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In a prior blog of February 23, 2017, we discussed criminal indictment of three Takata employers by a Detroit Federal Grand Jury.  The employees were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy for concealment of defect in the airbag inflators.  Takata, the corporation has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and to pay $1 billion in criminal penalties.

The Justice Department following up on manufacturer recalls and concealment of defects, a top Volkswagen executive has been arrested on conspiracy suspicion from the German Automakers emissions scandal.  According to an article in USA today, The Journal News on January 10, 2017, by Kevin McCoy and Tiera Baldors, a weekend arrest of Oliver Schmidt who directed Volkswagen’s regulatory compliance in the United States from 2012 to 2015 was a result of the FBI looking into executive rank on suspected wrong doing.  By virtue of Schmidt’s position, he had to know Volkswagen “intentionally installed electronic software that enabled diesel engines to defeat U.S. auto emission tests”.  A FBI special agent, Ian Dinsmore filed an affidavit in Federal Court.  Schmidt traveled to the US in 2015 for meeting in which he “intended to and did deceive and mislead US regulators” about the corporate cheating on emissions.

FBI investigators believe they have enough evidence to establish Schmidt and other Volkswagen employees “conspired and unlawfully agreed to defraud the US by impeding auto emissions enforcement” and committed wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act.  Volkswagen, the corporation (like Takata) admitted to rigging its diesel auto to bear emissions tests and Volkswagen is paying about $11 billion to buy back cars and compensate owners.

Following up on our October 13, 2016 blog on electrical car sales.  In an article in the Journal News, section Putnam-Northern Westchester Express on October 6, 2016 by Matt Coyne states that in the last 4 years, 18,000 electric cars have been registered in New York State.  The New York Power Authority is in charge of charging stations.  CEO of that authority, Gil Quiniones celebrated that 100 charging stations opened in New York since 2014.

There are three charging stations in Tarrytown and others across White Plains, Cortlandt, Southeast and Chappaqua.  One is opening in Clarkstown, bring the total number of charging stations in New York to 1600. Two years ago, the number of electric vehicles in New York State was 10,000 up from 2800 in 2012.  The charging stations in Westchester & Putnam Counties have seen a hugh year increase in use.  In Tarrytown, total energy used in kilowatt hours has increased by 159%.  At the Cortlandt Metro-North station, energy dispensed jumped 303% and at the Southeast train station 169%.

Charge New York has opened 1100 charging stations across New York State with 1600 additional stations coming from private businesses.  The New York Power Authority are in talks to enter into a contract to install 300 more charging stations in New York.  The CEO of the Power Authority Quiniones, believes more charging stations will push more people to buy electric cars.  As the article states “clean transportation on rise”.

Medical errors are the third leading cause of deaths in the United States after heart disease and cancer.  According to an article by Steve Sternberg entitled “medical errors are third leading cause of death in the U.S.” published on May 3, 2016 at www.aol.com article.  2016 medical errors caused at least 250,000 deaths every year.  Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine stated “its medical care gone awry”.  The magnitude of the death toll, 10% of the U.S. deaths annually is striking in an era dominated by efforts to reform the health care system.  Patients’ safety efforts has failed to gain traction because there is no systematic effort to study medical errors.  Dr. Makary states “medical errors leading to a patient’s death is an unrecognized epidemic”.

Two decades after “to err is human”, a report published by The Institute of Medicine, a quasi-public think tank made up of leading scientists, estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year.  A new estimate is drawn from more recent studies that shows the number may be much higher.  A report published in The Journal Health Affairs in 2001 that just over 1% of hospital patients die each year because of medical errors.  35 million people are hospitalized each year would translate into 400,201 deaths per year, more than four times the original.  The IOM estimate of 44,000 to 98,000 people die in US hospitals.

The John Hopkins team used evidence from their studies that analyzed medical death data from 2000 to 2008 using this data they were able to calculate a mean death rate for medical errors in US hospital which calculated that 251,454 deaths resulted from medical errors.  Dr. Makary and Dr. Daniel of John Hopkins called for reform that would improve the reporting of medical errors.  These two doctors in a letter of May 1, 2016 have asked The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention to rank medical errors on the list of leading causes of death in the U.S.  They also asked The CDC to alter death certificates so doctors and medical examinations and coroners can routinely report medical errors that contribute to a patient’s death.  The letter to the CDC also stated “it is time for the country to invest in medical quality and patient safety”.  The CDC acknowledged that errors are under reported and that there are ways to capture the data using death certificates to report medical errors.  Dr. Makary concludes that medical error research is “underfunded and under reported” and this prompted him to embark on an analysis that would elevate fatal mistakes to their proper place near the top of the list of all causes of death.