Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2009 H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

This is my Great Grandfather, who died in the 1918 Flu Pandemic in 1918. He died when my Grandmother was nine years old

Site last updated August 21, 2009, 7:30 PM ET

Key Flu Indicators

Each week CDC analyzes information about influenza disease activity in the United States and publishes findings of key flu indicators in a report called FluView. During the week of August 9-15, 2009, a review of these key indictors found that influenza activity had decreased slightly in the United States from the previous week. However, there were still higher levels of influenza activity than is normal for this time of year. Below is a summary of the most recent key indicators:

* Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) were highest in February during the 2008-09 flu season, but rose again in April 2009 after the new H1N1 virus emerged. Current visits to doctors for influenza-like illness are down from April, but are higher than what is expected in the summer.
* Total influenza hospitalization rates for adults and children remain low and are well below the seasonal winter-time average of the last four years.
* The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was low and within
the bounds of what is expected in the summer.
* Most state health officials are reporting local or sporadic influenza activity. Two states are reporting widespread

influenza activity at this time. Any reports of widespread influenza activity in August are very unusual.
* Almost all of the influenza viruses identified were the new 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These 2009 H1N1 viruses remain similar to the viruses chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine and remain susceptible to antiviral drugs (oseltamivir and zanamivir).

Book: Flu: the story of the great influenza of 1918 and the search for the virus that caused it

Author: Gina Bari Kolata
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999, NY

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Follow Up: Jessica's Law!


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What is Jessica's Law?

Named in memory of Jessica Lunsford, who was abducted and sexually assaulted before being brutally murdered, "Jessica's Law" refers to the Jessica Lunsford Act passed in Florida which mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison for first-time child sex offenders.

Bill's Thoughts on Jessica's Law

Click on your state to email your Governor.
States heading in the wrong direction States heading in the right direction
Partial Jessica's Law passed

Bill's Thoughts on Jessica's Law

If you've been watching The Factor, you know we are engaged in a battle to protect young children from sexual predators. Many states don't protect children from sexual predators and allow these criminals back on the street to commit these crimes again. There have been despicable cases all across America in which girls and boys have been raped, abused, and even murdered - often by serial sex offenders who had been released by authorities after serving short prison sentences.

Here are just a few of the more egregious examples:
  • In Rhode Island, 18-year-old Josh Maciorski was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, but sentenced to probation. Two years later he molested a 14-year-old girl and served just one year. Then, when he got out, Maciorski raped a 16-year-old girl. His sentence after this third strike - an unbelievable three years in prison.
  • In Missouri, 19-year old Darrell Jackson pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually abusing a little girl, beginning when she was just eight. But when Jackson came up for sentencing, a soft judge gave him four months in prison and five years probation.
  • In Minnesota, Joseph Duncan stood in front of a judge, accused of molesting a young boy. Despite the fact that Duncan had previously served 16 years for raping another young boy at gunpoint, the judge released him on just $15,000 bail. Duncan promptly skipped bail and headed for Idaho, where he allegedly kidnapped, raped, and killed a 9-year old boy, molested his sister, and killed their family.

These outrageous crimes could have been prevented, which is why I am calling on every state in the union to pass a version of "Jessica's Law." The legislation is named after little Jessica Lunsford, who was just nine when her life was brutally ended by a sexual predator who had previously been convicted of sex crimes against a child. The crime forced Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature to mandate stiff minimum sentences for child abusers, who had all too often been slapped on the wrist by lenient judges.

There is simply no question that Jessica's Law will save lives, and similar laws need to be instituted in every state. Which is why we at The Factor have been putting pressure on Governors. Now it's your turn. We have investigated all 50 states to determine which ones are tough on sexual predators and which ones treat these criminals with kid gloves. You can find out where your state ranks elsewhere on this web site. If your state is soft or noncommittal, I urge you to write your Governor, who is paid by YOU. Simply click on your state on the map below and you will be taken to a form that will enable you to send a direct message to your state's chief executive. Please tell him or her, in your own words, how important this issue is to you - and remind the Governor that all politicians are ultimately accountable to you and your fellow voters.

This is literally a life-and-death battle to save our youngest and most vulnerable citizens from abuse, torture, and murder. I hope you'll do your part.

