Trending News for June 1

Mother Puts 6-year-old Daughter on Unnecessary Surgeries; J&J Seeks to Void $2B Talcum Powder Verdict; Naomi Osaka Withdrew from French Open; Shop Owner Charged for Killing Customer Who Refused to Pay; ‘Cocktails to Go’ is Extended Until 2024


Mother Accused of Putting 6-year-old Daughter Under Hundreds of Unnecessary Surgeries

A 31-year-old Washington state-based mother, Sophie Hartman, faces domestic violence and assault charges, as she was accused of putting her 6-year-old adopted daughter through surgeries and medical procedures that are unnecessary.

The prosecutors alleged that Hartman forced the child to undergo at least 473 unnecessary medical procedures, according to the court documents. The charges include assault on a child in the second degree and domestic violence.

The list of procedures, which date back to 2016, included a hormonal implant, a feeding tube placed directly into her stomach, and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) to flush her intestines, among procedures. Against the doctor’s advice, Hartman also forced the child to use leg braces and a wheelchair. 

According to a 2019 interview with a local news outlet, Hartman, who is white, adopted her two Black daughters from Zambia. The court document showed that the police discovered a search history on her iPhone and iPad that include “making a pretend model of hearing aid,” “cochlear implants Black child,” “how to get paid to take care of a member of a family with disability,” and “funeral songs.”

When Hartman’s daughter was admitted for a 16-day stay at the Seattle Children’s Hospital in February, the doctors were alarmed after reviewing her extensive medical history despite the child’s healthy state.

Dr. Rebecca Wiester, the Seattle Children’s Hospital director, wrote a letter to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, asking for a deeper investigation into the case of the 6-year-old. The letter stated that the doctors believed that at the hands of her caretaker, the child is at profound risk.

“All the available evidence obtained during the course of her admission suggests [the child] is a healthy young 6-year-old who would continue to benefit from de-escalation of medical support and normalization of her childhood experience,” Wiester wrote in the probable-cause documents.

After the child was weaned off from all medication, the prosecution said she had made a steady recovery and no longer requires her feeding tube, TNP, wheelchair, or braces.


Johnson & Johnson Seeks to Void $2B Talcum Powder Cancer Verdict

Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical giant, asks the United States Supreme Court to review the $2 billion verdict against it. The judgment favored the 22 women who said the talc products manufactured by the company contain asbestos that causes ovarian cancer.

The States Supreme Court will decide as early as Tuesday whether it will involve itself.

The St. Louis Circuit Court conducted a six-week trial in 2018, where a jury awarded the amount of $4.7 billion to the 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using J&J talc products.

Circuit Judge Rex Burlison wrote that the defendants showed particularly reprehensible conduct in the evidence presented at the trial.

“The defendants knew of the presence of asbestos in products that they knowingly targeted for sale to mothers and babies, knew of the damage their products caused, and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades,” Burlison wrote.

Missouri appeals court rejected the appeal of J&J to overturn the jury verdict but reduced the amount to $2.1 billion because some of the women were from out of state.

The lawsuit is only one of many filed by thousands of women who claim that J&J’s talc-based products like baby powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. Other suits have claimed that the products caused mesothelioma.

J&J denied that its products cause cancer, though last year, it announced that it would stop selling its talc-based baby powder in the US and Canada.

It said that the decision to discontinue the product was caused by falling demand “fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.”

A US-led analysis of 250,000 women showed no strong evidence linking the use of baby powder with ovarian cancer. However, the study’s lead author called the results “very ambiguous.”

An editorial published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2020 called the findings “overall reassuring.” The study wasn’t definitive, but conclusive research probably isn’t feasible due to a drop in women using the products, the editorial said.


Naomi Osaka Announced Withdrawal from 2021 French Open

Naomi Osaka announced on Monday that she is withdrawing from the 2021 French Open, one day after she was fined $15,000 for refusing to attend to her media obligations.

She said she “never wanted to be a distraction” from the other players participating in the event in a statement released on her Twitter feed. 

“I think now the best thing for the Tournament, the other players, and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris. I never wanted to be a distraction, and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,” Osaka wrote. 

