A fatal outbreak of E. coli contamination that recently hospitalized at least 26 people in the U.S. and Canada—including two in Connecticut—shows that the federal government is failing to adequately protect people from consuming recalled foods, lawmakers and consumer advocates say. The outbreak that sickened the two Connecticut residents and 16 others nationally, including 1 person in California who died, was probably caused by eating “leafy greens,” but a specific leafy green couldn’t be identified, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. The Canadian government’s Public Health Agency announced on Dec. 11 that the outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce. Maura Downes, the communications director for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, confirmed that two state residents were sickened by the E. coli outbreak.
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined six nursing homes for violations that resulted in injuries to residents. Cheshire Regional Rehabilitation Center was fined $3,000 after a resident, who required staff assistance to eat was left alone and choked on a roll. On the morning of Oct. 10, 2017, the resident, who had functional quadriplegia and difficulty swallowing, was found next to a dining room table that had a plate of rolls on it and was holding a roll. A licensed practical nurse took the roll away from the resident and left the room, but a surveyor subsequently saw the resident wheeze and cough out a piece of the roll, according to DPH.
Seven Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that endangered or injured residents. Harbor Village North Health and Rehabilitation Center in New London was fined $3,000 for four violations. On Aug. 1, 2017, a resident with pulmonary heart disease was hospitalized with low blood pressure and incontinence after a registered nurse administered medication intended for another resident, according to DPH. On that same date, a second resident was mistakenly given long-acting insulin instead of fast-acting insulin by a licensed practical nurse (LPN).
The state Medical Examining Board disciplined three doctors this week, including reprimanding a Waterbury obstetrician for failing to perform a timely Caesarean section in a case in which the infant died. Dr. John Kaczmarek also failed to assess the infant’s category III fetal heart monitors results on Aug. 10, 2014 at Waterbury Hospital, a consent order he signed with the board states. Category III results are considered abnormal and may indicate that the fetus is at risk of being deprived of oxygen. Kaczmarek also did not appropriately document his evaluation of the monitor results or his plan of care, the order said. The consent order does not detail what happened to the baby, but Christopher Stan, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health (DPH), said Thursday that despite resuscitation efforts and a transfer to Yale New Haven Hospital, the baby died a day after delivery.
Dialysis centers in Connecticut continue to improve their overall quality of care, with 12 facilities reaching Medicare’s highest patient-care rating and just one scoring on the low end of the scale, the latest data show. That’s an improvement from the 2014 data, when six dialysis centers in the state scored low in quality-of-care ratings. Dialysis helps those with kidney failure remove waste from the body, regulate chemicals and control blood pressure. Most often, patients have their blood removed and cleaned in a machine called a dialyzer before it’s returned to the body. Another form of dialysis uses a cleaning fluid and the stomach as a filter.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing Wednesday disciplined two nurses, including a registered nurse from Branford who stole an opioid painkiller for her own use. The RN, Alice J. Miller, admitted that on Nov. 24, 2016, she took the oxycodone, a consent order she signed with the board said. The same month, she also used alcohol or controlled substances to excess, the order said. Her license was temporarily suspended, and Wednesday, the board continued the suspension for six months, followed by a four-year probation during which Miller must pass drug tests and attend therapy and support group sessions, the order said.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday dropped all charges against a former Fairfield doctor who illegally prescribed oxycodone because the doctor has voluntarily surrendered his medical license. Paul Bellofiore, 57, of Trumbull, gave up his license in October, state Department of Public Health records show. Bellofiore, who had practiced in Fairfield, also agreed not to contest the allegations against him if he ever seeks to have his license reinstated. In February, Bellofiore was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hartford to two years of probation for illegally prescribing the painkiller. Judge Alvin W. Thompson also ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service and prohibited Bellofiore from writing prescriptions for controlled substances until Oct.
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined three Connecticut nursing homes for violations that injured residents or jeopardized their safety. Autumn Lake Healthcare at New Britain was fined $3,000 after staff incorrectly used a ventilator machine on a resident. On Feb. 2, 2017, a resident with chronic respiratory failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complained of shortness of breath and was put on a trilogy machine, a type of non-invasive ventilator, after other interventions failed to help, according to DPH. The resident was placed on the machine but continued to complain of shortness of breath and subsequently was taken to a hospital for observation and returned to the facility the next day, according to the citation.
An ever-increasing number of women in the state are drinking to excess, state and federal data show. Statewide, female admissions to acute hospital emergency departments for alcohol-related reasons rose by 4.8 percent between fiscal years 2012 and 2016, according to the Connecticut Hospital Association. The female-only Eden Hill Recovery Retreat in Canaan fills an average of 10 to 12 beds per month; earlier in the center’s eight-year history, rarely were there more than eight beds occupied at a time. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine note an increase in the number of women enrolling in studies that examine the effectiveness of a medication to curb one’s desire to drink alcohol. The uptick in problem drinking among women in Connecticut mirrors a national trend.
The overall number of “adverse events” reported by Connecticut hospitals declined in 2016, but sexual assaults more than doubled, according to a new state report. The Department of Public Health (DPH) report shows that hospitals reported a total of 431 medical errors in 2016, down about 5 percent from 456 in 2015. But there were 24 reports of sexual abuse or assault on a patient or staff member within or on the grounds of a health care setting last year, up 140 percent from 10 cases in 2015, the report said. A majority—22 cases—happened at acute care hospitals. St.