm summer months. The study showed a 15 to 27 percent increase in visits to emergency rooms from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Children made up a significant portion of the increase in accidents and illness, and the pattern of injury was very distinct. This led researchers to conclude that the longer days and increases in popular activities in the summer also put individuals at higher risk of injury.

As summer begins, you should be aware of the top reasons for summer ER visits and how to prevent injury to yourself and your children. Some of the most commonly reported injuries that result in ER visits during the summer include:

Hiking and exploring waterfalls are great ways to see nature, explore, and get some exercise. Enjoying the great outdoors can come with specific risks though. In Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, including popular sites like Table Rock State Park and DuPont State Forest, hikers have suffered serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries in recent hiking accidents and waterfall accidents.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the first local waterfall death in 2018 occurred at Western North Carolina’s Catawba Falls in the Pisgah National Forest. There, an out-of-state visitor walked ahead of his hiking group and fell over the edge of a 50-foot cliff while trying to take a picture. In another recent tragedy from April, a man visiting a North Carolina waterfall near Twin Bridges fell nearly 70 feet and suffered fractures.

Failure to follow basic hiking and waterfall safety precautions while hiking and visiting waterfalls could easily lead to serious injury or death. In order to avoid serious or fatal accidents, outdoor enthusiasts should consider the following safety tips:

The 2018 hurricane season has begun and continues until November 30, with the peak season occurring between mid-August and late October. Hurricanes are powerful systems with winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. When tropical storms or hurricanes move onto land, they sweep the ocean inward and cause tornadoes, heavy winds and rain as well as massive flooding.

Not only do hurricanes affect the coastal areas, but they can also affect mountain areas hundreds of miles from the coast. Catastrophic high winds and extensive flooding are real threats. In 2004, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Ivan struck back to back, dumping parts of Western North Carolina including Asheville with more than 18 inches of rain. In 2017, Hurricane Irma made its way through Greenville and surrounding areas of Upstate South Carolina, causing flooding and heavy wind damage.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

If you need to make a claim because of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or PTSD, the VA has a form titled VA 21-0781 which you will need to use. On the form, the VA instructs Veterans to detail any in-service event which may have contributed to the Veteran’s claimed PTSD. In addition to these details, it is in the Veteran’s best interest to include the following information on the same VA 21-0781 form.

  1. State how long these symptoms have lasted;
  2. State whether these symptoms create distress or limit the Veteran’s ability to function normally;

Miltary Sexual Trauma (“MST”) is when a servicemember is a victim of sexual assault, forced or coerced into sexual activities, or exposed to “repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character.”[1]  Due to the nature of the military, its esprit de corps, its command structure, and the potential for severe retaliatory action, most sexual harassment and assaults go unreported.

Because of the gross underreporting of MST, it can be difficult for an MST survivor to accumulate enough credible evidence that the in-service event occurred to support his or her claim.  The VA cannot use the absence of an MST report in a Veteran’s service record as evidence that the event did not take place;[2] however, the Veteran cannot simply rely upon his or her statements that the event did take place.  He or she must submit additional credible evidence.  The VA details possible evidence which can corroborate the Veteran’s statements in 38 C.F.R. § 3.304(f)(5),[3] which states: Continue Reading

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