Posted On: February 25, 2010

Maryland Doctor Heads Panel to Lower Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevent Cancer Deaths

A doctor from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland is leading a national panel examining ways to increase screenings and prevent colon and rectal cancer deaths.

Though colorectal cancers are the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States (lung cancer is no. 1), barriers to getting life-saving screening tests remain. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a panel earlier this month chaired by Dr. Donald Steinwachs, a Johns Hopkins University professor and head of the Health Services Research and Development Center.

Dr. Steinwachs is quoted in an NCI press release as saying that some people find tests such as colonoscopy "...to be unpleasant and time-consuming. However, we also know that recommended screening strategies reduce colorectal cancer deaths." The panel convened earlier in February to discuss ways to eliminate the main barriers to getting screened for colon and rectal cancers -- namely health insurance obstacles, having to pay for tests out of pocket, and not having a regular health care provider.

A case of cancer misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose cancer, or late cancer diagnosis in Maryland may be proven if the physician ignores or fails to order tests for troubling symptoms presented by the patient, or attributes them to some other benign condition. The NCI reports that although colorectal screenings have increased in the U.S. population for people over age 50 -- from a rate of 20 to 30% in 1997 to nearly 55% in 2008 -- that we still have a long ways to go to save more lives. Colon and rectal cancers can be treated successfully when caught in the early stages or pre-cancer stages.

Baltimore County injury lawyers with knowledge about cancer misdiagnosis and medical malpractice cases in Maryland will advise patients on steps they need to take if they think a doctor's negligence led to a failure to treat or late treatment of their cancer.

Panel Calls for Reducing Colorectal Cancer Deaths by Striking Down Barriers to Screening
National Cancer Institute, Press Release Feb. 4, 2010

Related Web Resources

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health: Health Services Research and Development Center

Katie Couric Speaks: A Personal Tragedy Sparks a Public Campaign to Prevent Colon Cancer

Posted On: February 11, 2010

Maryland Driving Woes: Toyota and Honda Recalls Cause Anxiety and Anger (on Top of the Blasted Snow)

It's been a rough winter for drivers in Baltimore, Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. First, we've been pummeled with the heaviest snowfall and fiercest winter storms on record. We've endured driving bans; public transit shutdowns; airport, school and government office closures; and of course, runs on supermarket staples and shovels. The Baltimore Sun reports we are up to 79 inches of snowfall this winter; that's on par with the average height of an NBA player (Source: NBA.com 2007-08 Player Survey: Height).

Emergency crews are struggling to clear Maryland highways and streets as Mother Nature keeps dumping more snow on us. The good news, according to state officials, is that Maryland drivers have heeded the warnings and stayed off the roads, resulting in no auto accident fatalities during the latest storms (as of Feb. 10). As if multiple blizzards haven't caused enough peril and stress on Baltimore County roads and area highways, Maryland drivers are also dealing with large-scale auto safety recalls.

Earlier this year, Toyota recalled millions of vehicles with serious gas pedal problems. Initially, the problem was thought to be caused by floor mats ensnaring the accelerator pedals. (A highly publicized case in California resulted in the motor vehicle deaths of several people, when the driver of a Lexus was unable to slow down the car, which accelerated to speeds in excess of 100 mph before crashing.) Later, Toyota stated a problem may exist in the accelerator itself of certain vehicles; consumers reported the gas pedal was slow to rise when they removed their foot from the pedal.

Last week Toyota announced a recall of its popular hybrid models, including the Prius, due to concerns that the brakes might not engage properly when going over rough roads. Honda also cruised into the headlines, recalling vehicles with air bags that could deploy with too much force and rupture, causing serious personal injury to motorists or even death.

If you don't drive a Toyota or Honda affected by the safety recalls, you may be grateful. But know this: There are hundreds of auto-related recalls that don't ever make the news. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to search a database to see if your vehicle appears on any recall lists. Whatever make or model of car, truck, or SUV you drive, drive it safely out there. Winter isn't done with us yet.

Stern O'Malley defends storm response, warns roads will remain 'perilous'
The Baltimore Sun Feb. 11, 2010

Runaway Toyotas
ABCNews.com (Special Section)

Honda Recalls 437,000 More Cars Over Airbags
Associated Press, FoxNews.com Feb. 9, 2010

New details in crash that prompted Toyota recall
LATimes.com Oct. 25, 2009

Related Web Resources

Maryland Department of Transportation -- Winter Storm Information

Toyota.com: Recall Information

Honda.com: Press Release on Recalls

Posted On: February 5, 2010

Maryland Governor Aims to Curb Drunk Driving Traffic Accidents and Deaths

Maryland traffic accident deaths have been on the decline in recent years -- down to a five-year low of 591 fatalities in 2008, as compared to 643 deaths in 2004. Deaths due to drunk-driving are also down -- 152 deaths in 2008 compared to 211 deaths in 2004. (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2004-2008.) That's encouraging news for those of us who get in our cars, trucks, or SUVs every day and venture out on Maryland's streets and highways. But it's little consolation if you're among the people who lost their lives -- or the grieving families and friends they left behind.

In an effort to keep the numbers of Maryland drunk driving car accidents and fatalities going down, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has ordered a task force to organize and create a new state driving safety initiative. The Maryland Alcohol Safety Action Program (MASAP) hopes to reduce the number of repeat drunk-driving offenders by tracking those dangerous problem drivers "from the point of arrest, through adjudication, completion of treatment and beyond."

Baltimore, Maryland wrongful death lawyers know the carnage that can result when alcohol-impaired drivers get behind the wheel. Sometimes it seems the only thing that stops chronic repeat drunk-driving offenders is when their recklessness finally takes a life and they're convicted of vehicular homicide. We've all heard those sad, maddening news stories about some innocent person who lost their life because a repeat drunk-driving offender took to the road again under the influence -- despite multiple DUI citations.

The creation of Governor O'Malley's new program to follow repeat DUI offenders was recommended by the Task Force to Combat Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol, which worked to strengthen Maryland's DUI laws and programs in 2007-2008. His executive order follows a memorial ceremony held this past December, to remember the victims whose lives were senselessly cut short on Maryland's roadways due to alcohol related traffic accidents.

Maryland Forms New Alcohol Safety Action Program
Governors Highway Safety Association newsletter
Directions in Highway Safety, Winter 2010, Vol. 12, No. 3

MARYLAND REMEMBERS DUI VICTIMS AND FIGHTS BACK
Maryland Department of Transportation press release, Dec. 9, 2009

Related Web Resources

TASK FORCE TO COMBAT DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS & ALCOHOL
Maryland State Archives, Dec. 16, 2009

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)