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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Today's Globe: overdose questions, Caritas debate, breast cancer relapse test, bleeding drug concerns

A doctor's role is questioned in a girl's fatal overdose from powerful prescription drugs fed to her by her parents. Prosecutors would not say whether Dr. Kayoko Kifuji of Tufts-New England Medical Center is a target of a criminal investigation, but have forwarded details from the case to state medical licensing regulators.

News that Ascension Health plans to absorb six Caritas Christi hospitals operated by the Archdiocese of Boston triggered a debate yesterday about the future of Catholic healthcare in the region. Mayor Thomas M. Menino expressed trepidation about the fate of two Boston hospitals in the chain, Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton and Caritas Carney in Dorchester.

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved a genetic test that, when conducted soon after a woman learns she has breast cancer, can predict the odds of the disease returning and worsening. The test, called MammaPrint, analyzes tissue from a breast tumor to gauge the activity of 70 key genes and determines the likelihood of the cancer's recurrence.

A drug widely used to prevent excessive bleeding during heart surgery appears to raise the risk of dying in the five years afterward by nearly 50 percent, an international study found. The researchers said replacing the drug -- aprotinin, sold by Bayer AG under the brand name Trasylol -- with other, less expensive medications for a year would prevent 10,000 deaths worldwide over the next five years.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:15 AM
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