Entries in Maryland (4)


Maryland Bill Sets Rules for Frozen Eggs, Sperm

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- A proposed bill in the Maryland legislature would make it illegal to use a dead person’s sperm or eggs to reproduce without a notarized agreement from the donor.  If the bill is passed, violators could face a $1,000 fine for a first offense.

The bill aims to clarify a legal gray area created by in vitro fertilization, a procedure introduced in the late 1970s that allows women to become pregnant using frozen sperm and eggs donated months, even years earlier. It would also allow children born within two years of a biological parent’s death to receive inheritance, as long as the parent consented.

Just this week, U.S. Supreme Court justices were divided on whether twins conceived with frozen sperm and born 18 months after their father’s death were eligible for Social Security survivor’s benefits, the Baltimore Sun reported.

“Nobody knows what’s enforceable, what’s conscionable or what makes sense,” Sen. Dolores Kelley, a Baltimore County Democrat who sponsored the bill, told the Sun.

The first report of post-mortem sperm retrieval dates to 1980, and involved a 30-year-old man who was left brain dead after a car accident, according to the journal Human Reproduction. In 2010, Missy Evans of Bedford, Texas, retrieved sperm from the body of her 21-year-old son Nikolas in hope of becoming pregnant with her own grandchild.

In the 1990s, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill banning the use of sperm from deceased donors entirely -- legislation later vetoed as an intrusion into parents’ private decisions, the Sun reported. The issue has remained largely untouched until now.

The bill applies only to donors known by the person wishing to conceive, such as a widow hoping to conceive with her late husband’s sperm. It does not apply to anonymous sperm and egg donors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maryland Teen Threatened Suicide If School Doesn't Stop Cyber Bullying

Comstock/Thinkstock(GAMBRILLS, Md.) -- A Maryland teenager who identified herself only as Sarah was so frustrated with what she said was her high school's nonchalant attitude towards her reports of bullying that she went online and threatened suicide if the school didn't do something about it.

Arundel High School administrators are working this week to quell the firestorm that her note has started.

Her post on reddit asked, "The cyber bullying has gotten to the point where the school will not take any action unless I kill myself. reddit- how do I get my story out and make this stop?"

The message, posted last Wednesday, was from a second-semester senior who described a world in which her bully, someone who she describes as well-known and liked, would say, "Go kill yourself. No one would care if you died. Why aren't you dead yet?"

The girl was given that message repeatedly online and in person since the beginning of the school year, she wrote on reddit.

Sarah said in her note that she had contacted school officials several times, each time to no avail.

"As a teenager dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, I could not laugh this off. I went straight to the office and demanded to see a vice principal. I was sobbing uncontrollably and visibly a danger to myself, but they just sat me down and had me fill out a form. I called my Dad, who cancelled his flight out-of-town to come be with me. He was furious that he was not called in a situation like this. We had a conference with the vice principal, and we were told there would be consequences if it happened again," the note said.

Anne Arundel County School District spokesman Bob Mosier would neither confirm nor deny whether or not Sarah had gone to officials before.

Administrators say that they were first notified of Sarah's note early Wednesday morning, around 1:30 a.m. after the reddit note had gone viral. Mosier says that officials received a slew of emails notifying them of the incident.

"It was a bit of an early-morning mystery," Mosier said. He said that he received emails from all across the country as well as from locations in Canada.

"When you were growing up, your circle of friends is right around the block. Now that includes Canada and Germany and Australia. It [the suicide note] certainly gets a very large audience very quickly," he said.

Mosier, along with other officials, sifted through the thousands of comments to garner clues on who Sarah may be. After hours of sleuthing, they determined that she attended Arundel High School. The next morning, police officers and administrators met with several possible girls until they found the right one.

Sarah retold her account of the incident in an edit to her original reddit post.

"I get off my bus this morning, and I see an unusual amount of cops around the school. I find the group who was going with me into the office, and we sat in guidance, waiting for the counselor to see us all (There were about six of us). Next thing I know, someone asks me if I'm Sarah. They had been looking for this 'Sarah' all morning, and had even called down another girl by the same name. I get taken into one of the counselor's rooms, and a book of these comments is placed in front of me. She tells me that she has gotten a ton of emails, and that the page has been forwarded to several teachers and the principal. I was shocked," she said.

Mosier said that disciplinary action was taken against her bully and that the school is still counseling Sarah.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mystery Illness Kills Three in Maryland Family

Comstock/Thinkstock(PRINCE FREDERICK, Md.) -- Three members of a Maryland family died after contracting severe respiratory illnesses, and a fourth family member is hospitalized in critical condition, the Calvert County Health Department announced Tuesday.

Officials are trying to identify the illness that killed an 81-year-old woman and two of her children, both in their 50s, who cared for her in her home in Lusby.  Another of the woman’s children is seriously ill at Washington Medical Center.

The elderly woman became ill around Feb. 23 and died on March 1, according to WJLA.  The woman’s son and daughter developed symptoms around Feb. 28 when they came to care for her.  They died on Monday.

The health department announced that no one outside the family has fallen ill and they are not recommending special precautions at this time.

Although few details are available about the illness, infectious disease specialists speculate there could be a number of causes.

“The first thing that comes to mind is influenza.  It can be devastating and make people very ill,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.  “But when they’re a cluster like this, we have to wonder if it may be a mutant strain of flu virus.  There’s been some concern about a swine flu variant.”

Pneumonia is also a possibility, as is Legionnaires’ disease.

“Legionnaires’ could cluster, and that would implicate perhaps something about this home environment,” Schaffner added.  “Bacteria like moisture, so there would need to be an investigation of the heating and air conditioning systems.”

There could also be other environmental causes, such as a toxin, or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dr. Gio Baracco, associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, speculated, based on the very limited amount of information available, that the cause is non-infectious and could be something environmental.

“The reason is that for most infections, transmission rate is not 100 percent and the fatality rate is not 100 percent,” he said.  If the woman’s hospitalized daughter dies, the case fatality rate will be 100 percent, he explained.

“The fact that they’re in the same household and they’re not seeing the same thing going on in the community is unusual,” he added.

An earlier press release from the health department said the woman’s home is about a mile away from a power plant, but there has been no link between their proximity to the plant and the illness cluster.

The health department recommends that people regularly wash their hands and limit contact with anyone who is sick.  They also urge anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to seek medical attention.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maryland Abortion Doctors Accused of Murder

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- Two doctors who performed late term abortions in Maryland have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder.

Officials say it's an unusual use of a law that allows for murder charges in the death of a viable fetus. The investigation began in 2010 after what authorities say was a botched procedure at Dr. Steven Brigham's clinic.

This may mark the first case in the United States where an abortion provider has been charged with murder in connection with the death of a fetus.

Prosecutors say that doctors conspired to kill viable fetuses. They say after a botched abortion tipped them off, the search of an abortion clinic yielded a freezer containing numerous late term fetuses.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio