Doctors and other medical personnel hold the highest standards of professionalism and trust. They are bound to uphold the highest ethical standards based on the Hippocratic oath which the medical practitioner sworn to when they entered the medical profession. But doctors are humans as well and hence can make errors which unfortunately can lead to injury or death of their patients, which they swore to protect and treat.
While no amount of money can compensate for the lost life, the surviving relatives of the deceased can make the doctor liable for the injury or death of their loved one. Americans file over 17,000 medical malpractice lawsuits every year, according to recent data. This fact of doctors getting involved in medical malpractice was proven by a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Examining information on 66,426 malpractice suits from 915,564 physicians, the study revealed that most doctors don’t settle or lose in lawsuits.
A separate report by Medscape found that 35% of lawsuits were due to “failure to diagnose” and 17% were due to “failure to treat.” According to the New England Journal of Medicine study, certain medical specialties are targeted more than others. So which field of doctors have the most number of medical malpractice lawsuits? This is based on the findings of the Medscape survey involving 4,000 primary care physicians and selected specialists:
Orthopedists and general surgeons reflected the highest percentage of being the only parties included in a medical malpractice suit with 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively. OB/Gyns came in at third with 18 percent. The survey revealed that older doctors were more likely to be sued for medical malpractice. According to the study, 80 percent of doctors above 60 years old faced a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Code, also known as Wage-earner’s Plan, Repayment Plan or Debt Adjustment is a restructuring type of bankruptcy wherein debtors are allowed to design a three-year payment proposal during which time they can settle their debts (this plan can be extended up to five years if approved by the court). This proposal, which is actually a restructured payment scheme, is aimed at helping debtors make debt payments more affordable for them. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, wherein debtors will need to submit their “non-exempt” properties for liquidation, debtors who file for bankruptcy under this chapter are allowed to keep their properties and assets; business owners are also allowed to continue operating their business, especially if it is a major source of their income and payment for debts.
Besides forbidding creditors from starting or continuing any effort to collect payment (while the chapter 13 plan is in effect), there are many other advantages offered by this chapter. As listed in the website of the United States Courts (http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/chapter-13-bankruptcy-basics), these advantages include:
a. Keeping a debtor’s home from getting foreclosed and a chance for debtors to pay past due mortgage payments over time.
b. The chance to reschedule secured debts and extend payments for these over the approved chapter 13 plan (either three years or five years).
c. Protection for co-signers or a third party who is equally liable with the debtor.
d. Coursing all plan payments to a chapter 13 trustee instead of to the creditors directly. This keeps debtors from having direct contact with creditors.
Individuals, who may be operating an unincorporated business or are self-employed, are eligible for chapter 13 protection (corporations or partnerships do not qualify under this chapter), but only if their secured debts are less than $1,149,525 and their unsecured debts, less than $383,175 (these figures are occasionally adjusted in order to reflect changes in the consumer price index.
Ryan J. Ruehle Attorney at Law, LLC, mentions in his website how incredibly common it is “for people to avoid filing for bankruptcy in fear that bankruptcy will complicate their credit status or signify that they have somehow failed financially.” On the contrary, people can use the bankruptcy process to their advantage and work their way toward financial freedom. With help from a seasoned bankruptcy lawyer, debtors will understand more what bankruptcy is really all about, the many advantages it offers and which particular chapter will best work for them.
In a number of U.S. states, Americans are banned from being sold e-cigarettes unless they can show a photo identification which will prove that they are above 18 years old. This new rule, which extends federal regulatory authority to e-cigarettes, comes from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its adoption by all states will affect not only the tobacco industry but the nation’s 40 million smokers (including the estimated 9 million adult e-cigarette users ) as well.
There is currently no federal oversight or protection for American consumers in connection with the sale and use of E-cigarettes, which has grown into a multi-billion dollar business. E-cigarettes, which were introduced during the early part of the year 2000, are devices that deliver nicotine without the harmful cancer-causing tar and chemicals.
While British health experts see the use of e-cigarettes as an effective way of helping people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, health experts in the U.S. are wary as to whether banning these devices to be sold to Americans below 18 will make them quit smoking or would only cause them to smoke cigarettes instead.
Smoking is a huge concern for American health experts, considering the fact that more than 480,000 tobacco-related deaths are reported in the U.S. every year. Though Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, welcomed the FDA’s new rules, which are take effect in 90 days, he says that the process of implementing the rules has brought about much difficulty.
