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June 2015 Archives

Top 10 Safest Hospitals in 2015 in Illinois - and the Least Safest -- According to Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports 2015 rankings is considered a place to start when looking at hospital safety. Recently, the publication released its rankings of what it considers to be the safest hospitals in the state. Consumer Reports uses data from various state and federal sources to rate patient safety at Illinois' 176 hospitals; however, for some, insufficient data existed. The safety scores are on a 100-point scale for key measures regarding patient safety such as hospital-acquired infections, unnecessary re-admissions, mortality, communication about new medication and discharge instructions. It also views patient outcomes, patient experiences and hospital practices. Click here to learn the process of Consumer Reports' findings: Reboot Illinois put out the following results from the Consumer Reports findings: Top 10 safest hospitals according to Consumer Reports T-1. OSF Saint James - John W. Albrecht Medical Center | Pontiac Safety score - 72 2. St. Alexius Medical Center | Hoffman Estates Safety score - 69 T-3. Advocate Condell Medical Center | Libertyville Safety score - 65 T-3. Alexian Brothers Medical Center | Elk Grove Village Safety score - 65 T-3. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital | Downers Grove Safety score - 65 T-4. St. Joseph's Hospital | Breese Safety score - 64 T-4. Central DuPage Hospital | Winfield Safety score - 64 5. Rush-Copley Medical Center | Aurora Safety score - 63 T-6. Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital | Barrington Safety score - 62 T-6. Mendota Community Hospital | Mendota Safety score - 62 T-6. Adventist Hinsdale Hospital | Hinsdale Safety score - 62 7. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital | Elgin Safety score - 61 T-8. Edward Hospital | Naperville Safety score - 60 T-8. Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital | La Grange Safety score - 60 T-8. Palos Community Hospital | Palos Heights Safety score - 60 T-8. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital | Park Ridge Safety score - 60 T-8. Riverside Medical Center | Kankakee Safety score - 60 T-9. Elmhurst Memorial Hospital | Elmhurst Safety score - 59 T-9. Blessing Hospital | Quincy Safety score - 59 T-9. UnityPoint Health - Trinity Rock Island | Rock Island Safety score - 59 T-9. Presence Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center | Chicago Safety score - 59 T-10. NorthShore University Health System | Evanston Safety score - 58 T-10. Centegra Hospital - McHenry | McHenry Safety score - 58 Top 10 LEAST safe hospitals according to Consumer Reports: 1. South Shore Hospital | Chicago Safety score - 24 2. Provident Hospital of Cook County | Chicago Safety score - 31 3. John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County | Chicago Safety score - 34 T-4. Franciscan St. James Hospital and Health Centers | Olympia Fields Safety score - 36 T-4. Nor wegian American Hospital | Chicago Safety score - 36 T-5. Richland Memorial Hospital | Olney Safety score - 39 T-5. St. Elizabeth's Hospital | Belleville Safety score - 39 T-6. St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center | Chicago Safety score - 40 T-6. Presence St. Mary's Hospital | Kankakee Safety score - 40 T-6. Paris Community Hospital | Paris Safety score - 40 T-7. Harrisburg Medical Center | Harrisburg Safety score - 41 T-7. Fairfield Memorial Hospital | Fairfield Safety score - 41 T-7. St. Mary's Hospital | Decatur Safety score - 41 T-8. St. Francis Hospital | Litchfield Safety score - 42 T-8. Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers | Evergreen Park Safety score - 42 T-8. Loyola University Medical Center | Maywood Safety score - 42 T-9. Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital | Lake Forest Safety score - 43 T-9. OSF Saint Francis Medical Center | Peoria Safety score - 43 T-9. Herrin Hospital | Herrin Safety score - 43 T-10. West Suburban Medical Center | Oak Park Safety score - 44 T-10. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital | Melrose Park Safety score - 44 T-10. Vista Medical Center East | Waukegan Safety score - 44 T-10. Good Samaritan Regional Health Center | Mt. Vernon Safety score - 44 T-10. Galesburg Cottage Hospital | Galesburg Safety score - 44 T-10. Heartland Regional Medical Center | Marion Safety score - 44 T-10. Pekin Hospital | Pekin Safety score - 44 T-10. Ingalls Memorial Hospital | Harvey Safety score - 44 T-10. Advocate BroMenn Medical Center | Normal Safety score - 44 From Consumer Reports:

