Thursday ReadsPosted: February 19, 2015 Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: 2016 presidential race, antibiotic resistant bacteria, avalanche in Cambridge, Boston snow, Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, CRE, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, ERCP, Ferguson MO, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Loon Mountain, Mayor Marty Walsh, MIT Alps, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, snow diving, Superbug Nightmare 12 Comments
Tales from the frozen Northeast
Yesterday evening in Cambridge, MA, five people were hit by an “avalanche” of snow that slid off the roof of the local skating rink.
The Boston Globe reports: Five trapped by snow falling from roof of Cambridge ice rink.
One man was completely buried and four other adults were briefly trapped Wednesday evening after snow fell from the roof of a Cambridge skating rink, a police spokesman said.
Four men and one woman were walking on a path between Gold Star Mothers Park and the Simoni Memorial Rink, just south of the McGrath Highway, when a “very compact” section of snow about 30 feet wide and up to 5 feet deep fell from the roof just past 6 p.m., said Jeremy Warnick, a Cambridge police spokesman.
A witness called police, who used snow shovels provided by people at the scene to begin the search for a 34-year-old Cambridge man, the twin brother of another man in the group, who was covered in snow, Warnick said.
His twin and other two men, ages 31 and 30, were briefly buried to the chest but were able to extricate themselves, Warnick said. A 20-year-old woman in the group was not completely buried but suffered injuries to her neck and shoulders, he said.
Cambridge firefighters came to assist the rescue effort, and the Somerville Department of Public Works provided two front-end loaders to remove remaining snow. All five who were hit by the snow had been accounted for by 6:23 p.m., Warnick said. He did not release their identities.
From WBZ (CBS Local Boston), Two People Buried By Falling Snow In Cambridge.
Two people were buried when a massive amount of snow fell off a Cambridge ice rink Wednesday night.
Cambridge Police say five adults were walking down the sidewalk next to the rink when the snow fell.
Dan Delongchamp was the first person on scene and started digging. “I want to say it was five minutes of terror,” Delongchamp said. “Digging in the snow trying to find somebody, it was terrible.”
Delongchamp, of Somerville, was riding his bike near the rink when the snow fell. He wants to be a professional bike driver. If you want to become a pro biker, you better read this review about bmx bikes first.
“We kept shoveling, kept shoveling, and finally I reached down and I felt something soft, and said this isn’t snow, and it was him,” Delongchamp said.
A 33-year-old man and 20-year-old woman, both of Cambridge – were stuck under the weight of five feet of snow.
Angelo Ciardiello and his crew were around the corner removing snow for the City of Somerville when they learned of the emergency at the nearby Simoni Ice Rink in Cambridge.
“I’d never seen anything like that,” Ciardiello said. “They were buried up to their chest. They were panicked, they were scared.”
The latest craze for younger adults in Boston is jumping or diving out windows and off balconies into deep snow. It has gotten so crazy that the Mayor felt he had to say something about this dangerous pastime.
USA Today reports: Boston mayor to snow daredevils: Chill out.
Think before you jump. Or, don’t jump at all.
That’s the message Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told snow-bound Bostonians at a press conference Tuesday.
Apparently, some of the city’s stir-crazy, thrill-seeking residents are taking to social media with videos of them jumping out of windows into massive snowdrifts.
“I’m asking people to stop their nonsense right now. These are adults jumping out windows. It’s a foolish thing to do, and you could kill yourself,” Walsh said, according to a video of his remarks from the Boston Herald….
“This isn’t Loon Mountain, this is the city of Boston, where we’re trying to remove snow off of the street and it becomes very dangerous. And the last thing we want to do is respond to an emergency call where somebody jumped out of the window because they thought it was a funny thing to do,” Walsh said.
FYI: Loon Mountain is a ski resort in New Hampshire. See more snow diving and jumping photos at The Daily Mail.
Check out this dramatic video of a snow dive:
At MIT, maintenance workers have piled up the snow removed from streets and sidewalks on campus into a huge five-story high “mountain” on Albany Street near classroom buildings and student dorms. There’s a fence around the area, but people are still getting in to climb the “MIT Alps” and slide down again. Here’s a photo posted on Twitter by Susie Blackmon (via Bustle)
“Superbug Nightmare” in Los Angeles
If you thought the measles outbreak in California was scary, “you ain’t heard nothing yet,” as Al Jolson used to say.
From the AP, via ABC News: 7 Infected, 2 Dead After ‘Superbug’ Outbreak at Hospital.
Contaminated medical instruments are to blame for infecting seven patients — including two who died — with an antibiotic-resistant and potentially deadly “superbug” at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, hospital officials said. A total of 179 patients may be infected.
They were exposed to Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, during endoscopic procedures between October and January when it was discovered during tests on a patient, said Dale Tate, a University of California, Los Angeles spokeswoman.
The potentially infected patients are being sent free home-testing kits that UCLA will analyze, the university said.
The bacteria may have been a “contributing factor” in the deaths of two patients, a university statement said.
From Mother Jones: A Superbug Nightmare Is Playing Out at an LA Hospital.
In today’s terrifying health news, the LA Timesreports that two medical scopes used at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been contaminated with the potentially deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Two patients have died from complications that may be connected to the bacteria, and authorities believe that 179 more patients have been exposed.
Most healthy people aren’t at risk of catching a CRE infection, but in hospitals this bacteria can be quite dangerous: CRE kills as many as half of all people in whom the infection has spread to the bloodstream. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working with the CA Department of Public Health to investigate the situation, which is expected to result in more infections.
