10/16/14 1:00am
10/16/2014 1:00 AM
Police investigate the scene of an shooting on McKinley Street in Flanders Wednesday afternoon. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Police investigate the scene of a shooting on McKinley Street in Flanders Wednesday afternoon. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Update (12:30 p.m. Thursday): The two men arrested in connection with Wednesday’s shooting in Flanders were arraigned Thursday morning and held without bail. Click here for details.

Update (1 a.m. Thursday): Two men were arrested in connection with Wednesday’s shooting in Flanders, according to a Southampton Police press release.

Kwame Opoku, 32, of Mastic Beach was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal use of a firearm, and first-degree reckless endangerment, police said. (more…)

07/23/14 5:00am
07/23/2014 5:00 AM

The American Red Cross has issued an urgent call for blood donors, noting the agency could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks if donations don’t increase.

According to an agency release, blood donations have gone down by about 8 percent over the last 11 weeks, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected.  (more…)

05/04/14 3:16pm
05/04/2014 3:16 PM
Fellow bikers assist police and ambulance personnel on the scene of a two motorcycle crash on Sound Avenue in Riverhead Sunday afternoon. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Fellow bikers assist police and ambulance personnel on the scene of a two motorcycle crash on Sound Avenue in Riverhead Sunday afternoon. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

A motorcyclist was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center after he was injured  in a two-motorcycle crash in Riverhead Sunday, Riverhead Town police said.

(more…)

04/29/14 3:21pm
04/29/2014 3:21 PM
(Credit: Paul Squire)

A woman was airlifted from a crash in Calverton Tuesday as a precaution. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A T-bone collision in Calverton sent three women to local hospitals, with one woman being airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center “as a precaution,” police at the scene said. (more…)

04/27/14 5:00am
04/27/2014 5:00 AM

veincenter

Shorts and flip-flops are almost mandatory components of the summer wardrobe. But those dealing with hard-to-conceal varicose veins are often left sweating in long pants. Doctors say understanding the cause of varicose veins and responding with the appropriate treatments can help prevent this seasonal dilemma.  (more…)

03/09/14 6:00am
03/09/2014 6:00 AM
Carrie Miller

Carrie Miller

A new painkiller that packs large amounts of hydrocodone into a single pill has quickly become one of the most controversial medications in years to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, as health officials debate whether its benefits outweigh the likelihood of being abused.

Zohydro, which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Zogenix Inc., is comparable to the painkiller Vicodin, said Dr. Brian Durkin, director of the Center for Pain Management at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

But unlike Vicodin, which has between five and ten milligrams of hydrocodone in a single pill, Zohydro can contain up to 50 milligrams depending on the prescribed dose — making it up to five times more powerful than the highest dose of Vicodin currently on the market.

In addition, unlike Vicodin and other opioid painkillers, Zohydro pills do not include an embedded tamper-resistant mechanism, meaning abusers can easily crush them and snort them or dissolve them in a liquid to be injected.

“We’re risking having another Oxy-Contin crisis,” said Dr. Durkin, recalling a 1996 spike in prescription drug abuse that occurred after another hydrocodone pill hit the market without a tamper resistant mechanism.

In 2010, OxyContin was reformulated to include a system in the pill that prevents people from crushing it. “It turns into a paste,” he explained.

“We’re going in the opposite direction of where we should be for these dangerous drugs,” the doctor said. “I am surprised they approved it.”

Dr. Durkin isn’t the only one: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) held a press conference Monday calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to reverse the “confounding” FDA decision or at least pull the drug until it is tamper-resistant.

Anti-addiction activists have also called on the FDA to revoke its approval of the controversial drug.

Overdose deaths in the U.S. due to prescription painkillers have increased 300 percent since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, 2 million people — nearly 5,500 each day

— reported using prescription painkillers the fi rst time for nonmedical purposes.

In Riverhead, Community Awareness Prevention executive director Felicia Scocozza said she has seen an increase in prescription drug abuse since she started at the nonprofi t in 1999. While rates of abuse are lower in Riverhead than in the rest of the county, she said, “across Long Island, it’s becoming a huge problem.”

Zohydro, which could hit the market sometime this month, was granted FDA approval in October — despite an overwhelming 11-to-2 vote against that approval by the FDA’s advisory committee, Dr. Durkin said.

So what is so special about the new drug? Dr. Durkin said he isn’t really sure.

