Maybe you have a pet or are considering getting a pet. Perhaps you prefer a dog, cat, fish, hamster or have some other preference. Whatever your choice may be, it is believed that pets can provide therapeutic and health benefits in addition to endless years of joy.
West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
Two weeks ago, for the first time in nearly a century, the people of West Virginia elected Republican majorities to both chambers of the legislature. While Republicans expected gains in the off-year election, the results exceeded their wildest expectations. The resounding defeat of Democrats, some who did not even feel threatened enough to run substantial campaigns, made the election in our state a national story. One Washington D.C. newspaper even called West Virginia's shift a "permanent political realignment" in Appalachia.
How could this happen? How could a state that had elected Democratic majorities since the 1920s shift so far in the other direction in one mountain-moving election?
Following a wave of recent political efforts undertaken by insurance companies and healthcare providers, numerous states enacted harsh limitations on a victim's ability to seek compensation in the event that they were harmed by the malpractice of a doctor or hospital. The nature of these limitations is unique to the medical field and many members of the public would be surprised to find out just how severe these restrictions are. In many cases, these restrictions are so burdensome that it has become very difficult for victims of medical malpractice to seek justice for their injuries.
One of the arguments advanced by the proponents of these limitations is known as the "defensive medicine" argument. The argument asserts that because doctors are worried about getting sued, they order otherwise unnecessary and costly tests just to protect themselves from a lawsuit. The argument goes that this type of "defensive medicine" drives up costs for everybody and if only doctors and hospitals could be protected from the consequences of their negligence, these costs would go down. However, the link between lawsuits and defensive medicine now appears to be a myth.
On November 6, 2000, my life was forever changed for the better when I brought home a little fur ball that I had found two days earlier at a pet supply store where the local animal shelter had brought several puppies hoping to find them homes. It was love at first sight when this little white and black fur ball that fit in the palm of my hand climbed onto my lap. Although my heart said, "Take this puppy home now," I wanted to take a day or two and make sure I was ready for the responsibility of becoming a puppy parent. My friend who was with me at the time, however, knew that the puppy who would come to be known as Cassie, was meant to be with me and snuck back and paid the adoption fee so that Cassie would be waiting for me when I accepted what my friend and I already knew: I was becoming a puppy parent. When I went to the shelter the following day to say I wanted the puppy, I learned she was already mine and would be permitted to come home with me the following day.
Cassie and I have been through a lot together over the past 14 years. She has saved my life in more ways than one. The energetic, little puppy who grew up and learned how to let herself out the front storm door if I forgot to lock it and make her rounds through the neighborhood, calmed significantly as she aged. By the time she was three, no leash was needed as Cassie would rarely leave my side. Until recently, all I would have to do is make a noise and she was right back by my side if she strayed too far.
November 17, 2014 marks the 4th worldwide awareness day for prematurity. "World Prematurity Day" is a global movement to raise awareness about prematurity highlighting the burden of preterm birth, informing on simple, proven cost-effective solutions and invoking compassion for families who have experienced preterm birth." Most people probably don't even know that such a day exists, but if you are the mother of a preemie, undoubtedly that day sparks many emotions for you. For some parents of preemies, it is a day that you thank God for the blessing of your sweet baby, who overcame the odds and survived her premature birth. For other mothers, it reminds them of dark days spent in the NICU with their teeny tiny baby, almost unrecognizable from all of the tubes and wires that were keeping her alive, feeding her, breathing for her. For some mothers, it's a reminder of the day you gave birth to the baby you prayed for and who grew inside of you, yet were unable to hold and hug when she was born. A reminder of days that turned into weeks, and weeks into months for some women who spent nights praying and begging God that her child would get to one day make it home to see the room she prepared for her, or meet her brothers and sisters anxiously awaiting her arrival. Hopefully for many of those moms that story ended happily, and those sweet, prematurely born babies are now thriving and healthy. And because of your struggles, the days with your child are fuller and you are cherishing hugging and kissing those sweet faces that you stared at through a glass crib for so long. Unfortunately, the stories don't always end happily, and for some mothers, this is just another day to be reminded of the loss of their precious baby who got her wings too soon. A day that their heart aches, and they are reminded of the piece of them that was lost.