The "July Effect" - Is it Real? reports that researchers have found a trend that there is a spike in hospital deaths over the summer when new doctors have just started practicing. Is it real and can it be attributed to this cause? Certainly, America has been witness to many mistakes in hospitals over holidays and weekends when less experienced, less tenured staff and medical personnel are on duty. At Clifford Law Offices, we have seen even the most experienced doctor or nurse have a bad day or make a mistake regardless of the number of years he or she has been practicing. According to medical lore, though, freshly graduated medical students generally start in early July. About right now. Watch this short video that explores the research of this phenomenon.

Riding a Bike on the Sidewalk in Illinois -- the Law

Question: Is it against the law in Illinois to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk?  Answer: State law says you can ride on the sidewalk; however, local ordinances may prohibit bikes on sidewalks in certain areas such as business districts or high-density residential areas. In general, Illinois law treats cyclists like drivers. Bikes are "granted all of the rights and . . . subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle." For further information, visit For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

Are Written Estimates Required on Your Vehicle Before Body Shop Starts Repairs?

Question: Am I entitled to a written estimate before a body shop can start repairs on my car? Answer: You're entitled to a written estimate for any repairs over $100. Two kinds of estimates are possible: parts and labor, plus or minus 10 percent; or a maximum price. The body shop must receive written approval of any repairs and a final written invoice when repairs are done. If you do not want a written estimate, you must decline it in writing. For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

New Laws for Illinois Boaters

Question: What new Illinois laws are in place to help keep boaters safe? Answer: One new law requires boaters to display a bright orange flag from the highest point of a boat's helm when towing a person such as a water skier. Another new law allows authorities to seize and impound watercraft used repeatedly by a boater who's been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And, starting in 2016, boating safety courses will be mandatory for younger motorboat operators. A valid boating safety certificate will be required for those born after January 1, 1998, before they can operate a motorboat with a 10 horsepower or above engine. Thanks to the Illinois State Bar Association for its newsletter information provided here.   For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

Fast-Track Approval of Medical Devices Called into Question

The United States is the largest medical device market in the world with sales expected to reach $133 billion by 2016. In most cases, medical devices save and improve lives. Unfortunately, not all devices undergo the same rigorous review process before hitting the market. A number of new medical devices can and do bypass scrutiny by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through a fast-track approval process called the 510(k) program. If a manufacturer can prove that its product is "substantially equivalent" to an existing product, it can avoid stringent premarket testing. While the 510(k) clearing process provides patients with quick access to new products, there is an unsettling consequence: Medical devices can be implanted in patients without requiring manufacturers to prove safety and effectiveness. And in fact, a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that only eight of the 50 new devices cleared through the program from 2008 to 2012 included required scientific data. Defective Medical Devices Raise Concerns Here are just a few examples of more notable defective medical devices that have caused injury to patients: Knee and Hip Replacements - Clinical evidence continues to show that the design of some knee and hip replacement implants is seriously flawed. Adverse results include failing to properly bond to the thigh bone, improper placement or loosening after surgery. Bone fractures can occur as well as dislocation of the joint. Symptoms patients may feel range from general pain to swelling to an inability to walk. In 2013, The New York Times reported that Johnson & Johnson knew an all-metal hip implant would fail within five years in nearly 40 percent of patients who had the surgery. Transvaginal Mesh Complications - Surgical mesh, composed of synthetic materials, is permanently implanted in patients to repair weak or damaged tissue. But in certain procedures it can cause life-changing health complications, including mesh erosion when the device migrates from its point of placement and cuts through the soft tissues of the vagina or pelvic organs. In addition, patients have experienced pain, bleeding and urinary complications, which the product was designed to fix in the first place. Defibrillator Leads - Defibrillator leads are implantable wires that connect the defibrillator to the heart. In the event of a heart attack, defibrillators automatically administer corrective shocks. Over the past decade, there have been several high-profile examples of defibrillators malfunctioning, causing the device to fire unexpectedly or fail to fire at all when a patient's life is at risk.   Protect Yourself with These Tips These tips from Consumer Reports can help protect you or loved ones from the risk of defective medical devices: Consider the alternatives: If your doctor suggests an implant, simply ask what will happen if you don't get it. Sometimes patients aren't adequately informed about the alternatives. For example, women who received transvaginal mesh for prolapse repair may not have needed surgery. But people ill enough to require an implantable defibrillator for their heart may not have a choice. Research the device: The Food and Drug Administration's website,, contains information on device safety warnings, complaints and recalls, which are all accessible by searching the name of the device. Also look for patient forums and other information about the device by searching online. Write down the details: Ask for the brand name, model and serial number (if applicable) of your device so that if you learn of a warning or safety recall, you'll know whether yours is one of the problem models. Don't panic: If you learn there are problems with your device, don't assume that it has to be removed. Contact your doctor and learn to recognize possible negative side effects in your case. - See more at: Read here for seven medical device failures that caught the FDA's eye:

