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Borderland Saturday, August 4, 2001

Fewer El Paso children get immunized in 2000
Tammy Fonce-Olivas El Paso Times


Fewer toddlers were immunized in El Paso last year than in 1999, the Texas Department of Health announced Friday, increasing worries that more children are susceptible to serious and sometimes deadly illnesses such as rubella. The rate for Texas is even lower than El Paso's, so low that it ranks as the worst state in the nation when it comes to immunizing children. About 71.5 percent of El Paso's children ages 19 months to 35 months were fully immunized against seven diseases last year, compared with 75 percent in 1999. The results are part of a National Immunization Survey. The childhood immunization rate for Texas was 69.5 percent last year, compared with 74.7 percent in 1999. The national rate was 77.6 percent in 2000, down from 79.9 percent the previous year. The growing rate of children who are not fully immunized against childhood diseases has prompted ProAction Immunization Team, a local nonprofit organization, to offer vaccinations. "There is a huge need for immunizations in El Paso. We need more help to get it done. One organization can't do it all," said Jill Field, a registered nurse and founder of ProAction Immunization Team. Field said her organization provides vaccinations to help public and private health-care providers protect the community, particularly children, from preventable diseases. El Paso does well at immunizing school-age children, she said. According to city health officials, the immunization rate for school-age children is between 80 and 90 percent. Dr. Jorge Magaņa, director of the City-County Health and Environmental District, said he was pleased to learn that El Paso's immunization rate is higher than he had expected. "I'd like to see better, but at least we are not behind. We are doing better than other cities in Texas," he said. Magaņa said part of the struggle to improve the area's childhood immunization rate is getting parents to cooperate with vaccinating their children. He said they often forget when the shots are due. "Parents must be more conscientious about taking their children to get immunizations," he said. East Side resident Fernando Fabela said he tries to keep up with his children's immunization records, but sometimes -- like Thursday -- he has to be reminded by school officials that it's time for more shots. Fabela was trying to register his son for classes at MacArthur Middle School when he was told that his son needed to be immunized against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. School officials referred him to mobile immunization services offered by ProAction Immunization Team. The organization was providing vaccines Thursday on a first-come, first-served basis at Ross Middle School in East-Central El Paso. Getting a couple of shots was such a nerve-racking experience for Fabela's son, 11-year-old Fabian, that he'd flinch while watching Field prepare the vaccinations. "He's scared to death," his father said. Seconds after the shots were injected into his arm, Fabian flashed a smile to his dad. "It felt like a slight sting," Fabian said. "I thought it would be like someone stabbing my arm." Field, who as a child had the measles, chickenpox and the mumps, said suffering with the illnesses is worse than a prick on the arm. "I had all those childhood diseases and it was no fun," she said. "These kids don't realize what they're avoiding."



Borderland Saturday, January 12, 2002

Woman injured in accident dies: A 68-year-old woman died early Friday from brain injuries she received in an accident on Thursday in the 1800 block of West Paisano. Gillian Field of the 3200 block of Lebanon, who was not wearing a seat belt, was taken to Thomason Hospital after her 1998 Ford Windstar struck a 1994 Aerostar when she tried to make a U-turn into the eastbound lanes of Paisano, police said. The driver of the Aerostar was Arturo Desantiago, 57, of the 400 block of Buena Vista. The accident is still under investigation. The driver and the three passengers of the Aerostar were taken to Sierra Medical Center with minor injuries. This is the fifth traffic death of the year, compared with one during the same period last year. -- Laura Cruz

Borderland Thursday, February 28, 2002
Frequency of accidents in area draws residents', state's attention

Louie Gilot El Paso Times On a little chart taped to her file cabinet, Dorine Brown penned in the latest West Paisano Drive traffic deaths Wednesday morning, adding to a long list of tragedies. It read, "2002, Jan. 3, one man in one-car accident. Jan. 10, nurse, two-car accident. Feb. 7, fender bender. Feb. 26, two or three people taken to the hospital. Feb. 27, five women and one taken to the hospital." "It's a nightmare you have over and over again, except the faces change and the cars change," said Brown, owner of Baca & Brown Factory Direct Cabinets near Paisano Drive. She said she hopes her list will prompt authorities to add a traffic signal. Officials couldn't say whether a traffic signal would have saved the lives of five women who died Wednesday. Police said that since 1998, 14 people have died in car crashes within a half mile of Wednesday's crash. On Jan. 21, 2000, five teens died near the Yandell overpass when their convertible bounced off a concrete retaining wall, crossed the median and smashed into the base of the overpass. The city and the Texas Department of Transportation, prompted by area businesses and the nearby Rescue Mission, have evaluated the stretch of road no fewer than two or three times a year for the past few years. But studies fell short of proving that the area warrants a traffic signal, Transportation Department officials said. The latest study was submitted by the city in January and rejected by the department early this month, said Chuck Berry, district engineer for the department in El Paso. Department officials said none of the 12 requirements for a traffic light, including volume of traffic and pedestrian activity, apply at West Paisano. But the department, which is responsible for Paisano Drive because it is a state highway, lowered the speed limit from 55 mph to 50 mph in January 1999 and installed a flashing yellow caution light at Ruhlen Court and Paisano Drive last year. For a year, the department also worked on a project to install a 3-mile-long concrete barrier on the median from the Union Depot Downtown to Executive Center Boulevard. Construction on the $2.7 million project is expected to begin this summer, Berry said. Department officials undertook the project after Police Chief Carlos Leon wrote a letter to them Dec. 26, 2000, recommending the construction of the barrier because 10 of 15 deaths between the 1500 block and the 2200 block of West Paisano Drive involved a vehicle crossing the median into oncoming traffic.



GILLIAN "JILL" FIELD, 68, passed away on Friday, January 11, 2002. Jill was born and raised in England and was a resident of El Paso since the early 1960's. She received her Nursing Degree in England. She practiced nursing at various hospitals before finding her home with Providence Memorial Hospital with over 30 years of service. Jill provided first aid services for countless special events. She established her own business, Proaction, which provides convienent mobile health services for the community to include migrant health care and was awarded several grants for various community health projects. She was responsible for introducing advanced cardiac life support to El Paso. She was a lifelong member of the American Heart Association, past president and held several other offices with the Five Points Lion's Club, and the Health Organization Network. Ms. Field taught countless classes in ACLS and CPR and taught EKG and critical care courses at El Paso Community College. Preceded in death by her parents, and brother, John Field of England. Survived by her daughter, Amanda and son-in-law, Shawn; grandson, Kalil; niece, Joanna; her very dear friend, Andrea, and numerous friends and colleagues. Memorial service will be Wednesday, January 16, 2002 at 12:00 noon at Martin Funeral Home-Central. Memorial contributions may be made to Proaction P.O. Box 3898 El Paso, TX 79923 in "Jill's" memory.