Former pal of Aaron Hernandez sues Sheriff, St. Mary’s

Alexander Bradley ended up shot in the face and left for dead in a Riviera Beach industrial park by one-time NFL superstar-turned killer Aaron Hernandez. The former New England Patriots and Florida Gators tight end wanted to silence his buddy about other murders in New England, investigators believe.

Bradley never spoke to law enforcement since his near-death experience, but he has been busy filing lawsuits in the last four years

His first, against Hernandez, ended in a settlement. He then filed a lawsuit against CNN in Connecticut for showing images of him lying bloody and unconscious in the hospital without his consent.

Now Bradley has focused his litigation wrath on St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and again the hospital photograph is central to his case.

The new federal lawsuit accuses PBSO “upon information and belief” of visiting St. Mary’s in order to gain images of Bradley in his hospital bed and then without consent illegally provided those photos to media outlets, including CNN.

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Aaron Hernandez sits in the courtroom of the Attleboro District Court during his hearing on August 22, 2013 in North Attleboro, Mass. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

St. Mary’s allowed the sheriff access to Bradley without his consent in order to photograph him, the lawsuit claims.

The civil complaint also claims it’s possible that PBSO has nothing to do with the photograph and that St. Mary’s snapped them and provided the images to media outlets.

St. Mary’s released a statement last night on the lawsuit:

“We take these allegations very seriously. The privacy of our patients is of utmost importance to our employees and physicians.”
The sheriff’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Hernandez is serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee at the time of his death. Before his arrest, Hernandez s igned a $40 million contract that delivered a $12.5 million bonus.

The New England Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three years earlier this month, but Hernandez will go on trial in March for the murder of two other men.

The photograph at the subject of the Bradley Shoot was shown in a March 31, 2015 broadcast on CNN entitled CNN Special Report: Downward Spiral–Inside the Case Against Aaron Hernandez.  The show is available on Youtube and has been viewed more than 50,000 times.

The image shows Bradley with a tube down his throat with a bandage around most of his upper head. He ended up losing his right eye. The photograph was “highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities”  and has caused Bradley severe emotional distress.

 

St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on June 5, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

The lawsuit names St. Mary’s, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and two deputies identified only as John and Jane Doe.

“Aaron Hernandez’s life and criminal behavior may have been of legitimate public concern, the photograph of plaintiff itself in the condition he was in was not,” the Feb. 15 lawsuit states.

The Palm Beach Post reported in May 2015 that Hernandez shot his pal Bradley because he had quipped about the tight end capping two men outside a Boston night club in 2012.

Bradley, a Connecticut resident who did prison time for cocaine trafficking, is believed to have been in the passenger seat of Hernandez’s SUV when he shot the men over a perceived slight.

In June 2013, Bradley sued Hernandez for negligence in U.S. District Court in Miami, saying in the civil complaint that the two had argued before he was shot in the face.

Bradley later told a judge that Hernandez had grown increasingly paranoid, believing he was being followed by helicopters. He was one of the last prosecution witnesses in Hernandez’s trial in the Lloyd murder, helping tie the defendant to the gun used in the slaying

Polls: Support for Obamacare hits all-time high

Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday that the Trump Administration will end “America’s Obamacare nightmare.”

But it appears more and more Americans don’t view the Affordable Care Act the same way as Republicans in Washington D.C.

President Trump and Republicans have promised to repeal Obamacare but have been subject to backlash when they head back home to talk to voters at town halls.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, in its latest Health Tracking Poll, found support for the insurance safety net at an all-time high. It’s survey found that 48 percent of Americans view the law favorably, compared to 42 percent — the highest level of favorability measured since the tracking started in 2010.

Voters who say they are registered independents contributed to the boost, half of whom view Obamacare favorably compared to 39 percent who don’t.

FILE - President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act as Marcelas Owens, 11, left, whose mother died lacking insurance, looks on, in Washington, March 23, 2010. The Affordable Care Act has shifted the nation's baseline expectations for how health care should work. With the law on the precipice of repeal, public opinion has suddenly tipped in its favor. (Doug Mills/ The New York Times)
President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act on, in Washington, March 23, 2010.

And the Kaiser poll doesn’t seem to be an outlier. The Pew Research Center found 54 percent of Americans approve of the ACA — which is also the highest level record by Pew.

To read more on the Obamacare polls read CNN’s by clicking here. 

