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Writing and Reporting by Jenna Duncan

Posts Tagged ‘health

Five people indicted in EMT investigation

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Published April 29, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B2

A Suffolk grand jury indicted five people yesterday after dozens of false training records were found in the third leg of an investigation into fraudulent emergency medical technician recertifications, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced yesterday.

EMT instructor Thomas Codair, 49, of Cambridge, is accused of allowing police officers, firefighters, and other EMTs to sign rosters for refresher classes required by the state, even though they did not attend the courses, Coakley said.

Codair is charged with four counts of Office of Emergency Medical Services violations and three counts of conspiracy to commit such violations.

Four top executives of LifeLine Ambulance in Woburn were indicted on charges of participating in the scheme, all of whom signed attendance rosters for a 2007 class and submitted them to the Office of Emergency Medical Services to renew their EMT status, Coakley said.

Indicted were Brian Connor, 49, of Arlington; Jonathan Kulis, 37, of Wilmington; Michael McPherson, 38, of Billerica; and Brian O’Connor, 39, of Woburn, Coakley said.

The five are to be arraigned at a later time in Suffolk Superior Court.

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Written by jdunccc

April 29, 2011 at 9:34 am

Posted in The Boston Globe

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A young burn victim’s journey

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Published on April 22, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B1 (centerpiece story)

Doctors in the Democratic Republic of Congo amputated the scorched right arm of Yusuf Badibanga, then 6, and knew they could do no more for the badly burned child. So they reached out to volunteers from a North Carolina church, who took on the child’s cause as their own.

Members of Myers Park Presbyterian Church of Charlotte began raising funds to bring Yusuf to the United States for treatment in 2009 and reached out to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, which treats young burn victims regardless of their family’s ability to pay. The hospital agreed to accept him as a patient, while Mayor Thomas M. Menino connected the Myers Park volunteers with Catholic Charities of Boston.

After living with extreme deformities from electrical burns for nearly three years, Yusuf, now 9, traveled to Boston earlier this year to have reconstructive surgery that doctors said yesterday should help him have a more normal life.

“We are truly trying to transform this boy’s life,” said Kim Brattain, a documentary filmmaker from Charlotte who is chronicling Yusuf’s journey. “All of these people cared so much about this child they had never met.”

Yusuf and his father arrived in Boston in January, in advance of surgery in February. During an approximately five-hour procedure, surgeons moved skin grafts from his thigh to the areas on his upper right side where his burns were most severe. The burns extended from his chest to his face.

Because the burns were electrical, the damage was deeper than the skin and caused the areas to contract inwards during the original healing process, Dr. Daniel Driscoll, who performed the surgery, explained at a news conference at Shriners yesterday.

The surgery, followed by extensive therapy, has allowed Yusuf to hold his head upright. Previously, it fell toward his right shoulder. It has also allowed him more comfort, mobility, and, most notably to his father, has fixed his snoring, doctors said.

“There’s a long way to go, but we got him through this first stage, and we’re looking forward to improvements we can make in the next year,” Driscoll said.

Yusuf was injured during a game of hide-and-seek. He ran into an unguarded power substation and was severely burned by a live wire. Another child in the game was killed.

His father borrowed $100 from friends to take his son to Good Shepherd Hospital in Tshikaji, Congo, where Yusuf had his right arm amputated. Doctors there reached out to Myers Park Presbyterian, whose members went on missions to the area.

Following his treatment at Good Shepherd, the boy had to stop attending school and was taunted by local children because of his injury.

“His playmates called him a monster, and he was shunned,” said Brattain, the filmmaker.

Eventually, the groups helping Yusuf were able to bring him and his father to Boston, where volunteer Anne Crane, who speaks their native language, has helped the pair with the transition.

Crane helped Yusuf enroll at Mattahunt Elementary School in Mattapan. Going to school was Yusuf’s biggest wish when he came to the United States, Crane said. At the press conference yesterday, Yusuf said through another translator that his favorite part of being in Boston is attending school, where his favorite activity is coloring.

He and his father are expected to return to the central African country with a group from Myers Park Presbyterian in May. Before he leaves Boston, doctors plan to fit him with a prosthetic arm.

Hospital representatives said they hope Yusuf will be able to return for more treatment, but nothing will be finalized until funds are raised.

Written by jdunccc

April 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

Posted in The Boston Globe

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UHCS cautions against H1N1

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Published on September 9, 2009 in The Huntington News

The vaccine for the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, will be available to the Northeastern community by early November Executive Director of University Health Counseling Services (UHCS) Madeleine Estabrook said.
Until then, she said the University is taking all necessary precautions to prevent the contraction and spread of H1N1 and the seasonal flu.

‘We are registered with the state so when the vaccine becomes available it will be on campus, and students up to 24 are in the high risk group,’ she said. ‘It’s expected to be in production and sent mid to late October, so we are hoping to have it late October to early November.

The school is working with Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure regulations and requirements are being met for preparation and cleaning.

A large part of the preparation has been outreach to students, Estabrook said. Over summer, students were sent two emails about H1N1 and freshmen received free hand sanitizer and thermometers.

‘The best prevention is good education,’ she said. ‘We continue to do as much education as possible, and will have flu shots available.’

Some students said they believe the efforts will work, and some said they will take the precautions.

‘If they’re giving people resources to stay healthy, I think people will do it,’ freshman industrial engineering major Michaela Poulin said.

Distinguishing whether a student has H1N1 or influenza will be nearly impossible though unless they are hospitalized, Estabrook said.

‘We really don’t know because H1N1 will not be tested unless someone is hospitalized,’ she said. ‘Any flu can be very serious if you have high-risk underlying medical conditions or if you’re pregnant. For most of us it’s going to feel just like the mild illness of any flu.’

Because of this, some students are skeptical of the seriousness of the viruses. Freshman Nick Macrina, a digital arts major, said he won’t use the hand sanitizer he was given, and doesn’t think H1N1 is serious.

‘I don’t think it’s a big deal, it’s like the regular flu,’ he said. ‘It’s just another strain and we’re going crazy over it.’

In addition to students, faculty and staff are also being prepared for the flu season.

‘The staff is getting the same education,’ Estabrook said. ‘There will be seasonal flu clinics on campus for faculty and staff as well.’

The staff has been educated on another level as well, as for what to do if a large scale outbreak occurs.

‘The faculty will be aware that H1H1 and seasonal influenza might interrupt classroom instruction for an unusually large number of students, and will be prepared to provide course material, including make-up examinations and assignments, so that students will not be penalized for short-term absence from class due to influenza,’ Philomena Mantella, Senior Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Life, said in an e-mail sent to students on Aug. 27.

Estabrook said that by students following guidelines such as covering their mouth’s and noses with tissues, washing their hands and staying home if they have a fever, this will hopefully be controlled, though she said nothing is for certain.

‘We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we know that the public health offices are suggesting that there will be both seasonal and H1N1 influenza,’ she said.’

Written by jdunccc

September 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Posted in The Huntington News

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