Toyota begins series of recalls
Toyota Motor Corporation has begun a series of auto product recalls to address a faulty accelerator pedal design in their vehicles causing unintended acceleration in some Toyota and Lexus models. With more individuals coming forward with stories of injuries and accidents involving Toyota model cars, the motor corporation was forced to continue their investigation and finally admit there were design and manufacturing defects contributing to the problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported at least 34 fatalities in the last decade involving Toyota accelerator issues and as many as 13 reported fatalities between the dates of January 27, 2010 and February 15, 2010.
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Nursing homes escaping liability
In October 2006, Leah Gann of Sand Springs received a dreaded telephone call.
Her mother had been injured at The Gardens nursing home in Sapulpa. Hospital X-rays revealed her mother had suffered spiral fractures to both legs, she said. Since that type of injury often is associated with abuse or neglect, Gann sued the nursing home. She said she was upset at what she discovered: The nursing home had no medical liability insurance coverage. "I never learned what happened to my mom," Gann said. "I never knew to look for insurance (when picking a nursing home)." An employee at The Gardens said nobody was available to comment.
Many homes uninsured
Oklahomans may be surprised to learn the number of Oklahoma nursing homes that have dropped medical liability insurance coverage has skyrocketed in recent years. There are now at least 56 uninsured homes with 6,621 beds, according to the Tulsa-based Oklahoma Center for Consumer & Patient Safety.
"Based on information provided to the Center, over 20 percent of the beds in Oklahoma are in nursing homes that refuse to carry insurance," said Hugh M. Robert, executive director of the nonprofit group. "A state study last year speculated the number may be as high as 65 percent."
Gann and the Tulsa group called a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol to push for legislation introduced by Sen. Richard Lerblance, D-Hartshorne, which would require nursing homes either to carry medical liability insurance or prove they have sufficient assets to pay substantial damages if they are found responsible for injuries caused by abuse or neglect.
Robert said the group also is pushing for the state Health Department to investigate which nursing homes are not carrying medical liability insurance and publish results, so patients and their families will know the risk.
It is difficult for consumers to discover that information on their own because nursing home owners often play a "corporate shell game," attorney L. Ray Maples said at the news conference.
Maples and attorney Travis Siegel said they have come across a number of recent cases in which patients have suffered severe neglect at nursing homes that don't carry insurance.
One woman had maggots crawling out of her air cast because employees at her Oklahoma City nursing home had not cleaned beneath it and open pressure sores had developed. An Edmond nursing home patient was left on a bed pan so long her tail bone stuck to it, and a woman at a Frederick nursing home died after becoming so dehydrated that her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth, attorneys said.