Sleepy? Eyeless Mexican cave fish subject of research into Zzzs

Stop yawning and listen up.

Neuroscientists at Florida Atlantic University are studying an eyeless Mexican cave fish to understand how brains could evolve to require very little sleep just like this little creatures.

Think about how much stuff humans could get done if no sleep was ever required?

The researchers from the Boca Raton-based university just published in the Journal of Experimental Biology a study that provides a model for understanding how the brain’s sensory systems modulate sleep.

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Sleep is for suckers. So says the Mexican cave fish, seen here at an aquarium at Florida Atlantic University where researchers hope to learn from them how humans can evolve to need less shut-eye.

“Animals have dramatic differences in sleep with some sleeping as much as 20 hours and others as little as two hours and no one knows why these dramatic differences in sleep exist,” said Alex C. Keene, who helped write the study coming out of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

Living in a cave is no picnic, so the cave fish has evolved robust differences in how it feeds. They have evolved to sleep less while gaining enhance sensory systems. Researchers say this suggest that sleep loss is evolutionary and associated with the environmental and metabolic changes.

The cave fish is like Charles Darwin’s Galapagos finches. There are more than 29 different populations and all have evolved individually.

“We were surprised to find that there are multiple independent mechanisms regulating sleep loss in different cave populations,” said James Jaggard, a graduate student at FAU working with Keene.

He said their research shows there appears to many different ways to evolve a brain that sleeps less. “We are going to search to identify these mechanisms,” Jaggard said.

For the study, the researchers recorded the cavefish under infrared light set up in individual tanks. Check the little guys out on this livestream by clicking here.

Thinking of a flu shot? Read this

So if you are on the fence about getting a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says this year may the one you want to take the plunge.

The CDS says interim influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates for the 2016–17 season indicate that vaccination reduced the risk for influenza-associated medical visits by 50 percent.

And it’s not too late. Flu activity is likely to continue for several more weeks in the U.S.  “Vaccination efforts should continue as long as influenza viruses are circulating,’ the CDC said Friday.

Persons under the age of six who have not yet received the 2016–17 influenza vaccine should be vaccinated as soon as possible, the CDC states.

As of February 3, 2017, approximately 145 million doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed this flu season in the U.S.

In time of Trump, Max Planck celebrates scientific method with music

It’s not easy being a scientist these days.

In the age of President Trump where “alternative facts” are doled out daily, researchers find themselves derided.

Climate change? It’s an agenda of these rascally scientists to get grant money.

Life-saving vaccines? Trump believes they may be tied to autism despite ample proof they are not.

So for the Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter, its highly popular science and music presentations are a great way to reach out to the public.

The latest is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.  at the Benjamin Upper School in Palm Beach Gardens. It’s free and open to the public but seating is limited so RSVP is required.

“I  think many times the public doesn’t understand science so when we do this outreach with music and whatnot we are playing an active role,” said David Fitzpatrick, chief executive officer and scientific director of Florida’s institute.

“With what has happened in this country, there are many people devaluing science.”

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Emmanuelle Charpentier will speak Wednesday evening at the Max Planck Institute in Jupiter’s Science Meets Music at Benjamin Upper School.

The last Science Meets Music event drew more than 400 people in January. The Post previewed the series earlier this month.

The speaker this time around is one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people” Emmanuelle Charpentier – which is saying something since there are like 7.5 billion humans on earth.  She will be visiting from Berlin, Germany, where she works for the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology.

For the music portion there will be Emmanuel Ceysson, Principal Harp of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

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David Fitzpatrick, chief executive officer and scientific director of Florida’s institute, said:

The star, though, is Charpentier whose work involving a bacterial system has the potential to drastically change treatment of cancer and other ailments. It hasn’t been used on humans yet, but experiments on mice have been very encouraging.

The New York Times reported Charpentier’s discovery of being able to add or delete genes in any type of cell “has sparked a scientific revolution with a seemingly endless list of applications.”

It can hypothetically be used to remove the mutated gene in blood cells of people with sickle cell disease and to replace it with a normal gene, thus curing the disease. Or it can be used to make insect pests unable to reproduce and plants to naturally resist disease.

Fitzpatrick said he hopes by mixing music with science, he can convey how researchers at the institute use the scientific method, that these are passionate individuals who work tirelessly to find the truth.

