Extra Extra : Health

Extra Extra Monday: Fatal flaws in Oklahoma’s execution system, absent city council members, teacher misconduct

Fatal Flaws: How Oklahoma’s lethal injection process went wrong | Tulsa World

Nearly 15 years after Stephanie’s murder, Lockett lay dying as her family watched along with a gallery of law enforcement officials, prison administrators and journalists through the window of Oklahoma’s execution chamber.

State officials had promised in court records and interviews that Oklahoma’s new execution protocol would dispatch him swiftly and painlessly. They were so confident in this assurance that Gov. Mary Fallin ordered Lockett to be executed April 29, the same night another convicted killer was set to die.

Lockett’s death didn’t ...

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Thousands tested with unvalidated and unregulated Lyme disease tests

As Lyme disease becomes an increasingly challenging public health threat across the Northeast, a growing number of tests for the vexing ailment may be misdiagnosing patients when telling them that they have – or don't have – the tick-borne illness.

At least seven labs in the U.S. have been denied permission to offer Lyme tests over the past decade in New York, according to state records obtained by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.  The state is the only one that performs a rigorous review of tests to ensure they identify what they claim to before they can be ...

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Kids with no vaccinations clustered in some schools

"Some Ohio schools might as well have a target painted on the side of the building as far as public-health experts are concerned.

In some schools in the state, as many as 1 in 3 incoming kindergartners and newly enrolled older students have parents who oppose vaccines, according to a Dispatch analysis of schools’ immunization counts."

Read the full story from The Columbus Dispatch here.

Extra Extra Monday: Nebraska releases prisoners early; Koch brothers hold secret summit; Missile defense system proves unreliable

$40-billion missile defense system proves unreliable | Los Angeles Times

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, was supposed to protect Americans against a chilling new threat from "rogue states" such as North Korea and Iran. But a decade after it was declared operational, and after $40 billion in spending, the missile shield cannot be relied on, even in carefully scripted tests that are much less challenging than an actual attack would be, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.

The Missile Defense Agency has conducted 16 tests of the system's ability to intercept a mock enemy warhead. It has ...

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VA executives received $100M in bonuses as problems mounted

Executives and employees of the troubled Veterans Affairs health system enjoyed over $100 million in bonuses, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The federal government warned the VA in the past about the growing issue of excessive patient wait times and its detrimental effect on the health care system. Still, VA executives and employees received $108.7 million in bonuses over the course of three years.

Since 2005 more than a dozen reports have been released showing the negative impact of patient wait times at both the national and local levels. The VA said more than 57,000 veterans waited ...

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Taxpayers face big Medicare tab for unusual doctor billings

More than 2,300 providers – doctors, nurses, physician assistants – earned $500,000 or more from Medicare in 2012 from a single procedure or service, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the data. A few of those providers, including an internist in Los Angeles and a dermatologist in Port St. Lucie, Fla., collected more from the single procedures than anyone else who billed for them — by very large margins.

The data release was prompted by a Journal legal effort to make the information public. This story is the first of a series, Medicare Unmasked, examining how payments are made ...

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Despite evidence of danger, some parents still share beds with infants

The tragedies put the city on pace for a deadlier-than-usual year for bed-sharing infants.

Jackson County, meanwhile, has recorded 100 such deaths since 2004 believed to be related to co-sleeping — grim statistics seldom discussed publicly.

The deaths continue to increase nationally despite a campaign by the American Academy of Pediatrics to avoid bed-sharing and efforts by advocates to promote safe-sleeping guidelines for infants.

Read the full story from The Kansas City Star here.

How the VA developed its culture of coverups

The resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki isn’t likely to fix systemic problems at the beleaguered agency, the Washington Post reports.

The VA’s “towering bureaucracy,” once designed to prevent mismanagement and corruption, ultimately allowed it to hide its problems from senior staff.

Scheduling clerks were told to “zero out” wait times. In Phoenix, for instance, official data showed veterans waited an average of 24 days for an appointment. In reality, the average wait was 115 days. Reporter David Fahrenthold explains:

This is how it worked: A patient asked for an appointment on a specific day. Turner ...

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Is an Arizona prison healthcare provider driving up its profits at the expense of taxpayers?

Arizona taxpayers pay $125 million a year to Corizon, a company contracted to provide healthcare to Arizona's inmate population. A KPNX-Phoenix investigation revealed there are questions about whether the company is driving up its profits at the expense of taxpayers.

What's more, billing records show the Department of Corrections is spending millions more to defend itself from a 2012 class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Prison Law Office out of Berkeley, Calif. That filing accuses the department of not providing adequate medical care, mental health care and dental care to prisoners ...

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Trials of spinal surgery option Infuse were too little, too late

Three years after back surgery, Grace Nestler-Bramm learned that a drug designed to repair her spine was causing new bone to wrap around it and compress nerves.

In March, the Cedar Grove resident became one of nearly 1,000 people who are suing Medtronic, the company that markets Infuse — a number certain to grow.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today analysis of U.S. Food and Drug Administration data found that more than 6,500 reports of Infuse-related problems have been registered with the agency's medical device reporting system since 2002, the year Infuse was approved. Roughly half of ...

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