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  1. Ivan Barry Pless
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan Barry Pless, Retired, Westmount, Quebec, Canada H3Y2V2; barry.pless{at}mcgill.ca

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Power tool industry resists safety measures

A hot dog pushed into the spinning blade of a table saw survived because the saw had a safety device, the SawStop that stopped the blade when it hit flesh, not wood. It reminded me of the first time I removed a plaster cast using a similar saw about 50 years ago. I was certain I would cut too far and cut or sever the arm, but the blade stopped when it hit skin. In the USA there are over 67 000 table saw injuries each year, with 4000 resulting in amputations. So, given the availability of the SawStop, why are we still seeing these injuries? Apparently the major tool manufacturers are either disinterested or actually opposed to the safety measure because it would add to the cost of the tool. As well, it seems they are ‘worried that if a way to prevent severe injuries got traction in the market, they would face liability for accidents with conventional saws.’ The account concludes, “The SawStop story is about an industry's ability to resist a major safety advance that could, by now, have prevented countless disfiguring injuries, but might have been bad for business. It highlights the endless due process that makes it virtually impossible for regulators to enact safety measures over the unified objections of industry.”

Family files wrongful-death suit against NHL

The family of Boogaard, a former National Hockey League (NHL) player, now deceased, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the NHL blaming the league for the brain damage that led to his addiction to prescription painkillers. Boogaard was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy caused by repeated blows to the head. The family's lawyer stated, “The NHL drafted Derek Boogaard because it wanted his massive body to fight in order to enhance ratings, earnings and exposure. When he became addicted to these narcotics, the NHL promised …

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