Massachusetts limo driver gives girl, 8, with rare genetic disorder free rides to Boston Children’s Hospital

A limo driver in Massachusetts is making sure an 8-year-old girl with a rare genetic disorder gets to her doctor’s appointments in style.

Steven Hipolito, owner of Silver City Limousine in Taunton, Massachusetts, first connected with Mary Alice Tryda, 8, thanks to Facebook.

“I had posted on the Bridgewater board on Facebook just looking for information on how to get from Bridgewater to Boston Children’s Hospital because we were new to the area,” Tryda’s mother, Kelly, told Fox 25.

That’s when Kelly got a response from Hipolito, who offered to take Tryda to her doctor’s appointments in Boston in one of his limos — for free.

“I have a similar story, when I was a child my mother had to bring me back and forth to the children’s hospital so I understood her stress.”

– Steven Hipolito

At first, Kelly was hesitant. But after doing her “due diligence” and getting to know him, she started to feel comfortable, she told Fox News on Thursday.

“I have a similar story, when I was a child my mother had to bring me back and forth to the children’s hospital so I understood her stress,” Hipolito told Fox 25.

Tryda has a rare genetic disorder called Brittle Cornea Disease, which is a subset of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a “group of disorders that affect connective tissues supporting the skin, bones, blood vessels, and many other organs and tissues,” according to the National Library of Medicine. The syndrome can cause “defects in connective tissues cause the signs and symptoms of these conditions, which range from mildly loose joints to life-threatening complications,” according to the library.

When Kelly was pregnant with Tryda, who is a twin, “none of the doctors expected her to make it — they were preparing us to lose her,” she said. But the now 8-year-old “came out screaming,” her mother said, adding that her daughter is “so smart” but is sometimes physically limited.

So far, Hipolito has taken Tryda to seven of her doctor’s appointments, which are located more than an hour away in Boston.

“It has made things much easier, it takes a lot of stress off because I don’t like driving in the city,” she said, adding that Tryda will undergo “a major knee operation this summer” because one of her knee caps is “totally dislocated.”

Hipolito told Fox 25 that taking the young girl to her appointments is “a good time,” adding that Tryda is “a lot of fun.”

“The community here is awesome,” Kelly said, adding that her family has become good friends with Hipolito’s.

Hipolito was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fox News on Thursday.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Ace Hardware employees save Michigan woman who overdosed in store parking lot

Three employees at the Great Lakes Ace Hardware store in Jackson, Michigan saved the life of a woman who allegedly overdosed on heroin.

Lisa Huff, one of three employees responsible for saving the woman, first noticed she was slumped over in her car in the store’s parking lot. Two of her fellow coworkers, Cody Brigham and Joe Bommarito, also noticed the woman, WILX-TV reported.

After they called 911, Brigham used a crowbar to pry the woman’s car window open and then dragged her out. Then, as they waited for help to arrive, Bommarito performed CPR.

“It looked like she was gone. We thought she was gone,” Bommarito later told WILX-TV.

Paramedics then treated the woman for a heroin overdose, according to the news station.

The incident occurred on Monday, a day after Mother’s Day.

“That’s somebody’s daughter,” Bommarito said. “Thank God she didn’t lose her daughter, and if she had kids, thank God they didn’t lose their mother.”

“These are our neighbors around here. No matter what the situation is, we want to help them out. Joe was awesome with the chest compression, and the teamwork on the inside,” said Brigham, who added that “it’s one of those things where human nature kicks in.”

Jackson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cullen Knoblauch said the three employees should be called heroes for helping the woman.

“They definitely went above and beyond what their job duties are. They saw a person in need and acted without even thinking about their safety,” he said, according to the news station.

The woman is expected to recover.

Knoblauch was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fox News on Wednesday. A spokesperson for Ace Hardware has not yet returned Fox News’ request for comment.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Judge tosses California law allowing life-ending drugs

A California judge on Tuesday threw out a 2016 state law allowing the terminally ill to end their lives, ruling it was unconstitutionally approved by the Legislature.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia did not rule on the legality of allowing physician-assisted death, but he issued an oral ruling saying lawmakers acted illegally in passing the law during a special session devoted to other topics, said lawyers for supporters and opponents.

