As fertility rates fall nationwide, Connecticut continues to rank among the lowest in the country—a trend doctors attribute to women here delaying childbearing. In 2016, the most recent year for which state-level data is available, Connecticut had 53.4 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, compared with a national average of 62 per 1,000 women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just four states had lower rates than Connecticut in 2016, and all are in New England: Vermont at 50.3 births per 1,000 women, New Hampshire at 50.9, Rhode Island at 51.8 and Massachusetts at 51.9. The states with the highest fertility rates in 2016 were South Dakota at 77.7, North Dakota at 77.3, Utah at 76.2 and Alaska at 76.1, the CDC reports. Unlike birth rates, which take an entire population into account, fertility rates reflect the share of babies born to women of childbearing age. Connecticut typically ranks low on the list, along with other “high achievement, high education states,” said Dr. Harold J. Sauer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale New Haven Health’s Bridgeport Hospital.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday disciplined five nurses while dropping the charges against an Ansonia nurse because he is now serving 60 years in prison for an unrelated felony murder. The charges were dropped against Jermaine V. Richards, a former licensed practical nurse from Ansonia, because he was convicted in March of the felony murder of his ex-girlfriend, an Eastern Connecticut State University student, in 2013. Since Richards’ nursing license lapsed in 2016 and is now serving a long sentence for murdering Alyssiah Wiley, 20, of West Haven, the prosecution of administrative charges against him is unnecessary, an attorney for the state Department of Public Health told the board. In charges unrelated to the murder, Richards had been accused of being involved in a fight with a visitor in the home of one of his patients. In June 2017, the board revoked his nursing license because of the fight and after concluding that he slept while on duty at a patient’s home, but a month later, the board vacated the revocation because Richards had asked for a continuance.
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined four nursing homes for violations that resulted in injuries to residents. Marlborough Health and Rehabilitation Center was fined $3,270 after a resident suffered two leg fractures when a nurse aide failed to transport the resident properly. The resident, who had Alzheimer’s disease and other diagnoses, was screaming in pain with a swollen left leg on Nov. 27, 2017, and an X-ray at the facility showed a broken left femur. The resident was transferred to a hospital, according to DPH.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 700 women in the United States die each year as a result of pregnancy or pregnancy-related complications, and the rate has more than doubled since 1987. Pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births rose from 7.2 nationally in 1987 to 17.3 in 2013, peaking at 17.8 in 2009 and 2011. In Connecticut, there were eight pregnancy-related deaths from 2011 to 2014. But there’s no data available yet for the years since 2014 and at the moment there are precious few dollars devoted to accessing it
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Six Connecticut nursing homes have been cited and fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations, including one instance in which a resident died after a series of staff errors. St. Camillus Center in Stamford was fined $6,000 after a resident died and video footage at the facility subsequently showed staff waited 10 minutes to administer CPR after finding the resident unresponsive. On Feb. 16, 2018, a resident with lung cancer was found sitting on the floor.
Once a week, every week, the health center at Stamford High School offers sophomore Roger Sanchez an oasis—someplace he can talk to a trusted adult about life’s pressures and problems, a place he feels free and unjudged. School work, sports commitments, family and social obligations: life as a teenager can be stressful, he says. If it weren’t for the health center, conveniently located where he spends most of his days, he would have a much harder time accessing counseling sessions that help him cope with anxiety. “The health center helps me out academically, emotionally and physically,” he said, and he recommends it to friends. “They get nervous, kind of, but I try my best to get them to come in.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday disciplined five nurses, including three advanced practice registered nurses for inappropriately prescribing drugs to family members. The board reprimanded the license of Joan Landino, an APRN from Wallingford, because in 2015, she inappropriately prescribed a controlled substance to a family member without documenting a medical evaluation of the person, a consent order she agreed to said. In 2016, she also failed to secure her prescription pad and inappropriately prescribed stimulants and benzodiazepines, a category of drugs that includes Valium, to patients, the order said. She also prescribed controlled substances to patients without documenting a justification for the prescriptions, the order states. Landino’s license will be on probation until she completes courses in prescribing practices and documentation standards, and she is restricted from prescribing any medication for herself, family members or friends except in an emergency, the order states.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday disciplined three medical practitioners, including fining a New London urologist $3,500 for inappropriate treatment of a patient’s bladder tumor. The urologist, Dr. Anthony Quinn, was also reprimanded for failing to promptly respond to the same patient’s lab result, a consent order he agreed to said. The board also placed his medical license on probation for one year. During that year, Quinn must hire a specialist to review his records for each of his patients with diagnoses of bladder tumors or bladder cancer, the order said. The state Department of Public Health’s (DPH) investigation began in 2012 when the patient complained that she had to undergo the complete removal of her bladder by another surgeon after Quinn cared for her, state records show.
A former head nurse at York Correctional Institution has been reprimanded by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing for failing to properly care for an inmate who suffered a serious brain injury while in the prison medical unit in 2014. In the Niantic prison case, the board Wednesday also placed the registered nurse license of Mary Howe of Griswold on probation for three years and barred her from working in a clinical care setting for the first two years of the probation, a consent order she signed with the board said. Howe was also ordered to take courses in ethics, delegation of nursing duties, professional nursing standards, documentation and “empathy and compassion in nursing,” the order said. In signing the order, Howe did not contest the allegations against her but admitted no wrongdoing. In May 2017, a UConn Health spokesman said Howe no longer worked for the UConn Health unit that provided medical care in the prison.
Tens of thousands of adolescents in Connecticut still do not have access to effective mental health care, despite the passage of a 2008 federal law requiring health insurers to provide equal benefits for mental health. Poor access to care leads to undiagnosed or misdiagnosed mental illness in children and adolescents, an increase in use of emergency rooms for psychiatric issues, and is a risk factor for severe mental illness, substance abuse, failure in school, and entering the juvenile justice system. National studies show that about 1 in 5 children and teens have mental illness, but only one quarter of them receive services. “That leaves about 125,000 children without mental health care in Connecticut,” said Susan Kelley, director of the Alliance for Children’s Mental Health. Some say that estimate is low, partly because it doesn’t capture mental illness misdiagnosed as behavioral problems. “I think that’s a very optimistic figure,” said Eliot Brenner, PhD, president and CEO of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut.