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While we have discussed health care a lot on this forum, since the bill passed on Sunday I thought people may want to offer some fresh thoughts, so this is the place to do so.

Edward Hospital announced Monday new restrictions on visitors put in place because of H1N1 flu fears.

All visitors under age 18 are prohibited, including those who want to visit a newborn sibling. All others, regardless of age, are asked to refrain from visiting, if possible. You should not visit if you have any upper respiratory signs or symptoms. Patients and visitors with any upper respiratory signs and symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat or general fatigue will be asked to wear a mask from the time they arrive until they leave or are instructed otherwise.

One can easily imagine a scenario where a parent is dying or facing serious surgery and the family wants to visit one last time, but is denied because of this policy. Of course, one can also imagine a sick visitor spreading an infection that sweeps through the vulnerable hospital population. Do you think this is something that has to be done, or is the hospital overreacting?

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/1846681,Edward-restricts-visitors-H1N1_na102609.article

For awhile it seemed likely that the swine flu scary would turn out like a few other potential pandemics of recent years, such as avian flu and SARS, in other words, a lot of excitement but little real impact.

But with a second Naperville resident dying at least partially because of the flu on Wednesday, and with another death in Sandwich and more than 900 students sick at St. Charles East High School, it's starting to look like H1N1 may be for real.

Are you more worried about the flu now than a few months ago? Do you plan to get vaccinated?

For the most part, local parents, church leaders and officials say the 14-year-old parental notification law, which became effective today, is good for teens and their parents. While some teens say they'd feel uncomfortable telling their parents about their decision to get an abortion, the law mandates that they do. There are a few exceptions in the case of incest or abuse.

Others are concerned that the law is too lax, that young girls will just forge signatures. Doctors also have been granted a 90-day reprieve from the Illinois State Medical Disciplinary board. That means the board will not take any action against doctors for performing abortions without parental consent. Planned Parenthood says they don't need the grace period. They're ready to fulfill the law.

What do you think? Should parents have a say in whether their children get abortions? Is parental notification just a Band-Aid for the real issue - parents' inability to talk to their kids about sex? or that abortion is legal at all? Is the legislation too soft? Tell us what you think.

Emma Royko of Naperville is still one of the guys. She's just not part of their team.
Since kindergarten, she has played soccer, basketball and baseball with a group of neighborhood boys she has grown up with.
But, at age of 8, the tow-headed tomboy's being told "no girls allowed." It's not the boys who are banning her, though, it's the adults.
Wheatland Athletic Association no longer will allow her to play alongside her male teammates in recreational basketball and baseball leagues. Also, Heritage Family YMCA wouldn't allow her to play basketball with the team this winter after allowing her to do so the previous season. And the Naperville Park District already has accepted her team into its "premiere" soccer league this fall, but indicated it can play only if Emma doesn't.
Why is this happening?
"Probably because I'm a girl, and they have girls' leagues," Emma said. "But most of my friends are on that (boys) team."
"They say, 'Eventually, she's going to have to play with the girls. She can't always play with the boys,'" said her mother, Cindy Royko.
Do you agree with these organizations' decisions? Is age 8 too early to start seperating boys from girls when it comes to sports teams? Why should it matter anyway - if Emma is at the same skill level as her male buddies, shouldn't she be allowed to play sports with and against them?

On Wednesday, the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board denied Edward Hospital's plan to build a hospital in Plainfield.

When the proposal was first made, Edward CEO Pam Davis was told that her project would be approved if she agreed to use certain contractors. She refused, and the rest is history. The project was denied, denied again, and now denied a third time.

During the hearing Wednesday, an Edward official accused the board of bias, which the board vehemently refuted.

Do you think the planning board has made this personal, or is it just the wrong project at the wrong time?

Pardon us for being blunt, but this is getting ridiculous. Peoples' lives could be at stake.

You still mean to tell us, oh wise ones at the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, that Plainfield -- one of the fastest-growing communities in one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation -- doesn't have enough need for a hospital of its own. Right.

Try telling that to the Plainfield families caught in traffic trying to get to Naperville's Edward Hospital or one of the other full-service hospitals in Aurora or Joliet that are miles and precious minutes away.

Twice before the petition has been denied. We're sure it had nothing to do with Edward CEO Pam Davis blowing the whistle on the pay-to-play-on-steroids corruption at the IHFPB. Her defiance probably brought down Tony Rezko, after all. Nah, that couldn't have anything to do with it. What did the board say last time, out of the blue? That Edward should build a women's hospital? What the hell is that??!!!

Sorry, but we're passionate about the blatant unfairness Edward has had to endure for years. Meanwhile, the Bolingbrook hospital was approved, built and opened. A Joliet hospital's wish to move to New Lenox is granted. And other proposals sail through.

Are we right? What do you think? Will the board on Tuesday finally approve Edward Plainfield Hospital? Or will it deny it, again? Or delay action, again?

UPDATE 3:15 p.m. TUESDAY: The state board once again denied the petition for Edward Plainfield Hospital.

Sunday's Sun features a story about a woman directly impacted by the new Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, cosponsored by the member of Congress who represents Naperville, U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert. President Bush recently signed into law the measure, which protects people against discrimination because of genetic disposition.

In our story, a woman with a family history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer worries about being denied employment or health insurance because of her genetic predisposition. The new law will protect her and others like her.

How worried are you that you might be the subject of genetic discrimination? What concerns do you have about privacy, or other facets of the new law?

Representatives from Naperville-based Edward Hospital were in Springfield Tuesday making their case about why the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board should approve Edward Plainfield Hospital. But regulators once again put off making a decision, this time until May or July. The latest delay angered Plainfield Mayor Jim Waldorf, who said, "The people of Plainfield feel betrayed. They want a hospital."

What do you think about the delay, whether there's a need for a hospital in Plainfield, and Edward's repeated attempts to win state approval?

Happy New Year! Now that Jan. 1 is here, we can all breathe a little easier, literally. And there's no chance that Illinois towns will rescind their disastrous smoking bans this year because 1.) the Bears are not in the playoffs and 2.) the statewide smoking ban is in effect. How will it affect you, and what do you think will happen?

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