Betty Williams says giving up crack cocaine was easier than her ongoing struggle to quit cigarettes. “A cigarette is a friend,” said Williams, who lives with schizophrenia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with mental illness account for 44% of the cigarette purchases in the United States, and they are less likely to quit than other smokers. High smoking rates among people with mental illness contribute to poorer physical health and shorter lifespans, generally 13 to 30 years shorter than the population as a whole. About 37% of men and 30% of women with mental illness smoke.
The state Medical Examining Board Tuesday suspended the license of a Shelton doctor for two years and placed his license on probation for four years after accepting a hearing panel’s finding that his paranoid behavior is affecting his ability to safely practice medicine. The first two years of the probation runs at the same time as the suspension, which will be followed by two years of probation, the board’s memorandum of decision states. During the probation, Dr. Nami Bayan must see a therapist. After the suspension ends, Bayan will not be allowed to have a solo practice and must practice medicine in a setting with other physicians during the probation, the order said. In July, the state Department of Public Health had ordered Bayan to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after he had sent emails to the department alleging “corruption and organized crime” in the U.S. medical system, law enforcement and DPH, the memo said.
I am writing to ask you to do the right thing. The U.S. House of Representatives—including the entire Connecticut delegation—voted last week to reauthorize a version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that includes, among other changes, placing limits on convicted domestic abusers’ ability to buy firearms. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd, and Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, were two of the co-sponsors of the bill. The reauthorization passed 263 to 158 despite heavy lobbying by the National Rifle Association, which has become nothing more than a soulless gun delivery system. The organization lobbied especially hard against an expansion of the act that adds restrictions on gun-ownership by current or former dating partners, which closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole.”
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the presence of a gun in the home of someone who commits domestic abuse increases fivefold the possibility of a homicide happening in that home. In a study that compared violent death rates in the U.S. with other high-income countries, U.S. women were 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun.
In Connecticut nine hospitals, including Yale New Haven Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and Sharon Hospital, received an overall 4-star rating, new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show. But six hospitals – Bridgeport Hospital, Griffin Hospital, St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Manchester Memorial Hospital, Waterbury Hospital and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital – received the lowest overall rating of 1 star. The overall ratings summarize a variety of care measures that hospitals treat patients for, such as heart attacks, pneumonia and infections, and show how well each hospital performs on average compared to other hospitals in the country, according to CMS’ website. None of the state’s 28 hospitals received CMS’ highest rating of 5 stars.
Six nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for various violations in which residents were injured or endangered. Masonicare Health Center in Wallingford was fined $7,800 after a resident with dementia fell from an X-ray table to the floor. The resident fell on Aug. 22, 2018, and suffered a head laceration that required five sutures, according to DPH. A registered nurse had asked the X-ray technician whether straps should be used to secure the resident to the table, but the technician said none were available.
State investigations of elder abuse, ranging from neglect to emotional abuse to physical abuse, more than doubled in Connecticut between 2011 and 2017, from 3,529 to 7,196. In 2017 alone, the state Department of Social Services (DSS) received 11,123 reports of elder abuse and decided that 7,196 warranted an investigation. That year, self-neglect—when adults are unable to provide for their own basic care—was the most common type of elder abuse reported to DSS, at 30 percent, followed by neglect by others, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and abandonment. “It’s all trending up,” Dorian Long, DSS director of social work services, said. Some of the recent cases investigated by DSS Protective Services for the Elderly are chilling.
People struggling with hunger suffer from a disproportionate number of chronic illnesses and often rely on food pantries for their groceries. So, pantries are now being urged to undergo a sea change and abandon their traditional emphasis on calories and nonperishable items in favor of more nutritional food. In Connecticut, 440,000 people are food insecure, which means they have limited or uncertain access to sufficient nutritious food, according to 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture figures, the latest available. They comprise 12.2 percent of the state’s population.People with food insecurity are 25 percent more likely to have heart disease and diabetes, and 50 percent more likely to have kidney disease, cites Feeding America, a national food bank network. “These issues can be prevented or managed better with a proper diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains,” said Michelle Lapine McCabe, director of the Center for Food Equity and Economic Development, based in Bridgeport.
A Norwich doctor was disciplined by the state Medical Examining Board for failing to appropriately manage the care of patients with pain, diabetes and a seizure disorder. It’s the third time that Dr. Helar Campos, who also has an office in New London, has been disciplined by the board. Campos was reprimanded and fined $8,000 and had his medical license placed on probation for six months under a consent order he agreed to. During the probation, he must hire a physician to monitor a portion of his patients’ records. In 2012, Campos was fined $7,000 for the illegal delegation of nursing care to unlicensed staff, state Department of Public Health records show.
It would be hard to find a more successful federal program than Title X family planning clinics. Title X is a nearly 50-year-old federal family planning grant program. According to Guttmacher Institute, the program funds roughly 4,000 health centers around the country, with 4 million clients—including 20 percent of all U.S. women who need publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies. According to Connecticut’s attorney general, some 43,000 Connecticut residents relied on Title X clinics in 2017. Without these clinics, the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion in the U.S. each would have been 33 percent higher, while the teen pregnancy rate would have been 30 percent higher.
A licensed practical nurse from Rocky Hill who was sentenced to nine months in prison in connection with her toddler being badly burned in a bathtub has had her license reprimanded by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing. On Wednesday, Shamique Martin was one of 9 nurses disciplined by the board. It placed her license on probation for four months and ordered her to take courses in ethics and being a mandated reporter of child abuse. In February, 2017, Rocky Hill police arrested her in connection with her daughter’s burns. In September 2017, Martin pleaded guilty to one count of risk of injury to a minor and one count of making a false statement.