Ottolia kept the law in place and gave the state attorney general five days to appeal. Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation, American Academy of Medical Ethics and several physicians challenged the law, which allows terminally ill adults to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a doctor has determined they have six months or less to live. The plaintiffs say the law lacks safeguards to protect against abuse.

California is one of five states in which terminally ill people can end their lives. Oregon was the first to provide the option in 1997.

Since California approved the legislation, hundreds of terminally ill people have requested life-ending drugs, according to state figures and local advocates who track the prescriptions.

California health officials reported that 111 terminally ill people took drugs to end their lives in the first six months after the law went into effect June 9, 2016, and made the option legal in the nation’s most populous state. The next report on how many people took the drugs is due in July.

“Our supporters, they’ve frankly expressed shock at this outcome. They’re disappointed that this end of life option could be taken away,” said John Kappos, an attorney representing Compassion & Choices, a national organization that advocated for the Legislature to pass the law.

Advocates argued if the law is suspended, people who qualified for the prescriptions will lose the option and be forced to suffer prolonged, painful deaths.

“The court went down a technical path saying we’re not going to reach the merits…but the way it was enacted through a special session the court said was improper and therefore declared it unconstitutional,” Kappos said.

The Democratic lawmakers who carried the original bill, Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton and Sen. Bill Monning of Carmel, could not immediately say if they would try to pass the bill again.

Alexandra Snyder, an attorney and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, said the judge ruled that lawmakers effectively “hijacked” a special legislative session that was called to address access to medical care and used it to pass their bill.

“It was a violation of the Constitution to basically slip in this suicide bill,” she said, saying it set a dangerous precedent that undermines the legislative process. “Access to health care has no relationship to assisted suicide.”

The state’s attorney general’s office, in responding to the suit, noted that medical professionals have the right to refuse to prescribe and dispense the drugs. Under the law, the terminally ill person must be able to self-administer the drugs.

The attorney general’s office said in court documents that the act “provides comfort, support and an option to accommodate the very unique needs of terminally ill patients.” It said the plaintiffs are wrong to second guess the Legislature’s policy decisions.

In lobbying against the law before state legislators, opponents argued that hastening death was morally wrong, that it puts terminally ill patients at risk for coerced death by loved ones and could become a way out for people who are uninsured or fearful of high medical bills.

___

Associated Press writer Julie Watson contributed to this story from San Diego.

Melania Trump’s kidney condition, ’embolization procedure’ explained

First lady Melania Trump is recovering from an embolization procedure that she underwent Monday to treat a benign kidney condition, the White House announced — just minutes after word of former Sen. Harry Reid’s operation to treat his pancreatic cancer spread.

Mrs. Trump, 48, likely will remain under observation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the duration of the week, communications director Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

The news of Mrs. Trump’s hospitalization came as a shock, as many Americans were unaware she had a kidney condition. The day before, she was wishing everyone a “Happy Mother’s Day” on Twitter.

“Oh wow, I had no idea she had health issues,” one Twitter user commented.

“Something doesn’t add up. They are keeping her all week? Women go home hours after a hysterectomy and giving birth. Praying it’s nothing more serious and just precautionary,” another added.

Here’s what you need to know, as the first lady continues recovering at Walter Reed this week.

What is an ’embolization procedure’?

Embolization procedures are performed to cut off blood supply to a tumor, aneurysm or abnormal growth, typically growing in the kidney or liver, to shrink the foreign mass. 

“In this procedure, an interventional radiologist uses imaging guidance to insert a catheter into a primary artery and advance it to blood vessel leading to a tumor or other area where the bloody supply needs to be blocked,” Cancer Treatment Centers of America explains in a post on its website.

Since the surgery is non-invasive, recovery time tends to be quick. Patients are usually monitored for about 2 hours after the procedure. If vital signs are strong and patients can walk down a long hall with a nurse successfully, then they’re generally discharged that same day, according to Northwestern Medicine.

“Kidney embolization procedures are generally well tolerated,” John Friedewald, M.D., medical director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, told Women’s Health on Monday, adding that it causes only minor side effects such as fever, pain or bleeding at the injection spot.

