Daily Archives: October 25, 2007

A Responsible approach to MRSA

By JEFFERSON WEAVER
Staff Writer

Health
officials hope encouraging better hygiene and following strict
protocols can prevent the MRSA virus from becoming more of a problem in
Columbus County.

Columbus Regional already has close
enforcement of hand hygiene and patient isolation rules to avoid spread
of the drug-resistant bug. The infection has been blamed for several
deaths across the country in recent weeks, and is turning up in
previously unaffected portions of the population.

Methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA or simply staph, was
previously rare outside of hospitals and nursing homes, but in recent
years the virulent strain of MRSA has begun appearing in schools,
prisons, and the general population.

Miranda
Dufour, who is in charge of Infection Control and Employee Health at
Columbus Regional, said the hospital was already on a prevention
platform for the disease, which has no vaccination of cure.

“We’ve
been monitoring it closely,” Dufour said. “That’s been the case since
2005, when we became aware this could be a growing problem.”

Community-related
MRSA, according to the state Department of Health, can be treated with
medicines. Hospital-associated MRSA, the more virulent strain, is the
one doctors are worried about.

The disease became a
major concern to health officials in the 1990s, when people with no
connection to medical facilities began showing signs of HA-MRSA.

The
variation of the disease was noticed in 2005 in North Carolina. Day
care centers and schools have been the hardest hit by the disease,
which the Centers for Disease control estimates will kill more people
than the AIDS virus next year.

MRSA infections can appear as a spider or infected insect bite.

This
changes into a “red hot pimple,” Dufour said, and may be followed by
flu-like symptoms. The disease usually causes powerful infections to
the rest of the body.

MRSA is carried by many people who never exhibit symptoms or get sick.

“A lot of people can be colonized in their skin, nose or armpits,” Dufour said, “and never show an active infection.”
The disease is spread through skin-to-skin contact, or by extended
contact with articles that carry the germ, like towels, washcloths and
razors. MRSA can also be transmitted through the handles of shopping
carts, telephones and athletic equipment.

Dufour
said medical professionals are eyeing the bug because it is appearing
in greater numbers in the general population. The hospital has taken a
strong preventative stance on the disease, Dufour said.

“We
are concerned,” she said. “MRSA has always been there, especially in
hospitals and nursing homes, but when it started moving out into other
places it became even more serious.”

The hospital already checks nursing home or long-term care patients for MRSA, Dufour said.

If
a patient tests positive for the bug – either through an active case or
by being colonized, or carrying the disease – he or she is isolated
from other patients. Staff members also wear gowns and other protective
gear whenever they treat a colonized patient.

“We also
practice strict handwashing hygiene throughout the hospital,” Dufour
said, “and we encourage anyone visiting the hospital to do the same.”

Dispensers
with alcohol-based sanitizers are set up throughout the hospital, and
some members of the staff carry individual bottles.

It’s a habit Dufour said health officials encourage for the general population, too.

“You
can get the personal size bottles almost anywhere,” she said. “There
are small ones that fit perfectly in a child’s lunchbox or bookbag, and
everyone should have some available if they go to a store or other
public place where contact is likely.”

The germ commonly turns up in infants with skin abcesses, Dufour said, and children who spend time in close quarters.

The
state Department of Health has issued special advisories on MRSA for
schools and athletic organizations, since a 17-year-old Virginia youth
contracted the disease while playing high school sports.

Several members of a North Carolina high school team were also infected recently and are being treated.
Health clubs and gyms have also been put on notice, Dufour said,
because the germ can be spread through sweat from an infected person.

Others
at risk are people with poor general hygiene, anyone who lives in a
confined space, intravenous drug users, and people with chronic
illnesses such as renal failure or diabetes.

“If you’re in generally good health, “ Dufour said, “just keep an eye on anything suspicious.”

While there is no antibiotic that can treat the disease, Dufour said there is a simple way to prevent it.

“Good
handwashing hygiene is the best preventative,” she said. “Washing your
hands in warm soapy water for 15 to 20 seconds will eliminate much of
the danger.”

Dufour said there has been a rise in calls
to area doctors about the disease, especially from concerned parents
and people who notice insect bites.

“Not every bite or
pimple is MRSA,” Dufour said. Keep any suspicious wound clean, dry and
covered, Dufour said, and if there is no improvement in a few days,
“call your doctor.”

The wound will then be drained and
the infection tested to determine if the patient has staph, Dufour
said. Sometimes the problem can be treated with draining by a doctor.

