Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Don’t Just Affect Doctors

in News , by Jeff Nelson

The legal concept of medical malpractice lawsuits isn’t just limited to the conduct of doctors, but applies also to nurse practitioners, physical therapists, surgical tech’s, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, just about anybody that provides health care services. When it comes to medical malpractice actions, hospitals can be held liable for both their own negligence and that of their employees.

A hospital’s medical personnel consists of licensed physicians, physician’s assistants and many other health care providers and when the hospital hires them they are expected to make inquiries into the applicant’s education, training, experience and licensing. If a hospital neglects to make acceptable inquiries they can in many cases be held liable for negligent retention or supervision if the employee’s culpable care causes injury to a patient.

When it comes to a nurse practitioner’s malpractice suit a good example would be the story of a woman who received prenatal care from a nurse practitioner at a health care clinic who ended up giving birth to a child that had macrosomia (associated with birth trauma) causing the child to sustain a brachial plexus injury, a clawed hand and right arm palsy during treatment. In this case both the doctor and nurse practitioner were found liable.

Many people assume that it is typically hospitals or surgeons that need medical malpractice insurance and while that is certainly true when it comes to highly specialized surgeons and hospitals need it, there are several others who need protection as well against malpractice lawsuits. Whether they’re surgeons with a number of advanced degrees in a metropolitan city, nurse practitioners, or surgical tech’s and physical therapists in a small town, having sufficient level medical malpractice insurance is the only way to protect themselves from a financial catastrophe in the event that they get sued. Any type of healthcare facility should have group malpractice insurance.

Every physician is responsible for their own negligence, so even if they’re protected under an umbrella malpractice insurance policy that insures their employer, they can still be held responsible for any negligence that was a direct result of their personal actions. In addition, the doctor might have to compensate their employer if the employer’s insurance ends up having to pay a claim. There’s also always a change that the employer might try to divide the case against the practice from that of the doctors, leaving the doctor to defend themselves through their personal medical malpractice insurance.

The American Medical Association has estimated that by 2025, there will be a deficiency of as many as 40,000 primary care physicians and other’s are saying that it could quadruple by 2015. Expected shortages are said to affect specialty physicians in sectors that include emergency medicine, cardiology, oncology and more. While there are several factors that will bring this about, the increase in medical malpractice lawsuits over the last few years plays a big part in it. Because of the shortage and ever changing medical staffing issues, having good medical malpractice insurance coverage is even more important.


Are Paralegal Jobs Really Disappearing, The Machines Are Taking Over

in Editorial , by Jeff Nelson

There is little question that it’s getting easier to become certified as a paralegal, but the demand for this particular job which once appeared so promising just a couple of years ago now may be all a mirage. Given the new demands on the legal system and recent recommendations by the American Bar Association, it had appeared that paralegals would enjoy a substantial rise in terms of employment expectations. But a new factor has appeared which may change all that forever.

Why Paralegal Jobs are Disappearing

In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a growth rate of 18% through 2020, but according to a recent article in the Associated Press, much of that work is now being performed by technology. This is because new software systems are now doing much of the work that paralegals used to do. According to the Estrin Report, a blog that has offered advice and suggestions for what paralegals should do.

Today, it is recommended that those entering the field as paralegals become technically savvy and specialize in keeping  up with computer and software trends. The more a paralegal can stay ahead of the latest trends in technology, the more they can help secure their future.

There is little doubt that new software systems will continue to take over more of the duties that paralegals once held.

The Future of Paralegals

While paralegals might not quite be going the way of the dinosaur, they may find their job prospects significantly diminished in terms of the breadth of areas in which they were once employed. Law firms remain the biggest hiring agencies of paralegals, but the combination of sluggish economic times and new technology has led to more attorneys doing the work themselves and saving money on paying paralegal salaries.

However, corporations may be a bigger source for paralegals to become employed since many of these larger companies are dumping their lawyers and hiring more paralegals to do the research necessary to have them following the law. Here, paralegals may enjoy having more opportunities in these areas.

The Advancement of Technology

Much as the auto industry adapted to robot to assemble automobiles, so are law firms adapting to new advances in software to save them time, effort and energy in performing tasks that were once the domain of paralegals.

