Medical / Health

Friday, March 22, 2019

ACLU Lawsuit Accuses St. Joseph Hospital of Transgender Discrimination (Updated with Statement from St. Joseph)

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 9:12 AM

Oliver Knight - ACLU OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
  • ACLU of Northern California
  • Oliver Knight
UPDATE:
St. Joseph Health issued a brief statement last night in response to the civil rights lawsuit filed yesterday alleging transgender discrimination at its Eureka hospital, saying it takes the allegations "very seriously" and is committing its "full attention to investigating this matter."

"At St. Joseph Health, we believe health care is a basic human right and that every individual seeking care should always be treated with compassion and respect," the statement reads. "We have not had a chance to review the facts  of the case, but take these allegations very seriously. We are committing our full attention to investigating this matter."


PREVIOUSLY:
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit this morning alleging that St. Joseph Hospital violated the rights of a transgender man by refusing to perform a medically necessary surgery because of his gender identity.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 29-year-old Oliver Knight, of Eureka, seeks unspecified damages and a court order that would prevent the hospital from discriminating against patients on the basis of gender identity or expression.

St. Joseph Hospital spokesperson Christian Hill indicated in an email to the Journal that the hospital is still in the process of “gathering details” about the lawsuit and “will communicate as appropriate with the media.”

According to the lawsuit, Knight was born with female anatomy but over time began to identify as male. He started taking social steps toward transitioning in 2013, such as wearing masculine clothing, and was subsequently diagnosed with gender dysphoria. He began hormone replacement therapy in 2015, had a bilateral mastectomy the following year and scheduled a hysterectomy at St. Joseph Hospital in 2017.

“Since I was a kid, I’ve felt like my body didn’t match my soul,” Knight wrote in a story posted to the ACLU website. “I felt uncomfortable in clothes. I felt disgusting when I showered. Everything felt wrong but it took me a while to figure out why.”

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

St. Joseph Hospital Donates $2 Million to Jumpstart HSU's New Nursing Program

Posted By on Sat, Mar 16, 2019 at 2:47 PM

Humboldt State University President Lisa Rossbacher (right) receives a $2 million check from St. Joseph Hospital for the university's new nursing program. - FREDDY BREWSTER
  • Freddy Brewster
  • Humboldt State University President Lisa Rossbacher (right) receives a $2 million check from St. Joseph Hospital for the university's new nursing program.
Humboldt State University is bringing back its nursing program and St. Joseph Hospital has a committed a $2 million grant to help implement and sustain the new partnership between the College of the Redwoods and HSU. The program is hoped to help address health care shortages and “keep quality healthcare close to home” by allowing nursing students from CR to transfer to HSU in order to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, which, according to State Sen. Mike McGuire, is a needed standard in most healthcare facilities.

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire talks about the importance of HSU's new nursing program. - FREDDY BREWSTER
  • Freddy Brewster
  • North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire talks about the importance of HSU's new nursing program.
“One of the top issues that we have heard about in the last four years is a lack of a Bachelor of Science in nursing at Humboldt State,” McGuire said. “We are going to be expanding the pipeline of the qualified nursing professionals here on the North Coast. College of the Redwoods has a LVN to RN program at their campus, but we know their numbers must increase to be able to meet the demand.”

McGuire said Humboldt County needs about 70 nurses a year to graduate from the program and hopes the new partnership will be able to meet those demands. The program will have four main components that will address needs specific to the North Coast, including rural needs, cultural humility, leadership and behavioral health.

“This is truly a game changer for the North Coast,” McGuire said. “There is a severe shortage of nurses throughout northern California. This program will create hundreds of family sustaining careers in the first few years that it has been launched.”

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Drug Task Force Record Streak Continues with Loleta Bust

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2019 at 12:49 PM

Heroin from the largest one-time seizure in county history. - HCDTF
  • HCDTF
  • Heroin from the largest one-time seizure in county history.
The Humboldt County Drug Task Force continued its record streak Sunday with the seizure of 12 pounds of heroin stashed in a hidden compartment during a traffic stop in Loleta — believed to be the largest one-stop confiscation in the county’s history.

