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Aug. 31, 2007, midnight
Like any experienced blood donor, Jacob knows that the price of patience is a cookie. So he doesn't flinch when the needle glides into his vein, and he's completely calm for the six minutes it takes to fill a plastic bag with 450 milliliters of life-saving plasma and cells.
Aug. 30, 2007, midnight
A North Idaho child welfare supervisor who accidentally left an expletive-laden message on the phone of a parent is back at work, against the wishes of state Sen. Mike Jorgenson. Randy Geib, a 34-year veteran with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, was allowed to return after an investigation. Agency officials wouldn't say Wednesday whether he was disciplined, citing personnel rules.
Aug. 22, 2007, midnight
Washington officials vowed Tuesday to oppose surprise federal rules aimed at limiting expansion of the popular State Children's Health Insurance Program, a move that would affect about 10,000 children. Doug Porter, an official with the Department of Social and Health Services, questioned not only the effect of new Bush administration rules, which would make it harder to insure all but the state's lowest-income children, but also the way the change was announced last week.
Aug. 18, 2007, midnight
Nurses at Bonner General Hospital in Sandpoint have filed a national labor board complaint alleging that hospital officials have failed to fairly negotiate terms of a first-ever union contract. Representatives for more than 110 nurses who voted last year to join the Teamsters Union Local 690 have spent nearly a year working out contract terms. However, their complaint filed this month with the National Labor Relations Board contends that hospital officials have refused to bargain in good faith, in part by failing to set amenable times and dates for negotiation.
Aug. 18, 2007, midnight
An outpatient veterans clinic in North Idaho could open by late 2008 – but only if federal officials can find a suitable site for the 20,000-square-foot center. So far, however, no good options have emerged for the clinic aimed at making medical services more accessible for about 7,000 veterans a year in North Idaho and Western Montana.
Aug. 17, 2007, midnight
Netty Poppe didn't mean to break down in the cafeteria at Deaconess Medical Center last November, but when she saw Shannon Boyd, she couldn't help it. The two women were casual colleagues, nothing more, when Poppe spilled the story of her husband, Glen, and his quest for the donated kidney that could save his life.
Aug. 15, 2007, midnight
The widow of a Spokane doctor is suing Empire Health Services for negligence and wrongful death three years after she says her ill and confused husband walked out of Deaconess Medical Center and collapsed in the street. Carol Oeljen alleges that hospital staff failed to monitor Dr. Carl Oeljen, a 62-year-old orthopedic surgeon who had worked at Deaconess, and failed to prevent him from wandering out of the hospital on Aug. 13, 2004.
Aug. 9, 2007, midnight
A Spokane laboratory has notified 2,000 clients at three Washington hospitals – including Sacred Heart Medical Center – that private information about their medical tests was inadvertently mailed to the wrong addresses. Officials from Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories confirmed Wednesday that a glitch in a computer program sent statements to the wrong addresses of clients billed through Providence Health and Services hospitals in Everett, Centralia and Spokane.
Aug. 8, 2007, midnight
More than 2 million pounds of beef stew destined for low-income food programs in Spokane and across the country will be destroyed after Washington state officials warned that some of the Castleberry's canned goods showed signs of spoilage. U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said Tuesday that tests showed the 24-ounce cans of stew were not tainted by botulism that sickened at least four people and sparked a nationwide recall of more than 90 commercial products sold by Castleberry's Food Company of Augusta, Ga.
Aug. 3, 2007, midnight
Workers at Spokane's largest food bank are sorting through thousands of pounds of donated canned goods, trying to keep chili and other foods potentially poisoned with botulism from reaching the hungry. As of Thursday, Second Harvest Inland Northwest had pulled more than 300 cans of Castleberry's beef stew donated through a federal food program and nearly three dozen cans of chili, chili with beans and stew sent by community donors.
Aug. 2, 2007, midnight
Smoking rates dropped again in Washington and Idaho in 2006, continuing a gradual, steady decline in the number of adults who light up, state and national surveys showed. In Washington, the rate has fallen to a new low of 17 percent, while in Idaho, the percentage of smokers declined to 16.8 percent, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Aug. 2, 2007, midnight
The North Idaho child welfare supervisor who accidentally left an obscene message on a client's phone has been placed on paid administrative leave. Randy Geib will be off indefinitely while supervisors conduct an inquiry into the July 19 incident, said Tom Shanahan, a spokesman for the agency. He'll continue to draw his monthly salary of $6,371, according to state employment records.
