Beyond the county: Pope Francis in U.S., Roseville student threatens school, Obama declares Lake County fire major disaster |

Beyond the county: Pope Francis in U.S., Roseville student threatens school, Obama declares Lake County fire major disaster

Pope Francis talks with President Barack Obama after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. The Pope is spending three days in Washington before heading to New York and Philadelphia. This is the Pope's first visit to the United States. First lady Michelle Obama is at right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Associated Press | AP

Pope of the poor arrives in US

— Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The pope of the poor arrived for his first-ever visit to the world’s wealthiest superpower Tuesday denying he is a leftist and riding in a frugal little family car, windows rolled down.

Pope Francis’ chartered plane from Cuba touched down at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters paid him the rare honor of meeting him at the bottom of the stairs on the red-carpeted tarmac. Presidents usually make important visitors come to them at the White House.

Emerging from the aircraft to loud cheers from a crowd of hundreds, the smiling 78-year-old pontiff removed his skullcap in the windy weather and made his way down the steps in his white robes.

He was welcomed by a military honor guard, chanting schoolchildren, politicians, and Roman Catholic clerics in black robes with vivid sashes of scarlet and purple. Joe Biden, the nation’s first Catholic vice president, and his wife were among those who greeted him.

Eschewing a limousine, the pope climbed into the back of a little Fiat sandwiched between huge black SUVs. He promptly rolled down the windows, enabling the cheering, whooping crowds to see him as his motorcade took him to the Vatican diplomatic mission in Washington, where he will stay while in the nation’s capital.

The choice of car was in keeping with his simple habits and his stand against consumerism. His decision to roll down the windows reflected his penchant for trying to connect to ordinary people despite the tight security around him.

During his six-day, three-city visit to the U.S., the pope will meet with the president today, address Congress on Thursday, speak at the United Nations in New York on Friday and take part in a Vatican-sponsored conference on the family in Philadelphia over the weekend.

The Argentine known as the “slum pope” for ministering to the downtrodden in his native Buenos Aires is expected to urge America to take better care of the environment and the poor and return to its founding ideals of religious liberty and open arms toward immigrants.

During the flight, Francis defended himself against conservative criticism that his condemnation of trickle-down economics makes him a communist.

“I am certain that I have never said anything beyond what is in the social doctrine of the church,” he said. He said some may have misinterpreted his writings in a way that makes him sound “a little bit more left-leaning,” but he said that’s wrong.

Joking about doubts in some quarters over whether he is truly Catholic, he said, “If I have to recite the Creed, I’m ready.”

Francis is the fourth pope ever to visit the United States.

Francis’ enormous popularity, propensity for wading into crowds and insistence on using an open-sided Jeep rather than a bulletproof pope mobile have complicated things for U.S. law enforcement, which has mounted one of the biggest security operations in American history to keep him safe.

The measures are unprecedented for a papal trip and could make it nearly impossible for many ordinary Americans to get anywhere close to Francis.

For all the attention likely to be paid to Francis’ speeches, including the first address from a pope to Congress, his more personal gestures — visiting with immigrants, prisoners and the homeless — could yield some of the most memorable images of the trip.

“What the pope does in the United States will be more important than what he says,” said Mat Schmalz, a religious studies professor at Holy Cross college in Worcester, Massachusetts. “There are a lot of things he will say about capitalism and about wealth inequality, but many Americans and politicians have already made up their minds on these issues. What I would look for is a particular gesture, an unscripted act, that will move people.”

In Cuba, Francis basked in the adulation of Cubans grateful to him for brokering the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the communist island.

On the plane, though, he told reporters he will not use his speech to Congress to call specifically for the U.S. to lift the Cold War-era trade embargo against Cuba.

Pope Francis talks with President Barack Obama after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Tuesday. The Pope is spending three days in Washington before heading to New York and Philadelphia. First lady Michelle Obama is at right.

Teen suspected of threatening violence at school arrested

— Associated Press

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Police say a 16-year-old boy accused of making criminal threats involving possible violence at a Northern California high school has been arrested.

Roseville police say the youth, a former Roseville High School student, is suspected of setting up an Instagram account called “Coming4uRHS” and disseminating it to spread panic and fear at the high school.

Police say widely available photos of guns and other images from the Internet were used to populate the account.

The Sacramento Bee reports the youth was arrested Tuesday and taken to Placer County Juvenile Hall.

Roseville police says it began investigating after receiving calls and messages from parents about a rumor on Monday being spread through social media of threats of violence on the Roseville campus.

President Obama declares major disaster in Calif. fire

— Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in a Northern California wildfire that has destroyed at least 1,200 homes and killed at least three people.

The declaration issued Tuesday for the fire that broke out in Lake County 90 miles north of San Francisco releases federal money for recovery and cleanup.

Residents can apply for grants for home repairs and temporary housing as well as apply for low-cost loans for uninsured property. The devastating wildfire that started Sept. 12 ranks among the state’s most destructive.

The Lake County sheriff said Tuesday that authorities continue to search for two men reported missing.

Study: Diagnosis wrong too often, urgent improvement needed

— Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Most people will experience at least one wrong or delayed diagnosis over their lifetime, a report predicts, calling diagnostic errors a blind spot in modern medicine that sometimes causes devastating consequences.

Getting the right diagnosis, at the right time, is key to good health care. But despite lots of focus on health care quality over the past 15 years, Tuesday’s Institute of Medicine report found diagnostic errors have gotten too little attention and said urgent improvements are needed.

The report is a “serious wake-up call,” said Dr. Victor Dzau of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, which oversees the institute.

Possibly the most well-known diagnostic error in recent memory occurred last year when a Liberian man sick with Ebola initially was misdiagnosed in a Dallas emergency room as having sinusitis. Thomas Eric Duncan returned two days later, sicker, and eventually died.

Diagnosis problems seldom make such dramatic headlines. The person whose colon cancer diagnosis was delayed by several months, or whose early signs of appendicitis were mistaken for a virus, may not even realize they experienced an error. Others are fortunate enough to recover despite a misdiagnosis.

In fact, Tuesday’s report found there’s no good count of diagnostic errors, or of how often they lead to serious consequences — it’s not part of standard medical reporting.

But among the evidence that led the committee to conclude most people eventually will experience this problem: By one conservative estimate, 1 in 20 adults who seeks outpatient care each year experiences a diagnostic error, a number that adds up over time. Diagnostic errors make up the leading type of paid malpractice claims and are almost twice as likely as other claims to have resulted in a patient’s death.

“This is an issue that matters to patients, and we’re shining a light on it,” said Dr. John Ball, executive vice president emeritus of the American College of Physicians, who chaired the IOM committee.

Even among the committee’s medical specialists, “many of us had experienced what we would define as a diagnostic error,” he added.

This is not about blaming and punishing doctors, added committee member Dr. Christine Cassel, president of the National Quality Forum.

“We don’t expect the doctor to have all the answers in their brain. Nobody could or should,” Cassel said.

The report says improvement requires better teamwork and communication between health providers — doctors, nurses, radiologists, lab workers — and urges patients to ask, “Could it be something else?” It urges health providers to make patients and their families an active part of the diagnosis process, including giving them timely copies of all records and test results.

It also urges health care organizations to better identify diagnostic errors and near-misses so providers can learn from them in a nonpunitive way — and to use technology to help. Many electronic medical records now have “decision support” tools embedded to remind doctors of possible alternative diagnoses to check.

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