Linda Carswell has spent nearly ten years battling with a Texas hospital to have part of her deceased husband’s heart returned to her for burial with his remains.
The portion of the heart was returned to her, finally, but she has reason to believe it is actually from an animal, reports the Daily Mail.
Jerry Carswell died unexpectedly after being treated for kidney stones in 2004. A piece of his heart was removed and kept by the hospital without the family’s permission during the autopsy, that proved inconclusive.
Finally having the heart returned to her for burial should have been a relief for Linda.
Instead, she says it has become a “beyond belief” situation, reports Philly.com.
Not trusting the hospital, Linda had the heart tested by NMS Labs, a forensic laboratory in Pennsylvania.
They could find no trace of human DNA.
The missing DNA could be a result of how the heart was preserved, according to a biologist. Or a “real possibility that the heart submitted was not human.”
Linda fears burying the heart with her husband as it could “desecrate the grave.”
“The hospitals and their pathologists continuously have represented to the courts and to us that it was Jerry's heart, that it was properly preserved, and that DNA testing would confirm it was his heart,” Linda said.
Neil McCabe, the family’s attorney, said they had approached the court to ask for depositions of relevant representatives of the hospitals and pathologists. They were seeking answers about why the heart they claim to be Larry’s was devoid of human DNA.
“Whether or not our inquiries will lead to further legal action must await the court's decision on our request for depositions and what those depositions reveal," McCabe said.
Erin Lunceford, an attorney for St. Joseph medical center, where the autopsy was performed, said she did not know why the heart had no human DNA.
Eric Ferguson, 54, of Mooresville, N.C. felt the sting of his hospital bill after being treated for a snake bite at nearby Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. Ferguson and his wife, who are insured, received a bill totaling over $89,000 for his brief stay at the facility.
Ferguson was taking trash out last August when he felt what he thought was a bee sting on his foot. He was shocked when looked down and saw the fang marks from a snake bite. He drove himself to the nearby hospital, some 15 miles away.
He was at the hospital for 18 hours and he characterized his care as “beyond phenomenal.” It was the bill that upset him.
“It was just sticker shock,” he said.
The treatment was eventually paid for by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. With the negotiated discounts the hospital extends to insurers, the total bill was settled for $20,227. The Fergusons paid about $5,400 of that to cover the deductible and co-pays.
What upset Mr. Ferguson’s wife, Laura Ferguson, was that she was able to find the vials of snake bite medicine on the Internet for retail prices ranging from $750 to $12,000. The hospital initially billed the Fergusons $20,000 per vial. Ferguson was administered four vials.
“What if it was someone that didn’t have the resources to research and didn’t have insurance?” Laura Ferguson said. “What is fair and equitable here?”
Lake Norman Regional Medical Center is owned by Health Management Associates. HMA is currently under investigation by state and federal officials for fraud allegations. Emergency room doctors have accused the hospital of offering kickbacks to doctors for ordering unnecessary tests to increase corporate revenues.
HMA has denied those allegations.
In a written statement they have also justified the bill sent to the Fergusons, saying “list prices” on invoices are always negotiated with insurers before payment. It added that Medicare and Medicaid patients pay according to another set of discounts. They also asserted that “self-pay” patients are typically only required to pay 35 to 38 percent of the amount they see on their initial bill.
A Nevada hospital was on a two-hour lockdown yesterday after an 88-year-old gunman shot his wife, who was already a patient there at the time, in the chest.
Police say William Dresser is now on suicide watch at a local jail following the incident. His wife was admitted to the rehabilitation unit on the third floor of the hospital when Dresser walked into her room with a gun and shot her. He was immediately arrested and is being held in jail on attempted murder with a deadly weapon. His bail is set at $225,000.
Following the incident, doctors said the woman’s injuries were life threatening and she was transferred to a different hospital so doctors there could save her life. The hospital released a statement following the two-hour lockdown, calling it a “targeted situation.”