The problem isn’t just in Los Angeles, though. Last month USA Today reported that hospitals around the country struggle with transmissions of bacteria on these scopes—medical devices commonly used to treat digestive-system problems—and there have been several other under-the-radar outbreaks of CRE.
This is pretty scary stuff, considering that in the antibiotics arms race against bacteria, we are starting to fall behind. Due in large part to unnecessary medical prescriptions and overuse of antibiotics in our food supply, these superbugs are on the rise. In a study published last year that focused specifically on hospitals in the Southeastern United States, researchers reported that CRE cases had increased fivefold between 2008 and 2012.
This just reinforces my determination to stay away from antibiotics, doctors, and hospitals unless I’m really sick–like with a 103 degree temperature or something. A little more from the AP article quoted above:
The two medical devices carried the bacteria even though they were sterilized according to the manufacturer’s specifications, UCLA said. “We removed the infected instruments, and we have heightened the sterilization process,” Tate said.
The CDC said that national figures on the bacteria are not kept, but 47 states have seen cases.
Since 2012, there have been about a half-dozen outbreaks reaching as many as 150 patients, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the UCLA outbreak.
One outbreak occurred in Illinois in 2013. Dozens of patients were exposed to CRE, with some cases apparently linked to a tainted endoscope used at a hospital.
A Seattle hospital, Virginia Mason Medical Center, reported in January that CRE linked to an endoscope sickened at least 35 patients, and 11 died, although it was unclear whether the infection played a role in their deaths.
According to the LA Times, as many as 179 patients may have been exposed to CRE in the past several months.
UCLA said it discovered the outbreak late last month while running tests on a patient. This week, it began to notify 179 other patients who were treated from October to January and offer them medical tests. By some estimates, if the infection spreads to a person’s bloodstream, the bacteria can kill 40% to 50% of patients.
At issue is a specialized endoscope inserted down the throats of about 500,000 patients annually to treat cancers, gallstones and other ailments of the digestive system.
These duodenoscopes are considered minimally invasive, and doctors credit them for saving lives through early detection and treatment. But medical experts say some scopes can be difficult to disinfect through conventional cleaning because of their design, so bacteria are transmitted from patient to patient.
These instruments are not the same type used in more routine endoscopies and colonoscopies.
The procedure in question is known as ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The superbug is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.
Read much more at the link.
Jeb Bush meets the media
“I’m my own man,” Jeb Bush announced in a speech yesterday. From Reuters:
Republican Jeb Bush staked out a robust vision for U.S. foreign policy in line with party doctrine on Wednesday and sought to ease concerns that he might be influenced by his powerful political family by insisting, “I’m my own man.”
A frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Bush said he would back a global strategy against Islamic State that “takes them out.”
But he offered no specifics on how to do this and avoided military threats that could reawaken memories of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq launched by his older brother, former President George W. Bush, over weapons of mass destruction that were never found.
Speaking at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the former Florida governor struck a balance between respecting the service of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and brother, while suggesting he would make decisions based on circumstances neither of them had to face.
“I’m my own man, and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences,” Bush said.
Bush’s claim was undermined by his list of foreign policy advisers. The Washington Post reports: Jeb Bush vows to set his own course while tapping longtime family advisers.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush on Wednesday promised to chart his own course on foreign policy — even as he announced a campaign brain trust associated, in part, with the most contentious policies of his brother’s and father’s presidencies….
In his prepared remarks, Bush mentioned Iraq, where his father and brother waged wars, only in passing — including once by mistake, when he meant to say Iran.
But in a question-and-answer session afterward, Bush addressed the troubled conflict in Iraq during his brother’s administration. “There were mistakes made in Iraq for sure,” he said….
The threat of Iran as a nuclear power is “the defining foreign policy issue of our time,” Bush contended, arguing that the Obama administration has shown itself “unequal to the task.” ….
Meanwhile, the 21 names announced by his campaign-in-waiting as supporters and advisers on foreign policy did not provide much indication of what direction Bush would take.
The list represents the full spectrum of views within the Republican foreign policy establishment — from relative moderates, including former secretaries of state George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III, to staunch neoconservatives such as Iraq war architect Paul D. Wolfowitz.
A few more Jeb links:
The Atlantic: If Jeb Bush Isn’t George W. Bush, Who Is He?
The Fix: Jeb Bush’s foreign policy team is eerily familiar, in one Venn diagram.
Think Progress: Jeb Bush’s Attack On Obama Over Iran Goes Horribly Wrong.
Buzzfeed: Jeb Bush Makes Vague First Foray Into Foreign Policy.
Washington Monthly: Politico Makes Case For Just Declaring Jeb Bush President Right Now.
More News Links
New York Magazine: Justice Department May Sue Ferguson Police Over Racial Bias.
Talking Points Memo: South Dakota Lawmaker says ‘Planned Parenthood Worse Than ISIS’
Undercover Michigan: Michigan Woman dies after accidently shooting herself while Adjusting Bra Holster.
The Missing Leak Sports Blog: Time for Goodell to Step Down?
Tom Curran at Comcast Sportsnet New England: Another black eye for NFL in Deflategate quest.
Politico: Rudy Giuliani says President Obama doesn’t love America (Giuliani supports Scott Walker.)
The Guardian: Chapel Hill ‘hate crime’ response criticised by Muslim lawmaker Keith Ellison.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a tremendous Thursday!