One of the biggest effects of the FDA rule is the need for manufacturers of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to register with the FDA, disclose to the agency their manufacturing processes, and provide the agency with a detailed list of their products’ ingredients. All manufacturers will also be subjected to FDA inspections and will only be able to market their products as “mild,” or “light” after these have been approved and allowed by the FDA. No company will also be allowed to give out free sample products.
It was a period of peace and relief for the LGBT people in Charlotte after this city outlawed LGBT discrimination last February (2016). That peace, however, was short-lived as North Carolina’s State governor and legislature passed and signed into law (just in one day) what many now consider as the most extreme anti-LGBT measure ever legalized in the country.
North Carolina’s new law has two parts: use of public restroom based on one’s biological gender (not on one’s preferred gender identity); and, prohibition on any local government to create any (new) anti-discrimination law (like the one Charlotte passed).
North Carolina is the third state (in the last five years) to prohibit local anti-discrimination laws. While many see this move as a counterattack in the latest battle over gay rights, it is this conservative State’s way of response to liberal cities that pass laws in protection of the LGBT people.
Can this move lead to questions about constitutionality?
Barely a week after North Carolina signed its new law, it has already been met with much criticism from various businesses and organizations. Besides a lawsuit filed by Equality North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Lambda Legal, wherein the State is accused of violating the US Constitution’s stipulations regarding equal treatment, as many as 120 company executives have also signed a letter which criticizes the law and seeks its repeal; the States of Connecticut, New York, Washington as well as other cities have also banned government-connected travels to North Carolina as an expression of their opposition to the law.
The law, however, is not without supporters. One of these is the Liberty Council, a Christian legal aid group, which has offered to defend the State against the lawsuit (Liberty Council represented the Kentucky court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples the previous year).
Apparently, North Carolina’s law is testing the limits of the US Constitution. But while the 14th Amendment promises equal protection under the law, the Supreme Court remains vague with regard to what this promise means for the LGBT community.
Many legal professionals believe that the case against North Carolina will definitely be a tough one to litigate; however, many also believe that it may force the Supreme Court to answer what the Constitution really says about gay rights.
Around the globe, more than 8 million Volkswagen cars may be recalled, while in the US, besides the close to half a million cars that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already ordered to be recalled, a Volkswagen fraud lawsuit filed by the US Justice Department (against Volkswagen) in behalf of the EPA may also result to about $90 billion in fines.
The investigation of emission scandal that Volkswagen is involved with, wherein German car manufacturer Volkswagen is accused of cheating emissions tests in the US, has now spread to many other countries, including parts of Europe, Canada and South Korea.
Since 2009, Volkswagen has sold at least 480,000 of its clean diesel cars in the US after passing emissions tests conducted by the EPA. It was later found out, however, that these vehicles were equipped with a defeat device, a type of computer software which allowed the German-made cars to detect testing scenarios. Consequently, the device put the car into safety mode, reducing its emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by making the vehicle’s engine run below its normal power – though fraudulent, it was definitely an impressive way of dishonestly making its way into the US car market. After tests have been conducted, as the vehicle goes back on the road and runs on normal power, it also goes back to emitting hazardous pollutants that are up to 40 times higher than the limit set by the Clean Air Act.
Diesel-power cars are slowly, but definitely, gaining a spot in the US car industry. This is why some wonder how other car manufacturers, like Chevrolet, have been able to change the image of diesel engines from slow, noisy and emitting lots of dirty smoke, to quiet and as clean as gasoline engines, while Volkswagen had to cheat in order to pass emissions tests. Since diesel engines also provide more torque and diesel itself ensures better fuel economy, it may only be a matter of time before cars with diesel engine start dominating US roads and highways too, but as regards those manufactured by Volkswagen, only time will tell.
Social media went aflame when it was announced that Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress, Noma Dumawezni, was cast as the adult Hermione Granger in the upcoming play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Jamie Parker and Paul Thornley were also cast as Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, respectively. The play, adamantly stated as “not a prequel” to the septology, revolves around the hardships faced by overworked Ministry father and school-age son, Harry and Albus Severus.
Many people cited the films in justification for their vehemence against the casting of a black woman as Hermione Granger and even continually cites one line from the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (published in 1999), that supposedly states that the character in question was white.
Author of the series, J.K. Rowling, took to her own social media channels and went on to support the new casting. She said, “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione”. Matthew Lewis and Evanna Lynch (who played Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood in the films) have also expressed their support for Dumawezni. Emma Watson played the role for the film adaptations.
The play is set to premiere on the 30th of July 2016 at the West End’s Palace Theatre.
With hopes of winning back their clientele’s trust, Volkswagen is giving away cash cards worth $1,000 to those affected by what was dubbed by some to be one of the scruffiest scandals in the automotive industry.
