Study links trauma deaths, lack of insurance

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Patients who lack health insurance are more likely to die from car wrecks and other traumatic injuries than people who belong to a health plan, even though emergency rooms are required to care for all patients. regardless of ability to pay, according to a study to be published today.

An analysis of 687,091 patients who visited trauma centers nationwide between 2002 and 2006 found that the odds of dying after an accidental injury were nearly twice as high for the uninsured than for patients with private insurance, researchers reported in Archives of Surgery.

Trauma physicians said they were surprised by the findings, even though a slew of studies had previously documented the ill effects of going without health coverage. Uninsured patients are less likely to be screened for certain cancers or be admitted to specialty hospitals for procedures such as heart bypass surgery.

They also often wait longer to see doctors in ERs.

And patients without insurance may have higher rates of untreated underlying conditions that make it harder to recover from trauma injuries, the research team from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said. They also may be more passive with doctors and nurses because they don’t interact with them as often.

Overall, about 18,000 deaths each year have been traced to a lack of health insurance.

Camp owner indicted in wreck

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Lynda Mescher, the owner of a Spicewood horse camp, was indicted by a Burnet County grand jury Tuesday on manslaughter and injury to a child charges in connection with a January incident in which a pickup she was driving rolled over and killed an 11-year-old-girl.

Mescher, 47, was carrying Brianna Plehn of Briarcliff along with five other children in the bed of her pickup when it rolled over at the Grelle Recreation Area on Lake Travis in Burnet County.  Brianna was pronounved dead at the scene.  The other children and Mescher were injured and taken to the area hospital.  Also seriously injured was Megan Proctor, 11, according to the arrest affidavit.

Mescher runs Silver’s Trails, a hors-riding ranch in Spicewood where Brianna was attending a weekend camping trip.  Her 8-year-old brother, Dylan, was also in the truck.

It is illegal in most circumstances to allow people younger than 18 to ride in the bed of a pickup.

There is no evidence to suggest Mescher was intoxicated or speeding when the wreck occured.

Avandia Warning

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

The diabetes drug Avandia may be linked to an increased risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Sudden Death

A New England Journal of Medicine study revealed that Avandia is associated with an increase in the risk of heart attack.

If you or a loved one have suffered stroke, heart attack, or sudden death after using Avandia, call The Traub Law Office at (512) 343-2572.

1 dead, 2 injured on I-35

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A man died and two other people suffered minor injuries after a vehicle rollover in front of a South Austin shopping center Sunday.

Austin police said the indicent happened about 6:00 p.m. in the 9800 block of Interstate 35 in front of Southpark Meadows shopping center.

According to Sgt. Philip Linsalata, witnesses told police that a white Toyota Avalon was traveling southbound on the I-35 frontage road when it veered into a grassy median and rolled over several times, rolling onth the southbound lanes of I-35.

The driver, whose name and age were not released, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Two passengers were hospitalized.

Local Singer Killed in Car Wreck

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Local singer, Melanie Wilkinson, was killed in a collision on Monday at the 2200 block of East 51st Street, just east of Waterbrook.  Ms. Wilkinson had performed for Ann Richards, Lady Bird Johnson and Barbara Jordan and was scheduled to sing in Washington with a choral group at the National Cathedral in the next few days.

She was leaving her job as an overnight 911 call-taker at Austin’s Combined Transportation, Emergency and Communications Center when the wreck happened.

Austin police spokesman Cpl. Scott Perry said a man was driving a Checy Tahoe east on 51st Street about 11:45 a.m. when he crossed the center line and hit Wilkinson’s Toyota Corolla, heading west.  The Tahoe flipped over the Corolla, hit a telephone pole and then rolled off the Corolla.

The Tahoe driver, Dewayne Maupin, 32, was arrested on existing warrants of delivery of a controlled substance and theft by check.

Woman Dies After Collision

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A 78-year-old woman, Betty Chesbro, who was involved in a wreck in the 1700 block of South MoPac Boulevard on February 7th died Tuesday, February 12th according to Austin police.