Bob Clifford Travels to London for 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta

Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, traveled to London as part of an American Bar Association (ABA) trip commemorating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Clifford participated as moderator of a panel discussion entitled "Where Would You Try a Case? A Live Action Primer on Trial Skills in the U.S. and the U.K." focusing on the different approaches taken in the two countries' courts to critical trial skills and their application to civil, criminal and commercial cases. It was held at the Grosvenor House in London. Clifford also traveled to Runnymede to see the actual Magna Carta (Latin for the "Great Charter") preserved under glass. It represents the protection of individual liberties and played a great part in the formation of the U.S. Constitution by America's founding fathers.

Bob Clifford to Appear on FOX News Chicago Tonight at 9 p.m. to Speak about CTA Bus Safety

 Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, was interviewed by Dane Placko, reporter for Fox News Chicago, on the important issue of safety of bus drivers in Chicago. The story became the top of the news when earlier this month a speeding Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) accordion-style bus crashed through a crosswalk and jumped a curb at the crowded intersection of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street during evening rush hour. A 51-year-old mother of two was killed and several others were injured. The family of the mom retained Clifford Law Offices to get to the bottom of what happened.  Media reports have stated that the driver had been on the job since September after only five weeks of training. The head of the CTA subsequently announced that they are looking into further training for its bus drivers as well as the policy that newer drivers are assigned more challenging routes whereas more senior drivers are given routes that are considered easier. Clifford told Placko in the interview that these policies must be more carefully examined by the CTA as well as the union. Clifford noted that this is not the first time this has happened; the firm has represented a number of people over the years who have been victim to being hurt or killed by CTA drivers who were reckless in their carriage of passengers or people nearby. To watch the entire story on this important issue, watch Fox News Chicago at 9 p.m. (Channel 12 for Comcast subscribers).

AMA Developing Competency Testing for Aging Doctors

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reportedly developing a plan to help decide when it's time for aging doctors to retire. With one out of four U.S. doctors being older than age 65 numbering now 240,000, the nation's largest organization of physicians agreed to spearhead an effort to create competency guidelines for assessing whether older physicians can continue to provide safe and effective care for their patients. According to a story by Lindsey Tanner, Association Press (AP) medical writer, doctors have no mandatory retirement age, unlike other professions where mistakes can be deadline, like pilots. States generally license physicians and some hospitals may evaluate a doctor's medical training, education, malpractice lawsuits and discipline, but there are not national mandates or guidelines to ensure the safety of patients in this way. Tanner reporter that Dr. Louis Borgenicht, a Salt Lake City pediatrician who turned 72 last year recently decided to voluntarily stop performing circumcisions because of a mild tremor in his hands "but otherwise said his age doesn't affect his work." The AMA recently met in early June in Chicago for its Annual Meeting. To read Tanner's entire story, go to:

