Inspectors Report Showed Flaws in Connecticut Train Line

The recent collision of two trains in Connecticut, which left more than seventy passengers injured, occurred only two days after an inspector’s report noted safety issues with the tracks on which the trains were travelling. According to the report, the area on which the derailment and collision occurred was demonstrating vertical movement when trains passed overhead, though it was not deemed to require emergency repairs.

The commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, James P. Redeker, noted at a Senate hearing concerning the incident that the amount of funds invested in maintaining the upkeep of the rail systems in the Northeast Corridor have fallen short of what is necessary in order for the tracks to achieve a state of good repair.

At the Law Offices of Paul Levin, we know how serious injuries caused by train derailments and other types of vehicle collisions can be. Contact us at 860-560-7226 if you have been the victim of any of these types of accidents to fight for the compensation you need.

Alleged Drunk Driver Hits Connecticut Police Officer

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A police officer in West Haven was injured shortly after midnight on Saturday, November 13 by an alleged drunk driver, reports the New Haven Register. The officer was on patrol when a car turning onto Boston Post Road struck his vehicle at about 2:15 a.m. The officer was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. He was treated and released. His name has not been released to the media.

The Register notes that several officers in the West Haven Police Department have suffered injuries in automobile accidents in recent months. Last week, an officer was struck by a CT Transit Bus as he was exiting his vehicle and had to be hospitalized. In September, a car hit an off-duty officer on his motorcycle, breaking his leg. A sergeant was injured in July when someone deliberately rammed his cruiser. The West Haven police chief commented that the department is having staffing difficulties due to recent injuries.

In the Saturday incident, the 27 year-old driver who hit the police officer’s vehicle allegedly had, at the time of the crash, a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit. He also allegedly ran a blinking red light, the equivalent of a stop sign. The driver has been charged with driving under the influence and several other offenses, including failure to grant the right of way at an intersection. The driver could face up to six months in jail if this is his first driving under the influence offense.

From the perspective of a personal injury attorney, the question is whether the driver can be held liable for the officer’s injuries. If the driver acted negligently, then he can be liable for damages, which may include the officer’s medical expenses related to his injuries, lost wages for time missed from work, costs of rehabilitation from his injuries, future lost wages because of rehabilitation or diminished work capacity, and compensation for “pain and suffering” resulting from the injuries. In this particular case, the officer was released from the hospital the same day, so the amount of damages may be small, but some injuries in automobile accidents do not manifest right away.

Connecticut Surgeons Reprimanded for Medical Errors During Spinal and Hernia Surgeries

The Connecticut State Medical Examining Board recently reprimanded two surgeons, one in Norwich, and one in New Haven, for medical errors during surgeries.

In January 2008, at William W. Backus Hospital, Dr. Gregory Criscuolo of Norwich performed spinal surgery intended to alleviate an impinged nerve in a patient’s spine. Dr. Criscuolo removed the wrong lamina, part of the vertebra. After realizing his mistake, he operated on the correct site.

Connecticut Consumer’s Allergic Reaction Prompts Recall of Chocolate Products

On Monday, the FDA initiated a recall of various chocolate products manufactured by Chocolate Decadence after a Connecticut consumer became ill from eating the chocolate.

Subsequent investigation revealed that the chocolate had been manufactured on production lines that had previously been used to process milk chocolate. It was thus determined that the products contain an undeclared milk allergen. Consumers who are allergic to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening reaction if they consume these products.

According to the FDA release, the recalled products were distributed nationwide via the Internet and physical retail locations.

Another Connecticut Nursing Home Fined for Inadequate Medical Care

We recently blogged about cases of neglect at Connecticut nursing homes.

The New Haven Independent reported last Tuesday of yet another instance of poor medical care at a Connecticut nursing home. In this case, a nursing home was fined $3,000 by the State Department of Public Health after investigators determined that multiple nurses at the facility had withheld from patients medications prescribed by their physicians.

Contaminated Avastin Causing Eye Infections and Blindness in Patients

Connecticut patients being treated for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with eye injections should be aware that, last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a release alerting health care professionals to a cluster of serious eye infections suffered by patients in Florida and Tennessee who received eye injections of repackaged Avastin (bevacizumab). Avastin is approved for treatment of various cancers, but used off-label in smaller doses by many ophthalmologists to treat wet AMD due to its substantially lower cost than alternatives ($50/dose vs. $2,000/dose for Lucentis). Tragically, some of the patients were blinded.

As explained on EyeDocNews (a blog covering new treatments for eye conditions), in order to convert Avastin from a cancer drug to a wet AMD drug, pharmacies must repackage the vials into much smaller doses. If that repackagaging process is not handled with proper aseptic techniques, product sterility can be compromised, which puts patients at risk for microbial infections.

Fatal Norwalk Connecticut Auto Accident Mars Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest of the year in terms of auto travel, resulting in a heavier police presence on Connecticut roads, and increased speeding and other traffic citations.

Unfortunately, the increased traffic volume also results in a larger number of Connecticut auto accidents.

One particularly tragic case reported today in the media involved two fatalities in a car accident early Saturday morning on the Merritt Parkway in Norwalk.

Connecticut Woman Severely Injured by Truck in Bicycle Accident

A bicyclist from Fairfield Connecticut suffered traumatic head injuries after being thrown from her bike following a collision with a truck. She is currently in critical condition at a Bridgeport, Connecticut hospital.

The media reported that the victim was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. The accident thus highlights the need for stressing helmet safety for all bicyclists.

Connecticut Nursing Homes Cited and Fined for Medical Care Lapses

Recently, the Connecticut Department of Public Health fined several Connecticut nursing homes for medical care lapses that led to patients’ falls.

West Hartford Health & Rehabilitation was fined for failing to prevent a resident with dementia from falling. The staff neglected to provide the patient with a “lap chair” that would have prevented her from falling from her wheelchair.

No Illnesses Reported Yet in Connecticut in Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak

As reported today in the Hartford Courant, leading meat processor Cargill announced that it is recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak that has killed one person in California and sickened individuals in at least 26 states so far across the country.

The recall covers fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at the company’s Springdale, Arkansas plant between February 20, 2011 through August 2, 2011.