Nasrin Farahani was driving a silver 2002 Volvo north on MoPac when she lost control of the vehicle, which crossed the median and struck Betty Chesbro’s 2001 Toyota Corolla.  Chesbro’s car spun around and was struck by a Nissan SUV.

Traffic fatalities rose in 2008

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

There were 95 traffic fatalities in Travis County in 2008, up slightly from 2007, according to’ law enforcement records.

On roads within the City of Austin, there  were 59 deaths last year.

Investigators saw a rise in motorcycle-related deaths, spurred by a summer of nearly $4-per-gallon gas, Austin police Detective Mark Breckenridge said.  “We had quite a few (fatalities) among new or inexperienced riders,” Breckenridge said.  “The high, gas prices put a lot of people on motorcycles.”

The number of motorcycle deaths rose from 15 in 2007 to 22 in 2008.

Eighteen of those were within Austin city limits, Breckenridge said. Six of those killed wore helmets, he said. Sixteen were drivers, and two were passengers.

The number of deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists declined. There were 25 pedestrians killed in 2007 and 18 in 2008. The number of bicyclists killed fell to one last year from two the year before.

The deadliest hour was between 2 and 3 a.m., when 17 of the fatalities occurred. In 2007, 12 fatal wrecks occurred during that hour.
Outside the city limits last year, there were 36 traffic deaths, up from 33 in 2007, according to Texas Department of Public Safety records.

Among them was a March double fatality on U.S. 290 East in Manor in which 18-year-old Jared Michael Blue and 41-year-old Andres Carrera were killed, In February, three teenagers — Audrey Ducote, 16, Lauren Hoffman, 17, and Randall Hibler, 16 — were killed in a wreck on Texas 71 in western Travis County near Bee Creek Road, the site of several crashes.

Accidents kill 830,000 children annually

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Around the globe, accidents kill 830,000 children annually – equivalent to all the children in Chicago, according to a report issued by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

The report, the first to collect all known data on child injuries worldwide, makes broad estimates because many poor countries gather few health statistics, and many children are hurt or killed without ever seeing a doctor.

Though 95 percent of all injuries to children occur in poor and middle-income countries, injuries account for 40 percent of all child deaths in rich ones.

By teen years, road injuries become major killers in poor countries as in rich ones.  In the 15 to 19 age group, for example, the leading cause of death is traffic accidents.

In the United States, accidents kill 12,175 children a year – more than all diseases combined, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.  Car crashes were the leading cause in the U.S., except for children age 4 or less.

We've come a long way

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Yesterday I wrote about Electronic Stability Control and how Consumer Reports calls it the greatest safety advance since seat belts.

Last night I read a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Unsafe at Any Speed, With Any Driver, On Any Kind of Road.”  It is a fascinating look back at how lax safety standards used to be.  Every yea, about 42,000 people die in automobile-related accidents in the U.S.  In 1930, when there was only about a tenth of the cars on the road as there are now, more than 31,000 people in the U.S. were killed by cars.  “The automobile is here to slay,” said one newspaper.

Think about this, if 30,000 people a year have died since 1930, how many have died in total since the almost 80 years that have elapsed : 30,000 * 80 = 2.4 million!

New signs to memorialize DWI wreck victims

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A new state program will allow friends and relatives of people killed in drunken driving wrecks in Texas to buy memorial signs that will be placed near the crash site for a year.

The $300 signs will be 42 inches high and 48 inches wide, with a blue background and white lettering and have the victim’s name, the wreck date, and the phrases “Please Don’t Drink and Drive” and “In Memory of” on them.  The $300 covers the cost of making the sign and putting it up which will be placed as close as possible to the crash site.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas had more than 1,670 fatalities in 2006 that involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The program applies only to people killed by impaired drivers.  Impaired drivers who were killed in a crash will not be eligible.  Also, to be eligible, the victims must have been killed on a state-maintained road.