Home Births Rise In Connecticut As Pandemic Prompts Women To Seek Alternatives To Hospitals

Cameron English got comfortable on the cushioned green exam table as her 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter played nearby. Initially, as midwife Carolyn Greenfield swept a monitor over English’s pregnant belly, there was only an indistinct swoosh. But before long, the instrument found and amplified a distinctive, quick double thump. English was all smiles, hearing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. After English’s first three children were born in a hospital, she had her fourth child at home in 2020, attended by Greenfield, a certified professional midwife.

With Medical Bills Soaring, Nonprofits, Crowdfunding, Payment Plans Offer Some Debt Relief

In February, Lori Dingwell of Waterbury tested positive for COVID-19. She says she has yet to recover fully. The 53-year-old has seen her primary care physician, a neurologist, ophthalmologist, retinal specialist, infectious disease expert, and rheumatologist. After a host of scans, blood tests and “an abnormal spinal tap,” Dingwell—a member of the COVID long-hauler support group Survivor Corps—said physicians had no answers to help explain her malady. Adding to her woes, she racked up nearly $10,000 in medical debt.

Birth Control: Lots Of Options, But Scant Guidance

When University of Connecticut student Natalie Plebanek was 16 years old, she suffered heavy menstrual periods and subsequent fainting spells. But when she asked her pediatrician about a prescription for birth control pills, proven to reduce menstrual bleeding significantly, the doctor balked, citing a common myth. “She thought I would become extremely sexually active,” Plebanek said. Now 21, Plebanek is considering a more convenient method of birth control. Seeking advice from a gynecologist about her options, she was handed a brochure.

Ranking Of Connecticut Medical Board’s ‘Serious Disciplinary Actions’ Echoes Members’ Concerns

The state Medical Examining Board ranked 37th in the nation in the annual rate of serious disciplinary actions the board took against physicians accused of wrongdoing from 2017 to 2019, according to a Public Citizen report issued earlier this year. Connecticut’s board averaged about 13 serious disciplinary actions a year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, according to Public Citizen. The rankings are based on the number of serious disciplinary actions taken by states per 1,000 physicians. Connecticut’s rate was .65 per 1,000 physicians compared to Kentucky, which had the highest rate of serious disciplinary actions at 2.29 per 1,000 physicians, the report said. Public Citizen defines a “serious disciplinary action” as one that has a clear impact on a physician’s ability to practice.

Wet Summer Raises Risk Of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses In October

With mosquito levels at the highest in 20 years, three mosquito-borne illnesses are most dangerous to humans in October after being passed from birds to mosquitoes over the summer months. This year, the first report of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) occurred Sept. 23 in mosquitoes trapped in Voluntown, in southeastern Connecticut, as part of the state’s surveillance program. EEE is rare but kills one-third of those who catch it, according to the state Department of Public Health. Two years ago, three out of four people who caught EEE in Stonington died.

Data Show Decrease In Prison Sex Abuse Reports, But Survivor Advocates Say Fear And Ambivalence Persist

For eight months in 1995, LaResse Harvey says, she was held as a sex slave by her cellmate at York Correctional Institution in Niantic. In the 26 years since Harvey’s assault, the landmark Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was signed into federal law. The legislation gave prisoners several avenues to report sexual misconduct; required changes to buildings for added safety, such as adding doors with windows and installing more cameras; and mandated regular audits of each facility. But people incarcerated in Connecticut say they still face sexual abuse from other prisoners and guards and that reporting the crimes isn’t always worth the consequences. “It does not work,” said Harvey, who pushed for PREA in Connecticut after her release from prison and later co-founded the advocacy agency Once Incarcerated.

Children And Adolescents Struggling With Pandemic’s Mental Health Fallout

One day in early March 2020, just as the pandemic was gaining momentum, sixth-grader Carolina Martinez-Nava was heading to the school cafeteria when she saw her sister coming down the stairs, looking for her. Arlene, an eighth grader, was crying. “She came and hugged me,” Carolina said. Students had been peering out windows all morning at the black smoke rising a few blocks from the school, in Bridgeport. But that still couldn’t prepare Carolina for her sister’s news that it was their family’s house that was burning.

Women Of Color Overrepresented In Domestic Violence Arrests, Data Show

Black and Hispanic women make up about 25% of the state’s female population but represent about 53% of domestic violence arrest cases for adult females in 2020, Judicial Branch data show. It’s a disparity that is playing out in courtrooms across the state, according to public defenders who contend that Black and brown women often face harsher penalties and longer court proceedings to gain a favorable outcome. “This is real, it is very real,” said Jassette Henry, a senior assistant public defender in New Britain and a tri-chair of the Racial Justice and Cultural Competency Committee within the state’s Division of Public Defender Services. “The question is, what are we going to do about it?”

“Black people are overrepresented in arrests,” Henry said. “It’s not surprising that Black women are getting arrested in a domestic violence incident at a higher rate.