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LA Congressman Lieu Recovering After Undergoing Stent Surgery



WASHINGTON DC (Beverly Press) — U.S. Rep Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) underwent a medical procedure last week and is recovering. Lieu’s Chief of Staff Marc Cevasco said the congressman is doing well and is eager to return to work.

“Due to a medical procedure, Congressman Lieu will be missing work for the remainder of the week. He is in good spirits and plans to be back at work [as soon as possible],” Cevasco said in a statement.

“On Monday evening, at the recommendation of the Office of Attending Physician, Congressman Lieu was admitted to George Washington University Hospital for chest pain. An electrocardiogram, ultrasound and two blood tests confirmed there was no heart […]

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Genea Sky, Stripper Who Fell Off 15-ft Pole, Never Wants to Dance Again



Genea Sky — the exotic dancer who came crashing down from a 15-foot pole but kept twerking afterward — is taking a page out of the great George Michael ‘s song, “Careless Whisper,” ’cause she never wants to dance again.

Sources close to Genea tell TMZ … she’s telling friends she’s done being a stripper and doesn’t want to dance anymore, because her fall and the injuries she suffered have scared her to death.

We’re told she’s grateful for all her fellow strippers who’ve reached out with comforting messages and shared their own injury stories … it’s made Genea feel like she’s not alone.

Our sources say the painful experience has also inspired Sky to try to change the industry and improve exotic dancers’ lives … but she’s not sure how yet.

The interesting thing is … we’re told Genea’s received a ton of offers from strip clubs and been asked to appear in music vids ever since she unintentionally went viral, but she wants none of it.

Our sources say Genea’s focused on healing up right now after having surgery for a broken jaw … along with her other injuries.

It should be noted — she has made appearances in a couple popular music videos, including G-Eazy‘s “No Limit” remix … so maybe she can get back to that when she’s all better, even if her days on the pole are no more.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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New U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Fails to Capture Many Deaths



by Nina Martin for ProPublica

Since 2007, the government had held off on releasing an official estimate of expectant and new mothers who died from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. It waited for the data to get better. But the new, long-anticipated number falls short.

Late last month, maternal health experts from around Illinois were videoconferencing in Chicago and Springfield, poring over the files of expectant and new mothers who’d died in the state in 2017. Many of the deaths could have been prevented if only medical and other providers had understood the special risks that women face during this critically vulnerable time.

Then, someone’s phone buzzed: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had just released its new, long-awaited U.S. maternal mortality rate, a number that had not been updated since 2007, when the federal government decided states weren’t doing a good enough job of capturing all of the deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth. It had taken more than a decade for states to implement new procedures, like adding a checkbox to death certificates, to flag pregnant women and new mothers who had died.

Now, here it is, from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System: 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2018 — an estimated 658 lives lost. It was worse than the last official calculation, 12.7 deaths per 100,000 births, and it placed American maternal health outcomes where experts suspected they would land, worst among wealthy nations, and 55th among all countries, ahead of Ukraine but just behind Russia.

The new U.S. rate was widely assumed to reflect the cutting edge of maternal mortality research. But as the Illinois experts quickly discovered, there were gaping holes. The rate didn’t include the types of cases they had been reviewing that day — suicides and drug overdoses, which may not seem like it at first but are often linked to pregnancy and childbirth. It didn’t include new mothers who had died more than 42 days after giving birth, missing a huge chunk of relevant deaths. It underestimated the deaths of women 45 and older as well as those whose pregnancies had been overlooked by doctors and coroners.

“I don’t think it represents the full story of maternal mortality in this state,” said Shannon Lightner, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Office of Women’s Health and Family Services. “It’s not a complete and accurate picture of what’s going on.”

Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, agrees: “That particular indicator by itself is certainly not enough on which to make decisions about programs and policy… It’s one indicator. It’s not the end-all and be-all in describing maternal mortality by any stretch.”

There was a reason the rate was so limited. In order to come up with a number that allows the United States to be compared with other countries, the National Vital Statistics System was required to use the World Health Organization’s definition of maternal mortality: “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy … from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.” The global standard encompasses the traditional, acute, obstetric causes of maternal death — hemorrhage, infection, blood clots, strokes — but excludes “accidental or incidental” causes, such as overdoses. It’s an old-fashioned definition that ignores some of the most important recent findings about why so many American mothers die.

That means that the new rate, while capturing just how poorly the U.S. ranks among other countries, is actually a significant underestimate of the problem. The 42-day cutoff “might be appropriate for other countries,” said Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, whose National Birth Equity Collaborative is part of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. But in the U.S., “the science is showing we really should [consider deaths] out to a year postpartum and not limit our definition to things that happen in the hospital.” Indeed, a study co-authored by Crear-Perry shows that in Louisiana, homicides were the leading cause of death for pregnant and postpartum women from 2016-17.

The irony is that the CDC is one of the major drivers of that science. And in virtually all of its efforts, the agency tracks maternal deaths up to a year after the end of pregnancy. The CDC also encourages states to conduct robust maternal mortality reviews of deaths up to a year postpartum, both to understand what’s happening to women in different parts of the country and to pool the results to create a national picture of what causes mothers to die and how to protect them. Deaths that are found to be “related” to pregnancy are distinguished from those “associated” with pregnancy — though in many instances, especially for postpartum women, that’s a difficult distinction to make.