Dresser’s motives for shooting his wife in the chest at the hospital are not clear, but police do say that the reason she was there in the first place did not have anything to do with a domestic situation or foul play of any kind.
Good Samaritan May Never Walk Again After Man She Was Trying to Help Beat and Sexually Assaulted Her
A 26-year-old woman from Florida was brutally attacked by a 23-year-old man whom she was trying to help, and now the woman may never walk again.
According to reports, Katie Schlinger was visiting her brother at a hospital in Aiken, South Carolina in December when the attack happened.
Around 4 a.m. on the morning of the attack, Schlinger was outside by her vehicle at a local Quality Inn smoking a cigarette when the suspect, Michael Antwon Fuller, approached her. He asked her for a cigarette, and the two began talking about their loved ones who were in the hospital. Schlinger told him that her brother was undergoing open-heart surgery, and Fuller informed her that his uncle was a patient there.
At one point, Fuller asked Schlinger if she would give him a ride to the hospital. Schlinger agreed, joking, “Yeah I’ll give you a ride if you promise not to hurt me.”
“Who could hurt that precious face?” Fuller reportedly replied.
When Schlinger pulled up to the hospital, Fuller told her that he had to be dropped at a different entrance than the main one. So, Schlinger proceeded to drive to the second entrance. Fuller told her not to drop him there, and told her where to drive. They wound up down a different road with no lighting, and that’s when Fuller took out his pistol and hit her face with it.
Schlinger says she then began to cry and begged him to take her money, but he insisted that she keep driving and jammed his gun into her head. As Schlinger continued driving down the road, she was able to get the drivers door open and roll out of the moving car.
Fuller was able to stop the car and found his way back to where Schlinger had flung herself. When he found her, Fuller put the gun to Schlinger’s head and forced her to perform oral sex. Schlinger says she begged him not to rape her and offered to drive him to an ATM where she could get cash out.
“I lied and told him I had thousands of dollars in my bank account. I didn’t have thousands of dollars,” said Schlinger.
When they got in the car, Schlinger put it into reverse and floored it back towards the hospital. Fuller continued to hit her in the head with his gun and eventually got on top of her. At that point, Schlinger was able to crash the car into a tree.
Fuller was knocked unconscious from the crash, still on top of Schlinger, and after a reported half hour of trying to maneuver Fuller without waking him up, Schlinger was able to get herself free from under him. She crawled to a bush and hid until a passing car picked her up and brought her to the hospital.
Fuller was found partially conscious in his vehicle right by the hospital and has now faces charges of kidnapping, possession of a weapon, criminal sexual conduct, and unlawful carrying of a pistol.
Schlinger’s life will never be the same. Besides the obvious emotional toll this brutal attack will take on her, doctors say she may never be able to walk.
“It's been awful. It's been the most painful, traumatic experience of my life. The man ruined my life,” said Schlinger. “I can’t write, I can’t dress myself, I can’t do anything, I can’t brush my teeth by myself, I have to relearn.”
Schlinger is uninsured, and currently, her total medical bills are already upwards of $250,000. An online crowdsourcing campaign has been started to help raise money to pay her medical bills.
Japanese Man Raised in Poverty Discovers He Was Switched At Birth After Actually Being Born to Wealthy Parents
A 60-year-old man in Japan was shocked to discover that he was switched at birth and that, after being raised in poverty by the family that he thought was his, his biological parents were extremely wealthy and successful.
“I’ve wondered ‘how on earth could this happen?” said the man in a press conference after winning a lawsuit against the hospital he was born in. “I couldn’t believe it. To be honest, I didn’t want to accept it. I might have had a different life. I want (the hospital) to roll back the clock to the day I was born.”
The man, who is not married and drives a truck for a living, was awarded 38 million yen, or $374,000, in damages by a Tokyo court. The hospital apparently switched the man with another baby that was born just 13 minutes later. That baby went on to be raised in a wealthy family and is a successful business owner.
According to reports, the three siblings of the wealthy man decided to have a DNA test done because they always questioned why he looked nothing like them. They eventually discovered that their biological sibling was actually the other man.
