Children with seizure disorders have led the initial wave of patients registered for medical marijuana use in Georgia, state officials said Tuesday.
State Department of Public Health officials said cancer was the second-leading diagnosis for registrants.
The agency last month launched its Web portal and registration cards for medical cannabis oil. A law passed earlier this year made it legal for some people to possess the oil for medical purposes. Physicians can apply for a card on behalf of a patient with one of eight medical conditions.
The program is strictly regulated, and possession of marijuana products remains illegal for the general public in Georgia.
Two-thirds of the Georgians newly registered for medical marijuana are under age 17. And the most prevalent diagnosis for the cannabis oil is seizure disorder, Donna Moore, state registrar overseeing the agency’s vital records section, told a Public Health board meeting.
She said 54 patients have been registered so far. full story
A metro Atlanta firm is closing its five Georgia day care facilities for medically fragile children.
Pediatria HealthCare, headquartered in Norcross, notified state officials this month that the closings are coming.
Pediatria’s president, Joe Harrelson, told GHN on Thursday that after the closings, no day care facilities for medically fragile kids will remain in the state.
He said the closures are a reaction to state Medicaid officials’ becoming much more restrictive on allowing coverage for children to get medical day care services.
Three of the facilities are in metro Atlanta — Tucker, Smyrna and Stockbridge — while the others are in Columbus and Savannah. full story
This Wednesday, sales of fireworks become legal in Georgia.
The new law may make Saturday’s Fourth of July an especially explosive holiday.
Medical professionals urge safety when setting off fireworks, noting that many people end up in emergency rooms with injuries. This past weekend’s disaster at a crowded celebration in Taiwan, when decorative sprays of colored powder ignited and burned about 500 people, shows the danger of carelessness with potentially dangerous substances.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta says burns are the most common fireworks-related injury to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occur more frequently.
Dr. Natalie Lane, medical director of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia Emergency Department in Augusta, says, “A sparkler can burn as hot as a blowtorch; and, unfortunately, we have had to treat children with sparkler burns several times. But these are avoidable injuries, if families will carefully follow safety procedures.” full story
Ten years ago, the Georgia Legislature passed a law prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants. It was promoted as a way to improve “the health, comfort and environment’’ of Georgians.
The law, still in effect, has some exemptions, including allowing smoking in an establishment if it prohibits entry to anyone under age 18.
Despite the 2005 law, a recent study from Georgia State University found some surprising results on smoking.
Researchers found that the percentage of Georgia restaurants and bars allowing smoking nearly doubled in the first six years after the law’s passage.
Georgia State researchers also found a significant number of owners taking advantage of exemptions in the law.
The percentage of restaurants and bars in Georgia that allowed smoking rose from 9.1 percent in 2006 to 17.6 percent in 2012, according to the study, published last month in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy. full story
Georgia has a lower rate of injury-related deaths than most states, a new report finds.
The state had a rate of 58.1 injury deaths per 100,000 people, slightly below the national figure of 58.4 percent, according to the report, released Wednesday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.
Georgia ranked 35th-highest among states for the rate of injury deaths, which include — among other things — drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and homicides.
Injury rates in Georgia have decreased over the past four years, the report said. And while drug overdose deaths have more than doubled in the past 14 years, the report said, Georgia ranked ninth-lowest among states in these fatalities. full story