A huge inflatable ball that you can climb into by any other name—e.g., Bongo Ball, Giga Ball, GBOP Ball, Human Hamster Ball—whatever—is still a huge inflatable ball that you can crawl into and roll around in. Some even let you bounce around in them, bumping into things (and other people) as you play. It gives new, and literal, meaning to “living in a bubble” for sure—but does it afford the same protection that the saying implies? Uhh, probably not.
And definitely not according to consumer watchdog group World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH). WATCH has put the Bongo Ball, available at Toys R Us, on its 10 Worst Toys list for 2012.
Recently we posted about a study in which bounce houses—another inflatable fave for bouncy good fun—were found to be the cause of injury requiring medical attention in what amounts to 30 children a day! A number of those injuries were the result of a child somehow jumping out of the bounce house and landing on a hard surface. At least they weren’t encased in the inflatable and it didn’t land on top of them in the process.
But, as WATCH indicates in its report, when you’re in a big inflatable ball, you’re pretty much encased (see pic above) and your movements—some of which could be necessary to help protect yourself, say in a fall—could be restricted, potentially leading to an impact injury. It’s not hard to imagine—think about falling accidentally on a concrete patio in that thing. Makes you wonder what might be worse—the potential for a whiplash type injury or your head banging against the concrete. Neither option sounds great.
If the comments over at the Toys R Us website where the Bongo Ball is sold are any help, the possibility of one or more of the air chambers deflating or losing air can also add to the risk for injury; the “pillow” you thought you were landing on suddenly isn’t there anymore.
While the Bongo Ball is the 51-inch inflatable ball that WATCH identifies as potentially dangerous, check out the similar “Waterwalker” that you can find over at Gigaball.net (at right)—you have to love the picture the company uses to promote the floating version of the gigaball—now that looks safe, right? Forget just being concerned about being stuck inside some big plastic thing on top of water and hoping it won’t puncture—your greater worry is apparently whether you’ll come out bruised and battered. The irony here is that even backyard trampolines warn not to have more than one person use at a time—but Gigaball.net? They’ll even promote having more than one person go at a time!
It should be noted that most of these inflatable balls—save the Waterwalker—do indicate that they are NOT to be used as floatation devices and that they should be used with parental supervision.
It doesn’t come as a surprise though that WATCH added this toy to their Worst Toys list for the year.
The Mayo Clinic has decided to phase out use of Ambien, the prescription sleeping pill, over concerns that patients on the drug have a higher rate fall rate than those who are not on it.
In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine (11/19/12), researchers reviewed fall data from more than 16,000 patients who were hospitalized. The study found that patients who were given Ambien while hospitalized experienced falls more than four times greater than those who were not given Ambien. According to the study, the fall rate for patients given Ambien was just over 3 percent compared to a fall rate of 0.7 percent for patients not given Ambien.
What’s interesting about the Mayo Clinic Ambien study as well is that the fall rate associated with the drug was greater than that associated with factors such as age, mental impairment, insomnia or delirium. And, that held true no matter what the Ambien dosage was.
According to a report at HealthDay News, the Mayo Clinic’s chief patient safety officer, Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler stated via news release, “As a result of our study, we are now phasing out [Ambien] and moving toward sleep enhancement techniques that are not based on drugs and which we believe are safer and probably as effective.”
While the Mayo Clinic is clearly backing off of Ambien as a sleep aid for in-patient care, the study did not find a cause and effect relationship between taking Ambien and falling; however, the association found between the two in the study was enough for the Mayo Clinic to begin to phase the drug out of use.
One thing’s clear in this bad faith lawsuit: the plaintiff hasn’t lost his faith in our justice system. Whether he’s lost any faith otherwise, who knows—but David Jimenez is suing St. Patrick’s Church in Newburgh, NY after the church’s exterior crucifix fell on him, crushing his leg, and resulted in an amputation.
Well, you need the back story on this one to fully understand it, so here we go.
Jimenez’ wife had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Being a religious man, Jimenez would stop by St. Patrick’s Church and pray in front of the crucifix for his wife to be cured. She ultimately was—and Jimenez felt indebted to the crucifix (and one would assume to God, himself) for his wife’s recovery.
According to CBSNews, Jimenez’ attorney Kevin Kitson stated, “David attributed the cure to his devotion to that cross.”