What is a benign kidney condition?

When an abnormal mass is “benign,” that means it’s non-cancerous and contained, meaning it won’t spread to the rest of the body. It’s unclear whether Mrs. Trump had a benign tumor (angiomyolipoma), cyst or other unusual growth — but, as the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) points out, a “simple kidney cyst” is the most common benign kidney condition.

“A simple cyst is a round or oval fluid-filled sac. One or more cysts can develop in a kidney,” the CCS explains, adding that it’s most common in adults 50 years or older.

It’s actually pretty hard to identify a kidney condition, experts say.

“Most kidney masses… are discovered incidentally – meaning that they are found by chance during radiologic studies obtained for an unrelated medical condition,” the Mayo Clinic says.

New Jersey residents may have been exposed to measles at several places, including Newark Airport

New Jersey residents may have been exposed to measles after two people with the virus visited several places, including Newark Liberty International Airport, in recent weeks, the state’s health officials announced.

New Jersey Department of Health said a person with measles stopped in New Jersey on April 30 while on a tour bus traveling from Niagara Falls, New York to Washington, D.C. In the second unrelated incident, a resident in Bergen County contracted measles after coming in contact with an international traveler who had the contagious virus between late April and early May.

The two infected people passed through several places, including Towne Centre at Englewood apartments from April 24 to May 2, Renaissance Office Center in Englewood on April 30, Columbia Travel Center on April 30 and Newark airport on May 2, NJ.com reported.

MISSOURI PEDIATRICIAN SLAMS ‘SELFISH’ ANTI-VAXERS AFTER MEASLES FACEBOOK POST SPARKS DEBATE

Health officials urged anyone who hasn’t received a measles vaccine to immediately do so. Anyone who may have been exposed to the virus who hasn’t been vaccinated should seek medical attention.

People with measles could develop symptoms such as rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. In some cases, serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis could develop.

Symptoms, however, usually takes a week to two weeks to appear.

The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles can also spread four days before and after a rash appears on an infected person, according to the CDC.

Though the disease is highly contagious, officials said children who received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine twice are “considered protected for life.”

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Chronic pain patients angry over ‘opioid contracts’

Many doctors around the country are now asking patients with chronic pain to sign a document agreeing to certain conditions before they’ll prescribe an opioid pain medication.

 

As part of these “opioid contracts” or “pain contracts,” patients agree to random urine drug screens, opioid pill counts, and other conditions. Violation of the terms can result in patients no longer being prescribed opioids by that medical professional.

 

The contracts, also known as “opioid treatment agreements,” are one tool among many aimed at reducing the misuse of prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine.

They’re also intended as a way to inform patients of the risks of prescription opioids.

“It is really meant to be used as a clear way to establish an understanding of [opioid] treatment guidelines and expectations of the patient and physician,” said Dr. Kavita Sharma, a board-certified pain physician with New York-based Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates.

But critics say the agreements are coercive and damage the doctor-patient relationship.

 

 

Research also suggests they do little to reduce misuse or diversion of prescription opioid pills.

Stigmatizing a group

Many patients with chronic pain who have been taking opioid pain medications for years — with no issues — say the agreements have made them feel mistrusted by their doctor.

“I’d never done anything wrong, but somehow the contract made me feel like I already had several strikes against me,” said Lynn Julian Crisci, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing attack and a patient advocate for the U.S. Pain Foundation.

Some doctors see a mix of reactions from patients.

“There are a variety of responses, but generally patients either say yes, of course, or they are clearly offended, refuse, and decline to continue their care with me,” said Dr. Britt Ehlert, a general internist practicing with Allina Health in Minnesota.

Opioid treatment agreements vary.

The American Academy of Pain Medicine, one of several professional groups to recommend their use, offers a template agreement.

The conditions for receiving a prescription opioid outlined in this template include agreeing to urine drug screening for controlled or illegal substances, or the absence of a prescription opioid in their system — a sign that a person may be selling their pills.

These random checks can increase a patient’s stress level.

“I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Crisci told Healthline, “but I was always worried that somehow they would find something in the random urine test, and my medication would be taken away from me.”

