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It’s a small occupational hazard that accompanies membership in the Bar — the ribbing that all lawyers take at social functions with those groan-inducing lawyer jokes. While the good-natured jests typically merit a chuckle and a pass, it’s worth noting, two decades after the 9/11 tragedy and with all the deeply divisive events that have occurred since, that there are clear indicators that the legal profession deserves more credit than jibes. Lawyers are striving at least to preserve their constitutional responsibilities as a pillar of truth-telling in the contentious world. Others? Maybe less so. And the public should not be
The federal Food and Drug Administration punted on a scheduled showdown over e-cigarettes, delaying decisions on whether to allow Juul and other market-dominating firms to keep selling trendy “smokeless” devices while also banning millions of vaping products from other, mostly smaller manufacturers. The agency argued with a defensive and defiant tone that it had acted on 6.5 million filings and 93% of the requests for approval to market e-cigarette and vaping-related products, rejecting most (including millions of flawed  applications from a single applicant). But the FDA said it needed more time — how much it didn’t say — to…
In recent days, academic researchers and politicians have made distressing disclosures about the terrible toll the coronavirus pandemic took on the aged, injured, and sick in nursing homes and other long term care facilities with new data suggesting the disease infected more of the vulnerable and killed more of them than previously known. Government officials, in the pandemic’s early days, may have failed to count 16,000 nursing home deaths due to the coronavirus, researchers at Harvard, UCLA, the University of Minnesota, and Massachusetts General Hospital reported in an online section of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Before federal…
To those unfamiliar with the history of world religions and disease, the formidable duo shown here are Hosogami (left) and Shapona (right). In two different societies of yore, in the 600s and 700s A.D. in Japan and in the 18th and even into the 19th century in Nigeria, the fervent built religious rites around these smallpox deities. Worshippers hoped various behaviors would appease their lords of infection, with later experts coming to believe that the priests of Shapona (aka Sopona) also helped to spread the highly contagious and disfiguring illness by scratching villagers as part of extortion schemes. Science and
Manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and other felony charges filed against paramedics in a Denver suburb will provide the public with a queasy close up look at not only the stresses weighing on medical first responders but also how complacent too many people have become as a crucial part of health care frays under fiscal pressures. The case against Aurora Fire and Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Lieutenant Peter Cichuniec provides a grim view of municipal emergency medical services. A grand jury, empaneled by the state attorney general, indicted the city paramedics and two Aurora police officers on an array…
The nation keeps zooming toward a tragic and preventable fatality measure: Our roads are staying as deadly as they became during the coronavirus pandemic, and 2021 is racing to be one of the most lethal vehicular years in a decade. As the Washington Post reported of data on the year’s first quarter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: “The first quarter of 2021 was the deadliest start of a year on the nation’s roads in over a decade, with car crashes killing an estimated 8,730 people from January to March, according to a new estimate from the National Highway…
As tens of millions of travelers hit the road  to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, public health officials warned the unvaccinated anew against moving around freely during the holiday marking the unofficial end of summer. Authorities cautioned the vaccinated, too, against letting their guard down as the Delta variant fuels a fourth, deadly surge in the coronavirus pandemic. Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have spiked after too many of the holidays in recent months, experts say. And the sunny optimism that led health officials to forecast a significant quelling of the coronavirus by this summer’s Independence Day has, of course, wilted…
In a landmark opioid painkiller case, a federal bankruptcy judge has approved what potentially may be a $10-billion settlement.  It included a plutocratic clan winning sweeping protections from further civil lawsuits by pledging to fork over $4.5 billion from their family fortunes. Despite the seeming bounty in this case, the Purdue Pharmaceutical payout also may go in the legal books as unacceptably mean and little. Robert Drain — the jurist who presided over the dissolution of Purdue, the enterprise that enriched the Sackler family in unimaginable fashion through the peddling of powerful prescription pain drugs like OxyContin — not…
Lights are flashing and alarms are blaring. A health care nightmare is growing before us and threatens the future of the nation: Younger people — those under age 40 or even age 50 — are sicker than they should be, and their conditions are worsening, not improving, especially with the destructive coronavirus pandemic. An independent and highly respected federal advisory panel has just recommended a drop in the age at which doctors should screen overweight adults for diabetes and prediabetes, urging that a fasting blood test or possibly a glucose tolerance test be given to these patients and…
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities keep bleeding staff, and their inability to hire and keep  workers poses significant risks to the well-being of aged, sick, and injured residents — a vulnerable group already savaged by the coronavirus pandemic. The long-term care industry employed 3 million  personnel in July, which is 380,000 fewer staff than were on facilities payrolls in February 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported of federal labor statistics. Terry Robertson, chief executive of Josephine Caring Community, a long-term-care facility in Stanwood, Wash., told the newspaper this: “I’ve been in the industry for 40 years and…