- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2001

2 companies indicted in nursing home deaths

XENIA, Ohio A nursing home company and a medical gas supplier have been indicted on involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide charges in the deaths of four nursing home residents who were mistakenly given nitrogen instead of oxygen.
Integrated Health Services of Sparks, Md., owner of Carriage-by-the-Lake nursing home in Bellbrook, was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. BOC Gases, based in Murray Hill, N.J., was charged with four counts of reckless homicide.
Four women at Carriage-by-the-Lake, 10 miles from Dayton, died of nitrogen asphyxiation in December and six others became ill after a nitrogen tank apparently delivered to the home by mistake, with a confusing label was connected to the home's oxygen system. The tank had an oxygen label partially covered by a smaller nitrogen label, authorities said.

Cop killer moved to halfway house

TRENTON, N.J. A convicted cop killer, the state's longest-serving inmate, has been released from prison and moved to a halfway house after 37 years behind bars.
Thomas Trantino, 62, was taken to Hope Hall in Camden on Sunday, the Star-Ledger of Newark reported.
Last month, the state Supreme Court ordered Trantino, who had been denied parole at least nine times, transferred to a halfway house, saying the parole board lacked strong proof that he posed a threat. His complete freedom will be contingent on satisfactory completion of a year at the halfway house.

Hastert undergoes kidney stone surgery

AURORA, Ill. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert was released from an Illinois hospital yesterday after undergoing kidney stone surgery, and aides said he planned to spend a few days recuperating at his home.
Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora said the 59-year-old Republican was discharged in good condition about 17 hours after he entered the hospital in his congressional district Sunday evening.
Mr. Hastert underwent the surgery yesterday after tests showed he had developed kidney stones. Doctors said Mr. Hastert otherwise was in "excellent overall health," according to a hospital spokesman.
Hastert spokesman John McGovern said the speaker would spend a "couple of days" resting at his Illinois home before returning to Washington. He will also undergo "a couple of outpatient procedures to finish his treatment."

Burlington Northern drops genetic testing

DALLAS Hit with a federal lawsuit, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway agreed yesterday to stop requiring genetic testing of employees who file claims for a wrist condition called carpal tunnel syndrome.
On Friday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal lawsuit charging that the policy violated the Americans With Disabilities Act. The EEOC said a railroad worker who refused to provide a blood sample after filing an injury claim was threatened with termination.
The lawsuit marked the first time that the EEOC had challenged genetic testing. Burlington Northern said yesterday it will stop the practice under an order to be filed in court.

Governor has surgery to remove tumor

CLEVELAND Gov. Bob Taft underwent a two-hour operation yesterday to remove a small, non-cancerous tumor in a salivary gland just below his left ear.
"The surgery went smoothly and was performed without complication," according to a statement from the surgeon, Dr. Marshall Strome. "Governor Taft is healthy and should recuperate quickly."
The benign growth was detected during an annual checkup last fall.
Mr. Taft was expected to be released as early as today and back in the office a couple of days later, said the governor's spokesman Kevin Kellems.

Court nixes new trial for Unabomber

SAN FRANCISCO A federal appeals court yesterday denied Theodore Kaczynski's bid for a trial, saying on a 2-1 decision he was not coerced to plead guilty to three fatal mail bombings.

Kaczynski, who entered his plea in January 1998 in the Unabomber spree that killed three persons and injured 23, had told the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals he felt pressured to plead guilty as a way to avoid being portrayed as mentally ill by his defense attorneys.

But Kaczynski "admits that this is speculative and that no proof for it is possible," Judge Pamela Ann Rymer wrote.

Kaczynski had claimed a federal judge violated his rights by allowing his attorneys to use his mental condition as a defense, over his objections, and denying his request to represent himself.

Kaczynski had wanted a trial even if it meant getting the death penalty. He got a life sentence in exchange for his guilty plea.

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