Recalls are Just the Tip of the Iceberg When Buying a Car

With all of the massive recalls going on in America among car manufacturers, it is important to be very cautious and do your homework before buying a new or used car. Here are some interesting statistics: Lemons - Approximately 1 percent of all NEW cars sold each year are lemons, but estimates vary greatly and may be low, as manufacturers are not required to report lemons. Consumer Reports collects data on more than a million cars to publish its list of the 10 least reliable cars at 125 percent below that of the average vehicle - or worse. Click to see what they are and some might surprise you - including the Nissan Altima, the Jeep Cherokee and the Mercedes Benz CLA 250. Laws vary by state, but people who think they own a lemon must file a claim within one to two years of delivery or before reaching a set number of miles. Check your state here.

Know Your Rights and Put the Squeeze on "Lemon" Cars

Lemons are frustrating, and in some cases, dangerous to drive. A lemon most commonly refers to new cars with a substantial defect that is not fixable even after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Every state in the country has its own lemon laws that protect consumers from lemons. Federal law also provides additional protection by detailing guidelines for coverage by the manufacturer's warranty. The BIG catch, however, is that the burden of proof is on the owner of the lemon to prove that the car qualifies for replacement or a refund. How to Make Lemonade from a Lemon Most lemon laws state that buyers are entitled to a remedy if their cars are out of service for an extended number of days due to failure or serviced over extended periods for the same problem. These laws vary by state and by the nature of the repairs covered. Some problems are obvious, like the car not starting, power loss or transmission failure, while others fall into a gray area, such as wind noise, fluid leaks and excessive tire wear. Because of this, remedies can vary greatly in lemon law cases, from full car replacement or repurchase by the manufacturer to small monetary awards to compensate for a minor issue that does not affect driver safety. Here are the steps you should take if you think you might be the proud owner of a brand new, bright yellow lemon: Learn the lemon laws and how a lemon is defined in your state, what is covered and how much time you have to file a complaint. You may only have one year or less after delivery of your new vehicle to take action. Collect all records on your car, including purchase contracts, service orders and invoices together with all warranties and the owner's manual. Take notes on all conversations with the dealer and service technicians, recording any comments along with the time and date of all attempted repairs. Ask the dealer for a copy of all manufacturer's technical service bulletins on your car. Track how long and how often your vehicle is in for repairs with dates, times in and times out. Call a lawyer that specializes in lemon law to help you understand your options and evaluate your case. Normally the call is free, and all legal fees will be paid for by the manufacturer if you win your claim. How to Avoid a Sour Car-Buying Experience A little homework now can help you avoid owning a lemon later. Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware - is really your best defense in avoiding the dreaded lemon. In other words, do your homework before buying a car: Several organizations rate cars on reliability, including Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, Edmunds, The Center for Auto Safety and the Car Complaint Index as published in The Car Book, just to name a few. Look up complaints on the car, van or truck you are considering. Start at and search its national database on recalls, complaints and investigations. Also check for complaints at The Center for Auto Safety. And don't forget Google and social media: Ask others in your network if they know anything about the cars you are considering. Go with a reputable dealer that is authorized to sell cars by the manufacturer. Test drive all of your options and be hyperalert for noises or poor handling. If something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts. Learn your state's lemon laws so you know what to do if something goes wrong. And finally, once you have purchased a car, be sure to file away all the maintenance reports and receipts in a safe place (not in the car) just in case you need the documentation later. Learn more here from WikiHow, including tips on buying a dependable used car. - See more at:

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Family of Woman Killed on CTA Bus; Media Coverage Includes New Information