The disease has historically struck older people, Dufour said, but the
new strain is increasingly taking aim at young people, especially
children.

To
avoid spreading the disease, the hospital has also asked that parents
not allow young children to crawl into hospital beds with patients.

“You
hate to have to say something like that,” Dufour said, “but if a person
is infected, and a little one crawls into bed with grandma – then you
have two infected people, not just one.”

Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of Health have set up a special website on MRSA.

For more on diagnosing and preventing the spread of the disease, go to
the state site at http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/gcdc/ca_mrsa, or the federal
site at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca_public.html.

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CAIR gloats over HLF mistrial but the celebration may be premature

 

Jihad Watch: CAIR gloats over HLF mistrial, but the celebration may be premature
The HLF verdict ended up as a mistrial because of jurors changing their minds after the initial verdict was made (were they paid off or threatened?). CAIR and those who were placed on trial are celebrating what they see as a victory, but as Jihad Watch observes, the victory celebration might be a little bit premature:

CAIR gloats over HLF mistrial, but the celebration may be premature

“War is deception” is, of course, a quote from Muhammad himself. “Motion For Retrial,” from Investor’s Business Daily (thanks to Doc Washburn):

Trail Of Terror: The Council on American-Islamic Relations is cheering a mistrial in a major terror case as a “stunning defeat” for the U.S. government. But the celebration may be premature.

Federal prosecutors say they’ll retry the case against leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, the nation’s largest Muslim charity, which they accused of funneling more than $12 million to Hamas terrorists.

CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, also cheered a similar outcome in a federal case against Muslim activist Sami al-Arian in Florida. As in the Holy Land case, jurors deadlocked on several terror counts. But prosecutors threatened a retrial and al-Arian later pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

He was defended by the same lawyer defending one of the accused Holy Land leaders, Ghassan Elashi, who happens to also be a founding member of CAIR.

Barring plea bargains, the U.S. will narrow its charges and refile them — hopefully with a new judge. U.S. District Judge Joe Fish barred key evidence helping prosecutors prove willful intent to support terror on the part of defendants.

For example, he threw out a dozen documents seized by the Israeli government in raids of Hamas fronts that would have tied the Dallas-based charity closer to the terror group. Fish also allowed defendants to intimidate jurors.

Not long after the trial opened, after a morning of testimony by government witnesses, a visibly angry Elashi shouted and pointed as jurors exited the courtroom for lunch. The judge scolded him for the outburst — which included a rant about “a Zionist conspiracy” — but decided not to kick him out of the courtroom.

[…]

No doubt they’ll streamline their evidence, highlighting the more powerful exhibits, including:

• FBI wiretaps of a meeting in Philadelphia between Holy Land and Hamas big shots in which Holy Land’s director is overheard scheming to disguise payments to Hamas as charity, noting that “war is deception.”

Testimony from FBI agents that Holy Land flew Hamas clerics to the U.S. to help raise funds at mosques.

• Videos of a Holy Land defendant pretending to kill an Israeli during a Hamas fundraising skit held at one mosque.

• Key chains, videos and posters praising suicide bombers found inside the Hamas front “committees” that Holy Land helped bankroll.

The defendants also kept two sets of records at their Dallas offices — one in English, the other in Arabic — which they destroyed during the FBI’s probe.

Lawyers for the accused expect us to believe that all this suspicious activity was merely an attempt to help needy Palestinians with “vaccinations” and “rice.” Civil juries haven’t fallen for the subterfuge.

[…]

The evidence is clear. Now it’s up to the PC-plagued Justice Department to present it to jurors in a way that doesn’t make their eyes glaze over. Retry the case. Only this time, don’t try their patience.

4 infants died – the police case against the mother collapses because of inadmissible evidence

Has Justice been served for this mother, who had 4 children and lost all of them for an unknown reason?

 

CAROL Matthey entered the Supreme Court yesterday charged with murdering her four small children, one by one, over five years.

Police said she deliberately suffocated them, partly in order to sustain her troubled relationship with her husband, Stephen Matthey, the children’s father.

But yesterday, the criminal case against Mrs Matthey, who has always denied she harmed her children, collapsed.

Fifteen minutes after she arrived, Mrs Matthey left the court free, cheerfully accepting congratulations. In an extraordinary end to one of the most dramatic cases in Victorian legal history, prosecutors dropped the charges because much of the evidence gathered against her was ruled inadmissible.