Bill O'Reilly

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Court strikes down GPS monitoring for earlier sex offender parolees

By Kyle Cheney
State House News Service

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON — The state Parole Board improperly required GPS monitoring bracelets for paroled sex offenders who committed their crimes before a 2006 law passed, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in a 4-3 decision issued Tuesday. The ruling that could affect state monitoring of several dozen offenders.

The court ruled that a 2006 state law requiring Level 2 sex offenders on parole or probation to wear a GPS device had been unfairly applied to those already on probation at the time the law passed. In a separate but related opinion, the SJC vacated a lower court decision to require a sex offender on probation prior to the law's passage to wear a GPS device. In the latter ruling, the majority, in an opinion by Justice Margot Botsford, argued that retroactively applying GPS monitoring violates the state and federal constitutions.

"[The GPS law] is punitive in effect, and under the ex post facto provisions of the United States and Massachusetts Constitutions, may not be applied to persons who are placed on probation for qualifying sex offenses committed before the statute's effective date," Botsford wrote.

Currently, the state monitors 82 sex offenders with GPS devices. It was unclear how many of the 82 were improperly required to wear the bracelets.

"We're currently assessing the effect," Parole Board Executive Director Donald Giancioppo, in a phone interview. "It's likely there will be cases affected."

Giancioppo said the parole board would examine each monitored parolee on a case-by-case basis to determine "if the GPS condition should be removed to comply with the ruling." The ruling, he noted, only affects parolees who received GPS monitoring conditions as a result of the law, not as a result of a Parole Board vote.

Sex offenders are designated Level 2 when "the risk of reoffense is moderate and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a public safety interest is served by public availability of registration information," according to the state Sex Offender Registry Board.

The decisions are a victory for a handful of paroled offenders, who had challenged the Parole Board's decision to monitor them in Superior Court. The Superior Court judge denied the offenders' move for an injunction and relief, but the SJC granted a direct appeal. The SJC decision sends the case back to Superior Court, vacating the judge's decision to deny an injunction, and requiring action on the offenders' motion within a month.

The dual decisions - one on a complaint filed by a group of ex-offenders, another on the complaint an individual offender, Russell Cory, who pled guilty in 1997 to indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, as well as rape of a child - conclude that the Legislature's intent in passing the 2006 law was unclear. That lack of clarity - whether the statute was intended purely as a criminal sanction or as a "civil remedy" to provide for public safety - prevents the state from applying the retroactive penalty to parolees.

But dissenting justices Roderick Ireland, Francis Spina and Judith Cowin, said lack of clarity in the legislation should not preclude GPS monitoring.

The Legislature, in 2006, passed the GPS provision as part of a more comprehensive sex crime proposal aimed at allowing victims of sex abuse more time to come forward to authorities. Signed into law by Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the statute also prohibits the most egregious sex offenders from living in a nursing or rest home, imposes lifetime parole on serious sex offenders who fail to register, and requires sex offenders living in homeless shelters to update registration information every 45 days, as opposed to the typical 90 days.

In a point-by-point dissent, Ireland argues that the Legislature intended with its 2006 law to apply monitoring to paroled sex offenders, regardless of when they were released, and that the law doesn't rise to the level of a breach of prohibitions on "ex post facto" punishment in the Constitution. Rather, the dissenters argued, the law enhances public safety without adding any undue burden on the parolees.

"Although a probationer may be restricted from some geographic areas related to public safety, the statute does not otherwise prohibit the probationer from going about his or her daily business while on probation," Ireland wrote.

Ireland also disputed concerns that a GPS monitoring device could invite retribution on parolees seen in public.

"Unlike posting information identifying certain sex offenders on the Internet, here, it is not at all certain that the public would know that the reason the offender was wearing the GPS device was because he was a sex offender, if they were to see the device at all," he wrote. "Given that the urgency of the regulatory concern of protecting the public from sex offenders has been found both by the Legislature and this court, and that here, the statute covers sex offenders who have yet to serve their sentences, I conclude that on balance this statute ... does not violate the ex post facto clause."