Now, the man is trying to form a relationship with his biological siblings but says that he wishes he had been able to meet his real parents.
"As I saw pictures of my (biological) parents, I wanted to see them alive,” said the man. “I couldn't hold back tears for months every time I saw their pictures.”
Both mothers apparently had initial doubts that they were given the right babies by the hospital, but neither took any action.
The Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn allegedly botched lab work that resulted in patients incorrectly being told they were HIV positive, according to a lawsuit filed by an ill-treated employee.
Lab associate Lili Hutchinson, 51, alleged that after notifying the inspector general in 2002 that much of the lab staff were unfit for their jobs, the hospital staff made her life miserable. Hutchinson was transferred to another lab, denied training and promotion and even attacked.
“We intend to pursue all of her rights and remedies to the fullest extent permissible under the law,” Hutchinson’s lawyer, Thomas Ricotta, said. “No hospital or health care provider should take action to punish employees who seek to protect the public."
When asked to comment, the hospital declined and reported that it had just learned of the lawsuit.
The same hospital was thrust in the national media in 2008 when a patient died on the facility’s floor. Several employees were charged after it was discovered they had attempted to cover it up.
The hospital’s lab was also cited with “quality assurance issues”.
Despite the facility’s history and Hutchinson’s claim, the city’s Health and Hospital Corporation has claimed that the lab complies with all standards and protocols.
“The people of Brooklyn can be confident that … the hospital's laboratory complies with all relevant standards and protocols,” the HHC reported.
Catholic Hospital Told Doctor Not To Discuss Abortions As Option For Patients With Life Threatening Conditions
Despite Pope Francis’s recent comments that the Catholic Church is unnecessarily obsessed with issues such as abortion rather than worshipping God, the pontiff remained firm that the institution still values and supports life. These pro-life sentiments have been expressed by Catholic institutions for a long time now, and one Catholic hospital in Colorado is taking it to the extreme, according to Colorado’s ACLU.
Mercy Regional Medical Center, a Catholic hospital located in Durango, Colorado, has prohibited its doctors from discussing the idea of abortion with its patients, even if the lives of those patients are threatened by the pregnancy, the ACLU claimed in a formal, written complaint to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Mark Silverstein, ACLU Colorado’s Legal Director, explained that the hospital’s religious ethics are interfering with the standard of medical practice when it comes to discussing abortions.
“When the medical standard of care would recommend termination, the hospital is inappropriately forcing staff physicians to choose between obeying their employer or following their professional medical and ethical obligations to their patients. Moreover, following the hospital’s directive deprives patients of the full information they need to make informed decisions about their medical care,” Silverstein said.
The specific case that caught the ACLU’s attention involves Mercy cardiologist Dr. Michael Demos, who discussed the option of abortion with his patient, who had a family history of Marfan syndrome. When the woman went on to have a healthy baby, she complained to the hospital that the doctor had wrongly encouraged her to end her pregnancy, The Contributor reports. According to the ACLU complaint, Demos was subsequently told that he was “not permitted to recommend an abortion, nor is he permitted to even discuss the possibility of terminating a pregnancy with a Mercy Regional patient, regardless of the circumstances.”
State health officials have not yet responded to the ACLU complaint, which calls for an investigation into the hospital on the basis that it is forcing its employees to adhere to its religious belief rather than acting of their usual medical accord.
New Service in Washington State Anonymously Notifies Sexual Partners of Those Diagnosed with Gonorrhea
If you’ve ever had the experience of being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, you probably know how difficult it is to tell your partner that they have probably been exposed to it or already have it themselves. With gonorrhea on the rise and the antibiotic normally used to treat it becoming ineffective, health officials are worried that if people aren’t treated, they will continue to spread it. So, what’s their solution? They’ll notify your partner for you.
The Spokane Regional Health District in Washington state has a new service that allows those diagnosed with gonorrhea to have their partners notified anonymously. Anna Halloran, an employee at Spokane Regional Health District, describes the process to NPR.
