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Newswatch

Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Tuesday, March 2, 1999


Prozac suit should
get started this week

Children of a man who took the drug,
stabbedhis wife to death, then
killed himself are suing

By Debra Barayuga, Star-Bulletin

A lawsuit against manufacturers of the antidepressant Prozac is expected to go to trial later this week in U.S. District Court.

The adult children of William D. Forsyth Jr. and his wife, June, filed a wrongful death suit against drug manufacturer Eli Lilly in 1995 claiming the company failed to warn users of potential side effects, including the possibility of suicide and violent behavior.

Forsyth had been treated for depression and had been taking Prozac for two weeks when on March 4, 1993, he stabbed his wife 15 times with a kitchen knife, killing her, before stabbing himself to death at their Kaanapali home.Forsyth, 63, had no history of violence or suicidal thoughts before taking the antidepressant under his doctor's recommendations, according to the lawsuit.

Last January, U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay dismissed the drug maker's attempts to throw out wrongful death claims for suicides caused by taking the drug and ruled there was sufficient evidence for the trial to go forward.

Jury selection was to begin this afternoon.

The company has denied there is a link between the use of Prozac and the potential for suicide or violent behavior. The company received approval to market the drug in the United States in 1987.

Tapa

Emergency care plan set to go nationwide

WASHINGTON -- Legislation offering visitors to emergency rooms across the mainland the same health insurance protections offered Hawaii visitors was introduced today in Congress.

The bill would require health plans to cover emergency services if the patient had symptoms that a "prudent layperson" could expect to result in his or her health being impaired.

Thirty-two states already have such a standard, including Hawaii, which adopted it last year. But lawmakers want to extend it nationwide to prevent insurance companies from billing patients for care the patients assumed would be covered as an emergency.

Among the co-sponsors of the federal proposal, most of whom are Democrats, are Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Honolulu, and Rep. Patsy Mink, D-rural Oahu/neighbor islands.

"I invite all of you to come to Hawaii and see how this works," said Abercrombie at a Capitol Hill news conference unveiling the legislation. "I think we have a working model there.

Coast Guard towing sailboat back to Hawaii

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter has reached an Oahu-based sailboat that was damaged by heavy winds enroute from Palmyra atoll.

The crew of the 43-foot vessel Jasmine reported that the main mast was damaged Friday and there were engine difficulties because of contaminated fuel.

The cutter Washington today began towing the vessel to Oahu. The Jasmine was expected to reach Oahu by 4 p.m. tomorrow.

March events will focus on mental retardation

Gov. Ben Cayetano will proclaim March as Mental Retardation Awareness Month today.

The Arc, a state organization on mental retardation, will schedule events to teach the public about the abilities and needs of the mentally retarded.

The Arc provides alternatives to institutions by helping mentally retarded individuals develop and integrate into the communities.

The Arc has chapters in Hilo, Kona, Kauai and Maui. It will join 140,000 members of more than 1,000 state and local chapters across the nation to observe the month.

Media Council honors Star-Bulletin cartoonist

Star-Bulletin cartoonist Corky Trinidad has won the 1999 Fletcher Knebel Award given by Honolulu Community Media Council "for his sustained outstanding contribution to media excellence in Hawaii."

Desmond Byrne, past president of Common Cause of Hawaii, won a special award "for his action-oriented and enthusiastic commitment to First Amendment rights and open government."

Both will be honored at a joint "Freedom of Information" luncheon of the Media Council and Society of Professional Journalists, Hawaii chapter, at 11:30 a.m. March 21 at Jefferson Hall Garden Lanai, East-West Center, University of Hawaii.

Featured speaker will be Webster Nolan, director of media programs, East-West Center. His topic will be, "Freedom of Information: a Tale of Two Countries: the United States and China."

Nolan's journalism career has included time with United Press International, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and other newspapers.

His duties at the East-West Center include looking after conferences for journalists and news media executives.

Luncheon reservations are $20, and $15 for students. Mail checks to: Honolulu Community-Media Council, P.O. Box 22415, Honolulu, HI 96823-2415.

To pay at the door, call 983-4744 and leave a message.

Students will receive fire safety awards

Fifty-seven youngsters will receive awards at a 10 a.m. Saturday ceremony at the Bishop Museum Atherton Halau. Awards will also go to 55 teachers and certificates of recognition will be given 18 corporate sponsors.

Some 153,300 students participated in the largest fire safety educational program in the state, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Search] [Info] section for subscription information.




Police, Fire

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

POLICE

Man held in robbery at Waipahu bus stop

Police this morning arrested an 18-year-old man in the robbery of a 31-year-old man sleeping at a bus stop in Waipahu.

The older man reported falling asleep at the bus stop on Farrington Highway and Awanui Street, police said.

At about 1 a.m., he was awakened by the suspect demanding money. The suspect allegedly punched the man after finding no money then ran away. Police found the suspect shortly after.

Leilehua student, 15, arrested in assault

A 15-year-old student at Leilehua High School was arrested yesterday for reportedly assaulting a fellow student.

The boy allegedly punched another boy at 1:30 p.m. at the school, police said.

Tapa

THE COURTS

Doctor says injuries to child not from abuse

WAILUKU -- Maui County Prosecutor Richard Bissen won't pursue a felony child-abuse charge against Pedro C. Cabaccang Jr., 23, after a physician testified his child's injuries were caused by a rare genetic disorder.

In an agreement with the prosecution, Cabaccang has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor abuse and has been placed on probation for one year.

Cabaccang told police he pushed his 14-month-old daughter's face into a pillow in 1998 but he contended it was for too short a period to hurt her.

"His intent was not to hurt or kill her," said deputy public defender Reinette Cooper.

Dr. Berkeley Powell said the child's inability to metabolize protein caused a buildup of toxins that damaged liver and brain cells.

Maui Circuit Judge Artemio Baxa on Friday ordered Cabaccang to attend anger-management and parenting classes and serve 120 hours of community service.

He was also sentenced to two days in jail, time he has already served.

Maui woman gets jail for starving cattle

WAILUKU -- A 42-year-old Maui woman is scheduled to start serving six months in jail for eight counts of animal cruelty involving starvation of cattle at Ukumehame in 1994.

Annette Niles has been appealing the convictions for the past two years.

Wailuku District Judge Mary Blaine Johnston last week denied Niles request to reconsider the sentence.

In a 1994 search, the cattle were found dead or dying of starvation on the Perreira Ranch, land leased by the state.

Niles previously served 30 days in jail and was fined $10,000 for her conviction on 10 counts of animal cruelty involving cattle starvation in 1993.


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See our [Search] [Info] section for subscription information.




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