Tag Archives: Death

The Seldom Mentioned Side Of Opioid Addiction

.jpg photo of woman in labor
Number of Opioid-Addicted Women Giving Birth Quadruples

Number of Opioid-Addicted Women
Giving Birth Quadruples

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

The number of pregnant women addicted to opioids as they give birth has more than quadrupled since 1999, a disturbing new report shows.

In 2014, for every 1,000 hospital deliveries, 6.5 were mothers who arrived at the hospital with opioid use disorder, up from 1.5 per 1,000 in 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found.

This increase is likely linked to America’s ongoing opioid epidemic, said study co-author Jean Ko, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s division of reproductive health.

“With the opioid overdose epidemic, it’s natural to see increases in opioid use disorder among the general population,” Ko said.  “Our data tell us that women presenting for labor and delivery are no different.

Opioid use during pregnancy has been tied to maternal death during delivery, stillbirth and preterm birth, the CDC researchers noted.

Even babies born healthy might have to go through opioid withdrawal, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Babies with NAS can experience tremors, convulsions, seizures, difficulty feeding, breathing problems, fever, diarrhea and trouble sleeping, according to the March of Dimes.

The CDC study used data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, focusing on 28 states with at least three years of data available for analysis.

Between 1999 and 2014, all 28 states saw significant increases in opioid-addicted pregnant women entering labor.

Vermont and West Virginia had the most cases of opioid-affected pregnancies in 2014.  Vermont had 48.6 cases for every 1,000 deliveries; West Virginia had 32.1 cases per 1,000.  On the low-end, Nebraska had 1.2 cases per 1,000 and the District of Columbia had 0.7 per 1,000.

The average annual rate increases were highest in Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia.  Those states all had growth of more than 2.5 cases per 1,000 each year — six times higher than the national average of 0.4 cases per 1,000.

The states with the lowest increases were California and Hawaii, with fewer than 0.1 new cases per 1,000 each year.

The new information “is very alarming and is a call to arms regarding this national health crisis,” said Dr. Mitchell Kramer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.

“We are well aware of the association of opioid exposure and abuse with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm labor and delivery, stillbirth, neonatal withdrawal syndrome and maternal mortality,” he said.

But Ko said concerns about babies with NAS should not dissuade pregnant women from taking medicines appropriately prescribed to treat chronic medical disorders, or from taking medications like methadone or buprenorphine that aid in addiction treatment.

The CDC recommends a number of strategies for countering this dangerous trend:

  • Making sure opioids are prescribed appropriately.
  • Strengthening state-level prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • Requiring substance abuse screening at the first prenatal visit, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • Ensuring that pregnant women with opioid use disorder have access to addiction therapy, and that new opioid-addicted mothers receive postpartum care that includes mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Kramer pointed out that “the implications of this startling CDC data are that coordinated national, state and provider efforts are necessary to prevent, monitor and treat opioid use disorder among reproductive-aged and pregnant women.”

The report was published in the Aug. 10 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Two Toddlers Die In Hot BabySitter

.jpg photo of vehicle where 2 toddlers died of heat stroke
Two Toddlers were found in an SUV in front of the home.

5-month-old twins die after being left in SUV

#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA  –  The second of twin infants found unresponsive in a vehicle Thursday has died, according to police in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

The 5-month-old twins were found unresponsive around 2:30 p.m. in an SUV in the 2400 block of Alfalfa Lane near Jefferson Davis Highway, according to WTVR.

Police, along with Chesterfield County Fire and EMS responded to the scene and transported the children to Chippenham Hospital.

One of the children was pronounced dead at the hospital Thursday afternoon. The other child died several hours later.

The children, according to neighbors were a boy and a girl.

A woman who lives a few doors down defended the children’s parents through tears.

“They go to work, they come home to their kids.  They’re not any trouble, they’re awesome,” the woman, who declined to be identified, said.

“It’s tragic what happened, I don’t even know how to help them with their pain. It was certainly not an intentionally negligent act, it was a horrific mistake that can never be erased,” said another neighbor, Donna Gusti, who also works with both parents at a nearby Waffle House.

The woman who lives next door to the family said the wife was at work Thursday afternoon when she called her.

“His wife called me at 2 p.m. to wake him up to come and get her from work and that’s when everything happened,” the neighbor said.  “That’s when he found the babies in the car.”

She believes the husband just forgot the babies remained in the car when he got home from dropping his wife off at work.

Police continue to investigate the incident.

KS CPS Bold Step Sent To Senate

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Gina Meier-Hummel, acting secretary at the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Kansas House unanimously passes bill to release information after Child Abuse deaths

In a final vote Thursday morning, the Kansas House unanimously passed legislation that would require the state to release information after a child dies of abuse or neglect.

The chamber voted 124-0 in favor of the bill.  It now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers will decide whether to accept the House version.  If they don’t, the bill would be sent to a conference committee to work out any differences. After that, each chamber would vote again.

Child advocates say if the bill becomes law, the most vulnerable children in Kansas will be better protected.

“Absolutely it’s a step forward,” said Lori Ross, a long-time advocate in Missouri.  “Transparency is necessary for the child welfare system to continuously improve.  … I’m so thrilled they haven’t dropped this.”

The House action comes after several high-profile deaths in the recent years. Frustrated lawmakers, as well as child advocates across the state, have said more must be known about these cases so the system improves and other children are protected.

The Star has fought for years to obtain records and information after several horrific child deaths, including the 2015 death of Adrian Jones, a Kansas City, KS boy whose body was fed to pigs.