It was this expansive approach that identified just how dangerous the late postpartum period can be for American mothers. In the U.S., as many as 24% of pregnancy-related deaths are happening from 43 days to 365 days after delivery, according to a CDC report last fall. In Texas, the proportion is closer to 40%. Even the new NVSS data confirms an enormous number of such deaths.

Hidden in its report is a calculation for late maternal mortality for 2018: an additional 277 deaths. That brings the CDC estimate for maternal deaths up to a year postpartum to a much higher figure than it reported in the official U.S. rate: a total of 935 lives lost.

The death of Lauren Bloomstein, a neonatal nurse, in the hospital where she worked illustrates a profound disparity: the health care system focuses on babies but often ignores their mothers.

The leading medical cause of such deaths is heart-related conditions, which may not be diagnosed for months after childbirth. “If you cut off the rate at 42 days, you’re going to miss those,” said Judette Louis, chair of the OB-GYN department at the University of South Florida and president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “We need to be studying these cases because that is what will tell us what kind of interventions the moms need after they go home.”

Another important way that the U.S. data diverges from international data is when it comes to accidental overdoses and suicides; the later postpartum period — when women are often stressed out, lonely, broke and depressed, with little access to mental health services and drug treatment programs — may be particularly high-risk. “For a woman who has reduced the amount she’s taking [during pregnancy], when she goes back to using the same amount she was using before, the chances of overdose is very high,” said Dr. Ann Borders, a Chicago-area OB-GYN who heads the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative and sits on the statewide maternal mortality review panel that analyzes these deaths.

In Illinois, one-fifth of all deaths of pregnant women and new mothers in 2014-16 were suicides and overdoses — and medical providers have an important role to play in helping identify at-risk women and getting them help before it’s too late. But first they have to see those deaths as just as real a form of maternal mortality as those from hemorrhage or sepsis. “If we’re not counting those deaths, we can’t prevent them,” Borders said. “How we measure maternal mortality will compel us to act or not act.”

Nina Martin is a reporter who covers sex and gender issues. She joined ProPublica in 2013 and is based in Berkeley, California.

ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism with moral force. We dig deep into important issues, shining a light on abuses of power and betrayals of public trust. Follow on Twitter at @ProPublica 

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Elton John Academy Awards Viewing Party Raised Over $6.4 Million for AIDS



LOS ANGELES – The 28th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party with Netflix’s Queer Eye Fab Five: Bobby Berk, Tan France, Karamo, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness raised over $6.4 million for the global effort to end AIDS.

The gala, which took place on Sunday, February 9 at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles was generously supported by Presenting Sponsors IMDb, Walmart and Neuro Drinks and the Event Hosts Heidi Klum, Diane Lane, Eric McCormack and Billy Porter. 

The Foundation welcomed Sir Elton John and David Furnish, following Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s win for Best Original Song “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman at the Academy Awards.

Guests arrived at the Academy Awards Viewing Party for cocktails followed by a gala dinner and viewing of the 92nd Academy Awards® telecast. Chef Wayne Elias and Crumble Catering designed and prepared the delicious gala dinner enjoyed by guests. IMDb once again broadcast its annual “IMDb Live” streaming show during the party. IMDb’s four-hour show was co-hosted by Aisha Tyler and Dave Karger.

Following dinner and an exciting live auction conducted by Alexander Gilkes, British actor, singer-songwriter and BRITS Critic Choice Award winner in 2018, Sam Fender performed.  “What a night. It is so special to celebrate our Foundation’s 28th annual Oscar Party with the Fab Five and Sam Fender and to top it off, another Oscar win!” says Elton John.

“But most importantly, tonight we have come together to raise urgently needed funds and awareness for the LGBT community at risk or living with HIV in the U.S. and around the world. A gay man is 27 times more likely to have HIV than their straight peers, so tonight helps us to remind people that we still have a long way to go to end the AIDS epidemic.” 

During the live auction, an artwork specifically created for the Elton John AIDS Foundation by Nathaniel Mary Quinn – one of the world’s most sought-after artists entitled, “She Would Have Loved The Galas” – was bought by Sir Elton John himself, who made it back to the party quickly after his award. In a surprise addition to the auction, Elton John played a white Yamaha Grand Piano that was featured in the film Rocketman and was then auctioned off. 

Sharon Stone took the stage to auction off two VIP tickets to the Versace Cruise Collection fashion show taking place in a secret location. She was so compelling she sold the auction lot twice. The incredible amount of money raised this year will help the Foundation to continue providing testing, treatment and prevention services for people at risk or living with HIV in the LGBT community in the U.S. and around the world.  

Cadillac, Gilead Sciences, M&M’s Chocolate Candies and M∙A∙C Viva Glam partnered with the Foundation as the evening’s Co-Sponsors; Fin Gray and Michael Melnick and Bob and Tamar Manoukian were Associate Sponsors. Wines were provided courtesy of Domaine Bertaud Belieu and champagne was donated by Chandon.

Spirits were courtesy of Cîroc Vodka and Tequila Don Julio.  The Foundation is especially grateful to the City of West Hollywood for continued collaboration and to American Airlines as the Foundation’s official airline.  

The Foundation’s Academy Awards Viewing Party benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation raising millions for their lifesaving work since the Party began in 1992.

The Foundation works across four continents to provide treatment, testing, care and support to people at risk of or living with HIV, especially marginalized groups that are disproportionately affected such as men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers. 

Follow the Elton John AIDS Foundation on: and on Twitter.

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