Aug. 1, 2007, midnight
A backward X-ray and a misidentified spinal surgery site contributed to Sacred Heart Medical Center surgeons operating on the wrong body parts twice last spring. The Spokane hospital logged mistaken surgeries on March 5 and May 7, according to records of adverse events reported to the state Department of Health.
July 31, 2007, midnight
A veteran supervisor for North Idaho's child protective services program is facing possible discipline – and an Idaho Senate investigation – after inadvertently leaving an obscene, insulting message on the phone of a parent whose child had been removed by the agency. Randy Geib, program manager for the Idaho Health and Welfare Department's five northern counties, thought he'd hung up after leaving a message July 19 for Bryan Sturdy, of Coeur d'Alene.
July 29, 2007, midnight
It would be easy to call Rhylee Murrin a miracle child and leave it at that. In fact, lots of people have used the M-word in the year since Rocco and Jaimasa Murrin's baby was born with fluid filling her brain – and a hole in the back of her head.
July 27, 2007, midnight
Two members of the Spokane Regional Health District board said Thursday they want to cut ties with Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest – including a contract that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings to low-income women – because they object to that agency performing abortions. "I have to object to the underwriting of the killing of unborn babies," said Dr. Charles Wolfe, an appointed board member, who opposed a $3,000 voucher payment to Planned Parenthood. "I will continue to be opposed to that until we get rid of that contract."
July 26, 2007, midnight
Replacing the health officer they fired last fall is taking longer and costing more than some Spokane Regional Health District officials expected. In the end, it could take nearly a year and cost more than $200,000 to find a successor to Dr. Kim Thorburn at a time when the health district's $23 million budget is, by all accounts, tight.
July 26, 2007, midnight
Two days after a fuel truck explosion sent plumes of choking smoke into the Spokane sky and oil into the city's river, regional agencies charged with protecting air, water and public health were still coordinating basic communication. Confusion has lingered since Monday over who should answer questions about pollution and safety, with agencies directing inquiries to each other – or not responding at all.
July 20, 2007, midnight
Spokane County Jail officials were seeking a substitute Thursday for up to 12,000 tubes of potentially poisoned toothpaste from China after an urgent recall by a Seattle-area distributor. As late as Wednesday, however, inmates still were being given 2.75-ounce tubes of AmerFresh brand toothpaste that may have been tainted with diethylene glycol (DEG), according to a warning from Amercare Products Inc. of Woodinville, Wash.
July 19, 2007, midnight
It would be funny if it weren't so serious: The first customer to sign up for Northwest MedStar's new air ambulance membership service was also the first to use it. But Bob Wisener's wife, Denise, isn't joking about any frequent flier plan.
July 17, 2007, midnight
Spokane's largest low-income health clinic will stop admitting adult patients to Sacred Heart Medical Center after Aug. 1 under a new arrangement that shifts most inpatient care to the hospital down the block. Deaconess Medical Center has pledged to cover for the Community Health Association of Spokane, freeing its doctors from emergency room rotations and some hospital duties that have threatened their ability to staff the clinics that serve some 36,000 clients a year.
July 14, 2007, midnight
A Spokane County jail supervisor said Thursday she won't submit a request that would allow an inmate to authorize the release of a list of people who've visited him. Kay Donder, who's in charge of jail records, said she didn't want to "get in the middle" of a debate about whether the visitor logs are public.
July 12, 2007, midnight
Dr. David Liu shakes the vial of cloudy liquid and holds it up to the light. From a distance, it's not that impressive: just a beige slurry contained in an acrylic case. But like Liu, the newest member of Sacred Heart Medical Center's interventional radiology team, the material masks a powerful potential to heal in an unassuming package.
July 11, 2007, midnight
The insurance agent who met Justine Ackerman at the Mid-City Senior Center told her to call any time. But after the 94-year-old Spokane woman signed up for the Medicare Advantage plan he was pitching, she said the Spokane Community Care broker never answered his phone.