As a nation, we are fat and getting fatter—and that means something entirely different for men than it does for women. On the medical side, a recent study says that obesity is three times more deadly for men than it is for women. The study, published in the July edition of the British medical journal The Lancet included 3.9 million adults in Europe and North America. The adults were between the ages of 20 and 90, none of them smoked, and none had any known chronic disease. So here’s irony: Though obesity is far more dangerous for men, women suffer the most social pressure over it, from the dieting industry, from their employers, and even from medical professionals.
Four nursing homes have been fined by the state in connection with residents who broke bones, required surgery or wandered away. In two separate citations on April 8, Cassena Care at Norwalk was fined a total of $5,370 for a case in which a now former director of nursing blocked a resident from going to the hospital to maintain the resident count at the home, state records show. A day after the incident, on Oct. 10, the resident needed emergency cranial surgery and then was placed in hospice care, a citation from the state Department of Public Health said. DPH officials did not have information on whether the resident had died, department spokeswoman Maura Downes said.
This year 97 percent of blacklegged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks, survived the Connecticut winter and are hungry for blood as temperatures warm. These arachnids transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease and are likely thriving in your backyard, according to Connecticut Chief Entomologist Kirby Stafford. About 3,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported in the state each year, the state Department of Public Health reports, but Stafford says that most cases aren’t reported. The true number is closer to 35,000, he estimates. “Under-reporting is more likely to occur in highly endemic [widespread] areas, whereas over-reporting is more likely to occur in non-endemic areas,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Derby nurse who admitted taking kickbacks from a drug company that makes the powerful opioid painkiller Subsys is cooperating with federal investigators, who recently charged two drug company employees with violating kickback laws, court documents show. Documents filed earlier this year show that Heather Alfonso, a nurse formerly employed by a Derby pain clinic, requested a delay in sentencing because she was “actively cooperating in an ongoing investigation in several jurisdictions, including Connecticut,” in which arrests were expected. “Ms. Alfonso’s cooperation with both state and federal investigations is significant when qualifying her character and conduct, relative to sentencing,” her attorney said in filings in U.S. District Court in Hartford. A judge agreed to delay Alfonso’s sentencing until Sept. 13.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing has revoked the licenses of four nurses and disciplined eight other nurses, with all but one of the cases connected to alcohol or drug abuse. Meeting in Hartford on Wednesday, June 15, the board revoked the license of Leslie Matejek, a registered nurse from Derby, after she tested positive for cocaine three times in 2015, the board’s memorandum of decision said. The memo shows that in 2010 Matejek’s license was placed on probation for four years after she admitted falsifying a prescription for Oxycontin. According to the memo, she tested positive for oxycodone three times in 2010 and morphine twice in 2011. Her probation was later extended to February of this year, with weekly random drug tests.
Three nursing homes have been fined by the state in connection with residents who developed pressure sores or fell and sustained injuries. Bishop Wicke Health & Rehabilitation Center in Shelton was fined $2,160 on April 27 in connection with a resident who fell and was later hospitalized with inoperable bleeding on the brain. The DPH citation said that the resident’s head was hit during the fall on Oct. 24. As the resident became fatigued, a doctor treated the resident for a possible infection but reported never being told about the fall, the citation said.
A Branford child psychiatrist who paid $30,000 to settle a Medicaid fraud allegation with the state last year has agreed to give up his medical license when it expires Aug. 31. On May 24, the state Department of Public Health reached an agreement with Dr. W. Blake Taggart that he will voluntarily agree not to renew or reinstate his license. His action will be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Though the allegations against him were not mentioned in the agreement, Taggart was in the news last year when he paid the fine to resolve allegations of fraudulent claims for payments to Cornerstones P.C., a Branford outpatient behavioral health clinic for children, according to press release from Attorney General George Jepsen.
Jepsen said that Taggart, who had been the medical director of Cornerstones, and social worker David M. Meyers, the former president of Cornerstones, had filed false claims for reimbursement from the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program, which is the state’s Medicaid program.
Health risks challenging veterans, particularly those who have recently returned home from combat, is one of the topics of an upcoming conference for consumers and health care providers. The conference, “Better Health: It’s Your Health, Take Charge,” will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 3, at Foxwoods Resort Casino. CT Partners for Health, a coalition of dozens of stakeholders working to help consumers better understand health care, is organizing the event. Conference breakout sessions will address a wide range of topics, including caring for veterans. That discussion will focus on the health-related challenges veterans face after they return from combat zones.
The incidence of suicide in nearly all age groups has increased by 24 percent since 1999—and by 200 percent among girls between the ages of 10 and 14. Theories behind such astounding unprecedented increases, reported recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vary. Some research says that among older Americans, the recent recession may have played a part, though the correlation is not a simple one. As for why so many more young girls are killing themselves, the answers there, too, are complicated. Girls between the ages of 10 and 14 showed the greatest rise in suicide of any age group since 1999, from 0.5 per 100,000 to 1.5 per 100,000 in 2014, according to last month’s CDC report.
Seven nursing homes have been fined at least $1,200 in connection with residents who were verbally abused or who suffered cuts or broken bones. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) fined Madison House in Madison a total of $3,640 in separate citations on Feb. 5 and March 3. It was fined $1,940 in connection with a nurse’s aide who was verbally abusive to a resident on Aug. 8.