The state Medical Examining Board voted Tuesday to place two doctors on probation, including a pediatrician accused of excessive alcohol use. Dr. Christine Cornachio of Simsbury, the pediatrician, is required to submit to random urine testing and individual therapy with a licensed professional as part of a consent order approved by the board that will allow her to continue practicing at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center during the five-year probationary period. Cornachio came under investigation by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in June after the agency was notified by the Health Assistance Intervention Network, known as HAVEN, in accordance with state law. HAVEN helps medical professionals with mental health, medical and substance abuse problems. State statute requires HAVEN to report any licensed medical practitioner who did or could pose a harm to patients or declines services after being referred due to a mental health, medical or substance abuse problem. An investigation determined Cornachio utilized alcohol to excess on at least four occasions from 2014 to March 2019, the consent order said.
The death rate from heart disease plummeted nationally over several decades for all racial and ethnic groups, but the rate of decline has slowed slightly and African Americans and low-income individuals are still at a higher risk of developing the disease and dying from it, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. The report isn’t surprising to Dr. Edward Schuster, medical director, Stamford Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. “In the United States, there’s a lot of talk about income disparity, which is a political hotcake,” Schuster said. “But what we are seeing is a life expectancy disparity. According to a recent Journal of American Medical Association, if you’re a man in the top 1 percent of income, you can expect to live 13 years longer than someone in the 1 percent at the bottom.”
Heart disease is largely preventable by maintaining a balanced diet, a healthy weight and moderate exercise, with only 20 percent of cases involving genetics, said Dr. David L. Katz, who heads the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, which works with communities to develop programs to control chronic diseases. But significant groups in lower income and urban areas don’t—or can’t—act on the message, Katz said.
Getting to the hospital quickly after suffering a stroke improves your chances of survival, but in Connecticut there are areas where access to the top level of stroke care is limited, health experts say. Two hospitals, Yale New Haven Hospital’s main campus and Hartford Hospital, are nationally certified as Comprehensive Stroke Care Centers, providing the highest level of stroke care available, which includes 24-hour access to neurological practitioners and the ability to perform complex endovascular therapies, including thrombectomies and endovascular coiling of an aneurysm, among other surgeries. Yale and Hartford hospitals are two of only 178 certified nationally as comprehensive stroke centers, according to The Joint Commission, which certifies hospitals. But when time is critical, traveling to New Haven or Hartford can be a risky commute from the northwestern and northeastern parts and other parts of the state, where hospitals certified in stroke care are sparse. In all, the state has 23 hospitals that are certified in some level of stroke care, up from 16 in 2013.