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Injuries following Queens ambulette accident

New York – A motor vehicle accident between an ambulette and a car occurred last night in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. The ambulette van crashed into the car and then lunged forward into a fence, according to reports. After slamming through the fence, it came to rest half on a stone wall and half in a parking lot, having narrowly missed hitting a building. At least two accident victims suffered injuries in the van crash. It is unclear if any passengers were in the ambulette at the time of the collision. Ambulettes are usually used to transport sick and disabled people to and from hospitals and doctor’s appointments when they are unable to travel by regular car. Often, these people are wheelchair-bound or unable to walk or sit in a regular seat. Healthcare system experts say that these people often need extra special care and attention due to their disabilities and increased susceptibility to injury.

Observers note that this ambulette crash is similar to another recent but deadly ambulette accident in West Nyack, New York. That collision occurred just a month and a half ago and involved a mini bus and the medical transport van close to the Palisades Center shopping mall in Rockland County. It left one victim dead and four additional people injured in the crash along with many questions about ambulette driver training and safety. Transportation safety activists have demanded that officials look into these ambulette collisions and determine if additional training and safety regulations are necessary to ensure public safety. They warn that the fragile state of citizens who require specialized medical transportation in an ambulette must be the highest priority. Some point out that a reckless driver or negligent worker can easily lead to catastrophic consequences. See this video and article for more about this fatal van accident.

Illustrative Photo Credit: hmmmayor [License]

Hepatitis C, MD'S New Victims

This material was originally published in The New York Post, by Susan Edelman, on June 24, 2007.

Two more people – including a mother of four – have come down with hepatitis C after receiving intravenous anesthesia from a doctor under investigation for spreading the disease by failing to use proper infection control, The Post has learned.

A 45-year-old woman with a high-ranking corporate post filed a lawsuit last week against the anesthesiologist, Dr. Brian Goldweber, and three other doctors at Somerset Surgical Associates in Manhattan, where she underwent a colonoscopy in June 2004.

She filed suit as “Jane Doe,” citing the “stigma, discrimination and embarrassment” of a hepatitis C infection, a blood-borne liver disease that typically strikes drug abusers and the sexually promiscuous.

Another woman has also notified the city Health Department she got hepatitis C after an outpatient procedure – bringing the number of total possible victims of the virus to at least five. But more may emerge. The city has sent letters urging 4,500 patients who received anesthesia from Goldweber – who traveled among 10 doctor’s offices or clinics since 2003 – to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV.

“She’s been living with this nightmare, not knowing how she contracted it,” said the corporate exec’s lawyer, Stuart Wagner.

She underwent a 16-week treatment with interferon, a powerful drug with chemotherapy-like side effects, such as hair loss and a weakened immune system.

“Now she’s got a cloud over her life,” Wagner said of the incurable illness.

Dr. Marci Layton of the city’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Control said the cause might also be needles tainted by blood from other patients.

The Post reported last week that Goldweber, 64, had his medical license suspended for three years in 1999 for negligence and fraud in several cases. In 2002, he admitted lying about his record when applying for a hospital job, and paid a $20,000 fine.