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Nurse Pens Powerful Post About Flu Shot

Oct. 11, 2019 — “The flu shot is NOT always about you. It’s about protecting those around you, who cannot always protect themselves.”

A nurse’s Facebook post is going viral after she penned a powerful statement urging everyone to get a flu shot.

Amanda Bitz writes that we shouldn’t just get vaccinated to keep ourselves healthy. Instead, it’s “for the grandparents, whose bodies are not what they used to be, and they just can’t kick an illness in the butt like when they were young. For the 30 year old, with HIV or AIDS, who has a weakened immune system. For the 25-year-old mother of three who has cancer. She has absolutely zero immune system because of chemotherapy.”

Bitz goes on to build her case, citing heart-wrenching example after example, before concluding that everyone needs to do their part to keep others safe. “I have been in the room as a patient has passed away, because of influenza. I have watched patients struggle to breathe, because of influenza,” she writes. “Herd immunity is a thing. Influenza killing people is a thing. You getting the flu shot, should be a thing.”

As of Friday afternoon, the post had been shared more than 82,000 times and had more than 1,200 comments.

The flu can be deadly and cause serious illness, but vaccination rates remain low. Last season, 45.3% of adults 18 and older received flu vaccinations, according to the CDC. The rate was higher among children 6 months through 17 years: 62.6%.

A recent CDC study found that roughly two-thirds of pregnant women in the U.S. don’t get vaccinated against the flu — which puts them and their babies at risk. When pregnant women get the flu shot, it reduces their newborns’ risk of being hospitalized due to the virus by an average of 72%.

The agency recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated — if their health allows — and says vaccination is especially important for people with a high risk for serious complications, including young kids, adults over the age of 65, people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, and pregnant women.

Last year’s flu season lasted a whopping 21 weeks — the longest in a decade. But health officials aren’t sure how long this one will last or how bad it will be. Each flu season varies, but it usually starts in October, peaks between December and February, and lasts as late as May.

While flu activity is still low in the U.S., the CDC warns that Australia experienced an early start to its 2019 flu season and that, because influenza is unpredictable, circumstances can change very quickly.

Sources

Facebook, Amanda Catherine Bitz, Ocober 7, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Update: Influenza Activity — United States and Worldwide, May 19–September 28, 2019, and Composition of the 2020 Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Flu Treatment.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Low Rates of Vaccination During Pregnancy Leave Moms, Babies Unprotected.”

CDC, “Update: Influenza Activity in the United States During the 2018–19 Season and Composition of the 2019–20 Influenza Vaccine.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The Flu Season.”

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Nurse Builds Database of Women Murdered By Men

THURSDAY, Feb. 20, 2019 — PLANO, Texas — Seated at her desk, beside shelves of cookbooks, novels and books on violence against women, Dawn Wilcox, 55, scours the internet for news stories of women killed by men in the U.S.

For dozens of hours each week, she digs through online news reports and obituaries to tell the stories of women killed by lovers, strangers, fathers, sons and stepbrothers, neighbors and tenants.

“I’m trying to get the message [across] that women matter, and that these women’s lives mattered, and that this is not acceptable in the greatest country in the world,” Wilcox said.

Her spreadsheet, a publicly available resource she calls Women Count USA, is a catalog of lives lost: names, dates, ages, where they lived, pictures of victims and their alleged killers, and the details that can’t be captured by numbers.

For Wilcox, these women are more than statistics.

She wants you to know Nicole Duckson, a 34-year-old Columbus, Ohio, woman whose friends “remembered her as a prayerful person and a loving mother.”

And Duckson’s 4-year-old daughter, Christina, who was stabbed to death alongside her mother, “a polite, happy little girl.”

And Claire Elizabeth VanLandingham, 27, a Navy dentist fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend. She had appeared in a video for Take Back the Night, the organization known for fighting dating violence, sexual violence and domestic violence on college campuses nationally. Her mother said, “Her heart was kind; her spirit generous; her soul wise. She gave her smile to everyone who needed it; to everyone who hadn’t even realized they did.”

Those are just a few of the nearly 2,500 women listed in Wilcox’s album during the past two years.

“Where is the outrage? Where are the marches, the speeches? I know where the silence is. It is everywhere and it is deafening,” Wilcox said.

Her crusade, Wilcox said, was spurred in part by the media frenzy about the shooting death of a gorilla, Harambe, at the Cincinnati Zoo and the uproar over the killing of Cecil the Lion, shot by a Minnesota dentist as a trophy.


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Nurse Arrested in Birth to Incapacitated Woman

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A male nurse has been arrested in an investigation launched after an incapacitated woman at a long-term care facility in Phoenix had a baby boy late last year.

Nathan Sutherland, 36, was a licensed practical nurse who looked after the woman. The licensed practical nurse was arrested on suspicion of one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

“We owed this arrest to the victim. We owed this arrest to the newest member of our community — that innocent baby,” Williams said.

The 29-year-old victim has been in long-term care since the age of 3 and gave birth at the Hacienda HealthCare facility on Dec. 29. Employees said they had no idea she was pregnant.

As part of their investigation, police tested the DNA of all the men who worked at the facility. Sutherland was charged after his DNA was found to match the baby’s, said police spokesman Tommy Thompson, the AP reported.

The case prompted reviews by state agencies and put the spotlight on safety concerns for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated.

One doctor who had cared for the woman resigned and another had been suspended, Hacienda HealthCare said Sunday. The CEO of the company at the time of the birth resigned earlier this month.

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