New York City has mandated that all preschool children must receive a flu shot. The National Vaccine Information Center is tracking this mandate as well as other proposed vaccine legislation in New York, which includes a proposed law to mandate the Gardasil HPV vaccine. Stay in touch through the NVIC Advocacy Portal on the progress of these bills, or other bills in your home state.
“Family First Act” Has a “Presents for Pimps” Loophole to Allow Sex Trafficking to Continue in Foster Care Group Homes
It’s always cause for celebration when a place that institutionalizes children is forced to close. The residential treatment portion of Hawthorne-Cedar Knolls, an institution in Westchester County, north of New York City, is scheduled to shut down. But don’t celebrate too much. A new federal law actually makes it easier to keep such institutions going, and set up new ones. The shutdown of the residential treatment portion of Hawthorne-Cedar Knolls won’t happen because the agency that runs it, the Jewish Board Family and Children’s Services, had a crisis of conscience. It will happen because the pressure from upset neighbors and state regulators became too much. What was upsetting them? Oh, just the usual: violence and sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the new “Family First Act” comes complete with a “presents for pimps” loophole, that will encourage more tragedies like the one at Hawthorne-Cedar Knolls.
N.Y. Mother Fights for Medically Kidnapped 13 Year Old Son Being Forced to Receive Chemo Therapy Even Though He is Cancer-free
ABC7 in New York is reporting on the story of a Long Island mother who lost custody of her 13 year old son when she disagreed with doctors over his treatment. Kristin Thorne reports: "A mother on Long Island is fighting to have her son removed from chemotherapy treatment after he was given a clean bill of health by doctors. Candace Gundersen's son, Nick Gundersen, 13, is receiving court-ordered chemotherapy at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. He's now in the custody of Suffolk County Child Protective Services." Kristin Thorne also spoke with Nick from his hospital bed: "They basically took me away from my parents and that's unnecessary because they're trying to help me and they're not trying to kill me. I think that they should focus on other families that actually need help and whose children lives are actually in danger," he said.
She was caught up in what lawyers and others who represent families say is a troubling and longstanding phenomenon: the power of Children’s Services to take children from their parents on the grounds that the child’s safety is at risk, even with scant evidence. The agency’s requests for removals filed in family court rose 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017, to 730 from 519, compared with the same period last year, according to figures obtained by The New York Times. In interviews, dozens of lawyers working on these cases say the removals punish parents who have few resources. Their clients are predominantly poor black and Hispanic women, they say, and the criminalization of their parenting choices has led some to nickname the practice: Jane Crow. “It takes a lot as a public defender to be shocked, but these are the kinds of cases you hear attorneys screaming about in the hall,” said Scott Hechinger, a lawyer at Brooklyn Defender Services. “There’s this judgment that these mothers don’t have the ability to make decisions about their kids, and in that, society both infantilizes them and holds them to superhuman standards. In another community, your kid’s found outside looking for you because you’re in the bathtub, it’s ‘Oh, my God’” — a story to tell later, he said. “In a poor community, it’s called endangering the welfare of your child.”
Cornell University has applied for a permit to execute the world’s first open-air trial of a genetically engineered diamondback moth (GDM). The purpose of this new GM insect is to reduce pest populations of diamondback moths through engineering a new female lethality trait (female larvae die, and males go on to reproduce until the population is destroyed) into male GDM. Those pushing this new technology have not completed any worldwide assessments of health and environmental safety, and only the most cursory of environmental reviews has been conducted by the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Unless and until all environmental and health impacts have been reviewed, it is reckless to release hundreds of thousands of novel organisms around the citizens and farms of New York State.
For the first time, a New York appellate court has ruled that evidence once used to convict people in shaken-baby cases may no longer be scientifically valid. The ruling, which came in the case of René Bailey, a Greece woman convicted of causing the death of a child in 2001, has implications for a number of other people in state prisons for shaken-baby offenses. In this area alone, several dozen people have been convicted of murder or assault in such cases. The appeals court decision, released Thursday, changes the legal landscape in New York for alleged shaken baby cases, said Brian Shiffrin, a local appellate lawyer who was not involved in the case. “It makes it both easier for defense attorneys to argue the science and it puts the burden back on prosecutors to show there is evidence to support the theory of shaken baby syndrome,” said Shiffrin, who has handled appeals of shaken-baby convictions.
With little public discussion, the New York Board of Health unanimously passed the Vaccine Powers Rule in 2013. The rule required New York City children attending a day care center or aged 6 months to 59 months to be given a yearly flu vaccination. For a moment, it appeared that children would be excluded from class if they didn’t receive the flu vaccine for the first time in the State’s history. California’s Senate Bill 277, signed into law in 2015, took things further by requiring all students to be up-to-date with all vaccines to receive an education in the state. On December 16th, 2015, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez ruled on behalf of The Supreme Court of the State of New York to end the mandatory flu vaccine rule. Mendez said in his decision that the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene “lacked the statutory authority” to mandate the influenza vaccines because they are not required under state law.
Laredo Regular relates the tragic ending of this World War II Veterans life: "My Grandpa, Julius Corley, officially passed away on Thanksgiving afternoon after being on life support in the prior weeks. He never got to come home." Julius' story began long before Health Impact News was contacted about his plight in the fall of 2015. Julius was a World War II Veteran being held at New York's Montefiore Hospital against his will and those of his legal and medical guardians. Julius had been medically kidnapped by Montefiore when he was transferred from their affiliate, The Laconia Nursing Home, after the family filed a complaint about the conditions there. Laredo laments, "My grandpa never got to come home. He died in pain in the Montefiore main branch. It was painful. We had hopes, but to know that he was in pain like that and passed away is awful. The entire situation played out so awfully."
Five Manhattan and Brooklyn mothers with children in preschool are suing the city over its policy of mandatory flu vaccinations. The parents — ranging from a single mom in an East Harlem housing project to an investment banker in the Flatiron District — claim a 2013 rule passed by the city’s Health Department under Bloomberg is illegal because it was not voted on by state lawmakers. “I am also disturbed that I cannot express my dissent to my elected representatives in the New York Legislature as I understand they never voted ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for this flu dictate and I don’t know who I can hold responsible for foisting this mandate onto me,” gripes one of the moms, Clemence Rasigni, who works for Merrill Lynch.
Montefiore Wakefield Hospital in the Bronx, New York has allegedly refused to release Laredo Regular’s grandfather, Julius, from confinement within its walls. Has Julius Corley been a pawn in a Medicaid fraud claim? Why was Julius allowed to waste away to 135 lbs while in Montefiore Hospital when he could and would eat for his family, and when allowed to see his loved ones and those who cared about him, and could and would speak on his own behalf? Why, although the hospital claims that "sometimes dementia patients are in denial," was Mr. Corley able to speak well enough and was lucid enough for the hospital to honor his request to not have a feeding tube inserted—for over three and a half months? The family believes that someone in that hospital has a conscience, that someone there still believes that they are helping people have better lives. This is not a good life for Julius, nor anyone else who is suffering there. Speak up. Speak out!