“There are plenty of drugs on the market now that are just as good,” he said. “I don’t see any need for this. Not these days.”

Hydrocodone is the most prescribed pain medication in America, given most often following surgery, Dr. Durkin explained — but for longterm chronic pain management, its use is still “controversial.”

“Frankly there are other drugs that have better efficacy and better patient safety profi les than hydrocodone,” he said. “I don’t see myself needing to prescribe this.”

On Monday, Pamela Mizzi, director of prevention with the Suffolk County Resource Center, said she agreed.

“It’s a legitimate controversy,” she said. “On one side, you have the addiction professionals — and I’m a substance abuse counselor — who feel strongly that there is not the need for another variety of hydrocodone to be available. Especially without the anti-tampering preparation.

“But on the other hand,” Ms. Mizzi said, “there are people who have legitimate needs for pain and pain management.”

Dr. Durkin and Ms. Mizzi said the only advantage of Zohydro they can see is that it does not include acetaminophen (tylenol), which some patients cannot have. But there are still other usable alternatives.
(more…)

02/14/14 9:00am
02/14/2014 9:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Peconic Bay Medical Center on Route 58.

Peconic Bay Medical Center on Route 58. (File photo by Barbaraellen Koch photo)

East End hospitals are now accepting six out of eight insurance plans offered to Suffolk County residents through the state’s healthcare exchange marketplace, according to hospital officials.

(more…)

01/11/14 8:00am
01/11/2014 8:00 AM

GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | Times/Review babies Jackson Parpan (left) and Abigail White with moms Vera and Suzanne were both recently delivered into the world with help from Mattituck nurse and loyal Suffolk Times reader Douglas Massey.

When you’re an editor of a local newspaper, you expect to meet readers in all sorts of places; the grocery store, schools and libraries are the most common among them.

The hospital delivery room is not the sort of place you’d expect to make that connection — especially at a hospital more than a half-hour outside your coverage area.

But Stony Brook University Medical Center is exactly where I — and Times/Review editor Michael White three months before me — recently met Douglas Massey.

Yes, Mr. Massey, a nurse from Mattituck who happens to be a loyal Suffolk Times reader, coincidentally played a role in the delivery of the two most recent Times/Review babies.

In dealing with patients, Doug, a 52-year-old father of three, is quick to acknowledge that he’s a man in a field traditionally associated with females. It’s all part of a bedside routine he uses to put patients at ease during stressful times. It’s no secret that there’s usually anxiety in a hospital room and it helps if the professionals there treat the patient with compassion and know how to turn a tense moment into a positive experience.

Mr. Massey’s bedside manner was so natural, he gave both Mike and me the initial impression he’d been working as a nurse for decades. That’s not the case.

A laid-off construction project manager, he graduated from nursing school in May 2011, which is when The Suffolk Times first shared his story. While his journey sounds like it could have been a ’90s TV sitcom starring Tim Allen, Doug doesn’t exactly play it for laughs. He’s serious about his calling and it’s clear he cares deeply about helping others.

“If a person is caring, has the intellectual capacity to make it through nursing school and can apply that knowledge on the job, then that is what really matters,” he told the paper in 2011. “If you are empathetic and not afraid to show it, then nursing is the right profession for you.

“I love doing this,” he added. “I love helping people. There’s nothing better. Helping people get back to full function is as good as it can get. I’m a lucky guy to have fallen into it,” he said.

For Mike and me, having someone like him hold our wives’ hands during the most important day of our lives was a blessing.

What made the editor-reader connection even more unusual was that Mr. Massey does not typically work in the maternity ward. While his regular shifts are scheduled in an intensive care unit, he happened to be picking up overtime hours when he found himself in our delivery rooms.

One regret Mike and I both had after the deliveries was that shift changes prevented Doug from seeing our children enter the world. When my son was born at 11:35 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22, Mr. Massey had left the room 45 minutes earlier for an overnight ICU shift. I felt disappointed when it was time for him to leave, and sad I hadn’t gotten the chance to properly thank him for all the help he — and all the other great nurses — gave us on the big day.

But reflecting on the delivery experience this past week, I imagined the great care Doug was able to give the ICU patients, who I’m sure needed him more that night than we did. They were lucky to have such a pro at their side.

Mr. Parpan is the executive editor of Times/Review Newsgroup. He can be reached at gparpan@timesreview.com or 631-354-8046.