New York “Passenger Bill of Rights” Struck Down by Federal Appeals Court

A federal appeals court this past Tuesday struck down New York’s so-called Passenger Bill of Rights, which requires airlines to provide food, water, working toilet facilities and fresh air to passengers stuck on the ground for more than three hours. The law, which took effect January 1, 2008, and signed by then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, was supported by consumer groups angered by lengthy delays that they said trapped passengers on airplanes for hours, sometimes without food or water. It was the first law in the nation of its kind.

The decision of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a … Read the rest

Jane Jarvis, Former Mets Organist, Displaced by NYC Crane Accident; She Had Seen Crane Swaying in the Wind (and other Mets nostalgia)

The 146-ton crane that collapsed in New York City this past March 15, forced 300 apartments to be evacuated. One of the people displaced by the collapse is Jane Jarvis, who played the organ for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium from 1964 through 1979.

Weeks before the crane toppled, Ms. Jarvis, who is now 92 years of age, said that she saw it swaying in a windstorm, and we were praying to God that it wouldn’t fall. Ms. Jarvis is remembered at Shea for playing an alternate theme song, “Let’s Go Mets”, as the team took … Read the rest

Doctors Successfully Repel Aetnas Unwarranted Intrusion Into How They Perform Colonoscopies

After coming under attack from doctors, Aetna has withdrawn its intention, announced late last year, that in New Jersey, effective April 1, 2008, it would drop its coverage of propofol, the anesthesia typically used during colonoscopies, calling the same medically unnecessary. In reality, it is not the propofol that Aetna minds paying for; what Aetna wants to cut-out is the $300 to $1,000 cost that Aetna pays for an anesthesiologist to be present at a colonoscopy.

Propofol, also known by the trade name Diprivan, is more powerful than other sedatives traditionally used to help patients endure the discomfort of a … Read the rest

Ensuring Every American Access to Broadband Is Essential For the Nation’s Health Care, Says Congress

Ensuring that every American has access to broadband throughout the country has been declared to be an essential health care imperative by the Joint Advisory Committee on Communications Capabilities of Emergency Medical and Public Health Care Facilities in a recently released report. The Joint Advisory Committee was established pursuant to legislation Congress passed in 2007 to implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission.

The Committee found that home broadband can enable access to distant telemedicine applications, remote monitoring technologies, health information, and the ability of health care workers to work remotely in an emergency. Broadband communications systems can help ensure … Read the rest

Will Congress Pass First Major Consumer Product Legislation in 18 Years?

Recent U.S. Senate approval, by a vote of 79 to 13, of a measure to overhaul the country’s consumer product laws and strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission that oversees the marketplace, moved Congress closer to passing the first major legislation in 18 years regulating dangerous products.

However, the Senate bill bears many more teeth than the version the House unanimously passed in December, 2007. While on one hand some consumer advocates consider the House version to be a sop to industry, on the other hand the House bill is endorsed by the White House and by major manufacturers, and … Read the rest

More Details Emerge About Crane Accident at Construction Site

With the recovery of three more bodies, seven people – six construction workers and a woman visiting for St. Patrick’s Day – were killed in Saturday’s crane collapse on East 51stStreet in Manhattan. A preliminary city investigation found that the crane toppled after a steel collar used to tie it to the side of the building fell as workers attempted to install it.

Officials are investigating whether a series of hoists and nylon straps used to hold the collar temporarily in place were strong enough to sustain its 12,000 pound weight, particularly since a ripped nylon strap was … Read the rest

Construction Safety at Issue: Crane Accident Yesterday Kills 4 and Injures over 12; Deutsche Bank Tower Contractors Fined $464K and Issued 44 Citations for Fatal Fire

Just weeks after federal safety regulators proposed fining two contractors hired to demolish the condemned ground zero skyscraper Deutsche Bank tower $464,500 and accused them of a total of 44 safety hazards at the building in connection with a fire at the building on August 18, 2007, in which two firefighters died , yesterday at about 2:20 P.M., in what the authorities called one of the city’s worst accidents, a crane towering over a high-rise construction site collapsed killing 4 people with more than a dozen others sustaining personal injuries.

The crane had been attached at various points to the … Read the rest

Import Surveillance Division Established to Inspect Toys and Other Products for Potential Safety Hazards and Liabilities

29 million toys were recalled in 2007. This unfortunate and scary trend has continued in 2008.

Since the beginning of this year, at least 19 products manufactured overseas have been voluntarily recalled by manufacturers in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) due to high lead levels, choking and aspiration problems in infants and children, magnets potentially causing fatal intestinal perforations, and smoke and fire hazards. Although many of the recalled toys were manufactured in countries which have far less quality controls than in the United States.

U.S. companies that sell and distribute such imported goods could be held … Read the rest

Bill Introduced in Senate Requires Nursing Homes to Provide Clearer Information About Their Ownership and Accountability

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl have introduced the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008 which seeks to force nursing homes to provide clearer information about ownership and accountability. Confusion regarding ownership has made it difficult for regulators to identify parties responsible for poor care and shields owners from potential lawsuits. Additionally, a primary goal is to make it easier for the public to compare nursing homes.

The legislation would trigger the largest reform of nursing home care in 21 years. The law would force nursing homes to file paperwork clearly stating ownership to enable … Read the rest

Amid Privacy Concerns, Google Announces “Google Health”, an On-Line Health-Records Management System

Google has announced a pilot project called Google Health in which it will begin storing the medical records of 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who agreed to an electronic transfer of their personal health records so they can be retrieved through Google’s service, which will not be open to the general public. Each health profile, including information about prescriptions, allergies and medical histories, will be protected by a password.

Last year Microsoft introduced a similar service, HealthVault, and AOL co-founder Steve Case founded Revolution Health, which also offers online tools for managing personal health histories.

The project … Read the rest