Is It Time to Give Up the Car Keys?

 

It’s a run of the mill weekday afternoon and your retired mother is on the road, running her usual errands. Unfortunately, the car trips are becoming more of an adventure lately; your mother is finding it increasingly difficult to see things as clearly as she once did. After a brief run in the doughnut shop for her usual cup of coffee, she gets back in the car, parked right in front of the store. As she turns the car back on and attempts to put it in gear, the letters representing the different gears appear to be fuzzier than they usually are, and she mistakes the “R” for the “D”. When she hits the accelerator, her car screeches into reverse and crashes through the storefront of the doughnut shop, horrifying the employees and the many patrons of the shop. Sadly, a story not too dissimilar to this one happened to an elderly driver parked in front of a storefront. Many adult children that have witnessed the warning signs that their parents are too old to drive now have to figure out how to approach them about their situation and what alternatives to driving that senior drivers can turn to.

Before you approach your parents with this uncomfortable conversation, you need to determine if the conversation is even needed. There are some warning signs to look for that will let you know whether or not your parents need to consider handing over the car keys to someone else. Does it appear that the simplest of driving activities, like turning the wheel or shifting gears causes your parent significant pain or discomfort? If this is a situation that does not appear to improve in the foreseeable future, it could become very dangerous for your parent and those that share the road with him or her. Much like the scenario above, diminished eyesight is a very real problem for elderly parents that insist they can continue to drive themselves. However, a diminished ability to hear can be just as dangerous. If you have noticed that your parent is having increasing difficulty in deciphering things that are in front of them or picking up on obviously noisy things, it may be time to consider having that conversation. Sometimes a condition or a medication that a parent is taking to mitigate the effects of that condition are impacting their ability to make sound judgments on the road; if this is a problem that is not likely to go away in time, being behind the wheel may no longer be an option for them.

If you have become aware of any of the above indications that your parents may not be able to drive themselves anymore, the time for the uncomfortable conversation about their inability to do so has come. Fortunately, there are some guidelines that you can follow that will make it easier to have that conversation. Rather than dictating that your parent cannot drive anymore due to things that you have noticed while driving with them, pose it to them as a question. See if they have noticed the problems that you have observed. For a conversation like this, you want to ensure that is a block of time where you do not have any pending commitments and you do not feel rushed. Work to understand the impact that giving up driving will mean to your parent; the effect it will have on things like their social life and hobbies they engage in. When having the discussion about your parent giving up driving, it would be best to have some reasonable alternatives to driving in mind when you do. Look into car-pooling services for seniors to see if that would be feasible for their schedule. If your budget or your parent’s budget can allow for it, hire a private driver for him or her; it can help maintain some of the independence that your parent has become accustomed to when they could drive themselves.

Being aware of the signs of a diminished capacity of your parent to drive him or herself is a great first step towards greater road safety for everyone. While telling your parent that it is time to hand over the keys is awkward for them and for you, it’s a conversation that will ultimately put your mind and keep them safe.

Plastic Surgery – To Cut Or Not To Cut

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-1-47-36-pmYou have gone from elementary school through your life in the professional world looking at the handy work of a schoolyard bully; that crooked nose you got in a fight with that bully schoolyard so many years ago. No more. Today is the day your plastic surgeon gets to work on straightening out that nasal eye sore on your face. After a few short hours of surgery, you finally wake up and frantically start to unravel the gauze and bandages covering your face. You reach for the mirror to see an aquiline nose and what you see is something that looks so swollen and big that it looks like you got stung by the world’s largest bee. Worse yet, you can only breathe out of one nostril now. Sadly, stories like this are not too uncommon; a woman from Palm Beach, Florida was awarded damages for a plastic surgery procedure that went horribly wrong. While it is true that there are some risks that patients assume when electing to undergo plastic surgery, the surgeon is not off the hook for liability when things go awry.

The risks you assume when electing to pursue plastic surgery range from general problems to procedure-specific risks. Some of the general risks that can occur are allergic reactions to the anesthesia being used and a condition referred to as necrosis. Necrosis occurs when there is an insufficient supply of oxygen to an area of the body, causing the death of that tissue. Infection, scarring, nerve damage and even death has been known to happen as some of the general risks associated with plastic surgery. Those undergoing liposuction have been known to suffer from fluid loss, swelling, bruises, scars and even a numbing of the skin. Injuries to the nerves that control facial muscles have been common risks associated with face-lifts.

While you, the patient, assume some risks with plastic surgery, the risk sharing is not a one-sided affair. Plastic surgeons are medical professionals and are typically held to a higher standard of care than the average person. Typically, if there has been some kind of procedural error or there was some kind of inexperience or lack of skill on the part of the surgeon, there could possibly be a case for malpractice. Such procedural errors can be a mistake that leads to an infection after the surgery, an incorrect dosage or usage of drugs, or problems that arise from the use of anesthesia. If a plastic surgeon goes through with a procedure without obtaining the informed consent of the patient, they do so at their own risk. Physicians and surgeons, including plastic surgeons, are obliged to go over the risks and benefits of any kind of treatment or surgical procedure so that you may give informed consent, when asked to perform the treatment or surgery.