Today, with all the paralegals getting certified online, only the exceptional ones who have embraced the advancement of technology will survive in the long run. Paralegal certification NYC and other places have truly expanded the means by which virtually anyone can gain this type of employment. But to stay relevant, paralegals must not only embrace new software systems, but also be willing to change jobs and find the one that will remain relevant the longest.

Litigation Support

One field that will have a desperate need for paralegals is litigation support, an area where familiarity with the law, the ability to research and the use of the latest technology will be needed. Currently a shortage of professionals has made this field quite attractive for paralegals with a salary that certainly exceeds the average of $46,000 per year.

The future for paralegals may not be as bright as expected, but there will still be opportunities for those who excel in the technology field.


A Look Back At the Aztecs: Who Were They?

in History , by Jeff Nelson

One common question asked about the Aztecs is, “Where did the Aztecs live?” The below post helps explain this as well as give some additional information on the Aztec people.

The great Aztec empire reigned across what is considered Mexico today from around 1250 AD until the 15th century. The capital of the Aztec empire was called Tenochtitlan and according to, this city which was founded in 1325 sat on the land known today as Mexico City (Published in an article on facts about Mexico).

Around 1519, upon the arrival of the Spanish, it was believed that the Aztec population was around one million inhabitants with approximately 100,000 – 200,000 living in the capital city, Tenochtitlan alone. The Aztec population consisted primarily of an alliance between the seven Chichimec tribes that all spoke the official state language of Nahuatl.

The Aztec word for deity is teotl. They were believed to worship many gods. These gods were separated into three groups: celestial beings, rain and agriculture gods, and gods of war and sacrifice. The Aztecs had a very complex religious structure through which ritual sacrifices held a large part in their attempts to communicate with their gods.

In addition to having a complex religious structure, when the Spanish arrived, they found these people to have a very sophisticated social, economic and physical infrastructure. The Aztec people were stratified into three primary groups: nobles, commoners and slaves.

Male polygamy was allowed, provided each man only takes as many wives as he could afford. Each city-state had a ruler and the empire as a whole contained a king (elected by nobles) and a prime minister (religious leader). The society consisted of skilled architects and artisans.

Throughout the Aztec empire and especially in the capital city of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish found raised, paved roads, bridges, and water aqueducts to control the water flow and separate fresh from salt water. The Aztec economy was a large market system with an exchange system based on agricultural production and tribute payment.

The most notable crops of Aztec people were maize, beans, salvia, squash, tomatoes, cacao beans and avocados. As an imperialist society, Aztecs would conquer surrounding peoples, replace their leaders with an Aztec leader and then collect tribute payments. With a very highly skilled military force Aztecs conquered most of what is considered Mexico today with weapons made of stone, wood and obsidian.

Cortes and the Spanish were believed to arrive around 1519. The downfall of the Aztec empire took a few years with the arrival of foreign germs and disease. It was completed through the destruction of the Aztec hierarchy assisted by long-time enemies of the Aztecs, Tiaxcala and the Spanish conquistadors.


Where Is the Rainforest: Breakdown by Country

in News , by Jeff Nelson

Rainforests are amazing, yet they cover only 6% of the earth’s surface and over half the species of plants and animals of the world live there. They are located in Central America including Costa Rica, The Amazon in Brazil, Africa, Southern Asia and Australsia (the term for Australia, New Zealand and the island of New Guinea combined).

Costa Rica holds 5% of the world’s biodiversity.  Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, is diversity or variety of plants and animals and other living things in a particular region. The father of biodiversity, Edward O. Wilson wrote “It is reckless to suppose that biodiversity can be diminished indefinitely without threatening humanity itself.” This statement came from his book The Diversity of Life.

Back to Costa Rica in Central America! Large areas have been cleared for cattle ranching and sugar cane plantations. This area is famous for its many kinds of tropical birds including many kinds of parrots. This tiny country is the habitat of over 10,000 plants. Costa Rica’s forests are made up of the rainforests, cloud forests and topical dry forests.

About 60% of the Amazon rainforest and 25% of the world’s rainforests are located in Brazil. One third of all animal species live in the Amazon rainforest. Brazil has the largest rainforest covering almost 2 million square miles! There is a huge amount of oxygen produced by this rainforest after it consumes carbon dioxide, which is a good thing. It has been called the ‘lungs of the world’.

