Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 26, 2013

Regional child fatality team meets

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — BROOKVILLE — Can some children’s deaths be avoided? Indiana State Department of Health leaders are trying to answer that question by forming regional child fatality teams, Franklin County Health Department supervisor Diane Turney, R.N., told FCHD board members July 9.

She attended her first by-invitation-only, six-county quarterly meeting May 8 in Richmond. Each regional team includes a range of professions from coroner and school administrator to nurse and physician. “You all bring something different to the table.”

“We review all the fatalities in the region.” In addition, at this first meeting members were mentored by a physician on an already established Indianapolis team, who explained the goal of the teams is “to help prevent future fatalities” of the same type.

Turney said, “We might have had a drowning. Could it have been prevented? If you have a fatality of some nature, maybe you can give an idea to the Legislature to change something. That’s their hope. I think it will be beneficial.”

The supervisor and county nurse Angie Ruther met with an ISDH nurse whose specialty is tuberculosis May 29 and were trained on how to dispense TB drugs. According to her, an employee of a Ripley County factory who lives in Shelby County was diagnosed with active TB, which “can kill you” without treatment.

Franklin County residents also work there, so they were exposed to the disease. “We did a lot of testing” in early June, Turney reported. One county resident diagnosed with latent (not active) TB is getting a nine-month, prophylactic course of antibiotics provided free by ISDH to stop the possibility of TB spreading.

Members continued to discuss a moldy vacant home in West Harrison’s Autumn Oaks subdivision that FCHD declared uninhabitable. “How do you prove mold is dangerous?” asked board member Dr. Brad Dubois, Connersville, who practices in Brookville.

Sanitarian David Fehlinger said the owner or landlord must pay a specialist to make a determination. “I’ve had people call me” to report mold. If Fehlinger inspects a spot of mildew the size of a 50 cent piece, he tells residents, “That’s not going to hurt you,. Wipe that off with some bleach.”

Health officer Dr. Michael Fain, Oxford, Ohio, who practices in Brookville, said a patient who worked at a Sunman-Dearborn school seemed to be affected by mold in carpeting there. He sent a sample to the Ohio Department of Health, which reported it was a nontoxic species. “You can still have allergic reactions to that stuff. Toxic molds are not that common.”

Fehlinger reported sometimes ISDH officials will visit local sites, “get the swabs and take them back (to the Indianapolis laboratory) and let you know” if the mold is hazardous. If so, ISDH mandates that a specialist remedy the problem.

Dubois asked, “Does it have a particular smell?” Fain recalling touring a downtown Brookville house filled with mold. He noticed an offensive odor within 5 minutes. “Your eyes burn, your nose runs, you just can’t breathe. There was not one thing in that house that was not covered.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.