“Musicians and scientists are many ways very much alike,” he said. “They have a dedication to what they are doing. Scientists do an experiment over and over and over. A musician does the same thing.”

For more information on the 2017 series, or to RSVP, call 561-972-9027.

 

LSD for depression? It may not be worth the trip

A psychiatrist writing in the New York Times today is taking on the trend of using the hallucinogen drug LSD to combat depression, saying it is untested and possibly dangerous.

Who knew taking acid might be dangerous? Anybody who ever had a bad trip, possibly.

Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

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LSD is often taken in tiny paper tabs often decorated with a variety of images, in this case a heart.

He is empathetic that for the third of patients with major depression who get no relief from pharmaceuticals that hallucinogenics may offer some hope.  A recent psilocybin study claims that the mushroom-derived hallucinogenic relieves anxiety and depression.

Then there are the anecdotal reports about microdoses of LSD, as well a book on the subject.

Friedman says LSD is an unregulated drug in which users can’t be sure what they are even taking.

He says it is also too early to say that taking these drugs are not habit-forming, as proponents suggest. And studies of hallucinogenics have shown they can be debilitating behaviorally with bad trips or flashbacks in recreational users, Friedman points out.

 

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An illustration of LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide.

Though Friedman doesn’t address it in his column, there is also hallucinogen persisting perception disorder that can affect users of LSD, MDMA, mushrooms and mescaline. One sufferer said he had been hallucinating that all trees sported human faces for two decades after one potent LSD trip.

“The bottom line is that we don’t know how safe or effective psychedelics are because most of the data have been anecdotal or from small trials,” Friedman writes.

Read the whole column by clicking here.

Legislature looks to allow more trauma centers

Another day at the state Legislature and another proposed bill pitting hospitals against each other.

The News Service of Florida reports that SB 746 filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, would eliminate the caps on the number of trauma centers statewide.

The bill comes on the heels of another proposed law that would get rid of the requirement that hospitals show a community need to expand or add a specialized program.

And like that bill, this one has the blessing of Gov. Rick Scott, a former healthcare executive. Scott has called for getting rid of a limit of 44 trauma centers statewide.

Proponents of more trauma centers argue getting rid of caps will result in less time needed to transport injured people for care. Critics say these facilities require highly trained medical staffs and that adding new centers will siphon patients and staff from existing trauma centers.

St. Mary’s Medical Center and Delray Medical Center — run by Tenet Healthcare — are Palm Beach County’s state-designated Level 1 trauma centers, handling the most extreme cases. Right now the average time to get a patient to one of these centers is eight minutes.

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Dr. Robert Borrego, medical director of the Trauma Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center, says most trauma surgeons would be opposed to lifting caps on the number of trauma centers in the state.

Dr. Robert Borrego, medical director of the Trauma Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center, said it is important that trauma centers have a certain number of patients to remain proficient.

“Can you imagine coming to a center and you have traumatic brain injury and the neurosurgeons only do about 10 operations a year? Are you going to comfortable there or do you want somebody who does 1,000 operations a year?”

Hutson’s bill was introduced after an administrative law judge’s ruling last week that the state Health Department had improperly allowed Orange Park Medical Center in Clay County to open a trauma center in 2016.

Currently, regulations allocate one trauma center to a five-county region of Northeast Florida and UF Health Jacksonville was not keen on the Clay County trauma center.

St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on June 5, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach is one of two Trauma Centers in Palm Beach County.

Hospital competition in Florida is already at a fever pitch. A trauma center gives a hospital one more way to advertise, attract medical talent and raise its profile — not to mention it looks really nifty on a billboard.

Palm Beach County is hardly immune to trauma drama.

JFK Medical Center in Atlantis filed a letter of intent with the Department of Health on Sept. 30 to establish a Level 2 trauma center that would accept only adult patients.

Tenet, to put it mildly, was not pleased, saying a JFK trauma center would undercut a system in place for 25 years.

“This action threatens the entire care system in our county,” stated the letter on the issue by Tenet.

Ill Iranian boy can’t get to West Palm Beach for treatment after Trump’s ban

Nearly three years ago, President  Donald Trump posted on Facebook photos of himself with two children at Mar-a-Lago. The little children were patients of The Paley Orthopedic and Spine Institute in West Palm Beach. Both sported high-tech braces on their legs.

“We love helping the kids — nothing is more important,” Trump said in the post.

