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Baystate Noble Hospital: 293 Colonoscopy Patients May Have Been Exposed to HIV, Hepatitis

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WESTFIELD — Baystate Noble Hospital has notified colonoscopy patients that the scopes used in their procedures may not have been properly disinfected.

WESTFIELD — Baystate Noble Hospital has notified colonoscopy patients that the scopes used in their procedures may not have been properly disinfected.

Springfield-based Baystate Health said Friday that because of a lapse in disinfection procedures, 293 patients who had colonoscopies at Noble between June 2012 and April 2013 are at risk of having been exposed to blood-borne pathogens during their procedure.

Baystate Health acquired the much smaller and formerly independent Noble Hospital in July 2015.

Baystate Health spokesman Benjamin Craft said everyone affected, the 293 patients, have been sent a letter notifying them. Baystate also established a hotline, (413) 794-8955, which it is aiming to keep available for those affected to get more information.

Those patients have been notified that they should be screened for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Baystate will offer such screenings to those affected for free, Craft said.

A news release from Baystate issued Friday quoted Dr. Sarah Haessler, an infectious-disease physician and Baystate’s head epidemiologist, saying the risk of infection from the colonoscopies is quite low.

“Due to the function of the water irrigation channel and the phase of disinfection at which the failure occurred, the risk to patients is very low. However, that risk is not zero, so we’re taking the necessary steps to address these issues and provide patients with the resources they need.”

As Baystate explained the situation Friday, Noble Hospital began using new colonoscopy equipment in June 2012. The new colonoscopies required a different approach to disinfection than instruments used previously at Noble.

Due to a failure in training, the disinfection of those endoscopes between procedures did not adequately expose the devices’ single water irrigation channel to high-level disinfection during the last phase of cleaning, Baystate said in a news release.

Noble received new equipment and training that enabled it to appropriately disinfect the endoscopes involved in April 2013 and Noble officials considered the matter closed, Baystate said Friday.

But the Massachusetts Department of Public Health brought the issue to light during a site visit in December 2015.

Sterilization issues involving endoscopes used to look inside the body for various procedures have cropped up across health care in recent years.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 50 million Americans undergo colonoscopies each year. The CDC also says more outbreaks have been linked to contaminated endoscopes than to any other medical devices.

In 2015, failure to disinfect endoscopes possibly exposed 281 patients in Hartford to drug-resistant bacteria and was also implicated in the deaths of two patients in California.

The duodenoscope is different than the endoscopes used for routine upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or colonoscopy, according to the FDA.

In 2013, an Atlanta outpatient surgery center sent letters to 456 colonoscopy clientswarning them they may have been exposed to HIV as well as hepatitis B and C.

That same year, study at five hospitals nationwide finds that three out of 20 endoscopes retained bits of “biological dirt” from past patients, putting people at risk for hepatitis and infection, as reported in the AARP Health Talk website.

This national concern led Baystate Health last year to convene a multidisciplinary team to assess the safety of endoscopes and disinfection processes throughout the organization. This team continues its work, Baystate said.

Ronald Bryant, president of Baystate Noble, said:

“On behalf of Baystate Noble Hospital and Baystate Health, I apologize to all those affected by this failure in safety. The safety of our patients is our very highest priority, and we take full responsibility for our part in allowing these patients to have potentially received unsafe care.”

Bryant stayed on after the Baystate takeover. His tenure as head of the hospital goes back to 2011.

Dr. Stanley Strzempko, interim chief medical officer of Baystate Noble Hospital, said:

“We appreciate the partnership of the Department of Public Health in identifying this problem and responding to it. We’re working closely with the primary care providers of those affected to ensure that they receive screening, timely access to results, and any other support we can provide.”

A colonoscopy is an exam doctors use to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine, also known as the colon and rectum, according to the Mayo Clinic.

During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube, called a colonoscope, is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon.

If necessary, doctors can also remove polyps or other types of abnormal tissue and collect tissue samples during a colonoscopy.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

disney-world

McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

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