So, to show his heartfelt gratitude, Jimenez got permission to clean the crucifix, which was apparently in need of a good once-over. So far, so good.
Things unfortunately went south from there. Jimenez began to clean the cross—but it dislodged causing him to fall to the ground, with the cross crushing his right leg.
The alleged culprit? A screw. There was allegedly one screw holding the 600 lb. statue at its base. “The screw was useless. The screw is useless. It supported no anchoring system,” Kitson said in the CBS report.
The report goes on to say that St. Patrick’s Church parishioners collected $7,000 and food for the Jimenez family. But apparently, the insurance company for the archdiocese hasn’t shown the same generosity of spirit.
So what started as a heart-warming story of faith and devotion has now become a heart-wrenching bad faith insurance lawsuit.
The falling crucifix lawsuit is headed to trial, and jury selection was set to begin today.
Seems like ages ago now, but remember when Bret Michaels was all over the news after suffering that brain hemorrhage? Thankfully for him, his daughters and family, and Poison fans everywhere, he recovered—and we all got a glimpse of his ordeal when People magazine ran Michaels on its cover with the headline “I’m Lucky to be Alive”.
But while a hemorrhage can seemingly occur out of the blue, in Michaels case, there had been a head injury only the year before—in June, 2009. Michaels’ head injury occurred—rather publicly—during the 2009 Tony Awards, at which he and his band, Poison, were performing “Nothin’ But a Good Time”.
When the song was over, Michaels turned to leave the stage and that’s when a rather large piece of the set descended and appeared to hit Michaels in the head, knocking him down. He suffered a fractured nose and needed stitches in his lip.
Given the timing of the head injury, and then the brain hemorrhage less than a year later, Michaels filed a personal injury lawsuit in March, 2011 claiming the stage accident contributed to his life-threatening brain hemorrhage.
Both the Tony Awards and CBS were defendants in the lawsuit which alleged that the Tony Awards producers did not warn Michaels of a set change after his performance and CBS aired the accident thereby allowing it to be picked up by viewers who then made the accident go viral on sites like YouTube.
Needless to say, terms of the settlement—reached last week after a mediation session—are undisclosed. The head injury lawsuit did not specify the monetary damages being sought when Michaels filed it, however according to the Associated Press, Michaels did state that the injury hurt his ability to play at future shows.
Speaking of shows, now that Michaels is performing, fans can catch him on tour this summer–here’s list of Bret Michaels tour dates.
The recent multimillion-dollar Ride the Ducks settlement serves as a stark reminder that even the most seemingly innocent of rides can spell disaster. Ride the Ducks—those amphibious vehicles that have become a tourist attraction at a number of locations across the US—would appear to be a pretty tame ride compared to what’s on tap at your local Six Flags theme park—that is, of course, if your eardrums can withstand the continual honking of the duck quack whistles all Ride the Ducks passengers receive (see below right).
Unfortunately though, for two Hungarian students who were visiting Philadelphia in July, 2010, their Ride the Ducks experience ended in death—and wrongful death lawsuits.
The duck boat, which in the Philly location drive-swims into the Delaware River, had had a mechanical failure and was floating adrift in the river when it was struck by a tugboat-guided barge. Sixteen year old Dora Schwendtner and twenty-year old Szabolcs Prem both drowned following the incident.
Both the Ride the Ducks tour company and the tugboat operator were sued—and the tugboat pilot, Matthew Devlin, was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to misconduct of a ship operator. (Both defendants had blamed each other for the accident.)
The Ride the Ducks Philly tour boats are back in the water—they’ve been given the ok by the US Coast Guard–but not everyone thinks they’re the safest things on the water. The boats have canopies—which, having been on one in the dead of summer, was a welcome relief from the glaring sun. However, in the event of capsize, the canopy could become a trap leaving passengers struggling to free themselves from underneath it while under water. The irony of it is that it might be easier to escape a canopy trap without having a life jacket on–but, of course, no one would advocate not wearing a life jacket.
The Ride the Ducks settlement was for $15 million, to be split by both families of the victims. A $2 million fund was also set up for 18 other passengers who survived the duck boat accident. At the time of the accident, there were approximately 4o people onboard the duck boat.