In a months-long investigation into the secrecy that permeates Kansas government, The Star found in late November a pervasive effort inside DCF to avoid transparency, hiding behind privacy laws and internal procedures — even instructing employees to shred notes taken in meetings where the death of a child was discussed.

Under the bill, SB 336, DCF would be required to release within seven business days the age and sex of the child, date of the fatality, a summary of previous reports to the agency and findings, as well as any department-recommended services provided.

Also, if a child dies while in state custody, the bill requires the DCF secretary to release the age and sex of the child, date of the fatality and summary of the facts surrounding the death.  This section relates directly to children who die in foster care and the death is considered an accident.

Since Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel took over the troubled agency in early December, she has vowed to be more transparent.  She worked with lawmakers on the bill and she and Gov. Jeff Colyer have been pushing for its passage.

As the bill went through the committee process there were heated moments as troubles with the child welfare system were discussed.  Lawmakers said this week that Meier-Hummel is providing the leadership that the state currently needs.

After Rep. John Carmichael commended the Judiciary Committee in a Wednesday hearing for its work with the legislation, he turned his attention to discussing Meier-Hummel.

“I also want to express to the current secretary of DCF my admiration for her first bringing the bill,” the Wichita Democrat said.  “And second, for responding frankly and candidly to sometimes difficult questions in the Judiciary Committee.”

Head Of TX CPS Vows To Get Better

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Sini Mathews, mother of Sherin Mathews.

State failed 3-year-old Sherin Mathews,
head of Child Protective Services says

Texas Child Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman is disappointed in his agency’s handling of Sherin Mathews’ case.

Whitman, who declined to talk about any specifics of the case, said the agency will figure out how Sherin’s case “slipped through.”

“I’m gonna tell you right now, it is my mission, it is my passion that we get better at this,” he said.

In March, a doctor found that the 3-year-old Richardson girl had suffered injuries to her upper-arm bones and fractures in her leg bones that were in various stages of healing, according to testimony Wednesday.

The doctor, Suzanne Dakil of the Referral and Evaluation of At Risk Children Clinic, reported the injuries to CPS, suspecting that Sherin had been injured at the hands of her parents.

“I had no explanation other than this child had been physically abused,” Dakil said.

Sherin was found dead in a culvert Oct. 24, more than two weeks after her father reported her missing.  Wesley Mathews originally told police he had left her outside in an alley around 3 a.m. as punishment for not drinking her milk.  Later, he said that she had choked while he “physically assisted” her in drinking the milk, and he left her body in the culvert.

Wesley and his wife, Sini, remain jailed on charges related to the girl’s death.  Her father is charged with injury to a child with serious bodily injury and her mother is charged with abandoning or endangering a child.  Authorities say the couple went out to dinner with their other daughter, also 3, while leaving Sherin at the house alone.

The other daughter was placed with family members in November after more than a month in foster care.  She is the couple’s biological daughter; Sherin was adopted from India.

Court testimony this week showed that Sherin was treated for an elbow fracture in September 2016.  The family said her sister had pushed her off a couch while the two were playing, according to medical records.

Injuries in her upper-arm bones were suffered after Sini grabbed the girl to catch her from a fall on the playground, she claimed.  But Dakil told the court that the injuries weren’t consistent with the mother’s claims.

After more X-rays showed leg fractures, Dakil reported the family to CPS.

The agency reached out to Dakil about Sherin’s medical history, she said, but the CPS commissioner says that “they could have done a better job.”

Commissioner Whitman says he can’t say why Sherin wasn’t removed from her home after the report, but that “it breaks [his] heart.”

“I mean, to have a child go outside because they didn’t want to drink their milk or whatever, I mean that story was just not believable,” he said to WFAA.  “I don’t know.  I don’t know what was going through her father’s mind.

“It’s astounding to me why someone would do that to a baby.”

The World Lemmings Love So Much

.jpg photo of site where Child was found
On Sunday officials discovered the body of a young child.

Child’s body found in Richardson is ‘most likely’ missing 3-year-old Sherin Mathews

Dallas, TX  –  Less than a mile from the Richardson home where a missing 3-year-old was last seen two weeks ago, officials on Sunday discovered the body of a young child.

Police have not yet confirmed whether the body is that of Sherin Mathews, who has been missing since Oct. 7, but they indicated they have no reason to think it is a different child.

The medical examiner will determine the child’s identification and cause of death.

“The indications are that it is most likely her, however, we have not had positive ID.  So until we have a positive identification we are not going to say it is Sherin,” Sgt. Kevin Perlich said.

The body was found about 11 a.m. in a culvert near East Spring Valley and South Bowser roads, east of U.S. Highway 75, with the help of search dogs.

As the investigation continued to unfold, more and more stuff came to [the] surface and we followed up on that,” Perlich said.  “It led to the search of that area with canines, and that’s how we came across the body.”

The area was blocked off as a crime scene as police waited for the FBI response team to process the area.  Late Sunday afternoon, a sheet-covered stretcher was loaded into a waiting van.

Sherin’s parents have been notified of the discovery.

The girl’s adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, was charged with abandoning or endangering a child after Sherin went missing.  He was released from jail after posting bond and was required to wear an electronic monitoring device and surrender his passport.

No additional charges have been filed.

During a court appearance Monday, Sherin’s parents learned that their biological child, a 4-year-old girl, will remain in foster care for another three weeks while Wesley Mathews looks for a civil attorney.

Judge Cheryl Shannon has set a custody hearing for Nov. 13.