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July 10, 2007, midnight
A top-level manager at Empire Health Services has resigned, barely two months after taking over day-to-day operations at the Spokane hospital system awaiting sale. Philip G. Dionne, who started work in May as chief administrative officer, resigned July 6, Empire officials said Monday.
July 7, 2007, midnight
Identities of people who visit inmates in the Spokane County Jail will remain secret for now, after a deputy county prosecutor refused this week to honor an attorney general's office request to disclose them. The issue arose Thursday after The Spokesman-Review asked for a list of people who had visited or requested interviews with Jonathan Lytle, a Spokane man charged with homicide by abuse in connection with the death of his 4-year-old daughter, Summer Phelps.
July 6, 2007, midnight
Nearly 1,000 people have signed an online petition in honor of Summer Phelps, just in time to mark what would have been the fifth birthday of the Spokane preschooler who died in March. Meanwhile, the girl's half-brother, Jonny Lytle, who shares her July 6 birthday, is developing normally in the care of relatives after his parents were jailed in connection with Summer's death.
July 4, 2007, midnight
Spokane's Ronald McDonald Care Mobile has been sent back to Chicago after two regional medical providers couldn't find funding for the low-income clinic on wheels. About 1,100 patients who had no money and no transportation for immunizations, health screenings, physicals and other services were told in January that the program was on "hiatus," according to a recorded phone message.
June 29, 2007, midnight
A 15-month-old Spokane County boy was among four children in Washington and more than four dozen nationwide who contracted a rare form of salmonella poisoning possibly linked to a popular snack food often given to kids, health officials said Thursday. All codes and expiration dates of Veggie Booty snack food products are being recalled by the manufacturer after the federal Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Thursday not to eat the treats because of the possibility of contamination. Veggie Booty snacks are manufactured by Robert's American Gourmet in Sea Cliff, N.Y.
June 28, 2007, midnight
By 2026, at least a quarter of Spokane's population is expected to be older than 60, a projection that should galvanize government officials and ordinary folks starting now. Better transportation, more accessible living spaces and protection against falls, a leading cause of hospitalization, ought to be at the top of the community's collective list of things to do to benefit the elderly.
June 26, 2007, midnight
A dangerous, drug-resistant staph infection that spreads through touch is about 10 times more common than previously estimated, according to a comprehensive national study released Monday. Nearly 5 percent of patients in hospitals and nursing homes in the Inland Northwest and elsewhere may be infected with the so-called "superbug" known as MRSA, according to the survey that included information from Sacred Heart Medical Center, Deaconess Medical Center and at least three other area hospitals.
June 24, 2007, midnight
Standing in the dim basement where a methadone overdose killed his son, Ken Zigler prepared to honor Tim's legacy the only way he knows how. The 52-year-old Spokane remodeling contractor squared his shoulders, set his jaw and swallowed hard before explaining, yet again, how the common prescription drug is ending more lives than any illicit substance.
June 22, 2007, midnight
Empire Health Services officials cooperated with a Spokane TV station on stories about the proposed sale of two hospitals and other holdings weeks before the information was released to employees, doctors and the public. An Empire Health spokeswoman acknowledged this week that crews from KHQ-TV agreed to delay reporting about the potential sale to Community Health Systems Inc. of Tennessee in exchange for access to proprietary information and corporate officials before the June 14 public announcement that Empire had signed an intent-to-sell agreement with CHS.
June 21, 2007, midnight
Four People's Clinic sites in Spokane will remain open for at least a year after the new president of Washington State University intervened in a proposed closure. Elson S. Floyd pledged Tuesday to use $400,000 in one-time reserves to allow nearly 3,000 students and other low-income clients to receive care beyond the end of July.
June 19, 2007, midnight
Nearly 3,000 students and other low-income clients are scrambling to find new health care after learning the surprise loss of a federal grant will force the Spokane People's Clinics to close. A dozen staff members will lose their jobs at the four clinics operated by the Washington State University Intercollegiate College of Nursing.
