Health Science Degrees had a great infographic on the dangers of sleep deprivation and the 85 sleep disorders recognized by the American Sleep Disorders Organization.

"Sleep deprivation plays a major role in a variety of conditions and illnesses, including decreased performance and alertness, memory and cognitive impairment, increased stress, poor quality of life, increased food consumption and appetite, on-the-job injuries and automobile accidents.
– Reducing sleep by 90 minutes for just one night can reduce daytime alertness by up to 32%.
– Untreated sleep disorders can have long-term effects on a person’s health including high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, obesity, psychiatric disorders, attention deficit disorder, mental impairment, and fetal and childhood growth retardation.
– The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year.
– In 2009-2010, in a study of 150,000 adults at or over age 18 in 19 states and the District of Columbia, 4.2% said they’d fallen asleep while driving at least once in the last 30 days. People who snored or slept 6 or fewer hours per night were most likely to fall asleep while driving.
– Mortality risk is increased for people getting less than six or seven hours of sleep per night. Severe insomnia triples the mortality risk in elderly men.
– More than 85 sleep disorders are recognized by the American Sleep Disorders Association, more than 70 million Americans are affected by these sleep disorders, and as many as one-third of Americans exhibit some symptoms of insomnia.
– One cause of sleep disorders is sleep apnea. More than 20 million Americans, 24% of adult men and 9% of adult women, have some degree of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep recommendations for different age groups
– Newborns: 16-18 hours/day
– Pre-schoolers: 11-12 hours/day
– School-aged children: At least 10 hours/day
– Teens: 9-10 hours/day
– Adults (including the elderly): 7-8 hours/day 

– Estimated cost to U.S. employers in lost productivity caused by sleep loss: $18 billion
– Cognitive impairment, similar to someone with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%, occurs after a person has been awake for 18 hours. After 24 hours of being awake, cognitive impairment is similar to someone with a BAC of 0.10%, higher than the legal limit in all states.
– Drowsy driving can be fatal. Sleeping while sleep deprived makes drivers less attentive, it slows reaction time and it affects a driver’s ability to make decisions. Commercial drivers, shift workers, drivers with untreated sleep disorders, drivers on sedating medications and drivers without sufficient sleep are most suspectible.
– WebMD reports that the biggest danger of sleepiness is reduced reaction time. Teenagers, young adults, particularly young men, are at the greatest risk for fatigue-related auto accidents.
– Lack of sufficient sleep can cause irritability, increase in anger and may reduce the ability to cope appropriately with stress.
– Chronic sleepiness puts people at a greater risk for depression. In a 2005 study, people with insomnia were found to be 10 times as likely to develop depression and 17 times as likely to have significant anxiety

 

Associate Justice Costa Pleicones is challenging Chief Justice Jean Toal for her seat on the South Carolina Supreme Court. The challenge comes as a surprise to many, including Hopkins Rep. Joe Neal, who received Pleicones’ letter of intent to run. The stakes of the outcome aren’t particularly high, seeing as how both Justices are extremely qualified, but many thought Toal’s bid for a second term would be unchallenged.

Can we expect some Mortal Kombat style action to determine the Chief Justice?

Probably not.

More than likely it will be a nice race to the seat, with pleasantries exchanged on both sides. Given the unexpected challenge, it will be interesting to see the developments of this particular race over the next few months. Will Toal reign supreme over her challenger, or will a surprise upset be in the near future?
We wish both of them the best of luck.

A Lexington lawyer waived his competency hearing, SC Layer’s Weekly reports. Richard Breibart is accused of extorting over $1 million from his clients by intimidating them with criminal charges or non-existent civil penalties. Indictments indicate at least three people who emptied their bank accounts to give to Breibart.  Breibart was ordered by a judge to have a mental evaluation last year, but has since waived his right to a competency hearing.  His lawyers say that he may have been insane at the time of the alleged crimes.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a complex algorithm which could be used to help facilities monitor residents. The multi-camera, multi-object tracking system was tested in a nursing home. This system seemed destined to meet the same low percentage as other algorithms, as it has relatively few cameras, which was a problem for the other algorithms.  To achieve comprehensive coverage of residents, it was thought that there had to be an extensive number of cameras, covering every hallway, and every area.  However, this system utilizes the complex algorithm to render full camera coverage unnecessary.

Using the algorithm, this system can track residents to a meter of their actual location with an 88% success rate. The system, which could help facilities monitor residents for changes in activity and could help identify patterns indicating a mental status change, uses facial recognition to pinpoint residents. The system isn’t perfect, as the researchers are looking for ways to increase privacy protection, but it is a step forward in the journey for an indoor monitoring system. The researchers will present their findings June 27 at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference in Portland, OR.

