Dallas City Employees Are Fat, Some Are Fatter Than Others

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Dwaine Caraway (via Facebook)
Council member Dwaine Caraway doing his part to support A.C.'s initiative.
As we've mentioned before, City Manager A.C. Gonzalez's presentations at the end of City Council briefings are frequently excruciating and uninformative. Tuesday, though, there was an interesting tidbit in the midst of Gonzalez's promotion of the city's wellness initiative for city employees.

After singling out City Council member Dwaine Caraway's eager adoption of the wellness program, Gonzalez revealed that a full 20 percent of the city's employees are morbidly obese and 80 percent are at least somewhat overweight.

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Thomas Eric Duncan's Family Settles With Texas Health Presbyterian

Categories: Healthcare

It was something that was inevitable once Thomas Eric Duncan was sent home from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with antibiotics on September 26. There would be legal action against the hospital for its treatment of Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States. Wednesday morning, Duncan's family and its lawyer, Dallas personal injury attorney Les Weisbrod, announced that they have reached a settlement with the hospital.

"We want to raise awareness of the epidemic of preventable medical errors," Weisbrod said.

The care Duncan received upon his return to the hospital after his initial release was excellent, the attorney said, but the initial misdiagnosis likely changed the final outcome of Duncan's treatment.

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Dallas' Finest Orthopedist Says Tony Romo Can Play Sunday If He's Tough Enough

Categories: Healthcare, Sports

The Loomis Agency via YouTube
Dr. Jerry specializes in pizza, rapping and back injuries.
Jerry Jones, who's served as the Dallas Cowboys' team physician since 1989, told KRLD 105.3 Wednesday morning that the team's quarterback, Tony Romo, will be medically able to play Sunday against the 6-1 Arizona Cardinals.

Romo, who had two back surgeries in 2013 -- one before the season to remove a cyst and one after the season to repair structural damage -- took a vicious Keenan Robinson knee to the back during the third quarter of the Cowboys' Monday night game with Washington.

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Nurse Amber Vinson Is Headed Home, Free from Ebola

Categories: Healthcare

KXAS via Twitter
Amber Vinson hugs her doctor at the close of her press conference at Emory.
Amber Vinson, the second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to contract Ebola during treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, is being released from Emory University Hospital near Atlanta.

"I'm so grateful to be well," she said. "While this is a day of celebration and gratitude, I'd like to request that we don't lose focus on the thousands of families still being affected by the disease in West Africa."

During her stay at Emory, Vinson received blood plasma from Dr. Kent Brantly and Dr. Nancy Writebol, both of whom were also received successful Ebola treatment at Emory.

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Some Patients Complain That Parkland Is Filing Exorbitant Hospital Liens For Medical Bills

Categories: Healthcare

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A little-known perk of being a Texas hospital is that if a broke accident victim visits you for emergency treatment, you get to lay claim to any money the victim wins through the courts later. It's officially called a "hospital lien," legal through a state statute that's been on the books since the 1930s. The point is to give hospitals first dibs on the money their patients get from personal injury lawsuits. If a person whose life you saved for free just got a fat settlement check, shouldn't that check go straight to you?

But since October of last year, five people have filed suits against Parkland Hospital in Dallas County, accusing it of abusing its lien privilege.

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Nina Pham Is Going Home

KXAS via Twitter
Ebola free and soon to be released.
Nina Pham is Ebola free. The National Institutes of Health announced Friday morning that Pham, the first of Thomas Eric Duncan's treatment team to be diagnosed with Ebola, has successfully fought off the disease and will able to return to Dallas later Friday.

"She has no virus in her, she feels well," Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said. It was a "privilege to treat and get to know such a extraordinary and courageous person."

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Ebola in Dallas: October 23

Categories: Healthcare

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the RNA filovirus that causes Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
Counting down the days (15) until our fair city is, officially, Ebola-free. Here's what's happening:

The condition of the patients
Late yesterday afternoon, Amber Vinson's family announced that she was Ebola-free, meaning that the there was no detectable viral load in her blood. She remains at Emory University Hospital near Atlanta.

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Ebola in Dallas: October 22

Categories: Healthcare

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
An Ebola particle.
As hysteria fades, people's lives are still being affected. Here's what's happening:

The conditions of the patients
Late Tuesday afternoon, Nina Pham was upgraded from fair to good condition by her treatment team at the National Institutes of Health. Amber Vinson is still stable at Emory University Hospital near Atlanta. Her family reports that she has tested Ebola free, but Emory has yet to confirm that statement or when she might be released. The first test results for Bentley, Pham's King Charles spaniel, were negative. He will continue to be tested during the disease's 21-day incubation period.

Rawlings urges Dallas to "lift up health care workers"
Giving a brief speech before Wednesday's city council meeting Mayor Mike Rawlings talked about the health care workers who will finish Ebola monitoring in the coming weeks.

"It is important for all of us, once again, to accept all of these people back into the mainstream of our world and our life," he said.

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News that Richardson Will Get an Ebola Center Doesn't Spark Panic in the Streets

Categories: Healthcare

Ed Uthman
Is Dallas' Ebolapocalypse over?

On Monday, Governor Rick Perry announced that UT Southwestern Medical Center, Methodist Health System and Parkland Hospital System would be partnering to open a dedicated Ebola treatment center at the Methodist Campus for Continuing Care in Richardson. With Wednesday's opening, we spoke to residents and workers near the center to gauge their reaction. The response? Meh.

"I don't see a problem with it. I don't really see any particular problem with having a treatment center in any particular location," says Wayne Krug, who works close to Methodist and lives close to Texas Health Presbyterian, where two nurses recently contracted Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the disease. "Having some hospital set up for it just as a precaution is a good idea. If you have something staffed up and ready to do it, it cuts down on problems in the future."

The lackadaisical attitude toward the new center is a sharp contrast to the response from some in the immediate days after Duncan's diagnosis. "I'd want to get away from these people if they came in. It's right here, in the middle school and high school. It's all around. And Presbyterian isn't far from here, that's where the guy died," said one worker at a Target close to Texas Health Presbyterian, just two weeks ago. "If I see somebody is sick, I'll want a mask. And I'd go to a manager and tell them to talk to the person. You've got to be careful. You just have to stay sanitized and just be careful."

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Ebola in Dallas: October 21

Categories: Healthcare

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus budding from the surface of a Vero cell
With 17 days until the last person in direct contact with one of Dallas' three Ebola patients finishes monitoring, here's the latest:

The condition of the patients:
Amber Vinson's mother, Debra Berry, discussed her daughter's condition on Good Morning America early Tuesday. Mom says Vinson remains weak, but is doing OK and focused on getting better. Berry told the morning show that it's been difficult for her and her family to comprehend her daughter's situation.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Nina Pham has been upgraded from fair to good condition by doctors at the National Institutes of Health. Bentley, her dog, gave his first sample to be tested for Ebola this morning. He has shown no symptoms and still appears to be a very good boy.

Perry announces procedure for potential future Ebola cases:
Governor Rick Perry announced Tuesday that any future Ebola cases will be treated at UTMB Galveston or at Methodist Richardson. Patients in Richardson would see UT Southwestern doctors and have their lab work done at Parkland's lab. WFAA's Janet St. James also reports that Parkland will provide a 50-person unit for quick Ebola response. Perry says the new setups will be ready in the next 24 hours. The new facilities are part of a plan by the newly formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Brett Giroir.

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