"So I'll ask, 'Is this Jessica?' And then I would ask your birthday, and if that matches what I have, I would say, 'I'm calling from the Spokane Regional Health District. And I'm calling to let you know that you may have been exposed to gonorrhea,’” says Halloran. “And then, I would pause for a little bit. Then I would ask what the person I'm talking to knows about gonorrhea."
"I feel a big sense of accomplishment when I've found somebody after I've been looking for them for weeks," admits Halloran, who says she will turn to snail mail, texting, email, Facebook, and even tracking them down in person if she can’t reach them by phone.
"Some people cry, some people get really angry, some people don't want to talk to me at all," continues Halloran to NPR. "A lot of people are really anxious to know who it was [who gave them the infection]. Of course, I can't say anything whatsoever that would identify that."
Another Washington state health system is offering the same service to their patients. David Miller of the Yakima Health District says that his job is to track down the patient’s partner and inform them that they may have been exposed to the disease and that they should be tested.
"We make a phone call to the person who was diagnosed and talk to them about any partners they had in the past 60 days prior to treatment and their current sex partners," says Miller. After discussing it with the patient, they are then able to reach out to their partners anonymously.
Gonorrhea has become increasingly drug-resistant recently, and the numbers of diagnoses are continuing to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention averages that around 820,000 Americans are diagnosed with gonorrhea every year. Doctors don’t want to take any chances with the disease spreading even more, so they say the new approach in the northwest is an asset.
"Drug resistance has become a major problem with the entire public health effort to halt the spread, and so gonorrhea has achieved new priority," says Dr. Williams Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, adding that the new program is important but not easy.
"It's very labor intensive, and there is no easy way to do this," said Dr. Schaffner. "It's being a disease detective, and you have to do it in an exceedingly diplomatic way."
The new program hasn’t caught on in other states just yet, but as word of this service spreads, it’s safe to assume that many will jump on board.
One armed, one legged man Fidel Morales saved two children from a burning home Monday after a candle caught the basement of his apartment building on fire.
The 54-year-old woke up when he first smelled the burning candle and rushed upstairs to rescue his wife, their 17-month-year-old son and their one-month-old niece.
Morales shoveled his family onto the second floor balcony and saw the neighboring family crying from their own. Morales demanded that the neighbor hand over his children too, insisting that there was no time to waste.
According to Francine Valmont, a neighbor, Morales dropped both children from the balcony.
“I saw him standing there and the baby was hanging on from his hands,” Valmont said, “so I started to scream.”
Both children were rescued successfully.
“I just reacted,” Morales said. “I had to get my family out.”
When both children were safe, Morales climbed off the balcony and to the ground with one arm and one leg.
Morales was taken to Jacobi Hospital along with his wife and others. In total, 12 people were injured and two were in critical condition.
Morales, an NY Department of Corrections employee, is expected to be released Tuesday.
In the small Colombian town of Barbacaos, some women are taking a stand to try and get the condition of a road that connects them to the rest of the country improved.
The women of Barbacaos are pledging that until the road is fixed, they will stop having sex altogether. Participants of the sex strike say that because of the condition of the road, it takes them up to 14 hours to get to the nearest hospital, which proves to be a huge problem.
This is the second time in two years that the women of the town have gone on a sex strike. The first time was in 2011 when they demanded that the same road be fixed, and the strike eventually ended when government officials promised them that it would be fixed. Two years later, however, no progress has been made, so the women are again launching the strike, which they call the “crossed legs movement.”
The original strike came about after the women of the town saw a young woman in labor and her unborn child died because the ambulance got stuck on the road, failing to make it to the hospital in time.
“Why bring children into this world when they can just die without medical attention and we can't even offer them the most basic rights?” asked strike leader Ruby Quinonez in 2011. “We decided to stop having sex and stop having children until the state fulfills its previous promises.”
According to reports, the strike has already motivated the government to begin work on the road.