WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight years after Hurricane Katrina, most states still don't require four basic safety plans to protect children in school and child care from disasters, aid group Save the Children said in a report released Wednesday.
The group faulted 28 states and the District of Columbia for failing to require the emergency safety plans for schools and child care providers that were recommended by a national commission in the wake of Katrina. The lack of such plans could endanger children's lives and make it harder for them to be reunited with their families, the study said.
The states were: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia.
"Every workday, 68 million children are separated from their parents," Carolyn Miles, Save the Children's president and CEO, said in a statement with the group's annual disaster report card. "We owe it to these children to protect them before the next disaster strikes."
After Katrina exposed problems in the nation's disaster preparedness, the presidentially appointed National Commission on Children and Disaster issued final recommendations in 2010 .calling on the states to require K-12 schools to have comprehensive disaster preparedness plans and child care centers to have disaster plans for evacuation, family reunification and special needs students.
Idaho, Iowa, Kansas and Michigan do not require any of the four recommended plans, the study found, while D.C. and the remaining states each require one or more of them.
The number of states meeting all four standards has increased from four to 22 since 2008, the report said. The group praised New Jersey, Tennessee, Nebraska and Utah for taking steps over the past year to meet all four standards.
Save the Children said it found gaps in emergency preparedness during a year when school shootings devastated Newtown, Conn., Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc along the East Coast and tornadoes ravaged Oklahoma.
Miles said such disasters "should be a wake-up call, but too many states won't budge."
A spokeswoman for the National Governors Association declined comment on the report, referring questions to the various states.
AP - A judge has again blocked an Ohio hospital from forcing a 10-year-old Amish girl to resume chemotherapy after her parents decided to stop the treatments.
The order comes a week after an appeals court sent the case back to the judge and told him to give more consideration to the request by Akron Children's Hospital.
The hospital wants limited guardianship of Sarah Hershberger to decide whether the Medina County girl should continue treatments for leukemia. Doctors believe Sarah will die without chemotherapy.
But Judge John Lohn said in his ruling that not allowing the parents to make medical decisions for their daughter would take away their rights, and said there is no guarantee the chemotherapy would be successful.
The girl's family stopped treatment because it was making her extremely sick.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire public health officials believe one person died of a rare, degenerative brain disease, and there's a remote chance up to 13 others in multiple states were exposed to it through surgical equipment.
Dr. Joseph Pepe, president of Catholic Medical Center, says officials are 95 percent certain that a patient who had brain surgery in May and died in August had sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Officials have notified eight people who had brain surgery during that time period, because the faulty proteins that cause the disease can survive standard sterilization. The disease has only been transmitted that way four times, never in the United States.
Some of the surgical instruments had been rented, and officials say up to five patients in other states could have been exposed.
The equipment has been quarantined.