June 11, 2007, midnight
The Washington mother of one of Summer Phelps' playmates and a Connecticut mother moved by chilling news accounts have launched an Internet petition they hope will change child abuse laws following the death of the Spokane 4-year-old. Though they're separated by 3,000 miles, Catherine Latour, of Bremerton, and Heather Schlichting, of Connecticut, said they're joined by outrage over Summer's death – and fear that it will be forgotten.
June 8, 2007, midnight
You've heard it before, but this time Washington wildlife officials mean it: Please don't feed the birds. Really.
June 6, 2007, midnight
A serious spike in cases of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria has doctors at some Spokane health clinics treating first and testing later to stanch a "tidal wave" of potentially deadly infection. More than half the people showing up at Community Health Association of Spokane clinics with what they think are spider bites, small cuts and other skin lesions that won't heal are testing positive for MRSA – methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus – said Dr. David Bare, CHAS medical director.
June 1, 2007, midnight
Steve and Belle Autry didn't notice the green and white flag that fluttered above Spokane's Sacred Heart Medical Center last Saturday, the day they turned wrenching grief into a great gift. But the signal flew just the same in honor of their daughter, Gabriella, the toddler who died after a May 23 car crash apparently caused by a driver distracted by a cell phone.
June 1, 2007, midnight
The decision of the parents of a Colbert car crash victim to donate their daughter's organs was aimed at wringing hope from tragedy. Gabriella Autry's tiny heart, liver and kidneys likely saved the lives of three children in a region where 38 kids under age 18 were waiting for organs this week. Nationwide, more than 96,000 people of all ages are awaiting transplants, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
May 25, 2007, midnight
A Utah health care consultant has been named chief executive officer of Valley Hospital and Medical Center, the second top management position filled this month by Empire Health Services officials. Robert L. Quist, 62, took over last week at the Spokane Valley hospital, filling a position vacant for nearly two years. His selection comes as Empire officials seek financial investors or possible buyers for the century-old community hospital system.
May 24, 2007, midnight
Spokane Regional Health District officials are considering a pay increase of up to 16 percent as they begin searching for a replacement for fired health officer Dr. Kim Thorburn. A draft job description set for review today recommends a salary range of $130,000 to $145,000 annually, up from the $125,000 Thorburn earned.
May 23, 2007, midnight
When Jason Hamilton's weekend rage sent three of his five shooting victims to Moscow's Gritman Medical Center, it was the first test of a new arrangement that provides more blood faster to the region's rural hospitals in emergencies. Gritman was among three Palouse hospitals to join Spokane's Inland Northwest Blood Center in April, switching from an American Red Cross blood bank that had to ship blood from as far as Salt Lake City.
May 22, 2007, midnight
Washington child welfare officials logged at least a half dozen complaints about the adults in charge of Summer Phelps' care before the 4-year-old's death by abuse in March, newly released state records show. Most were dueling accusations between the child's estranged parents dating nearly to her birth in July 2002.
May 22, 2007, midnight
Spokane residents with heart problems may be eligible to join a national study of two popular cholesterol medications conducted in part by Washington State University. WSU is one of 75 health institutions nationwide participating in a five-year federal program evaluating how two cholesterol drugs can lower the risk of heart disease, officials said.
May 18, 2007, midnight
The Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been chosen to host in 2009 what organizers say is the world's largest annual wheelchair sports competition. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is expected to attract nearly 600 wheelchair athletes and their friends and families to Spokane that summer, with an estimated economic impact that could reach $3 million.
May 17, 2007, midnight
The 21-year-old Sandpoint soldier who lost his legs in an explosion in Iraq this month doesn't yet know the extent of support from folks back home. U.S. Army Sgt. Brandon Adam remains in the intensive care unit of a Texas military hospital, where he has undergone several surgeries to stabilize injuries suffered during a month of violence that killed nine Northwest soldiers.
May 16, 2007, midnight
A planned June review of Summer Phelps' death has been postponed after a Spokane County prosecutor accepted a delay he said was offered by state child welfare officials. The change means it could be at least January – and likely much later – before any state or county agency investigates what happened to the 4-year-old Spokane girl allegedly tortured to death by her father and stepmother.