Not-so-angelic Angels

Apr 03

The concept of angels differs from culture to culture as well as from religion to religion, but they all seem to have two things in common: they act as messengers, and they serve the purpose of a higher power. What is interesting to note is how their perceived characters have evolved in popular culture, most notably in depictions in contemporary books and films.

Traditionally, angels are portrayed as kindly, helpful, occasionally funny, but always concerned with the welfare of humans. They are the so-called “guardian angels.” In some instances they are shown in human form with white, flowing robes and wings and in others as a bright light and soothing voice. This may be considered the PG version of the beings, designed to reassure children brought up to believe that angels are always good.

But things have changed considerably, perhaps as a result of the growing cynicism or boredom of the audience with the goody-two-shoes depiction of the angel. Now, angels are portrayed as capable of jealousy, anger, and resentment of humans, who in Christian lore are considered a cut above the angels in the hierarchy because angels have no free will.

Never mind that these depictions edge uncomfortably close to human characteristics to a point that there seems to be no distinction between the two. The point is that angels are no longer namby-pamby do-gooders but fearless warriors that do not hesitate to kill. Often in these modern depictions they have their own agenda, usually contrary to the orders of the higher being (rather in an “in your face” manner, too!), which strangely enough is more often than not aimed at the complete annihilation of humans.

Modern characterizations of angels also usually show them to be in factions that are constantly warring with each other, much like a frat war, and the bone of contention is often (surprise, surprise!) the fate of humans. At a certain point, one can’t help but wonder if the creators are still on track with the angel genre, or have merely tacked on the title willy-nilly for the shock factor. Because, really, they may just as well be humans.

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You Are Legally Impaired, Regardless of Your Tolerance to Alcohol

Mar 09

Drinking and driving will always remain a dangerous combination and a threat to the lives of all motorists on the road. Thus, any social activity you might have that will involve drinking, better plan ahead and make sure that a sober driver takes you home instead.

It is a fact that some people have a greater tolerance to alcohol than others, so that, while four bottles of beer may make one totally drunk, the same amount would only have a very slight effect on another; the same four bottles, however, will give both a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08%, the present legal limit in all 50 states in the US.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) says that a 0.05% BAC level would significantly impair your psychomotor performance, that is, cause in you slower reaction time, information processing, eye movements and visual perception which, in turn, will result to slower response to emergency road situations, difficulty in steering and reduced coordination. A 0.08% BAC level, however, will cause in you poor muscle coordination and will make it harder for you to detect danger. Such level of alcohol in your blood would also be enough to greatly impair you, making you a threat on the road, a possible cause of a car accident.

Every year thousands of drivers are charged with a drunk driving offense, specifically, DUI or DWI, due to driving after enjoying some drinks with friends, during weekends and holidays, especially. Thus, what ought to be a relaxing and fun night becomes a nightmare to many as they end up charged with a crime, find themselves facing a fine and behind bars, and their driver’s license, suspended.

Being charged with a DUI or a DWI may effect your life in many ways. Depending on the level of your charge, you may have privileges taken away from you such as your license, or even hinder your chances of getting hired for a job.

Having a really good lawyer who will understand your situation and would be determined to defend you in court with an argument that your arrest should never have been made in the first place or, even if a charge were imminent, would be able to argue that you deserve the least punishment, is what you need.

Searching for such type of lawyer would obviously be hard, but after consulting a few, you will know and feel when you are facing the right one. Not all lawyers have the same level of determination and, definitely, not all have the same caliber. Therefore, make sure you choose your lawyer well.

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Filing a Claim for Oil Spill Compensation

Feb 25

A failure in the pressure control system of British Petroleum’s (BP) drilled seabed well resulted in the explosion and sinking of the BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April of 2010. This sea tragedy, which, spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the sea is considered the world’s biggest sea oil spill and the worst ecological disaster in the U.S.