Central Africa has the world’s second largest rainforest. Located in the southeast, the large island of Madagascar was once heavily forested but now much of it is gone.  Reasons given for destruction of the forests here and also in Brazil are: agriculture, urbanization, infrastructure and logging. As people move in and make ‘improvements’, valuable rainforests with biodiversity are sacrificed.

It is estimated that if deforestation continues at its current rate, the entire Amazon Rainforest will be gone by the end of 21st century. That is just unacceptable. Brazil’s rainforest yields many common fruits such as coconuts, lemons, grapefruits and bananas along with those that are not as common such as figs, guavas and mangos. Spices such as black pepper, cayenne pepper, chocolate and cloves also come from the rainforest along with many other edible treats such as different varieties of nuts.

Southern Asia rainforests stretch from India and Burma in the western part to Malaysia in the east. Bangladesh has the largest area of mangrove forests in the world. A mangrove forest is a swampy area, an intersection of land and sea, which protects the coasts from erosion with its massive root system. The climate here is hot and humid all year around.

How special is the rainforest? I think we have seen that it is necessary not only to support a vast variety of plants and animals, but it is also essential to supply the world with much need oxygen. Let’s support our rainforests today!


The Best Lies Told By Law Schools

in Uncategorized , by Jeff Nelson

staircase-flickr-grafikspamDon’t a ‘lie’ and ‘law school’ sound like an oxymoron? Who, of all people should be most honest? Lawyers, of course, and the schools that train them should not be tainted with lying. Why then, are there multiple blogs that encourage ‘would be’ students to not go to law school, telling them to run to any other profession if they want to be healthy and happy in life?

When high school students are looking at career fields, they generally look to careers that a close family member has or a career that sounds fun and exciting or a career that makes a lot of money. This last category has the job of ‘lawyer’ in it. Law schools are a business and they will draw young adults in however they can to support the school, pay the tuition that pays the professors and pays for a lot of other things for the University. But would they lie?

Law schools boast of high placement records and tell applicants they will be drowning in job opportunities when they graduate. They don’t talk about all of the lawyers who end up taking positions that are not in law firms but are in the oil field firms as ‘land men’ or in firms that search through old abstracts looking for mineral titles or even those that become history teachers. Why? There are not enough jobs out there for the thousands of graduates each year. The entry level positions can be more like law clerks, usually, and after graduates spend the time and money for the advance degree, they are not that excited about doing law clerking work.

Another bragging right is advertising average salaries a young lawyer will make coming out of law school.  If they are fortunate or blessed to be in a real law firm and allowed to work as a real lawyer, their bank accounts will have large deposits. The rest of the story is that their student loan debt could be over $200,000 with monthly payments quite high also.

Another lie is selling the idea that the years spent in law school will be the best years of their life. No doubt, there are many fun times with frat parties and the prestige of telling friends and family that one day, they will be a lawyer. However, it is tough just to make it into law school and the competition is fierce among classmates. GPAs need to be kept high as the higher the GPA, the better the placement will be for internships.

Certainly, it is an intellectually stimulating arena of study.  But with the federal and state laws dictating processes and procedures, one could think that law schools are simply putting out drones.

Do law schools lie?  There is certainly some half truths and ‘selling’ going on that involves rose colored glasses and hopeful statements. One needs to carefully look into the school with a critical eye and decide the amount of time and effort one wishes to expend in blood and treasure. Remember, there is a sucker born every minute!

Featured pic from here:


Are Teacher’s Benefits Over The Top? Medical, Dental, Or Retirement

in Editorial , by Jeff Nelson

nurses pluralWith a starting salary of $45,000 and earning up to $100,000 per year plus pension, vacation time, and great health care sounds like being a teacher for the state of New York is a great ride. Being a teacher is a noble profession that’s sometimes thankless. That’s why many watched the 2012 Chicago teacher strike so closely. Teachers seem to get a lot of perks so why should they balk at having their salaries tied to student performance? It turns out there’s more to the story than just benefits.