According to a report by the Independent, the German automaker is planning to dole out a pre-loaded Visa card with $500, and another cash card worth $500 to be spent on any Volkswagen dealership. The move, which hopes to regain trust and goodwill to its customers and the public, is estimated to cost the company $500 million.
However, some found Volkswagen’s move unappealing. According to Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal, the compensation offered by the automaker giant is “insultingly inadequate.” The senators also challenged the company to buy back the affected cars, and to announce that every owner involved in the emission-rigging scandal should have the right to sue.
In September, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that some Volkswagen units are equipped with a device designed to rig emission tests. The software, which was installed in more than 400,000 diesel-powered, four-cylinder cars, works by switching the engine into a sort of test mode when it sense that the car is being tested for emission. But when on the road, this test mode switches off, resulting to an emission that is up to 40 times higher than what clean air regulation allows.
It has been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc to Louisiana, Florida, and other areas in the southeastern part of the United States. Leaving millions of people homeless and without livelihoods, the hurricane had since been known as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Now, President Obama asserts that the devastation caused by Katrina could have been avoided if not for government failure.
In a visit to New Orleans—the state most hit hard by the disaster—last August 27, the president addressed a small crowd gathered to commemorate the 10th year since the hurricane first struck the area on August 29, 2005. According to a report by NPR’s Scott Neuman, Obama called Katrina a “man-made calamity,” saying that the devastating outcome it left in its wake is as much a result of structural economic inequalities as it was a result of the deadly forces of nature.
“New Orleans had long been plagued by structural inequality that left too many people, especially poor people, especially people of color, without good jobs or affordable health care or decent housing…Too many kids grew up surrounded by violent crime, cycling through substandard schools where few had a shot to break out of poverty,” NPR quotes the president as saying.
In the years since Hurricane Katrina struck the nation, the White House has made plenty of efforts to help affected areas recover from the disaster. Aside from New Orleans and other surrounding areas in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi have all benefited from the billions spent in restoration efforts since Obama first took the presidency in 2009.
In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new regulations to lower emissions from diesel vehicles. This stringent plan to lower emissions was specifically targeting nitrogen oxides, which are harmful greenhouse gasses and contribute to smog among other chemical-induced air pollution. Due to the significant amount of health problems that nitrogen oxides can cause, the EPA has readily constricted the levels of nitrogen oxide pollution allowable.
In a statement, the EPA highlighted the negative health effects of nitrogen oxides: “Exposure to these pollutants has been linked with a range of serious health effects, including increased asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses that can be serious enough to send people to the hospital.” The chemical composition contributed to ground-level ozone and particular matter, both of which have been cited to cause premature death from respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
The U.S. has a long history of problems with diesel vehicles contributing unwanted and rampant pollution throughout its border. The new discovery of Volkswagen selling diesel vehicles that emit 10 to 40 times as many chemicals as the EPA allows is just one of many environmentally hazardous events the U.S. car industry has caused, according to The Driscoll Firm website. With the inception of passenger vehicles, the threat of unregulated, larger diesel vehicles spreading more hazardous emissions was a significant threat to the air quality of major cities. Fortunately, the popularity of diesel fuel was minimal and the incorporation of stricter emissions laws caused diesel vehicles to lose appeal for car manufacturers and purchasers alike.
Many countries have discussed or already instituted bans on diesel vehicles due to the decrease in air quality the cars cause. The French government discussed slowly phasing out diesel vehicles while promoting electric cars since the current ratio of diesel vehicles to non-diesel is 3 to 1. Legislation that effectively limits the use of diesel may be in short order after the fraudulent activities of Volkswagen.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) stated that over 19,300 have been displaced and evacuated following what has been reported to be the most devastating fire in the Western United States this year. Jeremy Brown, Governor of California, declared a state of emergency in the affected areas. Some of the areas that were affected include the western Sierras, Middletown, west of Sacramento, and Lake County.
It has been reported that at least 81 houses and 130 buildings were engulfed in the flames, though Cal Fire has said that affected structures are in the thousands with an estimated 6,400 at least. In the first 12 hours of the flames alone, over 40,000 acres of forest were set ablaze. The long-suffered drought as well as the heat wave that has since carried over from the week prior made the fire more difficult to contain than it already was, according to a spokesman of Cal Fire.
Communities have been leveled to the ground in ash and soot as the fire has lasted well onto Sunday, the 13th of September. In a posts on social media from a certain Laura Streblow (27), an evacuee from Hidden Valley Lake alongside her boyfriend, she says “Middleton is basically gone” as she fled from the flames.