Contrary to efforts by some Kentucky counties, a Franklin County official is hesitant to call synthetic marijuana and bath salts a concern until he has more evidence. While bath salts have been banned in the state, County Attorney Rick Sparks says he would not support adding similar laws locally until he finds evidence the current ban is flawed when it comes to enforcement. Sparks says “the General Assembly spoke,” and he wants to work under the existing law to find if there are violations.
The body count from prescription drug overdoses has risen in Kentucky, and narcotics officers face a daily dilemma in trying to find time to investigate prescription drug trafficking while also being ready to dismantle a methamphetamine lab on a moment's notice. From 2009 to 2010 in Kentucky, prescription drug overdose deaths climbed from 78 a month to 82. While this year's statewide overdose death numbers won't be available until the middle of 2012, the drug task force in Warren County has seen a 30 percent increase in prescription drug trafficking cases in 2011.
About one in 11 Northern Kentucky adults has used a pain reliever such as OxyContin, Vicodin or codeine when not prescribed or for the experience it caused, a new poll shows. That's higher than the one-in-16 statewide rate uncovered in the Kentucky Health Issues Poll. It also was the highest rate of any region in the state – including eastern Kentucky, where prescription drug abuse is a particular problem.
Most of the men living on a campus of three aging homes off Versailles Road have mental illness or developmental disabilities. "I get the ones that nobody else wants," said owner Ralph Messner. He says he runs a good home and often works more than 65 hours a week to meet the needs of the residents. But Kentucky officials have been investigating allegations of poor living conditions and have expressed a concern about the lack of government oversight at the homes for at least the second time since 1996.
Once again, UK HealthCare will send roses and messages of hope to Pasadena, California for inclusion in the Donate Life float as part of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. On Monday, the university paid tribute to 30 families whose loved ones posthumously gave so that others might live. Dr. Andrew Bernard, chief of trauma surgery at UK HealthCare, says more than 750 Kentuckians currently are on a waiting list for an organ or tissue transplant.
Civic advocacy groups and individuals met Monday to discuss what actions they can take against the proposed hospital merger between University Medical Center, Jewish/St. Mary’s Health System and a division of Catholic Health Initiatives. The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression organized a discussion at City Hall around the controversial merger that has been criticized for lacking transparency.
The day before Thanksgiving, 2-year-old Logan Esenbock went into a trance-like state, then screamed for an hour. Logan suffers from PKU, a rare metabolic disorder that makes it hard to break down protein. The condition was caught 10 days after his birth through a state newborn screening program and he was formally diagnosed at the University of Kentucky. Until this summer, he'd been under the care of Dr. Charlton Mabry at UK's Mabry Metabolic Disease Unit. But Mabry, 81, retired this summer and hasn't been replaced. Instead, Logan's appointments — along with some 50 other patients being treated by Mabry — were canceled, and his mother was told another doctor wouldn't be available until January.
Increased need for specialized medical care is prompting Hospice of the Bluegrass to add 10-12 nursing positions and cut 16 social workers, including three from the Frankfort office. According to Deede Byrne, chief clinical officer for Hospice of the Bluegrass, feedback from staff and families indicates a rise in nursing interventions over the last 10 years. “Our patients are a lot sicker than they used to be,” Byrne said in an interview with the State Journal. “A decade ago, the situation may have looked like a nursing home. Now it looks more like an ICU room.”
Kentucky-grown tobacco could someday be used in the fight against influenza. It’s the premise of research work underway at Kentucky Bio-Processing in Owensboro. C-E-O Hugh Hayden says the western Kentucky company has worked on the experimental program with the U-S Department of Defense. Hayden says proteins found in tobacco could be used to cultivate flu vaccines.
Carol Waldemayer is breathing and sleeping a lot easier these days. The Elizabethtown resident was diagnosed with sleep apnea roughly three years ago and has been receiving treatment ever since, the benefits of which have transformed her life for the better.
A Jefferson Circuit judge has scheduled a December 21 hearing on whether the University of Louisville should turn over records requested by the county attorney related to the pending hospital merger. County Attorney Mike O’Connell filed a lawsuit last week seeking what he says are substantive financial and other documents involving taxpayer money regarding the pending merger of University of Louisville Hospital, Catholic Health Initiatives and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare.
The deadline is Jan. 2 for public input on a draft report addressing bacteria impairments in nine stream segments and two springs of the South Elkhorn Creek watershed. The report, titled "Total Maximum Daily Load for Fecal Coliform and E. coli, Nine Stream Segments and Two Springs within the South Elkhorn Creek Watershed, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Scott and Woodford Counties, Kentucky," can be viewed online.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health is working to promote World AIDS Day on December 1 and unite people across the commonwealth in the fight against HIV. The theme for this year’s observance is “Getting to Zero” with a push to get to zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths. Despite increased understanding of HIV and AIDS, state officials say the annual event is still needed as a reminder that the disease still impacts millions of people worldwide.
Several people, including hospital employees, were decontaminated Sunday evening at Saint Joseph Hospital in London after experiencing problems that might have been related to a chemical on a stray dog, according to authorities. The illnesses happened after two people from Jackson County came to the emergency room complaining of symptoms including eye and throat irritation, a cough and a burning sensation to the skin, according to Albert Hale, director of emergency management for Laurel County. While treating the people, a doctor and three other emergency-room workers began to experience similar symptoms, according to a news release from Laurel County Sheriff John Root.
In recent years, Northern Kentucky health officials have encountered more children with cavities in a state known for some of the worst teeth in the nation. To combat this, the Northern Kentucky Health Department is partnering with 11 local dentists to offer free dental screenings and provide affordable dental sealant and fluoride varnish to children in Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties.
The University of Kentucky is notifying 878 people of a breach of protected health information from a lost business phone. The phone was lost on Sept. 25 and was never recovered, UK HealthCare spokesman Kristi Lopez said. UK took out a classified ad in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Wednesday, saying the phone had access to email that might have included information about health conditions with medical record numbers "and, in some cases, names."
Smoke-free advocates are gearing up to push for an indoor smoking ban in Bourbon County, which ranks among the state's top producers of burley tobacco. Armed with an air-quality study and a public-opinion survey to bolster their cause, members of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Bourbon County plan to hold a public forum sometime in early 2012, coalition member Phyllis Robinson said. After that forum, the coalition will ask Bourbon Fiscal Court to pass an ordinance for a countywide smoking ban, Robinson said.
Taylor County officials are denying an inmate’s claims that animals at Taylor County Animal Shelter were buried alive in mass graves. In a letter to the Central Kentucky News-Journal, Andy Stewart, who is serving time for arson, said he was working at the animal shelter when the event allegedly occurred. Stewart has since been transferred to the Marion County jail.
Lexington police arrested five people Tuesday after busting up a large-scale prostitution ring that rotated prostitutes through cities in several states, according to uniform citations filed in Fayette District Court. Mario Antonio Flores, Roberto Salinas-Rivera, Adrian Lezama-Ruiz and Roxana Olea Serna all pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of engaging in organized crime and promoting prostitution. Danella Santos-Evangelista, accused of being one of the organization's prostitutes, pleaded not guilty to one count of engaging in organized crime.
Two key lawmakers say they hope to hold a hearing in December about the state's handling of records regarding deaths and near deaths of kids in Kentucky's child-welfare system. State Rep. Tom Burch and Sen. Julie Denton on Wednesday said they want to hold hearings on whether the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees child welfare, is being transparent in the way it reports deaths and near deaths of children under its supervision.