Administering flu vaccine. (flickr/creative commons)

“Fourth wave” of COVID-19 underway in Allegheny County, but new vaccination sites open

As Allegheny County experiences a ‘fourth wave’ of COVID-19 cases, the race to vaccinate throughout Pennsylvania is gaining ground. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that as of Friday, April 9, nearly 36% of the state’s eligible population had received a first vaccine dose. On Monday, April 12, phase 1c of the vaccine distribution plan begins, which includes food service and transportation workers as well as employees in government, media and legal services. The state’s vaccination plan can be viewed here. All Pennsylvanians, 16 years of age and older, will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination on April 19. As vaccines become more broadly available, Allegheny County is among the many areas nationwide seeing cases spike to levels last seen in January.

A map showing the area in which October Development is seeking to take on conservatorship of 97 properties, taken from the company's petition filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

Develop PGH Bulletins: Big bid for conservatorship over North Side properties to be withdrawn

Develop PGH Bulletins updates you on the Pittsburgh region's economy, including close coverage of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, City Planning Commission and other important agencies. Please check back frequently, sign up for the Develop PGH newsletter and email rich@publicsource.org with questions, tips or story ideas. 4/9/21: Attorney for October Development pledges narrower conservatorship effort around East Allegheny
A petition seeking conservatorship over nearly 100 North Side properties will be withdrawn, and a narrower bid to address blight in and near East Allegheny will be filed, according to the attorney representing the would-be steward, October Development. A March 5 petition by October Development, filed by attorney Dan Friedson, asked the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to give the company control over 97 parcels now owned by the city, a community group and a slew of private owners. The petition was filed under the state’s 13-year-old conservatorship law, which allows the temporary takeover of vacant, blighted properties by court-approved stewards, who can later file liens and sometimes take ownership.

A map showing the area in which October Development is seeking to take on conservatorship of 97 properties, taken from the company's petition filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

March 2021 Develop PGH Bulletins: ‘Hostile takeover’ or ‘best practice’? Attorney explains massive North Side conservatorship bid

Develop PGH Bulletins updates you on the Pittsburgh region's economy, including close coverage of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, City Planning Commission and other important agencies. Please check back frequently, sign up for the Develop PGH newsletter and email rich@publicsource.org with questions, tips or story ideas. 03/30/21: Attorney explains bid for conservatorship of 97 properties
A former City of Pittsburgh attorney who has filed an ambitious conservatorship petition said that it was driven by a developer’s desire to improve a neglected part of the North Side amid slow progress by a community group and government officials. Dan Friedson, who was an assistant city solicitor from 2014 through late 2019, filed a March 5 petition on behalf of East Allegheny-based October Development, seeking conservatorship over 97 properties in and around that neighborhood. Of the properties, 29 are owned by the city, two by the Urban Redevelopment Authority [URA], eight by the Community Association of Spring Garden and East Deutschtown [CASGED] and the rest by an assortment of individuals and apparent businesses or nonprofit entities.

In the shadow of the opioid epidemic, how should we care for patients in pain? Reflections after breaking my neck.

I broke my neck four months ago. I fell in my backyard and landed on my head, fracturing my first cervical vertebra in three places and dislocating my first and second vertebrae. Within 24 hours, those vertebrae were fused with surgical screws, rods and spacers, and I woke to a series of frightening, disturbing — and probably entirely typical — hospital encounters. 

To friends, I’ve described my post-surgical hospital care as characterized by “pain mismanagement” — but I don’t think my experience was either unusual or against any rules of in-patient care. Rather, I suspect, it was the result of an attitude that is embedded in for-profit medicine and enhanced by institutionalized suspicion of patients’ accounts of their pain. 

I’ve found myself pondering what it is that drives the scorn many of us notice in medical personnel when it comes to pain care: is it narcophobia, understandably driven by the opioid epidemic, but inappropriately applied? Or is it a dimension of the objectification that is necessary to a model of care driven by profit?