The state Medical Examining Board agreed Tuesday to withdraw the charges filed against a Durham physician accused of providing fraudulent exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines and masks after she voluntarily relinquished her medical license while it was suspended. Sue McIntosh, a retired former physician, will not face any discipline and will not be able to practice medicine unless she seeks a formal reinstatement before the board, state Department of Public Health (DPH) officials said. The board’s vote was unanimous. The board did not discuss the case before the vote other than a comment by Chair Kathryn Emmett who said since McIntosh had voluntarily surrendered her license, “there was no license to reprimand.”
McIntosh was accused of deviating from the standard of care by failing to properly diagnose or examine people who she issued signed exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines and masks. The state said that McIntosh failed to build a patient and physician relationship with those who requested the exemptions, failed to obtain their medical history and failed to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines by providing advice that was harmful to the public. The board suspended McIntosh’s medical license on Sept.
When Amanda, 28, found out that she was pregnant with her second child, she was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggling with opioid use disorder. “I was pretty heavy into my drug use,” said Amanda, whose last name is being withheld due to patient confidentiality. “I had given up hope and was figuring out a way to use drugs and get away with the consequences. But it doesn’t work like that.”
Now, however, Amanda is feeling “really good.” That’s because she is in a clinical trial for pregnant women run by the Yale School of Medicine, through which she receives medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for her opioid use disorder (OUD). Amanda’s OB-GYN is among a group of physicians at 12 clinics in Connecticut and Massachusetts who are training with Yale to offer OB-GYN care and treatment for substance use disorder under one roof to pregnant patients.
On a recent Friday evening, 30 men and women of color in and around New Haven converged on Zoom to share their thoughts about the flu vaccine. Most were apprehensive. Participants said they worried about contracting the flu from the vaccine, that the danger from the flu vaccine is far greater than catching the flu, and that people of color are again being experimented upon by the medical community. “Our trust levels are really low,” one woman at the online event said. “We think it’s just another way of getting to harm us even further.”
During the 2019-20 flu season in New Haven, more people of color than whites were hospitalized due to the flu: 35% of Black and 31% of Hispanic residents compared to 22% of white people, according to data from the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE).
For the 29% of Connecticut adults who live with obesity, summer brings a difficult form of air pollution. Ground-level ozone is the colorless, odorless gas formed when auto exhaust reacts with sunlight at temperatures above 80 degrees. Ozone can be dangerous for people who have higher body mass indexes. If the pandemic shutdown were now, those with obesity and others who suffer from the adverse effects of ground-level ozone might have caught a break. Officials know that other forms of pollution dropped significantly during the early spring.
Placing loved ones in a nursing home is often fraught with emotions, and a common one is guilt. Many are feeling a resurgence of guilt now, knowing that they are at higher risk during this pandemic. Coronavirus has swept through 150 of the state’s nursing homes and, as of April 29, 1,249 residents have died — representing about 55% of all COVID-19 deaths. As of last Thursday, there were 4,814 cases in nursing facilities. ConnHealthITeam · Coping With Pandemic: Guilt
Dr. Kirsten Wilkins, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, talks with C-HIT’s Colleen Shaddox about strategies you can use to help your elderly relatives – and yourself – cope during the pandemic.
Soon after Minerva Cuapio, a 48-year-old Mexican immigrant who lives in New Haven, was laid off from her job at a dry cleaner in March, she developed a headache, an itchy throat and a dry cough. Then came the shortness of breath that really worried her daughter, Izarelli Mendieta, 29, of New Haven. While trying to get her mother care, she said, they were bounced from a doctor to the state’s COVID-19 hotline to a telemedicine visit back to the hotline and then to a drive-through testing center and an emergency room visit. The family waited nine days for Cuapio’s positive test results. Izarelli’s father, Pedro Mendieta, 55, who lost a foot to diabetes, tested positive, too, but had mild symptoms.
Minerva Cuapio and Pedro Mendieta have recovered, but their daughter, who translates for her parents because they only speak Spanish, said if she could meet Gov. Ned Lamont, she would ask him to make the process easier for families like hers.
It’s important to practice physical distancing – but not social distancing. People need connection and belonging. There are ways to achieve that online through volunteering and using new platforms to connect with friends. Low-tech sources of meaning like poetry and prayer are helpful too. C-HIT’s Colleen Shaddox talks about ways to battle loneliness with Dr. Megan V. Smith, associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and the Yale Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine.
Adolescents want and need to be with peers, so the isolation imposed by the pandemic is especially hard for them. Parents are put in the difficult position of enforcing that isolation. Students are also experiencing many losses – Spring sports, prom, graduations, and field trips. C-HIT’s Colleen Shaddox talks about how parents can support their teenaged children with Dr. Megan V. Smith, associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and the Yale Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine.
The pandemic has many parents trying to do their jobs from home, supervise their children’s education and provide 24-7 care. Creating reasonable expectations can keep parents from becoming overwhelmed in a high stress situation. Setting goals that are achievable – and carving out a bit of time for yourself — will make this extraordinary time more manageable. C-HIT’s Colleen Shaddox discusses ways to find balance with Dr. Megan V. Smith, associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and the Yale Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine.
Social distancing is one way to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but for health care workers who provide care in people’s homes, especially for the elderly, that type of care brings heightened risks, experts say. Home health workers assist clients with daily tasks like bathing, dressing, toileting, walking and transferring out of bed; all things that require them to be extremely close to those they serve. In many cases, they also shop for groceries and pick up prescriptions and other necessities. It’s a challenging time, but home health workers are committed to delivering quality care, said Pedro Zayas, spokesman for the SEIU Healthcare 1199 NE, which represents more than 5,000 independent personal care attendants. “Our providers are people who went into this field because they like caring for others,” he said, adding that caregivers are diligent about self-monitoring for fever and other symptoms.
Cases of the highly contagious coronavirus continue to spike in Connecticut and nationally, with elderly people being particularly susceptible.