Hospital Privacy Curtains Attract Some Scary Germs

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Privacy curtains in hospital rooms might offer patients some personal dignity, but they can also harbor dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria.

That’s the claim of a new study where researchers took more than 1,500 samples from privacy curtains in 625 rooms at six skilled nursing facilities in Michigan. The samples were collected from the parts of the curtains touched most often. Samples were also gathered from patients.

Sampling was done when patients were admitted, and again after 14 days and 30 days, and then monthly up to six months, when possible.

The findings showed that 22% of the samples from the privacy curtains tested positive for multidrug-resistant organisms, with contamination rates ranging from 12% to 28.5%, depending on the facility.

Of those samples, nearly 14% were contaminated with vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), 6% with resistant gram-negative bacilli, and about 5% with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

“We were surprised to see that multidrug-resistant organisms, especially VRE, shed by patients routinely contaminate their privacy curtains. These pathogens on privacy curtains often survive and have the potential to transfer to other surfaces and patients,” the study authors wrote.

In fact, the same resistant germs were detected on patients and their privacy curtain in nearly 16% of the sampling visits, the researchers found.

“Patient colonization with MRSA and VRE were each associated with contamination of the bedside curtain,” according to Dr. Lona Mody and colleagues at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Where six-month data could be collected, curtain contamination was often intermittent, the investigators found.

The findings were scheduled for presentation this week at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, in Amsterdam. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Based on the findings, the researchers said that drug-resistant germ contamination of privacy curtains is common, as is patient/curtain co-contamination.

“As privacy curtains are used all over the world, it’s a global issue,” Mody and colleagues explained in a meeting news release. “Further studies are needed to determine conclusively whether contaminated privacy curtains are a source of multidrug-resistant organism transmission to patients.”

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SOURCE: European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, news release, April 11, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Santa Anna’s Pot Eating Cops Sue Over Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

So far this summer, one of the more bizarre news stories to come out of Southern California has been the tale of the three Santa Ana cops that were busted on the dispensary’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) — eating some of the shop’s marijuana-infused inventory. Apparently, their impromptu THC-laced snack-sesh happened after working up a fierce appetite during the raid of Sky High Holistic dispensary last May. And since duplicity seemingly rules the day in OC, those three officers – all of whom were suspended after the raid – are now working to prevent the Santa Ana Police Department from utilizing the dispensary’s CCTV footage in its internal investigation of their actions.

Santa Anna’s Pot Eating Cops Sue Over Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Santa Anna’s Pot Eating Cops Sue Over Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

According to the OC register, the unidentified cops are arguing in their new lawsuit that they were under the impression they had disabled all of the closed-circuit television feeds during the dispensary raid and consequently had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Hypocrisy knows no bounds…

With the help of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, the three officers are now complaining that the business never received permission to record them as they terrorized the dispensary’s patients and searched the location.

“All police personnel present had a reasonable expectation that their conversations were no longer being recorded and the undercover officers, feeling that they were safe to do so, removed their masks,” notes their lawsuit, which was filed in Orange County Superior Court. “Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer.” Under California law, “all parties to a confidential communication” must consent to being recorded, unless “the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.”

Defending his client’s position to the OC register, Sky High’s lawyer, Matthew Pappas, explained that the S.A.P.D routinely use CCTV video in the apprehension and prosecution of their suspects. Noting, “It’s pretty pathetic for police to say if we don’t like something that it can’t be used as evidence.”

Pointing out that, “They knew they were on video… Just because they missed one camera doesn’t make it illegal.”


Parents Of Mentally Ill Adult Children Frustrated By Privacy Law

Among the many questions brought up by the horrifying killings in Isla Vista, Calif., last month were what could have parents have done to prevent the tragedy, if anything? And what did they actually know about their son’s mental illness?  

Some parents of adult children with mental illnesses fear that their child will go untreated, suffer, or, at worst, become violent. And often, as the people who care the most about them, many parents want the doctors, social workers and other providers to share protected patient information. 

The 1996 privacy law HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was created in part to protect patients’ information, but it also presents a dilemma for families of people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Family members wonder how they can protect their loved one if they won’t share treatment details.

Mark, an ordained minister in Moraga, California, struggles with that question almost every day.  His son Scott, 24, has schizoaffective disorder and has been hospitalized a dozen times for the hallucinations, mania and depression that it brings. (Kaiser Health News and NPR are not publishing the family’s last name to protect Scott’s identity.)

Mark first noticed a change in his son just before his high school graduation. “There was a deep aggressiveness that started to emerge. We just thought well it was frustration with life or circumstances, things weren’t going well in school,” he recalls.

And it got worse. In the middle of an argument one day, Scott threw a small table at his mother. The police were called, and Scott was taken to a psychiatric hospital. Still in school, he was treated as a minor by the hospital. Mark and his wife were invited to meet with Scott’s doctors and set up a treatment plan.

“We saw, ok this is kind of the way it works,” says Mark adding: “That was pretty much the last time we had that opportunity” to talk to any medical professionals about their son.