The massive oil spill caused severe damage to marine life and left hundreds of individuals and businesses with health problems or huge amounts of losses in profit, respectively. In line with the giant oil firm’s promise to compensate those affected by the spill, BP created the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center where claims may be submitted for evaluation and authentication. These stricter means applied by BP in determining the authenticity of claims is to expose fraudulent claims, which unaffected companies have filed in order to receive from BP an amount that they do not really deserve. Since the spill more than three years ago, BP has already paid more than $25 billion in settlement claims, while hundreds of claims are still pending judgment.

One of the tests for authentication done by BP is the V- shaped revenue pattern, a Causation Requirement test that shows a down and upturn movement of gross revenues covering certain periods before, during and after the oil spill. Such test no longer requires the production of proofs of losses, quite an easier way of filing a claim compared to claims filed with car insurance providers after a motor vehicle accident (car accidents, by the way, is the primary reason why drivers are required, under the law, to carry liability car insurance).

On its website, Williams Kherkher states that even non-profit organizations, which are mainly dependent on the charitable contributions of individuals and businesses, are entitled to file claims too. This is due to the fact that the organizations’ benefactors may have been affected by the spill too, rendering them unable to continue with the charitable donations, creating, in turn, a direct impact on non-profit organizations’ operations.

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Causes and Types of Medical Malpractice and the Victim’s Rights

Feb 16

Big hospitals continuously invest in technological development and in the improvement of its roster of medical specialists, nurses and other health professionals, to ensure provision of timely, effective treatment and accurate diagnoses – major elements of quality medical care. These, anyway, are just the basic duties that health providers assume the moment they accept patients under their care.

Due to such, it may just be right to say that some hospitals are more capable of providing better care and treatment to patients, as these consider quality care equally important to earning profit. HealthGrades Inc., an American firm that develops and promotes safety and quality ratings of health care providers, such as nursing homes, hospitals, doctors and dentists, bases its ratings, though, not on the technological capabilities of hospitals or on its roster of renowned specialists, but on how well these health care providers actually care for patients – which can also mean the least cases of complications and mortality rates, especially where patients with severe or certain conditions are concerned.

There are other private firms that conduct evaluation of the overall performance of health care providers due to the fact that medical malpractice is an alarming reality in the U.S., claiming around 40,000 to 80,000 lives every year. Evaluations are also means to caution many in their practice of bringing their sick family member to a hospital nearest them; a practice created by the thought that one hospital is as good as another.

Some of the many different kinds of medical malpractice that have affected and made thousands of patients suffer, include delayed treatment, wrong medical prescription, incorrect dosage of anesthesia, surgical errors, post-surgical infections and lack of attention from doctors, among many others. These, in turn, are due to physician bias (when doctors cut short their patient’s description of the symptoms they feel, immediately associating such symptoms with a particular illness), miscommunication or lack of communication  between medical personnel, over-worked and fatigued nurses, medical equipment not properly sterilized, etc.

Any injury or harm due to medical malpractice is categorized as personal injury – a result of the liable party’s negligent, reckless or careless behavior. On its website, The Majors Firm, a law firm based in Rockwall, explains how, besides the physical and psychological trauma, any type of injury can also cause financial difficulties to the victim due to the costly medical treatment it entails and the inability to work, thus, loss of income. Due to these, victims have the legal right to seek and receive financial compensation from the party responsible for the injury to help them deal with the effects of the injury.

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Sexual Abuse, the Most Degrading Form of Nursing Home Abuse

Feb 13

Many individuals, after reaching the age of 60, grow weak due to illness, chronic fatigue or gradual loss of muscle strength resulting from ageing and/or inactive lifestyle. Often, such weakness necessitates assistance even in the performance of the most ordinary daily chores.

Work, however, makes it impossible, even for family members, to look after their elders on a full-time basis; thus, people usually resort to nursing homes where they know their elders will be provided with the time, attention and quality care that they have come to need.

