After 12 wonderful days of vacation that included skiing in Colorado and hiking in Yosemite, I returned to news that nurses at Temple University hospital are on strike and a local doctor has been convicted of dealing prescription drugs including Percocet and Xanax.
At Temple, the union representing nurses says its members - 1,000 nurses and 500 other professional workers such as respiratory therapists and social workers - voted to strike because of "bad faith" bargaining on the part of the hospital. Hospital administrators have hired temporary employees through an agency that specializes in strike forces to keep the 746-bed hospital open. Points of contention between the two sides include pay raises, the payments for health insurance, tuition benefits for employees' children, and random drug testing.
In the criminal case, meanwhile, doctor Laurence T. McKinney, 54, was convicted on 30 of 49 counts of distribution of controlled substances. He had operated the McKinney Medical Center on Frankford Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia since 2004, but three years later began to sell prescriptions for Percocet and Xanax - two of the most frequently abused controlled drugs - for $100 a pop, according to prosecutors. McKinney faces up to nine years in prison when he is sentenced on July 14.
I’ll get back to regular more frequent blog posts tomorrow – after the jet lag abates a bit – but thought these were two interesting stories.