What the Strike Was about

There was a lot of talk and demonizing about why teachers left 350,000 students in the lurch for over a week when they had such great paying jobs and benefits. But when you look at some of the details, it’s not hard to imagine why they would take to the streets after 25 years of relative peace:

  • Longer School Days – Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed a longer school day but not a rise in salary. The teachers wanted a step increase over certain years as well as a raise during the first year of a new contract
  • Better Working Conditions – The cap of over 30 students per teacher is a cap that was always exceeded. There were also plans to close 100 schools, which would make the problem worse since some of the classrooms have no air conditioning.
  • Teacher Recalls – The teachers union wanted a way to recall teachers that had been laid off should new job opening arise so they could apply for new jobs or accept a 3-month severance.

In the end, the strike ended when both sides agreed on several points including having their pay raises partially tied to student performance, laid off teachers getting priority for new positions and pay raises.

Relevancy of Unions

Unions have been a part of American society for decades but many are wondering if they still have a place especially in a down economy where everyone has to face and deal with the same socioeconomic challenges. For public servants who are fighting for a cause that includes better working conditions and fair compensation, that kind of collective bargaining power can be a force for good.

But there are times when strong arm union tactics and blatant bullying for going against the grain get to be too much; the group think dynamic can be just as powerful when turned against its own.

The truth is somewhere in the middle because for teachers, it’s more than just about medical, dental and great vacation time. Many teachers go above and beyond for their students and deserve to have someone stand up for them when things get rough. The problem is that the message can get lost in the fist of the messenger and that’s where friction can make things worse.

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James Cameron Breaks Dive Record, Explores the Unknown

in News , by Jeff Nelson
Submarine. Photo credit here.

Submarine. Photo credit here.

You have likely heard of James Cameron.  Mr. Cameron was born in 1954 in Canada and now resides in Malibu, California.  He has been a filmmaker since 1984 and has hits such as Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic and Avatar to just name a few films.  He also does documentaries for National Geographic.  Whatever he does, he does BIG!  Another love for him is deep sea diving.  His latest feat was to make an unprecedented solo dive of almost 7 miles to the bottom of the ocean floor.

This took 7 years of careful planning.  He knew that if he didn’t plan well, he would lose his life.   Dangers included loss of oxygen from various malfunctions or collapse of the submarine due to the pressure.  The descent itself was very dangerous with the submarine keeping the pressure inside the vessel at safe levels even with the rapidly changing levels outside the submarine.

He traveled to the bottom of the deepest darkest part of the ocean floor called the Mariana Trench.  He has been the only person to make a solo descent and only one of three to have ever gone down to that depth.  It was a 3 hour descent and the water pressure was at 16,000 PSI.  The submarine he was in, of course, was made to handle such pressure.  Mechanical engineers specialize in this type of ‘vehicle’.

Wikipedia describes mechanical engineering as engineering that applies the principles of engineering, physics and material science for analysis, design, manufacturing and maintenance of mechanical systems.   This submarine was created by guys who most likely went to the ‘top tier’ institutions.  He was able to see what was going on from LED lights.  Cameras caught it all on film.  There is speculation that this footage may appear in an upcoming film!

At the bottom of the ocean, Mr. Cameron describes what he saw using words like desolate and lunar saying it looked like another planet – one that he could go to and back in one day.  The animal life has adapted to this extreme pressure and total darkness.  The marine life is described as being usually white with no pigment.  Some of them have eyes and some do not.   Marine biologists were very interested in his deep sea dive as they study organisms in the ocean or other brackish (water that is more salty than fresh water but less than sea water) bodies of water.

They classify species based on environment rather than taxonomy (defining groups of organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and naming them).  It is interesting how it took mechanical engineers, and a lot of courage and ambition from Mr. Cameron, to give valuable and never before seen footage to marine biologists and the universities that support them.

Marine biologists study for years yet rarely even the big wigs at the prestigious universities get to study things directly reported from these depths.  The dream of James Cameron met the dreams of marine biologists.  Experts in mechanical engineering enabled a Malibu filmmaker to get footage for experts in marine biology.   How cool is that!


New Tech: Distracted Driving Almost Defeated

in News , by Jeff Nelson
Teen On Cell Phone. Photo credit here.

Teen On Cell Phone. Photo credit here.

Distracted driving is a real problem.  As numerous lawmakers struggle to pass laws to minimize the distraction posed by smartphones within the car, they cannot totally remove the distractions factor.  There are just too many things that can result in the distraction of the driver.