Yet, swept up in the wake of Trump’s immigration travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries are children trying to get into the United States for life-and-death medical care.

A 4-month-old Iranian girl needing heart surgery was temporarily banned from traveling to Oregon for surgery.

Now, there is a 12-year-old patient of the Paley Institute who is in limbo in Iran. He also seems to be caught up in hospital politics for the institute. which is on the campus of St. Mary’s Medical Center, owned by Tenet Healthcare.

Tenet does not want the story about Mohammad Aref Zarezadeh out even when his delay may have nothing to do with Trump’s controversial travel ban that has been delayed by the courts.

Paley wrote to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office on Friday, saying the boy has a serious birth defect of congenital femoral deficiency.

Currently, the boy has a leg lengthening device with external pins going through skin and bone. He was scheduled for surgery on Feb. 16 and any delay in removing the device could cause infection.

“We were waiting for them to get a visa when this most recent ban was announced last week,” Paley wrote to two aides in the Democratic senator’s office.

Sources in Washington told The Palm Beach Post that visas for the boy and his mother were delayed because some of the problems with the documents the family submitted.

Whether the travel ban did play a role in the boy’s delay remains a mystery. Mother and son have traveled on medical visas in the past for treatment and surgery by Dr. Dror Paley.

Paley also reached out to U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach.

The Post received information that Tenet’s lobbyists were in contact with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

In an e-mail to Dr. Paley, the father of boy — Ali Zarezdeh — said the family had an interview in Dubai on Nov. 13.

“Exactly, when we sent the passports (Aref and his mother) to stamping the visa by agency, the ban was announced,” the father wrote on Friday. “Unfortunately, three days ago their passports returned without visa.”

Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order halted all refugee admissions for 120 days and imposed a 90-day ban on visitors from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.  A federal judge has temporarily frozen all enforcement of the order’s key parts.

The quandary for his patient may have left Dr. Paley in the awkward position of taking on Trump in the name of his patient. Paley is renowned for his leg-lengthening techniques. In many instances, he is able to save the limb of a child that would have otherwise been amputated.

In that same 2013 posting on Facebook, Paley sits next to Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, the former presidential candidate who is now Trump’s  secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In December 2013,  a fundraiser was held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago that benefited The Paley Institute and Carson Scholar Fund.

Paley responded to an e-mail by The Post inquiring about Aref by asking the newspaper not to report on his patient but he would not say why. “I think we are making headway through some connections via some of our legislators. I am awaiting to hear if the family gets a visa,” he wrote.

In an e-mail obtained by The Post, a Tenet spokesman tells the boy’s mother, Azadeh, not to speak to the press.

“We understand that a reporter from a newspaper in Florida, The Palm Beach Post, has learned about your situation,” writes Dan Waldmann, senior vice president for public affairs for Tenet.

“We do not believe it would be beneficial for Aref’s story to be published in the media before the visas have received and he is in the United States.”

He tells the mother if she is contacted by anyone in the media to not respond and to let Tenet know immediately.

The mother did respond, though, to The Post, saying in an e-mail that she had sent passports for herself and her son to Dubai for a stamping visa two days ago.

“The agency told us the process will take 10 to 15 days,” Zarezadeh “Our main problem is the visa and how responsive will be the staffs of Dubai embassy.”

081111 (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post) West Palm Beach - Towards the end of the surgery, a fixator is assembled on the newly lengthened leg of Demi Reilly at the Paley Advanced Limb Lengthening Institute at at St. Mary's Medical Center Thursday.
A  fixator –similar to the one on the leg of Mohammed Aref Zarezadeh  — is shown in a photo by Post photographer Richard Graulich at The Paley Institute.

Waldmann told the family in his e-mail that Tenet is working on expediting the process but there are no guarantees.

“There are a large number of individual cases for which special assistance is being requested, many of which are being handled by the embassy in Dubai,” he said. “As a result, I can’t provide any assurance that we will be able to get the expedited handling, but we will try.”

Time is ticking for Aref, though.

In a December e-mail to Paley from his father, Ali, he said “Aref has some pain and discharge around his pins. What should he do?”

Florida bill eliminates considering community need for hospital expansion

 

When it comes to highly specialized hospital programs, practice makes perfect.

The intricate ballet of say operating on an infant’s heart means hospitals with such programs need the patient pool limited so they can be proficient.  As a result, few have such a program.