Two men — Carlos Cota-Alonso and Edgar Barragan-Castano — from Sonora, Mexico, were arrested during the operation that included task force special agents being assisted by a narcotic detection K9 and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

Agents had previously obtained a search warrant for the vehicle after establishing “probable cause to believe that both subjects were distributing multiple pounds of heroin in Humboldt County.”

Also recovered was $6,000 in cash that is “be held pending asset forfeiture proceedings."

This record-breaking seizure comes on the heels of record-breaking year for the task force. Over the course of 2018, the multi-agency investigative team recovered nearly 35 pounds of the drug — more than double the volume confiscated in the previous six years combined.

In the Jan. 17 Journal article “Out of the Shadows,” which looked at the causes behind the surge, Sgt. Jesse Taylor attributed the increase to a “perfect storm” of circumstances, including an upsurge in heroin use tied to prescription painkillers and changes in sentencing laws.

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Newsom’s Move: Not Yet Health Care For All, But Health Care for More

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Gavin Newsom - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • Gavin Newsom
It was way easier for candidate Gavin Newsom to endorse single-payer health care coverage for everyone than it is now for Gov. Newsom to deliver it.

Yet hardcore advocates say they’re pleased with the moves he’s made thus far — even if it may take years to come to fruition.

“This is a governor that is operating from a compass of action,” said Stephanie Roberson, government relations director for the politically powerful California Nurses Association, which hasn’t exactly been known for its patience on the issue.

Newsom has taken two tacks. He’s asking the Trump administration to let the state create its own single-payer system offering coverage to all Californians — a move almost everyone regards as a very long shot. And he’s also pushing specific ideas to expand health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of still-uninsured Californians — a move that seems much more do-able.

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Cheer for the Rams But in California High Schools, Fewer Kids are Playing Football

Posted By on Sun, Feb 3, 2019 at 8:50 AM

CALMATTERS
  • CALmatters

If the Golden State has a rooting interest in the Super Bowl on Sunday, it won’t just be because the Los Angeles Rams will be on the field. Roughly one player in six on the Rams’ and New England Patriots’ active rosters is a product of California high schools. Year after year, California has churned out top-tier recruits who go on to play football in college and then the NFL.

But the state that produced Tom Brady, Jared Goff and Julian Edelman is also in the thick of national trends that are fueling a decline in football participation, largely because of concerns over head injuries and competition from less aggressive sports.

Even parts of the state known to be football powerhouses have experienced significant declines in high-school football participation, a CALmatters analysis of statewide data shows. On the North Coast, participation has fallen more than 12 percent over the last decade.

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

HSU Hopes to Open New Nursing Program in 2020

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 3:39 PM

FILE
  • File
Humboldt State University is looking to hire a director for its new nursing program, which the university hopes to have up and running by the fall of 2020.

In a press release today, the university announced that efforts to create a new bridge program — which will allow working nurses and those who have recently obtained an associates degree in nursing — to continue their educations locally. The Journal reported on the dire need for nurses in Humboldt County in its Jan. 19, 2017 cover story “Nurses, Stat,” noting that the need was exacerbated by the university’s decision in 2011 to shutter its existing nursing program in the face of an intense budget crunch, and followed up on Feb. 9, 2017 with a report that HSU and CR were actively collaborating on the creation of an RN-BSN bridge program.

The hope is that the new program will both result in a better trained local nursing force and a slight uptick in the number of nurses working locally, as people won’t have to leave the area to continue their nursing educations. According to a university press release, the program will focus on “the particular needs of the North Coast: Preparing nurse leaders who understand health disparities, rural needs and cultural humility, and who can advocate for the physical and psychosocial health of the region’s communities.”

The press release also notes that funding the new program remains a challenge, noting that the newly hired director will be expected to assist in efforts to raise private funds and that the university is currently soliciting donations to create a $10 million endowment for the program.

See the full press release from HSU copied below and the nursing director job posting here.

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

HumCo Health Officials Eyeing Measles Outbreak in Washington, Bracing for the Worst

Posted By on Sat, Jan 26, 2019 at 12:07 PM

FILE
  • File
Humboldt County officials are activating a response protocol amid a measles outbreak in a Washington state suburb of Portland that has seen at least 31 people contract the highly contagious viral disease.

