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Health Highlights: May 17, 2017

Patient Who Spearheaded Medical Informed Consent Movement Dies PTSD, Brain Injuries Common Among U.S. Troops Discharged for Misconduct: Report Women Over 30 Now Have Higher Birth Rate Than Younger Women: CDC Police Officer Overdoses After Wiping Fentanyl Off Uniform

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Patient Who Spearheaded Medical Informed Consent Movement Dies

The man whose case led to informed consent laws in the United States has died.

Jerry Canterbury, who died March 15 in Hartville, Ohio at age 78, was paralyzed at age 19 during a relatively routine back operation and spent the last three decades of his life in a wheelchair and bed-bound, The New York Times reported.

His case led to a landmark federal appeals court ruling in 1972 that transformed how doctors deal with patients in assessing the risks of potential treatment.

The court said that before "patients provide informed consent to surgery or other proposed treatment, doctors must disclose the risks, benefits and alternatives that a reasonable person would consider relevant," according to The Times.

"This is probably one of the handful of most significant medicolegal cases in United States history," Jacob Appel, a doctor and bioethicist, told The Times.


PTSD, Brain Injuries Common Among U.S. Troops Discharged for Misconduct: Report

Of the nearly 92,000 U.S. troops discharged for misconduct between 2011 and 2015, three-fifths (57,000) had a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or a related condition, says a Government Accountability Office report.

Discharge for misconduct is the military equivalent of being fired and results in the loss of benefits meant to ease the transition back into civilian life, according to The New York Times.


Women Over 30 Now Have Higher Birth Rate Than Younger Women: CDC

For the first time in the United States, the birth rate among women in their early 30s is higher than among younger women, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Women in their late 20s had the highest birth rates for more than three decades, but that changed in 2016, when the birth rate for women ages 30-34 was 103 per 100,000 and the rate for women ages 25-29 was 102 per 100,000, the Associated Press reported.

The CDC data did not include actual numbers of births for different age groups.

Experts say the rising birth rate among older women is the result of more women waiting longer to have children and a continuing decrease in the teen birth rate, the AP reported.

The CDC also said the overall birth rate fell slightly in 2016, to 62 births per 100,000 women ages 15-44, the average age when women have their first child is about 28, and the infant death rate remained about the same.

Another CDC report said the nation's death rate decreased to about 724 per 100,000 people in 2016, down from 733 per 100,000 in 2015, when there was an increase from the previous year, the AP reported.

A major reason for the 2015 rise in the death rate was a nearly 1 percent increase in the heart disease death rate, which began to fall again in 2016.


Police Officer Overdoses After Wiping Fentanyl Off Uniform

An Ohio police officer was rushed to the hospital and treated for an overdose after wiping fentanyl powder off his uniform.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid painkiller that can be deadly even in tiny amounts. The incident occurred last Friday, CNN reported.

The drug entered Chris Green's system through his hands. The fentanyl got on his uniform earlier in the day when he made a drug arrest.

"This is scary. He could have walked out of the building and left and he could have passed out while he was driving. You don't even know it's there on his clothes," East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane told CNN.

"His wife, kids and his dog could be confronted with it and boom, they're dead. This could never end," Lane added.

Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled, making it a threat to anyone who comes into contact with it, experts say.

"It's time our state government drafts legislation to protect our safety forces from these harmful drugs," the City of East Liverpool said in a Facebook post, CNN reported. "Those in possession not only pose a risk to themselves but everyone they come into contact with as well."

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