Patients also agree to obtain prescriptions for all controlled substances from the doctor listed on the agreement. Any exceptions require written approval from that doctor.

This can cause problems for patients with chronic pain who are treated in the emergency department, as Crisci was when she went to the hospital because of a migraine.

“I was in so much pain that I needed medication to deal with it, but I have brain injuries and memory problems,” she said. “If I forgot to tell my doctor that I was given some other medication, I could have my pain medication taken away from me.”

Patients who violate the agreement may have their opioid medication tapered off — to avoid withdrawal symptoms — and eventually discontinued.

Many concerns, little evidence

Critics have raised several concerns about opioid treatment agreements.

One is a lack of evidence showing that they’re effective.

A 2010 review of previous studies, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found “weak evidence” that opioid treatment agreements reduce opioid misuse by patients with chronic pain.

Some critics are also concerned that the agreements are “coercive,” because patients with chronic pain will “sign anything” just to get relief from their pain.

“You’re basically saying to a patient: ‘You are in pain and there’s an indicated treatment for you. But I’m only going to give you that treatment if you sign this contract,’” Dr. Peter Schwartz, an associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, told Healthline.

This is exactly how Crisci felt when her doctor handed her the agreement.

“I was willing to sign whatever needed to be signed so that I could have my independence back and be functional and get out of bed and meet my own needs,” she said.

The agreements may also negatively affect the doctor-patient relationship, especially for patients who have been with a doctor for years and are suddenly asked to sign an agreement.

But some doctors see the agreements as helping the relationship.

“The contract does not interfere with the doctor-patient relationship,” Dr. Mark Malone, a board-certified pain specialist and medical director of Advanced Pain Care in Texas, told Healthline.

“Quite the contrary,” he added, “it supports the relationship by clarifying the rules and conditions under which we can prescribe opioids. Like other written agreements, this helps us avoid any misunderstandings.”

Opioid agreements are not contracts

While these documents are often referred to as “contracts,” technically that’s not what they are.

“We call it an opioid agreement because it is not a legally binding contract that would be enforceable in a court of law,” said Malone.

In a paper published in The Hastings Center Report, Schwartz and a colleague argue that the key role of these agreements is to “disclose” to patients the monitoring that will happen while they’re receiving prescription opioids.

“It’s a way of telling the patient what to expect if they start on this medication,” Schwartz said, “and to prepare them for the consequences stemming from surveillance if they take certain actions and violate what the doctor is expecting.”

This is similar to the kind of disclosure that happens when you start on any new treatment, such as a new cholesterol-lowering drug. Your doctor will explain the benefits and risks of the drug and tell you of any follow-up monitoring that’s needed.

But you may not always sign a paper saying that you heard and understood what a doctor told you.

In the case of opioid treatment agreements, though, the signature serves as a record — for doctor and patient — that the conversation took place.

“A signed written agreement is essential to set the ground rules in a fair and unbiased way so each patient has a clear understanding of how they are expected to behave,” Malone said. “Without these rules in place, it would be much riskier to prescribe opioids.”

Schwartz said that in the case of prescription opioids, the monitoring that happens is justified ethically as a public health, or population health, issue — as a way of reducing the number of people who become addicted to these drugs.

Patients with chronic pain, though, sometimes feel like they’re being penalized for what happens to others.

“There are people who become addicted to prescription drugs and have overdosed, and that is undeniably tragic,” said Crisci. “But the solution is not, ‘Let’s take away everyone’s medication and punish you all.’ The solution should be addiction treatment, not punishing patients.”

Improving treatment agreements

Whatever you call them, opioid treatment agreements don’t eliminate the dilemmas that doctors face when they prescribe opioids.

For example, if a patient on a prescription opioid tests positive for cocaine once, should they be cut off? Or given a second chance?

Schwartz said that deciding to take the step of discontinuing a patient’s pain medication can be a “hard call,” but it must be done in a fair, nondiscriminatory way.

He added that in situations like this, doctors should be careful not to treat patients differently just because of their race, ethnicity, or social status.

Used correctly, he said, opioid treatment agreements can help healthcare providers prescribe controlled medications in a “more compassionate and fair way.”