A case that involved a three-year police investigation, thousands of pages of statements and 160 witnesses — and a case that dominated four years of Carol Matthey’s life — was suddenly over before it reached trial.

After she left the court, Mrs Matthey walked along William Street smiling, declining to answer reporters’ questions until this one: “Are you not guilty, Carol?”

“No,” she said firmly.

The reporter pointed out the double negative and asked for clarification. Did she mean she was innocent? “Yes,” she said, chuckling, amused at the misunderstanding. Then she walked off the public stage and into the rest of her life.

The Supreme Court case against Mrs Matthey ended as a result of pre-trial hearings before Justice John Coldrey. In a complex 94-page judgement on October 12, he found most of the proposed evidence inadmissible under the law.

In legal terms, this is not an acquittal. A defendant against whom charges are withdrawn is not protected by double jeopardy and, theoretically, faces the prospect of another trial if new evidence emerges.

Mrs Matthey, 27, of Geelong, lost four children between 1998 and 2003. Jacob was seven months old, Chloe nine weeks old, Joshua three months and Shania three years and four months. At her committal hearing in March 2006, Mrs Matthey’s defence argued there was no physical evidence of harm done to any of the children. Her lawyers said it was possible the children shared an as-yet-undiscovered gene that caused a medical condition, such as a fatal cardiac arrhythmia, that led to their deaths.

Police yesterday declined to comment. The acting director of public prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke, QC, said the case was irreparably damaged when the judge deemed inadmissible much of the medical evidence.

Initially, Jacob and Chloe Matthey were found to have died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and Joshua of klebsiella septicaemia. A police investigation began after the death of Shania, who was too old to have died of SIDS, and for whom no cause of death could be found. At the committal hearing, experts acknowledged SIDS was a “diagnosis of exclusion” — the cause of death used for babies when no other cause can be found. They said there were often no forensic clues that would differentiate natural SIDS from deliberate suffocation.

This left much of the expert medical evidence at the committal heated and contradictory. Four local forensic pathologists strongly argued the autopsies revealed no scientific evidence of harm to any of the children.

But a pediatrician from South Australia who specialized in SIDS, Dr Susan Beal, and a forensic pediatric pathologist from the US, Dr Janice Ophoven, were equally vehement homicide was the most likely explanation.

They argued that “scientific” evidence included the lack of risk factors for SIDS in some of the children; the rarity of four such deaths in one family; the troubled marriage; and the fact that the children had experienced “ALTEs” — apparent life-threatening episodes in which they stopped breathing or were found unconscious.

Dr Beal said: “ALTEs are not a predictor for SIDS; they’re a predictor for (homicide).”

Justice Coldrey ruled out most of the evidence of these two witnesses.

The conflict between the experts meant the Crown case relied on other evidence, such as Mrs Matthey’s relationship with her husband and children.

Justice Coldrey said the Crown had submitted that, particularly at times of ALTEs or deaths among the children, the marriage was under severe strain.

“Moreover, it is asserted that the relationship of Mrs Matthey to her children, evinced by unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, mediocre parenting and indifference to their deaths, would enable a jury to infer they were the unfortunate pawns in this strategy to bolster her marital situation,” he wrote.

Justice Coldrey found there was no discernible link between the timing of marital crises and the ALTEs or the deaths: “There is no foundation for the contention that the killings were designed to win back Stephen Matthey’s love and affection.”

While there was evidence of poor mothering, the judge wrote, other reports painted a picture of a woman “who was a concerned, caring and loving mother during the children’s lives, and a distressed and grieving one when they died”.

Mrs Matthey’s lawyer, Paul Lacava, SC, said there were no winners in the case. “Mrs Matthey and her husband have lost their children and their sadness is profound and ongoing.

 

I find it very strange that it used to be accepted if one baby died from SIDS then there was a chance that further babies could die from SIDS, yet these two women “experts” on a mission claim that it is impossible and that the deaths must be homicide. If this mother did in fact kill her children, then both of these “experts” have done a lot of harm to the prosecution case. The local pathologists, who had more than likely examined the bodies of the babies indicated that there was no scientific evidence of harm being done to the children. Why then should the Prosecution be allowed to build a case based upon the evidence of “experts” who had not performed any forensic pathology on the children. The Judge did the right thing striking down the charges. Carol Matthey does not walk away from the court as a totally free woman, because she could be charged again, but at least justice is seen to be done when a case that is not based upon fact, but upon “experts with a mission” has been struck down because of the lack of real evidence that would lead to a conviction.