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Patient Rape-Pregnancy; Hospital: ‘We’ll Pay You Later’; Black Lung Backlash

Rape/Pregnancy Case at Florida Care Facility

The family of an immobile, developmentally disabled woman is suing Pensacola Cluster, an intermediate care facility in Florida, claiming workers there failed “to report and adequately investigate” physical abuse the non-verbal woman sustained last year while under their care, according to reporting from the Pensacola News Journal.

The 23-year-old woman was allegedly raped and impregnated while under Pensacola Cluster’s care and court documents paint an unflattering picture of the facility, which takes in individuals with developmental issues, including repeated violations of basic practices of patient care.

One former caregiver there claimed that “anybody off the street could walk in” and a detective noted that there were no restrictions on male caregivers bathing female clients.

In early 2018, workers at Westgate School for those with disabilities, which the patient attended during weekdays, found bruises on the woman’s hip while changing her diaper. During pregnancy screening prior to surgery for what had turned out to be a broken hip, doctors found that the woman was pregnant; she later miscarried. The case echoes recent news out of Arizona where a woman in a vegetative state recently gave birth.

Troubled Teens in Troubled Therapeutic Programs?

Suicides. Attempted Suicides. Lawsuits. Pleas to the government. Idyllic surroundings and promises to reform troubled youth disguise a much darker picture of teenage therapeutic programs in Montana, according to an investigation by the Missoulian. After a yearlong review, the paper found many for-profit programs that aim to help distressed youth operated without much oversight and lots of problems.

These problems, according to the report, include lax management and discipline by the state, unlicensed counselors tending to teens with severe disorders, iffy inspections, and constrained recourse for those in the programs. Lawsuits against them include claims of physical punishment, isolation, and “confrontation therapy.” Some are managed by religious institutions and receive even less oversight.

And the bigger predicament is that the programs aren’t run by health or education experts and are overseen by Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Program (PAARP), comprised of five governor-appointed members where three are from the industry they’re supposed to oversee.

Unpaid Health Workers Investigation

Detectives in Pennsylvania are conducting a theft and bad checks investigation into Americore Health after workers at the Ellwood City Medical Center reported getting minimum wage paychecks, with the promise to be paid the remainder sometime in the future, according to the Beaver County Times.

On average, employees at the hospital make $19 per hour (with some making as much as $50 per hour) — slightly more than the $7.25 per hour state and federal minimum checks they were reportedly issued. Other claims against the company include bounced checks, threats to workers against speaking to the media, checks issued after 6 p.m. before holidays, and non-payment of electrical bills and to vendors for medical equipment.

Detectives served a search warrant to look into Americore’s financial records.

Black Lung Backlash

On the heels of reporting from PBS‘s Frontline and NPR on deadly black lung cases in coal miners come calls for more stringent testing, congressional hearings, and more funding via a public emergency declaration.

The news outlets released findings last month from a joint investigation that showed that “government regulators had evidence of excessive and toxic mine dust exposures,” the kind of silica dust that can cause progressive massive fibrosis or black lung, concluding that regulators could have prevented an epidemic that’s killing thousands of coal miners.

Their investigation found that from 2010 to 2018, over 2,000 cases of advanced black lung were reported to healthcare clinics across Appalachia, while nationwide, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reportedly found only 115 such cases. Frontline and NPR also reported that since 1986, the system designed to protect coal miners from these dangerous silica exposures failed 21,000 times.

CRISPR Babies Scientist to Face Charges?

Chinese investigators say that scientist He Jiankui — who claims to have been involved in making the world’s first CRISPR-edited babies — acted alone, fabricated an ethical review of his research, and will be punished for any violations of the country’s law, according to the New York Times.

While the investigators’ report doesn’t say what specific law he broke, it said the scientist violated Chinese guidelines when he organized and funded the gene-editing experiment — three embryos were reportedly altered (a pair of twins have already been born). He, who has since disappeared from public view, said he used CRISPR in an effort to make the babies resistant to HIV/AIDS.

In a report from Xinhua, China’s state news agency, investigators said that “this behavior seriously violated ethics, scientific research integrity and relevant state regulations,” and their report argued that he had conducted the research “in pursuit of personal fame and gain.”