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What Laws Regulate the Safety and Testing of Self-Driving Trucks?

Hardy Wolf & Downing - Blog Self-Driving Trucks

Hardy Wolf & Downing - Blog Self-Driving TrucksIf your Uber or Lyft car has ever rolled up with a roving camera on the roof, you may have felt a twinge of excitement (or fear) at your first chance of riding in an autonomous vehicle. But while consumers have their eyes trained on self-driving cars, company owners are looking forward to a future of self-driving commercial trucks that could increase fuel efficiency and boost their profits. (more…)

A Guide to Legal Latin

Legal Latin - Hardy Wolf & Downing

Legal Latin - Hardy Wolf & DowningEvery profession has its jargon. A doctor may need something “stat,” a boxer may be “on the ropes” and a computer scientist may espouse that “A.I.” will take over the world!

In a court of law, you may even hear a lawyer say “ignorantia juris non excusat.”

… Come again? (more…)

Dog Breed Blacklist: Top 3 Breeds Banned by Insurance Providers

For many homeowners, a house isn’t a home without a dog. Although you may be ready to find Fido at your nearest breeder or shelter, you should always remain aware of breeds that may cause financial headaches down the line. The dog you choose may be the sweetest animal in the world, but some insurance companies will hold your pet’s breed against them, potentially refusing to provide home or renter’s insurance coverage for households with dogs of a particular breed. Familiarize yourself with the most commonly blacklisted breeds before committing to a dog to make sure your insurance coverage remains intact. (more…)

Tips on How to Stop Distracted Driving

how to stop distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents, and the top culprit behind it all is cell phone use while behind the wheel. A study conducted by driving analytics company Zendrive found a staggering 88 percent of drivers use their phones while driving. The study found drivers spent 3.5 minutes on their phones per hour of travel time, which may not sound too terrible, but stats show that two-second distractions can increase the risk of a crash as much as 20 percent. (more…)

What is Negligence?

What is Negligence? Negligence is when failure to act as a “reasonable person” directly causes injury to someone else.1 Legally, people have a “duty of care” to protect other individuals. For example, you shouldn’t be putting others in harm’s way by texting and driving. Similarly, business owners, property owners, and manufacturers are supposed to ensure that buildings are safe for occupants and products are okay for consumption. (more…)

Wrongful Death in Human Medical Research

Today’s clinical research procedures aim to be as humane and safe as possible. Scientific advances have made it increasingly easier to perform careful and safe procedures. While accidents and negligence can lead to disastrous results, modern medical research has evolved to expressly prevent wrongful death. Even so, the lack of ethics and regulations even decades ago have led to sometimes unexpected and often unnecessary loss of life.

Ancient Medicinal Practices

Medical research and practices were first performed thousands of years ago. While ancient physicians might have had good intentions, most of their procedures would be considered barbaric by today’s standards.

One of the oldest medical practices is the act of bloodletting. While it was first practiced by ancient Egyptians and Sumerians, the procedure became common during the Greco-Roman era. Physicians believed that the four “humors” in the human body (yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood) needed to be perfectly balanced for a person to stay healthy. Patients with a fever or similar sickness were thought to have too much blood, so doctors would use knives or leeches to drain the “excess” fluid. The practice fell out of popularity when people began to realize it did more harm than good.

Evolution of Clinical Research

The first recognized controlled clinical trial of modern medical research was conducted by James Lind in 1747. Lind, working as a surgeon on a ship, took detailed notes of his time aboard. After noticing many of the sailors dying due to scurvy he conducted his own experiment to find a solution. It was Lind who discovered that scurvy was due to a lack of vitamin C in the sailor’s diets. Nearly 50 years later, the British Navy made lemon juice a standard part of seafarer’s rations.

Ethical regulations developed much slower. While the ancient Hippocratic Oath was followed by most doctors and physicians, global standards weren’t established until after World War II. The Nuremberg Code was created in 1947 in direct response to the war crimes committed by multiple nations during the war, including Germany’s inhumane experiments on human test subjects. Among its multiple points, the Code required voluntary, well-informed and understanding consent of any person serving as an experimental subject.

In the Name of Science

Despite efforts to improve patient welfare and safety, many medical and government organizations performed inhumane and, often, cruel procedures in the name of scientific research. One of the most infamous experiments was the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s MK-ULTRA program. Beginning in the early 1950s, CIA officials conducted a number of experiments on human subjects with the intention of developing effective mind control methods. Patients were subjected to electro-shock therapy, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, abuse and high doses of LSD with the intent to alter brain functions. Many subjects suffered permanent psychological damage and several deaths have been attributed to the CIA project.

Modern Research and Experimentation

Today’s researchers must adhere to strict guidelines in order to preserve both the integrity of their experiments and the lives of their patients. In 1996 the International Conference on Harmonization published “Good Clinical Practice (GCP)” guidelines, which has become the international standard for ethical clinical trials. GCP includes mandates for everything from record keeping to volunteers’ rights.

Despite the ethical progress of the medical research field, the idea of experimental research gone wrong is a sure-fire way to capture the general public’s attention. The upcoming psychological horror film Flatliners, for example, focuses on the story of five young medical students who attempt to conduct experiments that produce near-death experiences. The film, set to release September 29, 2017, is the direct sequel to a similarly titled cult classic released in 1990.

Hardy Wolf and Downing's take on medical research.

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Maine Wrongful Death Attorney

The wrongful death of a loved one, whether due to medical malpractice or other negligent behavior, can send a person reeling. During these emotional times it’s difficult to focus on anything other than profound loss. While nothing can replace the loss of a life, you deserve compensation and the knowledge that those responsible are held accountable. The compassionate and patient counsel at Hardy, Wolf & Downing helps loved ones deal with their grief and ensure the guilty party pays. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.