Sick and Struggling in Butte County

Sugar Spot

photo by Leslie Layton

by Leslie Layton

Kenyatta Aarif knew her high blood-pressure reading had startled two student nurses from Chico State. The nursing students were conducting a public-health outreach project in Oroville’s depressed Southside neighborhood, checking the blood pressure of the willing every Thursday during their fall semester.

She assured the students, stationed across the street from her small soul-food restaurant, that she’d refill her prescription for medication right away. “I scared those kids to death,” Aarif said of her first screening. read more

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Guerrilla Network Forms, Delivering Health Care to Those in Need

photo by Leslie Layton

photo by Leslie Layton

by Leslie Layton

Thomas Lewry and Scott Marshall had stopped for a blood-pressure check on a November Thursday at the Fire House Certified Farmer’s Market in Oroville’s Southside.

A pair of Chico State nursing students wrapped the cuff first around one man’s arm, then the other’s, and started pumping. Marshall talked about his health problems, and as he did, the screening began to seem increasingly inconsequential.

Marshall, 61, has stage 4 bone cancer. He’s homeless. Some days, he says, his legs hurt so badly, “I get to where I can’t walk, straighten up.” UC Davis Medical Center has apparently offered him treatment, but he says that would confine him — at heart he is still a fisherman — to a hospital bed for whatever time he has left. He said he keeps on rolling, even when his body is wracked with pain, much like the song Ol’ Man River. read more

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Sickness in the 2nd District

by Leslie Layton

Butte and other counties in rural Northern California’s 2nd Congressional District suffer from higher-than-average rates of chronic diseases that would respond to prevention, and if it was more available, routine care. Our counties pay in terms of both personal health and emergency-room/hospital-care costs.

State Research Analyst Mike Kassis pointed out that access to primary/preventive care depends in part on affordability (which usually means having health insurance.) The recently-published study Kassis worked on for the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development shows that $3.5 billion was spent on “preventable hospitalizations” in the state in 2008. read more

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Cabral Spared Prison

by Leslie Layton

Reynaldo “Reny” Cabral was placed on probation Friday for an assault on his girlfriend that landed him in the Glenn County Jail – and ultimately, in a wheelchair.

Cabral, a 24-year-old Orland man who suffered a spinal-cord injury at the jail and is now a quadriplegic, was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to attend a class for batterers. The sentencing gave some closure to Cabral’s frightening 16-month journey in the Glenn County criminal-justice system.

“I’m very excited,” Cabral said late Friday. “It all turned out well and my family is relieved.” read more

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Cabral enfrentará juicio por cargos criminales

Reny and Torrie at Enloe Rehabilitation Center

por Leslie Layton

Temprano una mañana de invierno, en una celda de aislamiento de la cárcel del condado de Glenn, Reynaldo “Reny” Cabral se puso en posición de velocista, una posición que había tomado frecuentemente cuando jugaba para el equipo de fútbol americano de la escuela preparatoria de Orland. Luego se abalanzó, chocando su cabeza contra una capa de hule que cubre la pared de la llamada “celda de seguridad” en la cárcel.

Ahora recuerda el sentimiento de sorpresa que tuvo mientras estaba tirado en el piso de la celda al darse cuenta que estaba paralizado. En un esfuerzo desesperado de liberarse de su prisión — No solamente de la celda de 5 por 8 pies, pero además de la prisión creada por sus alucinaciones y su temor de ser nuevamente lastimado por los policías que ya habían usado contra él dardos “Taser” — había roto su cuello. read more

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Failure to address mental health proves costly Cabral Reflects on Mental Illness

photo by Leslie LaytonReny and Torrie at Enloe Rehabilitation Center

photo by Leslie Layton

Reny and Torrie at Enloe Rehabilitation Center

by Leslie Layton

Five months after his arrest in connection with the choking of his girlfriend, an Orland man said that psychosis drove him to ram his head into the wall of a Glenn County Jail cell.

Reynaldo “Reny” Cabral, 23, described himself as disoriented and desperate when he rammed his head in his isolation cell Jan. 8, breaking his neck and becoming paralyzed from the chest down. He is now a quadriplegic, and both Glenn County and MediCal have been billed hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs.

In addition, attorney Richard Molin of Chico said he will file a claim against Glenn County next week, a first step toward a lawsuit, that if successful, could help Cabral cover the enormous medical and other costs he will face during his life as a quadriplegic. Molin said jail officials are obliged under both federal law and state “provisions” to provide psychiatric treatment to inmates as needed. read more