Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chair Doesn't Stop Good Pool Cue Beating

A man whose wheelchair didn't stop him from beating a lingerie bar patron over the head with a pool cue is one of three people facing prison time in the incident.

Two men are accused of beating three patrons of a Huntington Beach lingerie bar, and a bartender has been charged as an accessory.

The Filling Post is located on Beach Boulevard near Heil Avenue. A fight involving pool cues broke out Sept. 15 at the lingerie bar.

On Sept. 15, two men brought a bartender at a Huntington Beach lingerie bar a change of clothes after a "wardrobe malfunction." They stayed and and ended up attacking three patrons, prosecutors charge.

Armando Correa Gonzales had a hearing in the case Friday. He pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon in December over the incident and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Melissa Gasco, 29, the bartender, has pleaded not guilty to accessory after the fact.

The Huntington Beach police did not return repeated calls about the identity of the other attacker, referred to as John Doe in court records.

Around 10:50 p.m., Gonzales and another man went to the Filling Post Pub on Beach Boulevard to bring clothes to Gasco, who had "some sort of wardrobe malfunction," according to a search warrant served by the Huntington Beach police.

One of the men went up to bar patron Mark Towers, 56, and asked, "Why are you looking at me?"

Towers said he wasn't, and that he was just watching a baseball game. He looked away and then felt a sharp blow to the back of his head. The man hit him "two or three" more times with a pool cue, and he collapsed.

Larry Brown, 46, was with Towers watching the game and was also beaten, causing redness and swelling to the right side of his face.

Michael Garnica, 52, had been sitting at the bar talking with other patrons. When he turned to see the attack, the second man rolled up in a wheelchair and hit him the face with a pool cue.

Garnica had a cut over his right eye and a cut on the back of his head that required stitches. The attack, police said, "was clearly captured on surveillance footage and all appeared unprovoked an extremely violent."

Chair Doesn't Let Model Get in the Way

Disabled Model 2 Curvaceous is now ‘in.’ Take V Magazine’s recent “Size Issue” for example. In their revolutionary “Curves Ahead” spread, the magazine displayed full-bodied women adorning glamorous jewellery, shoes and swimwear. For the first time, thicker and softer was being accepted in the fashion world, well at least, in the form of marketing.

But today London department store Debenhams became the first UK retailer to use a disabled model in a photo campaign to advertise a range by British designer Ben de Lisi. Shannon Murray, 32, and her wheelchair can be seen in several shop windows alongside Kate Fullman, a size 14 model, Tess Montgomery, a petite model and Tokumbo Daniel, a size 8 model.

Disabled Model Murray has been confined to her wheelchair since she broke her neck as a teenager. But with this new campaign, she won’t be confined from the public eye much longer.

“We cater for women of all shapes and sizes, young and old, non-disabled and disabled so we wanted our windows to reflect this choice,” Michael Sharp, Debenhams’ Deputy Chief Executive said.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Cure to Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers at UTHealth have demonstrated in rats that transplanting genetically modified adult stem cells into an injured spinal cord can help restore the electrical pathways associated with movement. The results are published in the Feb. 24 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

In spinal cord injury, demyelination, or the destruction of the myelin sheath in the central nervous system, occurs. The myelin sheath, produced by cells called oligodendrocytes, wraps around the axons of nerves and helps speed activity and insulate electrical conduction. Without it, the nerves cannot send messages to make muscles move.

The research team, led by Qilin Cao, M.D., principal investigator and associate professor of neurosurgery at UTHealth (The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston), discovered that transplanted adult stem cells (oligodendrocyte precursor cells or OPC) from the spinal cord could become oligodendrocytes. The new cells helped restore electrical pathways of the spinal cord and therefore, function, in a process called remyelination.

Cao said two important discoveries were isolating precursor cells from the adult spinal cord and, prior to transplanting them into the spinal cord, genetically modifying them to express ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), a protein that encourages nerve growth. In preliminary experiments, also published in this paper, CNTF was shown to facilitate survival and differentiation of OPCs in cell culture.

"Most importantly, the evidence of remyelination was shown to exactly coincide with the anatomical localization of these motor pathways in spinal cord white matter," Cao said. "These latter data provide confidence that the mechanism by which the grafted OPCs are enhancing functional recovery is through remyelination."


Monday, February 15, 2010

Woman Burned Alive after Power Chair Ignites in Flames

A civil lawsuit has been filed in connection to a fire death last year at a Bastrop apartment for seniors.

