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Study finds big, busy neonatal units are best

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 24, 2007


Thousands of sickly newborns could be saved each year if officials closed some of the nation's smaller neonatal intensive care units, according to a new study that suggests larger hospitals are better able to treat the infants. Extremely premature babies were up to twice as likely to survive when treated at a busy, advanced-care center. And even among the most advanced centers, those that handled the most babies had the best survival records. Experts said the study by Ciaran Phibbs, appearing in today's New England Journal of Medicine, is the largest and best of its kind. It reviewed nearly 48, 000 premature births and fetal deaths in California from 1991 through 2000.

Elsewhere

Heroin arrests: More than three dozen people have been arrested internationally in connection with a ring suspected of smuggling $35-million in Colombian heroin into the United States.

Atlanta police overhaul: Atlanta's police chief announced more than 140 personnel changes in the department, including replacing the entire narcotics unit that was scandalized last fall by the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman during a drug raid.

World Trade Center settlement: Ending years of legal wrangling over the insurance policy on the World Trade Center, New York state and seven insurers reached a settlement Wednesday that secures more than $4.5-billion to rebuild ground zero.

Sept. 11 death added: A woman who died of lung disease five months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was added Wednesday to the medical examiner's list of attack victims, marking the first time the city has officially linked a death to the toxic dust caused by the World Trade Center's collapse. The city's death toll at the trade center now stands at 2, 750.

Fort Dix suspect: Serdar Tatar, 23, one of the men accused of plotting to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey, recently applied to be a police officer in Philadelphia and Oakland, Calif., in a possible effort to infiltrate law enforcement agencies, authorities said.

Fake firefighter: Peter Braunstein, 43, was convicted Wednesday of sexually abusing a woman in 2005 after posing as a firefighter to get into her New York apartment.

Times wires