While the risks of plastic surgery are not a one way street, it never hurts to go over a cost-benefit analysis to see if the reward is worth the trouble you may encounter with cosmetic surgery. If you feel that there has been a serious problem that has occurred as a result of a botched plastic surgery procedure, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to see if we can be of help to you.

Is Your Doctor Giving You a Straight Diagnosis?

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These are seven words you never want to have enter your head when you or a loved one finds themselves in the hospital. Imagine if you have stomach cramps and you go to see your doctor to find out what is going on. Your doctor examines you and tells you that is just gas and to lay off the spicy foods for a while. You do exactly what the doctor orders you to do, but your stomach pain steadily becomes more excruciating. This increasing pain prompts you to get a second opinion from another doctor; the other doctor performs their examination and immediately admits you for a tumor removal. You’re probably saying to yourself, “How often does something like this actually happen?” Sadly, more often than you might think. A survey conducted by a respected journal in the medical field states that over half of the physicians surveyed said they often or sometimes describe a patient’s diagnosis in a way that does not give them the full picture of their circumstances. In a situation like this, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are some things at the beginning of your doctor-patient relationship that can mitigate the chances of not getting a straight diagnosis from your doctor. It is also important to know what your legal options are if it does happen and serious harm comes about because of it.

It goes without saying that trust is a two-way street; while the focus of the link here is about patients lying to doctors, the suggestions they provide for establishing that trust are, without a doubt, very helpful. Finding a way to establish a personal connection between yourself and your doctor will go a long ways towards building that trust. A good way to establish that personal connection with your physician is ask about the hobbies he or she might be engaged in, where they are from, or disclose something about yourself that you would not ordinarily share with an acquaintance. This is a general rule of anybody in any profession; people like talking about themselves. Do not be afraid to ask the doctor about his or her job and what it is like. You might be doing the doctor a favor by letting him or her vent about some things that bug them about their day-to-day routine; can’t hurt in the rapport building arena.

If you have successfully broken the ice with your physician, you should feel comfortable addressing more serious issues; one of those issues being how you want serious diagnoses to be addressed to you. A New York Times article touched on some approaches towards establishing that dialogue. The article strongly suggests that you talk to your physician about how you want serious diagnoses delivered to you before these difficult issues rear their heads. Ask yourself if you want your doctor to give your prognosis straight to you or if you would prefer the family handle the straight talk about your condition.

Unfortunately, if you or a loved one made a decision about their treatment based on less than accurate information from the physician, you are not without options. You and your loved one have the right to informed consent when deciding on any medical treatment. If you feel that the physician has not been forthcoming with information pertaining to a diagnosis, there are four elements of informed consent that your attorney can analyze to determine whether or not you have a case:

Your attorney will need to determine if the doctor provided a complete diagnosis of your condition;

  • Did the physician discuss the purpose and process of any proposed treatments, including alternative measures;
  • Did the physician review the benefits and risks of each treatment; and
  • Did the physician review the benefits and risks of not getting treatment?
  • If these four elements are met, based on the circumstances, you and your family may have a case for a proof-of-fault claim in a medical malpractice suit.

Taking some time to establishing those lines of communication and understanding your options is a prescription that everyone could benefit from. If you or a loved one suspect that you made a medical decision based on faulty information from your doctor, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova so we can determine if there is anything that can be done to help you and your family.

When Used Car Lots Give You Lemons

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The time has finally come to retire your current set of wheels and find another trusted four-wheeled vehicle to get you from point A to point B. You’re a frugal shopper who realizes how much the value of a new car plummets once you drive it off the lot; being the bargain hunter you are, you venture over to the used car lot. After looking and kicking a few tires, you find a 3-year-old luxury car that has a price that is too good to pass up. You haggle with the salesperson over price and finally come to terms on a deal that allows you to drive your bargain treasure home. Unfortunately, just as you drive off the lot, thick white smoke bellows from underneath the hood and the wheels come clean off your discount luxury treasure. While this story is a bit of an exaggeration, it is sadly not too far from other horror stories involving used cars that have been bought by other people. While it is true that purchasing a used car is a risk-reward proposition, by taking a few simple steps, you can help make that proposition more reward and less risk.

Every vehicle in a used car lot has a story to tell and knowing that history can help you determine if there is actual value in that supposed bargain. The first step towards getting that vehicle’s story is getting its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). A VIN is a 17 digit number that can be found in one of three typical places:

-The top of the instrument panel of the vehicle;

-The base of the windshield; or

-On a sticker placed on the driver’s side pillar of the vehicle.