On Sept. 13, a fire claimed the life of Merrimac Ellis, 87, a resident of the Bond House Apartment Complex at 720 Brisco St. Firefighters found Ellis trapped in her powered wheelchair, alive but badly burned, and she died en route to the hospital.

Merrimac Ellis' son, James Ellis, is seeking damages from Bond House, the insurance company underwriting the apartment and the respective manufacturers of Ellis' wheelchair, the apartment's sprinkler system and the fire alarm system.

The petition for damages, which represents only the plaintiff's side in a lawsuit, claims the apartment and its management neglected the safety of its residents, and the manufacturers provided faulty products that were dangerous and ultimately lethal.

"In its investigation, the State of Louisiana Fire Marshal observed bloody fingerprints under the sink when the fire consumed her," the petition reads. "These bloody fingerprints are indication of Ms. Ellis' valiant, yet unsuccessful, attempts to free herself from the burning chair to save her life."

The petition goes on to say subsequent investigations indicated the fire started under the seat of the wheelchair, and Invacare Corp., the world's largest maker of battery-operated wheelchairs, had issued recalls in the past for short-circuiting chairs that ignited and burned or killed their occupants.

After the fire started, the sprinkler system never initiated and the fire alarm never sounded. The petition faults the sprinkler company, Delta Fire Protection Systems Inc., for failing to maintain sprinkler heads, and Vantronics Security System of Monroe, Inc., for failing to maintain an audible alarm. It also faults Samella Anderson, the manager for Bond House, and Bond House itself for allowing the "unreasonably dangerous conditions" to go undiscovered and unresolved.

After his office concluded its investigation, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said while investigators found no problems with the sprinkler head in Ellis' room, his office did have concerns about the sprinkler system throughout the building.


Friday, February 12, 2010

SF Bus Ejects Wheelchair Man and Creates Geyser

SAN FRANCISCO — A bizarre chain of events left two people injured and a San Francisco neighborhood soaking wet when a city bus struck a fire hydrant.

It all began Sunday evening when a Muni rider was getting off a bus using its extended wheelchair lift. Muni spokesman Judson True says the customer fell from the lift and was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

As the incident was being sorted out, the bus rolled forward and the wheelchair lift sheared off a fire hydrant, sending water gushing into the air three stories high. True says the hydrant struck a Muni inspector, who was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Water from the hydrant flooded a building on the corner of Fillmore and Haight streets.

True says the bus driver has been placed on non-driving status as officials investigate the incident.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Run-Away Toyota Causes Spinal Cord Injury

A man from Louisville, Kentucky, crashed his 2010 Toyota Camry on January 29. A sticking accelerator pedal reportedly caused the crash, according to a Wave3 News article. Toyota recalled eight of its 2010 car models two weeks ago as the first step in solving this manufacturing defect, which has allegedly been causing sudden unintended acceleration.

The Kentucky man involved in the crash, identified as Todd Allen, had not heard anything about the recall before driving on the day of his accident, a Justice News Flash piece reported.

When Allen arrived at the hospital, he was alleged to have lost sensation in his legs. Emergency medical personnel suspected he might have suffered a spinal cord injury in the accident. Four people were in the Toyota Camry when the driver, Allen, was attempting to pull into a parking spot. The Wave3 report said that the accelerator pedal allegedly stuck, forcing the car to quickly accelerate, leading to the crash and subsequent injuries.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

SCI Skiing

On Feb. 4, Life Rolls On (LRO) will trade surfboards for monoskis as the organization hosts its 2nd Annual They Will Ski Again event at Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake, Calif. With varying degrees of mobility, individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) will be treated to an exciting day on the slopes with expert instruction provided by Bear Mountain's adaptive ski instructors.

"LRO utilizes action sports as a platform for showing what is possible despite spinal cord injury," said Meghan Schinderle, Program Director for Life Rolls On. "We are thrilled to once again adapt snowboarding and skiing for our incredible participants who are eager and ready to hit the slopes, some, for the very first time since their injury."

Life Rolls On is best-known for its award-winning adaptive surfing program, They Will Surf Again, through which paraplegics and quadriplegics experience the joy of catching a wave with the assistance of adaptive equipment and dedicated volunteers. Similar to They Will Surf Again, this program empowers individuals with SCI to participate in a sport they enjoyed prior to injury and serves as an opportunity to introduce others to the sport for the first time.

Participants will enjoy this amazing experience at no-cost thanks to generous support from sponsors Bear Mountain, BJ's Restaurant Foundation, and Tonic Hair Care.