If you are one of the fortunate people who have never given November 17th a second thought these past few years, then hopefully after reading this you will. Premature birth is the leading cause of death for newborns. Every year 15 million babies are born prematurely. Statistically, that is one in ten babies. A pregnancy is 40 weeks long. Doctors consider a baby full term when the mother reaches 37 weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, any baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature by the medical definition. Most doctors define the age of viability as 24 weeks. In many hospitals, 24 weeks is the cutoff point for when doctors will use intensive medical intervention to attempt to save the life of a baby born prematurely. In the hands of experienced specialists, some babies born slightly earlier may have a chance of survival. The earliest baby to have ever survived a premature birth was born at 21 weeks 5 days. The likelihood of survival jumps from 17 percent at 23 weeks to 39 percent at 24 weeks. By 25 weeks, the baby has a 50-50 chance of survival if born. Jumping another ten percent the next two weeks and by 28-31 weeks if born, babies have a 90-95 percent chance of survival; however, this doesn't discount the many obstacles that the baby will have to overcome. The lungs are the last major organ to develop and won't be fully developed until 34 weeks or slightly later. The biggest hurdle premature babies must overcome is breathing on their own. But any loss of oxygen to the brain for a sufficient amount of time can lead to brain damage which is why proper ventilation is essential to survival. The journey of a gestational baby is so fragile and time is of the essence.
I am not sure where I got my love for cooking and baking, but I have it! My mother freely admits that she always hated cooking and was never very good at it. I have two sisters that also don't have the knack for whipping up a gourmet meal or baking a mouth-watering dessert. My grandmother on my dad's side (Grandma Springer) was a good cook. She mostly cooked down to earth, hearty dinners; I don't recall her baking fancy desserts. Her claim to fame was her 24 Hour Salad which I swore to her on her death bed I would continue the tradition of making this very old, family recipe. And I have! We have it every year for Thanksgiving. My immediate family loves it, but there are a few that have entered the family through marriage that aren't fans. We have a picture of my dad loading his whole plate with 24 Hour Salad while my oldest son looks on in awe. My dad was such a jokester!
Has a story ever outraged you and then suddenly you find life has moved along; then there it is -- a reminder about that story that prompts you to remember it years later? Whatever happened? Did it just disappear?
A story that struck a chord for me of complete outrage was the story of the Tennessee woman who sent her adopted son back to Russia in 2010.
In a fact sheet published on October 27, 2014, the Center for Justice and Democracy announced that the findings from three new studies make it indisputable that damage caps--a popular part of tort reform--are actually hurting healthcare. This decline in healthcare was observed in three distinct areas.
First, the reports found that there were actually more medical errors in jurisdictions that had enacted damage caps. This is troubling but, frankly, not very surprising. Without full legal consequences for medical errors, there was a corresponding increase in the "rates of preventable adverse patient safety events." In other words, the presence of caps meant that more patients were becoming victims of malpractice.
Last month, my family and I attended my 20th reunion at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1994, I graduated from West Point and began my service in the United States Army. Time sure does fly. It seems like just yesterday that my classmates and I were Plebes (freshmen) who had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into, up well before dawn to deliver newspapers to the upperclassmen, shine our shoes, prepare for class, and make our rooms spotless for morning inspection. It also seems like just yesterday that more than a few of my classmates and I headed off as Second Lieutenants to keep the peace in Bosnia. Since then, many of those classmates have gone on to do much braver and important things than I could ever take credit for. It was great to reconnect with my classmates. To see them now not as bewildered Cadets, but as fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, and for some, Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels. I remember how proud we were to pin on those Second Lieutenant gold bars, now some of those same friends have the silver eagles of the "Full Bird" Colonel. Amazing.
After weeks of close contests and national debate, the fraught competition to decide America's ugliest accent has finally come to a dramatic close. And the winner is that moonlit, magical city-the Paris of Allegheny County, the Venice of the Ohio Valley-Pittsburgh, City of Jagoffs.
Dahntahn Picksburgh home of the Pirates, Pens and Stillers, is again a city of champions. We praudly wear the title of America's ugliest accent. Those naut familiar with "the Burgh" may question how one can be praud to be associated with such a dubious honor n'at. Easy...ya have to know Pittsburgh and the people that makeuup this wonderful city to appreciate its uniqueness.