See full article at Mcknight’s.

The quarantine for The Oaks at Town Center in Harrisburg, NC has been lifted. The quarantine restricted families from seeing loved ones due to a highly contagious infection. The infection was found to be Scabies.  For those who don’t know, Scabies is a highly contagious infection which is typified by a rash and intense itching. It spreads rapidly by direct skin to skin contact. Due to the close confines, nursing homes are often sites for Scabies outbreaks.

It found its way to the home via a patient discharged to the home from the hospital. The patient had been incorrectly diagnosed as having contact dermatitis. The home followed recommendations from the NC Department of Public Health and contacted all family members to keep them informed.  See article here.

Judgment doesn’t always equal recompense, which is the subject of a blog from Levin & Perconti, a firm in Chicago. The blog speaks specifically about being "judgment proof" in the arena of nursing home law.  Being judgment proof means that the responsible party doesn’t have the money to pay for the harms and losses caused by their liability.  Nursing homes that are judgment proof have no incentive to act responsibly because they know that their negligence won’t result in a paid verdict.

To redress this, nursing homes that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding should be required to buy a minimum amount of insurance coverage. Experts and consumer advocates in Illinois would like to see this passed for nursing homes. So far, nursing home lobbyists have prevented any change, but there’s a growing move in Illinois to require nursing homes to have minimum liability coverage.

Autumn Healthcare of Zanesville, OH is being shut down by the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine. The 100 bed facility is being closed because of patient neglect. ODH received several complaints from family members about the facility, and entered into an investigation with the families’ permission. They installed several hidden cameras in the rooms of multiple patients, which revealed that staff were neglecting to provide medical, nutritional, and personal care to at least one patient.

Some staff were falsifying documents so it would appear that correct treatment had been given. After these videos, ODH conducted an inspection, and cited the home for violations of infection control, treatment and care, food and nutrition, and resident rights.

This particular facility has been on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ watch list, Special Focus Facilities, for the past 53 months, identifying the home as one with a history of issues. All of the home’s residents are being transferred to other facilities. The move is being coordinated by the Ohio Department of Aging and all patients will be moved after the remaining days of the home’s operation are up.

See article at NBC4i.

A $1.6 million proposed settlement between the families and South Carolina is reported by Go Upstate to be in its final stages, requiring approval by a Circuit Court judge to be completed. The settlement would be split among the dozens of families of the children hurt or killed in the incident.  While the settlement is more than the arbitrary statutory limit of $600,000 that applies to anyone else hurt or killed by an employee of State government.  SC’s Tort Claims Act limits the amount of money that the state is liable for to $300,000 per person.

The proposed settlement won’t even cover the cost of medical bills for the families; one family’s medical bills total $1 million.  Along with the settlement, the train ride at Cleveland Park was decommissioned and a state inspector was fired after it was discovered that he falsified the Park’s records in an investigation two days before the incident.  A fraction of $1.6 million will not bring back the children to the healthy days before the incident, but hopefully, it will allow them some sense of peace and closure.

Blossom South Nursing Home has been under scrutiny for the past two years because two senior nurses were falsifying records. The NY State Health Dept. performed a surprise inspection on the home and the records were easily discovered.  Following the inspection, a complaint was issued by someone at the home, which resulted in the two year audit that uncovered additional fraudulent records.

The two nurses went back and falsified medication reports to make it look as though residents had been getting the proper medication. Because of their tampering, the home and authorities now have no idea which patients got the right medication, if any. Authorities have no way of knowing how far back the records were falsified either. The two nurses falsified the records using other nurses’ initials. One of the nurses, Cynthia Beckhorn, claims that she did what she did because she was facing pressure from the home’s owner about the poorly documented medication records.

Authorities say that the home’s owner has not at this time been implicated. The home released a statement saying that whether or not the previous owner was involved in the fraud, the home has come under new management after the inspection.

See article at WHEC.

A settlement in Knox County represents the largest settlement in a nursing home case in the county. The $600,000 settlement was achieved by Parker & Parker.  Robert J. Short, 74 yr old patient of the home, developed a pressure sore which progressively got worse, and resulted in his hospitalization, and one month later, significantly contributed to his death. The case, Parker said, was very preventable, and he credits that wrongful death as the reason the settlement was so large.

In addition to the negligence and lack of treatment of the sore, there were multiple instances where the nurses lied to the family about the state of the sore. They told the family that it was getting better, when in fact it was getting worse. The sore reached the point where it was releasing foul smelling green drainage and exposing bone, leading to the bone infection that caused Short to be hospitalized.