Both of Gov. Deval Patrick's appointees to the court, Justices Margot Botsford and Ralph Gants, sided with the majority.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hoyer Lift Demonstration -- Video Coming Soon

Typical Hoyer Lift
Hoyer Lifts allow a person to be lifted and transferred with a minimum of physical effort. Before attempting to lift anyone practice with the lifter by using a helper, not the patient. You must know and understand how the lifter will feel with a patient in it. Be certain to explain the lifting sequence to the patient before attempting to lift them the first time.

The Boom of the lift does not swivel. The patient's weight must be centered over the base legs at all times. Do not attempt to lift patient with the mast/boom assembly swiveled to either side. Always keep patient facing the attendant operating the lifter.
Typical Hoyer Patient Lift diagram:

* Manual and Powered Hoyer Lifts operate similarly. The manual versions have hydraulic cylinders and a hand-pump, the powered patient lifters use rechargeable battery packs and a pushbutton hand control. All lifts share the same nomenclature names as pictured (left).
* To raise the patient the base of the Hoyer Lifter must be spread to it's widest possible position to maximize stability.
* To lower patient open the hydraulic pressure release knob by turning it counter-clockwise, not more than one full turn. The release knob is located on pump near pump handle. Battery powered Lifters have a button on the hand control for lowering patient.

Transfer from Bed
If patient needs support and is in a hospital bed, raise side rails and have patient hold onto rails. Raise the level of the bed to the highest position before moving the patient onto the sling. This will reduce strain on the caregiver's back. Also, when the patient is ready to be lifted, lower the side rail and the level of the bed, decreasing the distance the patient has to be elevated.

Positioning the Lift for Use:

Using Hoyer Lift

1. With the legs of the base open and locked, use the steering handle to push the patient lift into position.
2. Lower the patient lift for easy attachment of the sling.

Using Hoyer Lift

* When the patient is clear of the bed surface, swing their feet off the bed.
* Using the steering handle, move the lift away from the bed.
* When moving the patient lift away from the bed, turn the patient so that he/she faces assistant operating the patient lift.
* Press the DOWN button (electric) or open the control valve (manual/hydraulic) lowering patient so that his feet rest on the base of the lift, straddling the mast. Close the control valve.

Moving the Patient

Moving the Patient

The Sling
The U-Sling is the most commonly used sling for transferring patient from bed. Consult the sling manual on how to fold the sling before placing under patient. Folding the sling makes for less work. These U-Sling wraps around the thigh and cross between the legs. This gives the patient a secure feel and prevents patient sliding out of the sling.

Below is a diagram of a typical "Internet image" (see diagram 1) of a typical padded U-Sling. The image is meaningless if you do not have a visual of what this looks like when in actual use. See diagram 2 showing the patient in a comfortable seated position facing the attendant. Feet should rest on the base of the lift.

Typical U-Sling

U-Sling diagram

diagram 1
Typical U-Sling diagram (Internet image)

U-Sling actual in-use

diagram 2
Visual of sling being used by patient

U-Sling diagram U-Sling actual in-use

Applying the Sling:

* Roll patient so the are resting on their side. Put the folded sling behind patient's back and roll patient onto their back.
* Pull the leg loops forward and under the thigh.
* Cross the loops
* Roll the base as far under the bed as possible locating the cradle over the patient. Be careful not lower the frame onto the patient.
* The parking brakes (caster locks) should not be on when lifting the patient, let the lift move a little with the weight adjustment.
* When both sides of the sling are attached to their respective sides of the cradle, raise the patient slowly. If patient is in a hospital bed it will help to raise the head section slightly.
* Raise the patient until buttocks are just above the mattress. The self-leveling cradle will bring patient into a sitting position. Grasp patient's legs and turn patient so their legs dangle off side off the bed. Do not push or pull patient off of bed. Lower bed if you need more clearance.
* Grasp steering handles and move lifter away from the bed. Move patient into position over the seat of wheelchair. Make sure wheelchair brakes are on.
* Lower patient into wheelchair or other transport device.

How to Fit Sling From Lying Position

Using sling from lying position

Using sling from lying position

Draw sheet roll the patient onto the sling, ensuring that the top of the commode aperture is at the base of the spine

Bring the leg support straps up and between the client's legs and proceed as from the seated position, attaching to the shortest possible loops. If you are going to place the patient on a high bed it may be necessary to lower the patient onto an intermediate surface and adjust the strap length.

Patient in seated position