There is, however, room for improvement with these agreements and the way they’re used.

One study found that many agreements are written at too high of a reading level for the average patient to fully understand the information.

Also, how the agreement is used is just as important as the language.

“I speak honestly about the opioid epidemic,” Sharma told Healthline, “and tell patients that this is a piece of paper to confirm that they understand all of the issues around using opiates.”

Ehlert said that rather than focusing solely on the medication, she takes time to ask patients about their pain, explain the underlying cause of their pain, and discuss treatment options.

“It is key to treat the patient with respect and to actually take very good care of them clinically,” she told Healthline. “Over time, patients learn to trust you, and that becomes more important to them than the agreement you asked them to sign.”

Schwartz said that the debate over these agreements would be more difficult if prescription opioids worked for chronic pain. But the evidence that they reduce pain and improve function over long periods is “quite poor.”

Even as debate over these agreements continues, the prescribing of opioids has decreased in recent years.

After peaking in 2010, opioid prescriptions in the United States dropped each year through 2015, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the level is still about three times higher than in 1999.

The country, though, isn’t just battling an opioid epidemic. It’s also struggling to find the best way to respond to pain.

“We have to confront the fact that we have people in pain who do not benefit from these medications or cannot comply with the requirements of these contracts,” said Schwartz. “We have to find a new way to balance our responsibility to use these medications appropriately with our commitment to compassionately treat pain.”

This article first appeared on HealthLine.com.

 

 

 

Alabama man paralyzed, ‘fighting for his life’ after coral snake bite, family says

An Alabama man who was recently bitten by a venomous coral snake is now “fighting for his life,” his family said.

A coral snake, considered to be one of the most venomous species of snake in North America, recently bit Jeffrey Phillips outside his Gilbertown, Alabama home.

Phillips’ children were the first to spot the snake. Initially thinking the serpent was a harmless king snake, Phillips decided to catch it and give the snake as a gift to his older brother, who has owned snakes in the past, WTOK-News reported.

But shortly after, the dangerous coral snake bit Phillips. He was rushed to Anderson Hospital in Mississippi, where he remains in the intensive care unit.

Phillips, who is now paralyzed due to the snake’s venom, has also suffered neurological and vision damage. And, up until Friday afternoon, Phillips was breathing through a ventilator.

“He will then need extensive physical therapy to learn how to walk, eat, write and all other every day activities,” according to Phillips’ GoFundMe page, which was set up to help the family pay for his medical expenses.

“He was about to start a job actually in a couple of weeks. So, he was laid off for the time being. He was about to start a job but he can’t do that now,” Angela Patrick, Phillip’s fiancée, told WTOK-News.

The couple was slated to marry in August — but due to Phillips’ condition, the wedding is now on hold.

Patrick did not return Fox News’ request for comment Friday.

“I’ve had my breakdowns, you know trying to hold it together. It’s scary knowing that my son could die,” Judy Kell, Phillips’ mother, said.

“I hate that it was him, I really do,” Patrick added. “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Antonio Sabato Jr. says testosterone pellets improve sex life, reduce stress

Former model and soap star-turned aspiring politician Antonio Sabato Jr., said he “could have sex all day” after having testosterone pellets injected into his buttocks. Sabato first sought out the procedure to address his low levels of the hormone, he told DailyMail TV in an exclusive interview.

“I was like an 80-year-old man,” 46-year-old Sabato said, adding that he’s never had plastic surgery but has gotten Botox in the past.

He had the pellets injected into the fatty tissue of the upper buttock or hip area.

 (DailyMailTV)

Sabato sought the help of Dr. Christopher Asandra of NuMale Medical Center. Asandra told the news outlet that the pellet, which is about the size of a Tic Tac for males and a grain of rice for females, is inserted into the fatty tissue of the upper buttock or hip area, and needs to be replaced after about five to seven months.

DYING MOM GETS FINAL WISH TO SEE SON GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL

The therapy works to slowly release testosterone with the aim of stabilizing hormone levels. Asandra said the therapy has come a long way from the controversial practice of injecting steroids. It offers an alternative to testosterone gels, which require daily application and risk transmission. 