During the early part of 2013 there were about 16,000 registered nursing homes in the U.S. which housed more than 3 million residents who are victims of accidents requiring rehabilitation and therapy, young adults with mental or physical disability and, of course, elders. Majority of the residents, besides needing nursing care, also needed to be assisted in their daily needs, including bathing, toileting, dressing and eating.

The provision of quality care that skilled nursing facilities ordinarily advertise and boast of seems like a distant reality, though, with all the alarming news of abuses committed against their residents; abuses by nursing home staff, nurses or co-residents which may be financial, physical, mental, emotional or sexual in nature.

Among the forms of abuse, sexual abuse is considered as the most wicked and degrading, yet the least reported due to the humiliation experienced by the victim. This abuse involves fondling, forced nudity, showing of pornographic materials, forcing another resident to kiss or touch the victim and forced penetrative acts. Rather than complain about his/her unpleasant and humiliating experience, only to be suspected of suffering from dementia (memory disorder or impaired reasoning), the victim, usually just keeps silent while convincing himself/herself that nothing has really happened. The unexplained scars and the victim’s over-sensitivity to touch can be indications of sexual abuse which authorities and family members should be more mindful of.

There are different reasons why nursing home abuse and negligence occur. One can be due to lack in the number of staff, resulting to overworked aides and nurses who grow impatient with all the work and requests of the residents, another can be due to untrained personnel, and another still, due to incompetent management. Jessica Rutzick & Associates, a law firm based in Wyoming, states on its website that negligence and recklessness are the most obvious reasons why these easily preventable injuries and abuses still continue.

To save your loved one from any form of nursing home abuse, it would be good to take them only in a nursing home that has passed the standards of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), formerly called the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). CMS has evaluated the various nursing homes in the country based on quality care, nurse staffing and health inspections, and rated 3,036 establishments with five stars, indicative of their much better performance than all the others. These 3,000+ good nursing homes are distributed in 20 different states; you can browse their locations in the website of CMS.

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The Burdens Due to Type II Diabetes and Januvia

Feb 08

Between October 2006 and February 2009, a report concerning 88 cases of acute pancreatitis was submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration. The severe illness has been linked to Januvia, an inhibitor drug intended to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Acute pancreatitis, which can lead to serious health complications, even death, is characterized by the sudden swelling of the pancreas, a gland organ in the digestive system which produces important hormones and enzymes that aid in the digestion of food.

Januvia, from Merck & Co., was made available to type II diabetics after it gained approval from the FDA on October 17, 2006. This oral anti-hyperglycemic or anti-diabetic drug is intended to improve blood sugar level control inside the patient’s body. Before it was linked to the development of acute pancreatitis, Januvia gained immediate acceptance due to its side effects being more manageable.

The proven adverse effect of Januvia to the pancreas, however, was enough for it earn the FDA’s attention, so that in September of 2009, the FDA required Merck & Co. to include in the drug’s prescription label the risk of developing acute pancreatitis in those who take it. Besides this, the FDA also required the addition of the following information in the drug’s label:

  • The risk of hemorrhagic pancreatitis in those who use Januvia
  • The need for doctors to closely monitor patients who are using the drug
  • The need to stop taking the drug if symptoms of pancreatitis are detected in the patient

Type II diabetes is a serious illness that only continues to worsen over time. Adding to diabetics’ woes is the fact that its treatment is too expensive, that even having a health insurance will not save patients from costly out-of-pocket expenses. According to Consumer Reports Health, diabetics spend up $5,000 annually in treating their illness, which has no known cure. There even have been cases when people had to sell their house or other properties just to keep their diabetes at bay.

Worse, the stated annual cost of treatment does not include yet remedy for medical complications, such as damage to the kidney and liver, heart disease, eye damage, stroke, etc. Thus, it is easy for type II diabetes to make a person suffer bankruptcy due to the costly and endless medical bills that he or she cannot but face.

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