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June 30th, 2010
09:12 AM ET

Tips for surviving a hospital stay

A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to dangerous viruses like hepatitis and HIV.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work. So far, there have been no reports of illness.

As many as 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year as a result of medical errors, according to an Institute of Medicine report. Some 99,000 people die each year from infections acquired in the hospital, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what can you do to protect yourself in the hospital? Click here for some Empowered Patient tips.

Filed under: Tony Harris
June 30th, 2010
08:27 AM ET

Mental health impact of BP oil spill

Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals wants BP to pay 10 million dollars for mental health services for people on the Gulf coast impacted by the oil spill.

"There exists anger, anxiety and uncertainty among the families and communities affected by the spill, which will easily manifest into addiction and various forms of mental health crisis if not confronted," said Alan Levine, head of the department in a letter to BP's Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles.

This comes nearly one week after an Alabama fisherman hired by BP to help clean Gulf waterways committed suicide on board one of his own boats. BP says it is reviewing the request to offer mental health services.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention one person dies by suicide about every 15 minutes in the United States. Click here for tips on How to Save a Friend from the Brink.

Filed under: Elizabeth Cohen
June 30th, 2010
07:26 AM ET

Veterans Exposed to HIV & Hepatitis

Being back on US soil doesn't mean these Missouri veterans are safe.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis recently notified over 1,800 veterans that they may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.

The association chief of staff at the hospital, Dr. Gina Michael, says some dental technicians broke protocol by hand washing dental tools before putting them into cleaning machines. The hand washing began back in February 2009 and may have caused the tools to become contaminated.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that there's been a major medical mistake at a V.A. hospital. There was dirty colonoscopy equipment in Florida, letters sent to veterans saying they had Lou Gehrig’s disease when they didn’t, and radiation errors for colonoscopy patients in Philadelphia.

Are you or one of your loved ones a veteran? We want to hear about your experiences- good or bad- with your local V.A. hospital.

Post your comments here. Kyra will read some of them on the air during the 10am ET hour of the CNN Newsroom.

Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips • What the...?
June 28th, 2010
09:28 PM ET

Jean Michel Cousteau on Gulf oil spill

We know the oil spill in the Gulf is a major environmental disaster, but what's not known are its long-term effects.

CNN's Fredricka Whitfield talked with ocean explorer and environmentalist, Jean Michel Cousteau, for some insight.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
June 28th, 2010
07:55 AM ET

Health Reform Starts Now

Certain provisions of the health care bill go into effect July 1, 2010, including coverage for people previously denied insurance because of  pre-existing conditions.

CNN's Fredricka Whitfield talked to heath care expert Andrew Rubin to find out the details.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
June 28th, 2010
07:31 AM ET

Chris Brown Breaks Down at BET Awards

Last night on the BET awards Chris Brown was finally able to pay tribute to his idol Michael Jackson. He showed off his best Michael Jackson dance moves to a medley of the King of Pop’s greatest hits. To wrap it all up Brown began to sing “Man in the Mirror”. Only after a few seconds he broke down crying and couldn’t bring himself to finish the song. Brown, who’s 21 later returned to the stage later to apologize to fans. He said, "I let you all down before, but I won't do it again. I promise you."

This was Brown’s first major TV performance since he pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend Rihanna back in February 2009.

So this got us wondering… do you think Brown’s tears were truly pure emotion or fake? Weigh in and let us know what you think. We’ll read your posts in the 10am hour.

Filed under: Kyra Phillips
June 27th, 2010
10:03 PM ET

Tennis Benefits from the Long Game

The Feel-Good Fortnight

From Sports Business Analyst Rick Horrow:

42,000 tennis balls are used every year at the Wimbledon tournament.  This year, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut seemingly used that many balls in a single match. 

The epic battle was so long, the U.S.’ national debt increased $1.7 billion in the 11 hours and five minutes the match was played, according to economists and their calculators.  But as interest piqued over the three-day contest, Isner and Mahut generated invaluable media coverage for themselves, for Wimbledon, and for tennis, upstaging the World Cup and Queen Elizabeth II, visiting the All England Club for the first time in 33 years.  For three days, Wimbledon was the star of the sporting world.