The treatment is an alternative to testosterone gels which must be applied daily and have the potential to be transmitted to another person.

“People want to look good but they also want to feel good,” Asandra told the news outlet.

Sabato said the effects were immediate. He said he works out seven days per week, and is burning up to three times the amount of calories he was before treatment. He also said it helps him deal with stress, especially on the campaign trail.

“No matter the circumstances I can deal with it just fine,” he said, adding that he will likely continue treatment for the rest of his life.

“This is the best way to go, it makes perfect sense,” he said. “Once you find out for yourself where you need to be, it’s changing your life forever.”

Scientist, 104, plans assisted suicide in Switzerland

A renowned 104-year-old Australian scientist who traveled to Switzerland last week plans to end his life on Thursday in a medically assisted suicide—possibly by lethal injection.

David Goodall, who is not terminally ill, happily sang a few bars of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at a news conference Wednesday on the eve of his assisted suicide in Basel. He told reporters that he was “happy to have the chance tomorrow to end it.”

“At my age, and even at rather less than my age, one wants to be free to choose the death and when the death is the appropriate time,” Goodall said. “My abilities have been declining over the past year or two, and my eyesight for the past five or six years, and I no longer want to continue life.”

Philip Nitschke, founder and director of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International, 104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall and lawyer Moritz Gall, from left, attenda press conference a day before Goodall's assisted suicide in Basel, Switzerland, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone via AP)

Philip Nitschke, founder and director of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International, 104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall and lawyer Moritz Gall, from left, attended press conference a day before Goodall’s assisted suicide.

 (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone via AP)

Goodall, who wore a shirt that read “Ageing Disgracefully,” said he has considered using lethal injection, but that he’ll defer to doctors on the method.

Euthanasia is currently banned in Australia, which prompted the scientist’s trek to Switzerland last week.

Swiss law currently allows assisted suicide for anyone who acknowledges in writing that they are taking their lives willingly — without being forced. The decades-old legislation that authorized the practice states that people who help others to die cannot do so for “selfish” reasons.

The state of Victoria in Australia recently passed a euthanasia bill, the Washington Post reported. In 2019, it will be legal for terminally ill patients to undergo the procedure. Six states in the U.S., including California, Vermont and Oregon have passed death-with dignity laws for terminally ill people.

Goodall said Wednesday that he hopes to be remembered “as an instrument of freeing the elderly” so others could choose death with dignity without traveling to Switzerland.

The centenarian has already bid goodbye to family members in Australia and France. Other relatives were expected to be by his side during his final moments on Thursday.

“I am glad to have the chance [to die] but would have preferred to have had it in Australia,” he said.

The botanist ruled out a return to his beloved Australian countryside, though he wished to return to the Northwestern Kimberley region, his favorite area, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

“There are many things I would like to do, I suppose, but it’s too late. I am content to leave them undone.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CDC boss takes $165G pay cut after criticism over record-setting salary

The newly appointed head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a sizable pay cut Tuesday following his previous record-setting salary.

Dr. Robert Redfield Jr.’s new salary will be $209,700 — or $165,300 less than his original salary of $375,000, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The previous figure was at least $150,000 more than any previous director of the Atlanta-based CDC has ever received.

Last month, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, opposed Redfield’s appointment in a letter addressed to Alex Azar, the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services.  

The original salary of Redfield, 66, was almost twice that of his predecessor, Brenda Fitzgerald, who had the job for six months before resigning in January. Her annual pay rate was $197,300.

HHS officials said Redfield asked for the pay reduction because the topic had become a distraction.

WHO IS ROBERT REDFIELD? 3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE CDC’S NEW DIRECTOR

By private industry standards, Redfield’s previous CDC salary is modest for someone with his resume, but his pay is high for the field of government public health.

“It is an exceptional amount of money for what we’ve seen in the past for (CDC) directors,” said Angela Beck, a University of Michigan researcher who studies public health workforce issues.

Redfield had a long career as a top HIV researcher, but he had no experience working in public health or managing a public health agency.

Nature Journal reported that Redfield had also been praised for his work to fight the opioid epidemic. He co-founded the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland.