“We’re basically bracing ourselves, crossing our fingers and hoping this doesn’t happen but making sure we’re prepared if it does,” said Humboldt County Public Health Officer Donald Baird, who’s also a family practice physician. “It’s the responsible thing to do.”

Under the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services response, Baird said staff will be notifying local physicians, the Open Door Community Health Centers and the public of the risk, while also stocking up on vaccinations and other supplies.

The outbreak began in Clark County, Washington, just up the river from Portland, which officials have described as an “anti-vaccination hotspot,” where almost 8 percent of school-aged kids have vaccination exemptions and more than 22 percent of public school students haven’t completed their vaccination schedules. Of the 31 confirmed cases thus far, 29 are people under the age of 18. None were vaccinated, according Clark County Department of Public Health.

Health officials in Oregon say the state has its first confirmed report of a case in Multnomah County, home of Portland, that is linked to the Washington outbreak, according to news reports.

In addition to Humboldt County’s relative proximity to the Portland metropolitan area, the county can also be considered somewhat of an anti-vaccination hotspot, which adds to officials’ concern.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

UPDATED: Donors Needed: Blood Bank Issues Critical Call for O Positive

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 12:06 PM

The blood bank is putting out a critical call for O positive blood. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The blood bank is putting out a critical call for O positive blood.
UPDATE:

The Northern California Community Blood Bank will be open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon for donations.

PREVIOUS:

The Northern California Community Blood Bank is putting out a critical call for O Positive donors after the organization’s supply was depleted today.

There are two drives going on today from 1 to 6 p.m. in Fortuna and Crescent City and the blood bank's Eureka location on Harrison Avenue will be taking donations until 4 p.m and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
John Gullam, the blood bank’s director of donor resources, says this time of year typically sees a lull in donations but the need is always there, noting that just one severe trauma incident can wipe out the usual 10-day supply.

“We like to remind folks that the most valuable unit of blood is the one on the shelf when it’s needed,” he says.

Today’s drive locations are Tri Counties Bank, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., at 909 Main St. in Fortuna and Wal-Mart, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., at 900 E. Washington Blvd Crescent City. The blood bank is located at 2524 Harrison Ave.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Before the $4.7 Billion Baby Powder Verdict, There Was One in Humboldt

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 2:31 PM

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
By now, you’ve probably heard about Reuters’ investigative bombshell showing that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos while the company publicly insisted on the “safety and purity” of its iconic product.

If this is news to you, check out the story here, which relies on scores of interviews and internal company documents. Johnson and Johnson currently faces more than 11,000 plaintiffs in a swath of lawsuits who allege the company’s talc contained asbestos and caused their ovarian cancers and mesotheliomas. And this is after a July verdict in Missouri that awarded $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women suffering from ovarian cancer, which came about a year after a California jury awarded $417 million to another woman with ovarian cancer.

Johnson and Johnson has denied the allegations — and Reuters’ report — saying that decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals show its talc to be safe and asbestos free.

But wading through all this reporting, what you probably won’t see is that just last month a Humboldt County jury cleared Johnson and Johnson of liability in a lawsuit brought by Carla Allen, who alleged her mesothelioma — a tissue cancer closely linked to asbestos exposure — was caused by prolonged use of Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder. The case had caused significant interest in the Humboldt County Courthouse, spanning seven weeks and featuring a variety of out-of-town lawyers.

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Local Healthcare Company Focus of WaPo Story

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 10:03 AM

Michael Fratkin. - TOBIN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tobin Photography
  • Michael Fratkin.
In case you missed it, The Washington Post recently put a spotlight on local palliative care company ResolutionCare.

The Post’s story, which published Dec. 15, uses the story of Hoopa brothers-in-law Gordon Surber and Mark Hailey — both of whom have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — to explore the impact of palliative care and the inequities of how insurers cover the costs. The story notes that while Congress has mandated that insurers provide coverage for hospice care, they have not taken similar steps for palliative care.

“Like hospice, palliative care includes a physician’s help in managing pain and other symptoms, the services of a social worker and a home health nurse, and spiritual counseling,” the article states. “Unlike hospice, it can be provided at any stage of illness and it can be offered alongside curative care.”


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