“More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018, and I have had a really hard time coping with that,” she added.

Roland Garros issued a statement in response to her exit from the Tournament after Osaka’s announcement:

“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year.”

“As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP, and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always strived to do.”

Osaka has previously said she would not participate in press conferences at Roland Garros, citing her mental health. She felt “people have no regard for athletes’ mental health.” She criticized Grand Slam tennis for enforcing the media requirements on players.

“If the organizations think they can keep saying, ‘do press or you’re going to get fined,’ and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation, then I just gotta laugh,” Osaka wrote.


Barbershop Owner Charged With Killing Customer Who Refused to Pay

The owner of a suburban barbershop, Deshon Mcadory, 40 years old, and a resident of Lombard, was charged with murder in first-degree in connection to last Thursday’s shooting at the Studio 914 barbershop, in Maywood. The bail was set at $250,000. Mcadory allegedly shot and killed a customer who refused to pay.

According to Cook County Assistant State Attorney Kevin Meehan, the victim, Christian McDougald, 31, refused to pay for a haircut and argued with the barbers at the shop. Everyone left except for McDougald and Mcadory after the dispute continued outside.

Mcadory allegedly fired at McDougald in the chest when the victim followed the shop owner to its back door, Meehan said. McDougald was found by responding officers and was immediately taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where the doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

A surveillance video has recorded the whole shooting incident, and a witness identified Mcadory as the shooter. The gun involved in the shooting was found inside a coat believed to be owned by Mcadory, and ammunition with matching shell casing at the scene was also found in his vehicle.

Three other guns were also found at a workstation belonging to Mcadory’s business partner, 43-year-old Samuel Williams. Williams has four previous felony convictions and was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. His bail was set at $25,000 after appearing alongside Mcadory in court Sunday.

Anthony Burch, Mcadory’s attorney, insisted that his client was acting in self-defense. He noted that Mcadory was “retreating” back into the barbershop when he shot McDougald, whom he called the “aggressor.” Mcadory also has both a Firearm Owners Identification card and a concealed carry permit. 

Burch described his client as a productive member of the Cook County community who employs eight independent contractors and supports two children in college. 

Judge David Navarro ultimately set his bail at $250,000, though Meehan requested that Mcadory be held in custody. Both Mcadory and Williams are expected in court again Wednesday.


‘Cocktails to Go’ is Extended Until 2024 in Illinois

Illinois lawmakers passed a bill allowing bars and restaurants to continue to serve cocktails to go, a measure that has helped struggling businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative was first passed during the 2020 legislative session. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it to help bars and restaurants bring in more revenue as they were affected by closures during the pandemic. Last year’s measure included a provision requiring it to expire automatically after one year.

The Illinois House passed Senate Bill 104 on Thursday to update the measure and extend its sunset date to Jan. 1, 2024, and the final version of the bill was approved on Sunday.

Julia Momose, the owner of Kumiko in the West Loop, played a huge part in getting the first bill passed last summer. She and other restaurant owners formed the initiative called “Cocktails for Hope,” advocating the sale of cocktails to-go.

“It saved my business. In reality, if we did not get it passed last year, I would have had to close. Go into hibernation. I would not have been able to hire back staff,” said Julia Momose.

“We have proven ourselves to be responsible in serving the alcohol and our customers in the way they are purchasing from us and enjoying their drink safely at home,” Momose added.

A neighborhood tavern and music venue, Reed’s Local, has seen a 30% revenue increase since selling their version of adult juice boxes to-go. The bar did not serve food and had to stay closed for business longer than regular restaurants.

“It saved us during the pandemic. That was pretty much the only income we had for about a year,” said the co-owner of Reed’s Local, Melissa Genova Hill.

Cesar’s on Broadway’s to-go margaritas have generated a 15% increase in revenue, helping the owner, Israel Sanchez, stay afloat.

“Everything has gone up exponentially, whether it’s labor, cost of goods, everything has gone up,” said Sanchez. “This extra revenue coming in with these margaritas to-go is huge because that balances off all of the extra expense we have.”