This is why when competitors say they want to establish a specialized unit they must obtain a certificate of need. It may sound bureaucratic but the certificate of need tests whether a community actually needs a hospital to expand.

St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on June 5, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on June 5, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Gov. Rick Scott and some legislators once again want to blow up the law that would make it necessary for hospitals to prove there is a need in the community for a service or another hospital. The result could be a free-for-all in a hospital competition that is already cut-throat in Florida.

Governor Rick Scott holds a brief press conference at Palm Beach International Airport announcing his order for Florida National Guard recruiters to work from nearby armories after attacks in Tennessee on July 18, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Governor Rick Scott wants to eliminate the need for hospitals to prove a community needs them to expand.

The News Service of Florida reports that lining up with the governor are House leaders, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island. They filed a proposal last week that would eliminate the state’s “certificate of need” regulatory process.

The News Service story reported that the certificate of need process determines whether hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities are built.

But SB 676 also says that the regulation the restriction be removed for hospitals looking to improve or expand a public facility.

Under the process, the state Agency for Health Administration reviews projects and determining whether they should be allowed to move forward.

Scott and House Republican leaders have failed to get this measure passed the Senate previously.

“By eliminating the state’s restrictive CON process we’ll increase competition and drive down the cost of health care for Floridians,” Bradley said in a prepared statement.

“For years, this cumbersome process has been used to block the expansion of facilities and restrict competition. So, in addition to driving costs, we should also see a significant economic impact in terms of the creation of new jobs by removing this barrier.”

 

Doctors want galas moved from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Doctors are calling for their charitable galas in Palm Beach to be moved from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate — which is also serving as the winter White House presently.

The news comes on a planned protest at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday when Trump attends the International Red Cross 2017 ball.

It is the height of the ball season on the tony island where the rich and philanthropic don their finery and attend charitable events. And since location is everything, these galas are often either held at Mar-a-Lago or The Breakers resort.

Mar-a-Lago will become the "winter White House" when President Donald Trump returns to Palm Beach as the 45th President of the United States. The front of Mar-a-Lago, January, 31, 2017 in Palm Beach. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
Mar-a-Lago will become the “winter White House” when President Donald Trump returns to Palm Beach as the 45th President of the United States.

The historic Mar-a-Lago Club boasts an 800-seat ballroom and ocean views.

But now throngs of medical professionals are calling on Cleveland Clinic hospitals to cut their ties to Trump in light of the president’s executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

In a story in The Washington Post today, doctors, nurses and students have signed an open letter pleading with the clinic to condemn the Trump policy and to cancel a fundraiser set for this month at the resort.

More than 1,000 people have also signed a petition demanding a change of venue for the Massachusetts-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to cancel or relocate another lavish fundraiser planned for later this month.

It is reported the donors are paying between $1,250 and $100,00o to attend the Dana-Farber event scheduled for Feb. 18.

Dana-Farberr president Laurie H. Glimcher has refused to cancel the fundraiser, saying it was too late to call off the event, according to the Boston Globe.

123116 PBDN Meghan McCarthy Guests dance during the New Year's Eve Celebration at Mar-a-Lago Club.
uests dance during the New Year’s Eve Celebration at Mar-a-Lago Club.

Doctors were lobbying the Cleveland Clinic to cut ties with Trump after a resident at the clinic was denied entry to the U.S. under the president’s executive order. The hospital is trying to get the safe return of the employee.

The Cleveland Clinic says, as well, that it is too late to cancel its ball, but the Ohio-based academic hospital said it would not commit to using the same location for next year’s event.”

The Red Cross ball is the hallmark of the Palm Beach social season and is almost always at Mar-a-Lago.

The Red Cross has not yet signed a contract with a venue for next year’s event, according to a story in Business Insider.

A permit for the Red Cross’s 2016 gala, obtained by The Associated Press, says 500 people were expected to attend. Red Cross estimated the event would raise $925,000 and cost about $400,000 to put on.

The permit also noted a $20,000 in-kind donation — meaning that is what Mar-a-Lago would have charged the Red Cross.

In 2015, according to the same permit, the gala and another Palm Beach event together raised $1.75 million and cost $800,000.

If events are canceled at Mar-a-Lago that would impact Trump’s pocketbook.

This week the department chain Nordstrom announced it no longer working with Ivanka Trump for the fall season and is reducing the amount of Trump merchandise stocked.