Redfield was a candidate for the CDC job during the administration of President George W. Bush, the Washington Post reported. The job does not require U.S. Senate confirmation, the report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Walmart to limit opioid prescriptions at pharmacies amid epidemic

Walmart announced Monday the retail giant will begin to restrict opioid prescriptions to help stem the deadly drug epidemic.

Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies are set to limit customers’ opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply, with up to a 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day, the company said in a news release.

HOW THE WHITE HOUSE IS TACKLING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC

The new rules align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines which suggest “three days or less will often be sufficient” for those prescribed the painkillers, and “more than seven days will rarely be needed.”

Walmart will follow state laws for those which require opioid prescriptions to be filled for less than seven days.

According to the CDC, an estimated 115 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. Opioids, including prescriptions and heroin, killed 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016 — the highest on record.

Additionally, by January 2020, Walmart pharmacies will require e-prescriptions for controlled substances, as they have “proven to be less prone to errors, they cannot be altered or copied and are electronically trackable.”

“We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic,” Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of U.S. Walmart’s Consumables, Health & Wellness, said. “We are proud to implement these policies and initiatives as we work to create solutions that address this critical issue facing the patients and communities we serve.”

The updated pharmacy guidelines come four months after Walmart said it would give customers who were filling opioid prescriptions a packet of powder to dispose of excess medication.

Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

New York doctor pleads guilty in fatal abortion

A New York doctor who says he’s done 40,000 abortions is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the 2016 death of a woman who was six months pregnant and bled to death.

The case in Queens Criminal Court marks one of the rare legal instances of criminal prosecution of a doctor over a medical error, but Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal said that Dr. Robert Rho’s mistakes went beyond civil malpractice.

“It’s about greed and arrogance,” Leventhal told jurors last week during closing arguments in the month-long trial. He said 30-year-old Jaime Lee Morales “bled to death because this defendant did nothing.”

Rather than call an ambulance, prosecutors said, Rho released Morales for her sister to drive her home in the Bronx, despite signs she was in grave condition and had collapsed in a bathroom of Rho’s clinic.

Morales fell unconscious in the car. Medics responding to a 911 call took her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Rho’s attorney reached a plea deal with prosecutors Friday after jurors said they were deadlocked. It spares the 53-year-old physician from facing up to 15 years in prison on the original charge of second-degree manslaughter, equivalent to reckless homicide.

Instead, Rho admitted he was negligent with Morales’ abortion, leaving her bleeding uncontrollably with a severed uterine aorta, ripped cervix and pierced uterine wall.

The lesser charge comes with prison time of up to four years. But Rho’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, says he may end up with only months in prison when he is sentenced on June 26.

Lichtman called it a “monumental victory.”

Rho, who lives with his family in the Lake Success section of Great Neck, on Long Island, was arrested in October 2016, three months after Morales died. Morales, who lived in Buffalo, New York, had come to Rho’s clinic in the Flushing section of Queens with her sister, desperate to get an abortion, for which Rho charged $6,000, witnesses said. She had only learned a week earlier that she was pregnant.

Profuse post-operative bleeding forced the doctor to perform another procedure that did not fix the damage, prosecutors said.

Lichtman said the botched abortion was a tragedy but was not a crime.

He said Morales never told Rho that she suffered from medical conditions that made her prone to more intense bleeding.

After her death, the doctor closed his clinic and surrendered his medical license.

Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion law firm and advocacy group based in Washington, issued a statement Friday saying that Morales’ family “received some measure of justice,” but “the truth is that the type of behavior described in the Rho trial — not following best medical practices, using untrained staff, failing to properly monitor vital signs, not maintaining a sterile environment, etc. — are all very common in abortion clinics across America.”

Even before Morales’ abortion, the doctor had been investigated by state officials over concerns that he was performing procedures improperly and using assistants who lacked medical training, witnesses said at the trial.

The last criminal prosecution in New York over a mishandled abortion was in 1995, when obstetrician David Benjamin was convicted of murder after a patient bled to death from a rip in her uterus during an abortion.

Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted in 2013 of involuntary manslaughter after a patient got a fatal overdose of sedatives during an abortion. He also was convicted of murder for performing extremely late-term abortions, snipping the spines of infants born alive during the procedures.