Now, thanks to a collaboration between Emotive and the Royal Automobile Club of Australia, the problem of distracted driving may be on its way out: at least in theory.

Enter the Epoch Headset

The Epoch headset, designed by Emotive is basically a wireless controller that reads and responds to your brain’s neurological signals.  In other words, it reads your thoughts, or at least the brain waves generated by your thoughts.

The Epoch looks a little bit like you might expect a mind-reading headset to look like.  There are 14 sensors and two references that allow the software to detect thoughts, emotions and expressions via brain wave.  It was originally designed for use in computer and video game integration and is fully compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems.

So, how does it help with the problem of distracted driving?

The Attention Powered Car

The Royal Automotive Club of Australia and Emotive have teemed up to create the Attention Powered Car.  This car utilizes the Epoch headset to effectively monitor how often you are “switching gears” mentally.  The concept is that the brain can only effectively handle one focus at a time.  When you multitask, you are effectively switching gears between one focus and another very rapidly.  This lead to distraction, because your focus is diverted from driving, if only for a second.  When you are travelling at 60mph or greater, as second is all it takes for an accident to occur.

The idea behind the car is that when you are distracted, the car automatically slows down to what it considers a safe speed for your level of distraction.

Ready for Prime Time?

The answer is most definitely no. Developers recognize that they are a long way from where they want to be, but it is a step in the right direction.

For one thing, there is the design factor.  For one thing, there is no way that the masses are going to wear this futuristic headset en mass as they drive.  Perhaps the better solutions will be presented, and the developers will be looking to tap into schools where students learn to design in an effort to attract the best and brightest talent to their team.

A Future Without Distraction

Drivers will always be dealing with distractions. That is why the goal in recent years has been to move toward more technology driven cars.  The folk at Emotive, with their background in fashion have been working hard to come up with technology that is wearable, and fashionable.

Ultimately, though not ready for today, the concept is sound, and we can look forward to a future in which distracted driving will be a thing of the past.  Machines are less likely to get distracted, and as we move to computer navigation, the concern over human error will grow much smaller.  Who knows how many lives could be saved through this awesome new technology.


Will The ACA Help The Medical Profession?

in News , by Jeff Nelson
Medical Professionals Waiting In A Hall

Medical Professionals Waiting In A Hall

Ranked in 2013 as one of the best healthcare jobs to have, a career in pharmacy can be a saving grace especially if the economy continues to be challenging in the years to come. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for pharmacists is projected to grow faster than average and with the right certification pharmacists can expect to earn more than $100,000 per year.

Types of Pharmacists

There are many career paths to choose from as a pharmacist. First, you can be a retail pharmacist, which is the type of pharmacist you see when you go into certain stores. While the pay is great, retail hours tend to be challenging especially if you’re working for a store that’s open 24 hours a day. Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals and work rounds with doctors to help determine which medications would be most effective.

Long-term care pharmacists provide ongoing care for the elderly and disabled; they have no direct interactions with patients and are sometimes called “closed door pharmacists.” Other positions include corporate and pharmaceutical benefits management who negotiate between pharmaceutical and insurance companies, those who specialize in chemotherapy and even medical research options as well. Either way, pharmacists need to have a lot of training at the right place to be competent.

The Affordable Care Act

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists published a document calling on pharmacy professionals to be ready to help patients get the medications they need. Pharmacy professionals have been working on a new patient care models designed to offer quality medication care to patients in order to meet the anticipated increase in care that will take full effect in 2014. Everyone in the pharmacy sector thinks the job outlook for pharmacists looks good, if not great and will be looking to the top colleges to meet the need.

The University of Arizona was ranked one of the top colleges in Arizona for Phar.D., Doctor of Pharmacy. Students looking to join the Pharmacy program need at least 70 prepharmacy credits, including chemistry, biology, microbiology as well as at least 50 hours of work or volunteer experience. In addition to other requirements, they also need to take the PCAT, the Pharmacy College Admission Test. For a list of the top pharmacy schools in the U.S., check out the U.S. News 2013 list.

With the ACA mixing up the insurance and health care markets, many questions are left unanswered. Will nurses wages go down from their currently comfortable level or will they go up due to increased workload? Will doctors be short and nurse practitioners or physicians assistants have to bare the brunt of the new workload? These questions will need answering, but unfortunately, only time will do that.