Connecticut Starts To Address Lead-Poisoning In Kids
Meanwhile, in Alabama worries rise over a new law that makes it illegal to treat young trans people with gender-affirming medications — including patients who are already mid-treatment. Texas's falling birth rate, the number of homeless people in San Francisco, and more are also in the news.
Connecticut Acts To Help Its Lead-Poisoned Children
After decades of inertia, Connecticut is now moving to help its thousands of lead-poisoned children and prevent thousands of other young children from being damaged by the widespread neurotoxin. The state will direct most of its efforts — and most of $30 million in federal money — toward its cities, whose children have borne the brunt of this epidemic. In announcing the allocation recently, Gov. Ned Lamont pointed to lead’s “catastrophic” effects on children’s health and development, noting that lead poisoning is “a problem that impacts most deeply minority and disadvantaged communities of our state.” (Frank, 5/9)
Transgender Treatment, Doctors Threatened By New Alabama Law
Dr. Hussein Abdul-Latif spent the last week typing out prescription refills for his young transgender patients, trying to make sure they had access to their medications for a few months before Alabama made it illegal for him to prescribe them. He also answered questions from anxious patients and their parents: What will happen to me if I suddenly have to stop taking testosterone? Should we go out of state for care? A new state law that took effect Sunday makes it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for doctors to prescribe puberty blockers and hormones to trans people under age 19. A judge has not yet ruled on a request to block the state from enforcing the law. (Chandler, 5/9)
Woman Charged With Murder 20 Years After Mysterious Deaths At Missouri Hospital
Some 20 years after a rash of unexplained patient deaths at a rural Missouri hospital, authorities in Kansas City are on the lookout for a woman who has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with one of those deaths. Livingston County Prosecutor Adam Warren last week charged Jennifer Anne Hall, 41, with first-degree murder in the 2002 death of Fern Franco, one of nine people who died over the course of just a few months in 2002 at Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, Missouri. Hall worked as a respiratory therapist at the 49-bed hospital from Dec. 16, 2001, to May 18, 2002, when nine patients there died of cardiac collapse. The deaths of so many people from cardiac collapse, or “code blue” incidents, were viewed by doctors and nurses at the hospital as “medically suspicious,” according to a law enforcement record supporting the probable cause for her arrest. (Vockrodt and Margolies, 5/9)
COVID Drops Texas Birth Rate Below Death Rate, State Data Shows
In the midst of the nation’s deadliest pandemic, Texas recorded more births than deaths every month since 2016 — with one exception. Provisional data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows that January 2021 was the only month when, statewide, the number of deaths was greater than the number of births. Nine months before in April 2020, the world was one month into the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2021, the seven-day average number of deaths from COVID-19 peaked in Texas, according to The New York Times, and vaccines had just become available to select groups of individuals. (Seline, 5/9)
In news from California —
Rural California Hatches Plan For Engineered Mosquitoes To Battle Stealthy Predator
Bryan Ruiz moved his family into a newly built home in this Central Valley farming center seven months ago and almost immediately found they were under assault. Mosquitoes bit and harassed them in broad daylight. He looked around, trying to find a water source where they were breeding, and noticed a freshly dug pipe, meant to drain water from the backyard to the front. He lifted its cap and inside found a small puddle in the drainage line, which didn’t have enough slope to fully empty. (Barry-Jester, 5/10)
San Francisco Chronicle:
How Many People Are Homeless In San Francisco?
Based on all the different pieces, the latest best estimates of homelessness range from 8,000 to more than 19,000. “We all desperately need to have a much better way of systematically assessing whether people are experiencing homelessness,” said Dr. Margot Kushel, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. “Right now everything we do has its own inaccuracies.” Many signs, including from the bits and pieces of data, point to a growing problem, worsened by the pandemic, which experts say makes getting an accurate count an especially urgent and important task. (Jung and Mallory Moench, 5/9)