Think U.S. soccer is excited about our “newfound” interest in the World Cup?  The United States Tennis Association has to be doubly thrilled about last week’s marathon match.  The USTA and tennis enthusiasts across the United.States have been buoyed by the ever-growing tennis involvement in this country.  In 2009, according to the USTA, tennis participation topped 30 million players for the first time in 30 years, growing in all age groups across the board and all ethnicities, with African American participation up 19 percent and Hispanic play up 32 percent.  Those numbers leave soccer gasping in the crease – and golf isn’t even in the same stadium.  Exposure like Isner and Mahut provided tennis is another ace for the sport.

From the start of Wimbledon through the final day of the Mahut match, Isner gained 18,000 followers on Twitter.  The match itself was one of the most searched items on Google.  Even sponsors got a big return on investment.  According to Front Row Analytics, TV exposure was worth $345,000 to Lacoste, $621,000 to Prince, and $1.17 million for Nike.  Nike could have earned another $900,000 had Isner worn his hat straight.

And while one player had to lose the match, they’re both winners off the court.  Before the score was settled, agents for each player were fielding new endorsement opportunities.  I wonder who will be the first to back an everlasting battery, long-lasting deodorant, or a high mileage hybrid car.

More than the financial gains, or jumps in viewership or sports participation, America really needs this feel-good story right now – at least for a few hours, we were able to put aside the Gulf oil spill, the fired general and unstable situation in Afghanistan, the stubborn national 10 percent unemployment rate.  Three days later, we’re still talking about Isner’s and Mahut’s marathon match.  Their performance and undying will are exactly the kind of respite on a changeover we need this summer.

Rick Horrow is the CNN Sports Business Analyst and co-author of Beyond the Box Score: An Insider’s Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
June 27th, 2010
09:38 PM ET

Shallow parallels between Bhopal and Gulf spill

The rusted remains of the former Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal. (Harshal Vaidya/CNN)

From CNN Intern Sachin Seth:

Residents in the Gulf are fighting for their lives, as oil seeps closer to their shores and businesses begin to close their doors. Meanwhile, nearly 9,000 miles away in the central Indian town of Bhopal, hundreds of thousands feel their pain. After all, in 1984, they went through something similar, but much more severe.

In December 1984, toxic chemicals leaked from a pesticide plant in which an American-owned company, Union Carbide Corporation, held a majority stake. A noxious cloud engulfed much of the town. Hundreds of thousands frantically ran into the streets. Thousands died in the night. Thousands more died in the days, months and years after. The victims' families say nearly 20,000 have perished from related illnesses.

Astonishingly, a quarter of a century later, 390 tons of toxic waste still lies on the now-defunct plant site. There is no safe way to dispose of it, so it leaks into the groundwater, which many in the region depend on. Cancer and other diseases are rampant in the area, so the effect is generational.

As they watch the tragedy unfold in the Gulf, residents of Bhopal wish Union Carbide would receive just a fraction of the backlash BP has, or give up just a fraction of the cash. $20 billion is a lot of rupees. The company paid the Indian government $470 million to compensate more than half a million victims. They've made no sweeping efforts to clean up the waste and the now-crippled local environment.

Dow Chemical Co. (the company that owns Union Carbide) says the 1989 out-of-court settlement transferred all clean-up and recovery responsibilities to Madhya Pradesh, the province in which Bhopal resides.  The U.S. didn't let BP run and hide, but India let Union Carbide off the hook.

The Indian government recently approved a $270 million aid package to compensate the victims. But that money will go to just 42,000 of the almost 600,000 victims in Bhopal.

The parallels between the tragedies in the Gulf and in Bhopal are quite amazing. However, while many say BP and the federal government have been slow to respond to the oil spill, Union Carbide has been entirely absent from Bhopal and somehow, without repercussion, has managed to shift responsibility onto the Indians.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
June 27th, 2010
05:14 PM ET

The New You

 Tired of the "same ole, same ole?'  Maybe it's time to make some major life changes.  CNN"s Fredricka Whitfield talks to brand manager and marketing expert,  Peter Arnell, about his own personal transformation.


Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
June 27th, 2010
05:02 PM ET

Money-making opportunities for Teens

Summer is usually a time for teenagers to get off the couch, get a summer job, and start to learn how to make  a living.   But it might be more difficult to do that this year because of the financial crisis and large number of people out of work.

But don't give up - there are ways to find a summer job.  CNN's Fredricka Whitfield talks to Sharon Lechter, author of the book "Three Feet from Gold," and head of the financial education group "Pay Your Family First."


Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
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