Amid a continuing national nursing shortage, it may seem odd for a state to seek to shut down a nursing school, but that's what happened in Florida last week.
The attorney general's office sued an Oakland Park business for "running a bogus nursing school." As early as May 2002, the Eval Nursing Aid Training Center began advertising for students on Haitian-language radio stations and with fliers that urged, "Start your medical career today," says the complaint. At least seven students signed on, paying up to $5,000 for a one-year course, plus as much as $1,000 for books and uniforms.
Evales Cena, the school's owner promised -- but never delivered -- diplomas and collected fees for the National Council Licensure Examination, which he pocketed, the complaint said. Efforts to reach Cena were unsuccessful. Florida's Board of Nursing turned away Eval Nursing Aid students because the school never received certification from Florida's health or education departments, the complaint says.
When students confronted Cena and demanded a refund, he called police and alleged they were trespassing, the complaint says.
The Blues' White Sox pride
There's one fever that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is trying to encourage rather than cure -- White Sox fever.
The Chicago White Sox are in the World Series for the first time since 1959. The Illinois Blues marked the occasion by lighting up the south face of its building near the Chicago lakefront to spell out different Sox-related messages during the evenings. Last week, after the White Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to get to the World Series, the building had "Sox win" on its south face. Outliers earlier saw a slogan that the ball club first adopted last year, "Sox pride," after a White Sox home playoff win.
"We've used our building to demonstrate support for charitable organizations before, like Y-Me (the breast cancer organization based in Chicago), and we also have done it for the other teams in Chicago," Blues spokesman Tony Rau says.
That includes a display honoring the Cubs when they reached the 2003 National League Championship Series.
Monument to a tragedy
A restored fire truck was dedicated as a monument last week to a deadly fire at an Effingham, Ill., hospital as about 200 people, some with memories of the 1949 blaze that killed 77 people, looked on.
The truck, named Caledonia, pumped water on the fire, helping to save 51 others at St. Anthony's Hospital, now St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital. Caledonia was sold to another fire department in 1971 and returned years later, in bad shape, to the Effingham department.
"We wanted to put it back to what it was originally and dedicate it to the loss of life at the hospital fire, all of those who came to fight it and all of the people who came in town to help each other out," says retired firefighter Brian Lustig, who led the restoration effort by the Effingham Volunteer Firefighters Association.
"It's here today showing the resilience of the people of the Effingham area and the persistence of the spirit," says hospital Administrator Daniel Woods of the shiny old truck.
The sex-weight connection
A new patient incentive may have been found to help combat the obesity epidemic: Researchers at Duke University have found evidence of a correlation between weight loss and better sex.
In a presentation last week at a gathering of the Obesity Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, researchers provided study results that found that significant weight loss makes people feel better about their bodies and improves sexual performance.
The study involved 161 women and 26 men with an average age of 45 and average body mass index of 41, well above the obesity threshold. All were enrolled in a diet program at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and had lost 17.5% of their weight after one year, with their average weight loss leveling off at 13% after two years.
The participants answered questions about the quality of their sex lives when the study began and every three months thereafter. At the outset, 68% of women said they felt sexually unattractive. A year later only 26% did. Initially, 21% of women said they were not enjoying sex; only 11% said so after one year.
"The number of males in the study does limit what we can say about men," but feelings of unattractiveness and unwillingness to be seen naked also applied to them, says lead researcher Martin Binks, a Duke University psychologist.
"We are encouraging healthcare providers to open the atmosphere and encourage conversations" about how weight affects sexuality, Binks says.