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NATIONAL
February 12, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
Eighteen neurosurgery patients in North Carolina may have been exposed to an incurable brain disorder because instruments were not properly sterilized after an operation on someone who already had the disease.  Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem apologized this week, but said the risk was "very low. " In  a statement , the hospital said that "extra precautions should have been taken" because there were reasons to suspect that...
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2014 | By Nita Lelyveld
You could try to do it with speeches. You could try to do it with laws. Or you could go grass-roots with glue sticks, markers and red hearts. How do you bring the people of a big city together? Big Sunday prefers the making-friends-while-making-valentines approach. The nonprofit, which aims to build community through service, is best known for one big weekend a year when thousands of volunteers fan out to hundreds of projects. But how to keep all those people feeling part of something bigger than themselves all year long?
OPINION
February 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
In an effort to cut costs, many insurers in the new state health insurance exchanges are offering plans with "narrow networks" that include fewer doctors and hospitals - particularly the costlier ones with famous names, such as Cedars-Sinai. The trade-off has sparked complaints from some policyholders who've had trouble seeing their favorite doctor or, in some cases, any doctor in the right specialty. Although regulators have to address those issues, narrow networks can actually be a good thing for patients if done the right way. Insurers started limiting their customers' choice of providers long before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, steering patients to preferred doctors and hospitals through restrictive HMOs or more inclusive - and popular - PPOs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2014 | By Lee Romney
SAN FRANCISCO - More than four years after a 52-year-old psychiatric patient was left with a broken neck for five hours on the floor of her room at Metropolitan State Hospital, the physician responsible for her care has agreed to give up his license, according to the state medical board. Dr. Ngoc Le Tuyen, of Fountain Valley, who goes by Tuyen Le, agreed to surrender his license rather than fight an accusation filed last summer by the board. It alleges that Le was incompetent, unprofessional and "grossly negligent" in his treatment of Diane Rodrigues at the Norwalk psychiatric facility.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 2014 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - A court overseer has halted inmate patient admissions at California's newest prison amid reports that the sprawling medical facility is beset by problems, including the unanswered calls of a dying patient. After meeting last week with corrections officials, Clark Kelso, the court-appointed medical receiver, ordered admissions stopped at the 6-month-old California Health Care Facility in Stockton and the opening of an adjacent 1,133-bed prison facility put on hold. In a report to federal courts Friday, Kelso said the prison's inability to provide adequate medical and hygiene supplies and unsanitary conditions "likely contributed to an outbreak of scabies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 3, 2014 | By Jason Wells
The San Francisco hospital where a patient disappeared last year, only to be found dead 17 days later in a exterior stairwell, should share in the blame with the sheriff's department for "systemic" failures that led to the death, according to new report. Lynne Spalding Ford, 57, disappeared from her San Francisco General Hospital room Sept. 21 and apparently exited a door to the rarely used stairwell. Spalding Ford -- a vivacious British-born mother of two -- was wearing her street clothes and still had electrocardiogram pads on her torso and intravenous access lines in her arms when she went missing.
HEALTH
January 31, 2014 | By David Levine
The numbers are staggering: Almost 7% of the U.S. adult population - about 17.6 million people - is diagnosed with depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that depression costs 200 million lost workdays each year at a cost to employers of $17 billion to $44 billion. There are effective treatments for depression, including, researchers said recently, meditation. But neither talk therapy nor the existing medications work for everyone.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 2014 | By Scott Glover
A Burbank pharmacy that dispensed painkillers and other narcotics to five young patients who later died of overdoses had its license revoked Monday after the state pharmacy board found that its employees failed to properly scrutinize prescriptions that contributed to patient deaths. The pharmacy, Jay Scott Drugs on Glenoaks Boulevard, catered to patients of doctors Bernard Bass and Massoud Bamdad, both of whom were later convicted of crimes in connection with their prescribing. Pharmacists are required by law to scrutinize prescriptions, size up customers and refuse to dispense a drug if they suspect a patient does not have a legitimate medical need for it. Many of Bass' patients were in their 20s and traveled more than 40 miles from their homes in Ventura County to see Bass in North Hollywood, and then another five miles to Jay Scott Drugs where they typically paid cash for a combination of prescription drugs favored by addicts.
NATIONAL
January 19, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy
Aja Riggs, 50, thought a lot about dying after she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She endured surgery in October 2011, then underwent aggressive chemotherapy that made her feel as if her skin was burning. She was constantly tired. Then doctors found a second tumor, which they treated with two different types of radiation. "It was a pretty darn rough winter, actually," said Riggs of Santa Fe, N.M. "I thought to myself, I don't know if I want to go all the way to the end with a death from cancer.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 9, 2014 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
A Santa Barbara doctor some patients called "the candy man" because he so freely prescribed painkillers and other commonly abused narcotics pleaded guilty Thursday to federal drug charges. Julio Diaz, 65, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of drug dealing, stemming from prescriptions written from his storefront office on Milpas Street. As part of the plea, the doctor acknowledged prescribing drugs to patients who had no legitimate medical need. Diaz was taken into custody after the hearing in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, said Assistant U.S. Atty.
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