Extra Extra : Health

VA pays out $200 million for nearly 1,000 veterans’ wrongful deaths

In the decade after 9/11, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $200 million to nearly 1,000 families in wrongful death cases, according to VA data obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting.

In that time, CIR found the agency made wrongful death payments to nearly 1,000 grieving families, ranging from decorated Iraq War veterans who shot or hanged themselves after being turned away from mental health treatment, to Vietnam veterans whose cancerous tumors were identified but allowed to grow, to missed diagnoses, botched surgeries and fatal neglect of elderly veterans.

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Residents of 'uninhabitable' Calif. public housing complex to be relocated

Following a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the City Council of Richmond, Calif. voted to give residents of the Hacienda public housing complex vouchers to move into private housing. Tim Jones, executive director of the Richmond Housing Authority, called the bulding uninhabitable, and dozens of residents have complained of health problems due to mold.

Jones has blamed deteriorating conditions in public housing on the lack of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city said it will ask HUD for voucher funding. But if the city can't get the money from ...

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In New York, a Heart Surgery Factory With 'Obscene Levels' of Pay

Reports of scheduled ER visits raised a concern internally that some cardiologists might be using the emergency department to get the costs of uninsured patients’ procedures covered, according to hospital correspondence. In some cases, the government’s Medicaid program and private insurers will pay for procedures done via an emergency-room visit that wouldn’t be covered otherwise, Bloomberg News reports.

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Extra Extra Special Edition: Vehicle recalls, police misconduct, U.S. Border Patrol tactics

We took a break from publishing Extra Extra during the 2014 CAR Conference. Here are some of the stories that ran while we were away:

 

Fords with faulty transmissions not recalled | WTAE Pittsburgh

Following the redesign of Ford Fiesta and Focus transmissions in 2011, hundreds around the country said they're concerned about the safety of the vehicles. They have reported difficulty shifting as well as odd crunching and grinding noises as the cars change gears.

Dozens of consumers in Western Pennsylvania filed lawsuits alleging that, despite assurances from dealers, the vehicles do not function properly. The cars have not ...

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Maryland law presumes many cancers are job-related for firefighters

A dispute between the City of Baltimore and a firefighter-paramedic with breast cancer spotlights a high-stakes debate over a law that presumes certain cancers are related to fighting fires. Firefighters say the provisions — which can lead to awards exceeding $500,000, including medical bills — rightly reflect the fact that they can encounter dangerous fumes and chemicals on the job.

But governments like Baltimore's, which spent $49 million last year on workers' compensation, call the law unreasonably generous and too difficult to challenge in hearings or in court. Officials also point to recent research from the National Institute for Occupational ...

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Extra Extra Monday: American Indian casinos, oil field fatalities, student absenteeism

Suicide rate hits 25-year high in region | Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Craig Russell Wishnick is one of 238 residents of Dutchess and Ulster counties to die by suicide in the five years ending in 2011, 73 more than in the five years ending in 2003, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of death certificates over a 13-year period. That is an increase in harder-hit Dutchess of 62 percent and the first hike in the county rate after a quarter-century of steady and solid decline.

 

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences? | The Salt Lake Tribune

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Bill seeks new restrictions on sterilizations in Calif. prisons

A California state senator introduced legislation to limit sterilization surgeries in state prisons, jails and detention centers after the Center for Investigative Reporting found that 132 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules.

Prison medical staff had been coercing and targeting women “deemed likely to return to prison in the future,” CIR reported.

“If passed, the proposal would close several loopholes on inmate sterilizations and for the first time bring California law up to federal standards. Federal and state laws ban sterilizations if federal funds are used but allow for the use of state money to pay for ...

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After NYT series, officials to transfer hundreds of children out of ‘deplorable’ shelters

City officials are moving more than 400 children and their families out of two city-owned shelters in the wake of a New York Times series about homeless children.

“For nearly three decades, thousands of children passed through Auburn and Catherine Street, living with cockroaches, spoiled food, violence and insufficient heat, even as inspectors warned that the shelters were unfit for children,” the Times wrote today.

“State and city inspectors have cited Auburn for over 400 violations — many of them repeated — for a range of hazards, including vermin, mold, lead exposure, an inoperable fire safety system, insufficient child care and the ...

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Air quality monitoring falls short at Eagle Ford oil and gas wells

An oil boom is underway at the Eagle Ford Shale in Karnes County, Texas, but the development is diminishing the quality of life of the inhabitants of the rural county and possibly endangering their health, according to reporting by the Center for Public Integrity, InsideClimate News and the Weather Channel.

Residents' complaints are going unaddressed and air quality monitoring is patchy. Though officials have said there is no cause for worry, experts say that the lack of monitoring and research into the health effects of pollutants has resulted in a poor understanding of how oil and gas development impact public ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Heroin reaches the suburbs, feds slash gas explosion fines, casinos use hardball tactics to collect debts

Heroin reaching into the suburbs | The (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

Heroin, long a scourge of inner cities, has infiltrated suburbia and rural towns and is claiming the lives of an increasingly younger, middle-class and white male clientele at an alarming rate.

But new statistics compiled for the Democrat and Chronicle by the office, which investigates suspected drug-related deaths across the region, show that more often than not the victims resided outside the city of Rochester.

 

Cancer-causing chemical PCE contaminates Colorado soil, water and homes | The Denver Post

Spills releasing PCE, the cancer-causing chemical used in dry cleaning and ...

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