The next time Scott was hospitalized, he was treated as an adult and everything was different. The doctors told the family that because of HIPAA, they could not be part of the treatment conversation unless Scott granted permission, which he refused to do. All the family could do was fax a social worker at the hospital a case history they had written about their son and hope that someone would read it.

“We were shut out of the conversation,” says Mark. “And I think that was the first time we really started feeling hopeless. As long as we could feel we were in a conversation with them, we had a sense of hope. All of a sudden there was a wall that went up and that was gone.”

WebMD Health

Teen Privacy: When to Cross the Line

By Joanne Barker
WebMD Feature

As kids get older, keeping them safe can get complicated. While separating from parents can be healthy, teens are notorious for bad, sometimes dangerous decisions. Parents face a troubling dilemma: Do the dangers of teen drug abuse override the right to privacy?

Parents typically do one of two things in the face of possible teen drinking or drug use. “Some parents overreact, but a large number of parents don’t do anything,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at “They hope it’s a phase. They hope it goes away.”

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Even though they can’t control everything, parents do play an important role in their teen’s decisions. Kids who learn a lot about the risks from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs. Despite this, only 31% of kids say their parents have taught them about the risks of drugs.

Before you pull a search warrant, keep in mind that going through your teen’s stuff carries its own risks. “If a parent violates a teen’s privacy, the kid is more likely to be stuck in a state of defiance,” says Susan Swick, MD, MPH, director of the Parenting At a Challenging Time (PACT) program at the Vernon Cancer Center, Newton Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts. “Ideally, children should feel like parents are on their side,” Swick tells WebMD. As many parents know, this is not always easy.

In this article, WebMD turns to several experts to help parents navigate the fine line between teens’ right to privacy and parental protection.

Before Invading a Teen’s Right to Privacy

“If a parent is concerned about their child’s behavior, there probably is something going on,” says Swick, who is also an attending psychiatrist in the division of child psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “But it may not be what they think.” Something other than alcohol or drugs could be fueling your child’s behavior. It could be your child is depressed, struggling at school, or thinking about coming out of the closet. No matter what’s going on, it’s good to find out directly from your child — if possible.

“Parents should talk to their child before resorting to detective work,” Swick tells WebMD. No matter what is going on, talking will be a big part of helping your child through it. If you do find something that confirms your worst fears, you will be in a better position if you can say, ‘we talked about this, and I was still seeing things that concerned me. As your parent, I am not going to ignore signs that you might be in danger.’”

The most effective communication is as common as getting ready for school. “The scary ‘Drug Talk’ never goes well,” says Pasierb. Rather than a talk both of you are going to dread, he recommends an ongoing dialogue that lets your child know where you stand on drug use. “Open communication is about things parents say every day, on the way to soccer practice or while watching TV,” Pasierb tells WebMD.

WebMD Health

Federal Request For Michigan Patient Info Raises Privacy Issues

?Medical marijuana proponents in Michigan say confidentiality of patient records is at risk if the federal government can obtain state-compiled records as part of a federal witch hunt, I mean “drug investigation.””It would set a pretty significant precedent against patient privacy rights,” said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), reports John Agar of The Grand Rapids Press. “It’s not just a problem in Michigan, it’s all over the country.”The Michigan state agency that collects confidential medical marijuana patient information will comply with a federal request for access to its records if ordered to do so by a judge, the state said in court filings.ASA had planned to protest Wednesday morning outside of U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids — where the federal government’s request was to be heard — but the protest was canceled when the hearing was postponed by a last-minute filing from the Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs (MACC).

Continue reading “Federal Request For Michigan Patient Info Raises Privacy Issues” >

Toke of the Town

New Hampshire Supreme Court Rules on the Side of Privacy

A marijuana growing charge from 2008 in New Hampshire was heard by the state Supreme Court last week and the court effectively reversed the conviction. Lull farm owner David Orde’s was tried and convicted last year to served 60 days in jail on charges of manufacturing marijuana

See the original post here:
New Hampshire Supreme Court Rules on the Side of Privacy

The NORML Stash Blog

Canada Supreme Court: No Privacy For Marijuana Grow-Ops

?Electricity usage records are now effectively the property of the police in Canada — and they don’t even need a warrant. Law enforcement did not overstep their powers when they asked a Calgary electricity company to spy on one of is customers by installing a special tracking device to find if he was growing marijuana, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Wednesday.In a 7-2 decision, Canada’s badly split highest court argued over privacy rights, but overturned an Alberta Court of Appeal judgment that ordered a new trial for Daniel Gomboc, reports The Canadian Press.”As is true of all constitutional rights, the Charter’s protection is not absolute,” Madam Justice Marie Deschamps wrote for the majority, as she sold out the privacy rights of Canadians. “The Constitution does not cloak the home in an impenetrable veil of privacy. To expect such protection would not only be impractical; it would also be unreasonable.”

Continue reading “Canada Supreme Court: No Privacy For Marijuana Grow-Ops” >

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“Anti-gay church, grieving father square off over free speech, privacy”

NASA’s JPL staffers .” Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman “Federal judge charged with buying drugs from stripper”: This article appears today in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The New York Times reports today that ” Federal Judge Faces Charges in
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