Clifford Law Offices yesterday filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of the two adult children who lost their mom when a speeding Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus reportedly ran a red light and careened into pedestrians in a crosswalk and on a sidewalk before crashing into a concrete wall during rush hour at crowded Michigan and Lake in Chicago's downtown last Tuesday. Several media outlets including WBBM-AM radio, Fox News, WGN-TV and NBC Chicago interviewed attorneys at the firm handling the matter including partners Robert A. Clifford, Kevin P. Durkin, Judge Henry R. Simmons (Ret.) and Sean P. Driscoll. Clifford Law Offices Managing Partner Hon. Henry R. Simmons (Ret.) speaks with Tisha Lewis of Fox News Chicago

Clifford Law Offices Files Complaint for Woman Killed by CTA Bus

Chicago based personal injury law firm, Clifford Law Offices has filed a wrongful death complaint on behalf of the family of Aimee Coath who was killed last Tuesday, June 2nd by a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus. The fifty-one year old woman from Flossmoor, Illinois was struck by a CTA bus that according to reports ran a red light during rush hour and moved swiftly in an uncontrolled way through a crosswalk and sidewalk packed full of pedestrians. The CTA bus finally crashed into a concrete wall Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. The complaint was filed today in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges that the CTA bus driver failed to control his bus in total disregard for a red light, plus the driver exceeded the speed limit. The Chicago Transit Authority and the bus driver are named defendants in the case. Coath's two surviving adult children, Elaine and John Wilson are the plaintiffs in the matter. The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices have an expansive amount of experience against the Chicago Transit Authority. Cases including a $24.14 Million verdict on behalf of the family of a boy who was stuck and left permanently brain damaged by a CTA bus in Chicago in 1991. It was notable at the time as the largest damage award in the state of Illinois. For more up to date information regarding this case and the recent CTA bus crash tragedy visit our personal injury blog:

Investigators Reveal that CTA Bus Driver Ran Red Light Before Tragic Crash in Downtown Chicago at Rush Hour

Authorities have ticketed the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus driver who allegedly ran a red light last night before crashing into pedestrians and cars, leaving one person killed and eight others injured, including a child, according to the latest media reports. The part-time driver had been on the job for less than a year. Apparently he ran a red light at Michigan Avenue and East Lake Street about 6 p.m. Chicago police reportedly ticketed the driver for failure to stop at a red light and failure to exercise due caution. The driver was taken to nearby Northwestern Memorial Hospital for non-life-threatening head injuries. The 51-year-old mother of two adult children who died is being remembered with flowers and cards at the scene of the tragic incident. We all pray for her family.

One Woman Dies Following Tragic CTA Bus Crash at Michigan and Lake in Chicago

The Chicago Medical Examiner's Office has just confirmed that one person has died as a result of the tragic bus crash at the evening rush hour today at a busy Chicago intersection. A woman who apparently was struck by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus has died. Eight others were injured and a person remains in critical condition this evening as four area hospitals were involved in treating people involved in this tragedy. Among those transported, according to media reports, included the bus driver, the only person on the bus at the time it struck pedestrians and four vehicles before jumping a curb and hitting a concrete wall. Many witnesses appeared shaken as they told the press and police what they observed. Many tried to help those who were hurt by the bus and apparently a few people were injured at the scene but refused treatment. The bus was removed from the scene about 8 p.m.

CTA Bus Crash in Chicago Injures Nine on Michigan Avenue, Two in Critical Condition

A CTA bus crashed at Lake Street and Michigan Avenue at the evening rush hour Tuesday (June 2, 2015) leaving nine people injured, two of them critically, according to officials at the scene. The No. 148 Clarendon/Michigan Express bus reportedly was heading east on East Lake Street about 6 p.m. when it struck at least one pedestrian in a crosswalk and four vehicles, according to media reports. At least 10 ambulances were called to the scene, according to witnesses. The bus was a longer accordion-style vehicle and traffic was being re-routed around the area while the injured were being taken to area hospitals. One witness told NBC-5 Chicago News that the bus ran up a curb and hit a concrete wall. A person was pinned under the vehicle itself, according to witnesses. NBC News is reporting that one person may have been killed. Reporters there also are saying that the bus driver was hurt with the front windshield knocked out.

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