As a precaution, check the VIN number in all three of these locations; if any of the numbers are different, then that vehicle very likely isn’t what the dealership says it is. Having the valid VIN number allows you to obtain information on any accidents it may have been involved in, any problems the vehicle has had, and possible odometer discrepancies. For added research, see if the vehicle model’s history speaks to any recalls that took place.

While you’re on the lot, don’t be afraid to see if the vehicle passes a visual inspection test, regardless of any flack you get from a car dealer. One of the first things on the vehicle to inspect can be the tires. When taking a closer look at the tires you should be on the lookout for uneven wear, even signs of balding on the sides or the middle of the tires. A trick you can do to determine if the vehicle has been involved in any collisions, involves the use of a small magnet on your refrigerator. If you place the magnet on any of the body panels and it does not stay, chances are there is plastic body filler behind the panel, indicating that the vehicle has been involved in a collision. Used vehicles have also been known to have suffered water damage. One way to determine if the vehicle was involved in a flood is to feel around the top of the gas tank underneath the vehicle to see if there is any mud or leaves. When conducting the test drive of the vehicle, it’s advisable to have a checklist of things to be watching for. Is the engine making noises that do not seem normal to you? Do the usual lights illuminate the dashboard that are supposed to when you start up the vehicle (i.e. “check engine”, “ABS”, etc.)? Does the car pull to the left or right when applying the brakes? These are a few things to be mindful of throughout your test drive.

As you wrap up your used car shopping experience, there are a few more steps to take after you bring it home. If after the visual inspection of the vehicle and the test drive you still feel uneasy about your prospective purchase, have your mechanic give the vehicle a closer look. Verify that the title for the vehicle exists; contact the department of motor vehicles in your area to determine what is needed to get the vehicle titled to you. Finally, have the terms of the vehicle purchase presented for you to review; have a clear understanding of the stated condition of the vehicle and how it is to be delivered to you.

While purchasing a vehicle can be a bit of a hassle, following these tips should hopefully make the fruits of your next excursion to the used car lot a productive one. If you suspect that you were sold a vehicle with major defects that have caused some kind of damage to you or your loved ones, please reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to determine if anything can be done for you.

How to Avoid Toy Mishaps

So it’s another weekday afternoon and your child is watching her favorite cartoon. During a commercial break, they show an advertisement for a zip line, just in time for Christmas. Your child proclaims, “I want it!” Christmas Day comes and one of the presents she unwraps is that very zip line toy-storeshe saw on TV. Once it’s set up, she takes her maiden voyage on the zip line from the roof to the fence of her yard. Before you know it, the line collapses a third of the way into her journey, causing her to fall to the ground and break her arm. Unfortunately, this scenario is not too far from reality; something similar happened to a zip line purchaser in Louisiana. There are steps that can be taken to prevent new toy mishaps from ruining Christmas.

If the child you are buying for doesn’t have a wish list and you are trying to figure out what to get him or her, there are some simple guidelines to adhere to in your gift shopping. One thing to keep in mind is the age of the child you are buying a toy or gift for. See if there are instructions on the packaging that speak to proper use of the item; based on the age of the child, the instructions should tell you if the item is age appropriate for them or not. While on the topic of age appropriateness, if the child you are buying for is under 8 years of age, try to stay away from toys or items that have parts that could break off or have points and edges that are sharp. It is also best to steer clear of any toys or items that have small parts that could become lodged inside a child’s throat; these are items that typically have warning labels or suggested age listings on the packaging.

When you’re at the store attempting to fulfill some of the items on your children’s wish list, there are some basics to follow to make sure that dream item doesn’t turn into a nightmare. If anything with wheels is on your child’s wish list, like bicycles, hoverboards, skateboards or scooters and they don’t already have a helmet, make sure you get one to go along with their wheeled gift. If a toy is an electronic gadget, something to be wary of are the batteries that power the device; the batteries tend to be small in size. If you can find a suitable alternative that doesn’t require “button” batteries, all the better. If you can’t, try to take some steps to ensure that the batteries are not easily accessible or draw their attention away from the area where the batteries are placed. Based on the age of your child, there are some toys that you should refuse to buy for them. Such toys would be a projectile, like a rocket or fires off a projectile, and a BB gun; these should only be purchased if you feel they will handle the item appropriately.

It turns out there are counterfeit toys that appear to be legit when you initially see them. The hot toys are typically the ones that get counterfeited the most. Two of the reasons counterfeit toys give rise for concern are the lack of quality in the product and the safety dangers they pose. Customs officers spotted a mini-ATV vehicle that did not have a required emissions system, and they also found a mini-car where the hubcaps came off the wheels rather easily. To help gift buyers from sinking money into these phony products, customs officers urge shoppers to only buy from reputable merchants and to pay attention to the price that is given versus the going retail price for that toy.

By adhering to some of these guidelines, you will go a long ways towards keeping those holiday smiles from sinking into frowns grimaces because of your gift. If you feel that you or a loved one was seriously hurt from a toy or other item that was given to you as a gift, feel free to reach out the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to see if there is anything that can be done to help.