To Protect Other Patients, Some Doctors Are Showing Those Who Refuse to Vaccinate the Door


An oncologist is screaming bloody murder at another doctor in a white-hot rage over a prescribed course of treatment. No, it's not about an untested experimental cancer drug but the best-proven disease-fighting technique that America has ever employed: vaccinations. The oncologist cannot believe that he is being told to start vaccinating his seven children -- longtime patients in the practice -- or else he will have to be referred to another doctor.

Dr. Joanna Weir can't hear the details through the door of the closed examination room where her colleague is being shouted down by not only a patient but a longtime personal friend, but she is there to see the oncologist throw open the door and storm out with his hands clenched in rage, never to return, and calling them all stooges as he leaves. Apparently, he fervently believes that vaccinations are a giant moneymaking scam that he will have no part of, her colleague tells her later.

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The Other American Sniper: Adan Castañeda's Delusions Only Got Worse After a Revolving Door of Treatment and Release at the VA

Categories: Cover Story


Maria Esparza awoke to what she thought was the sound of her husband cooking -- the hiss and pop of fresh vegetables dropped into a pan of hot oil. Reality set in when Roy Esparza told her to keep her head down as bullets cracked and whizzed through their two-story home in the Texas Hill Country.

"There's something going on," he told her. "I think it's your son."

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Crossing the Line: Money, Safety, Power - What Makes a Union Strike at a Bad Time for Oil and Gas?

Categories: Cover Story

He had only an hour's notice. Lee Medley, local president of USW District 13-1, got the call from the national representatives of the United Steelworkers at 11 p.m. on January 31. There was no new contract, and he was going to have to lead 800 workers from Shell Deer Park out on strike. Nobody -- not the local negotiators, the Shell administrators, the workers or the president of the local United Steelworkers union, Medley himself -- thought it would happen.

As the weight of what he was about to do sank in, he pulled out his phone and texted his wife of more than 30 years, Connie Medley.

"There's no new contract. I have to take them out."

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Teen Victim to Teen Madam: Among All the Kids Money Mike Handed $100 Bills For Sex, One Was Charged With a Felony

Cara had just jumped out of the shower, thrown on a T-shirt and plopped down on the couch to finish some homework when she heard someone pounding at the front door. She was stunned by what she saw when she peered out the window: Several uniformed police officers had gathered on her lawn, some, she thought, with guns drawn, "like I was some killer or something." Police cruisers swarmed the front of her father's League City home.

Cara (not her real name) recognized one officer in particular, Webster police detective David Nettles, who shouted that he was there to arrest her. As soon as she saw him, Cara knew why Nettles was at her doorstep.

Weeks earlier, Cara had lied to the detective about what happened with Money Mike, the nickname Cara and her friends gave the 62-year-old big-tipping regular at her old restaurant job. She met the Friendswood businessman the summer of 2013, right before her sophomore year in high school.

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Rather Than Fix the Problem, Houston Officials Ship Stray Animals Off to Other States

Categories: Cover Story

On a Tuesday morning in a former performance hall in the Heights, a few hundred dogs and cats are getting ready for a 19-hour drive to Colorado. Former residents of the city's continually overcrowded pound, BARC, the animals were pulled and placed in foster homes by a rescue group called Rescued Pets Movement.

The group formed in 2013 and has transported more than 4,300 homeless animals to a network of rescue groups in Colorado, a state that imported more than 17,000 dogs from across the country in 2013. (A small number of animals are transferred to rescue groups in Utah and Wyoming as well.) The animals are loaded into four new vans tricked out with climate-control systems to keep the animals comfortable on their long journey. One of the group's co-founders, Cindy Perini, says each vehicle is personally financed by an individual board member.

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Female Service Members Can Go to War but Can't Give Birth in a VA Hospital

Categories: Cover Story

Photos by Violeta Alvarez
For Amelia "Mali" Templeton, this doctor's visit is cause for both joy and fear. She is nearly into her second trimester of her second pregnancy, but this is the first time she has seen an obstetrician since an initial brief "yes, you're pregnant" confirmation of her home pregnancy test results. She has been desperately seeking prenatal care ever since.

"I didn't want to tell anybody until I'd heard a heartbeat," says Templeton. "I had some close friends that had gone through some pretty traumatic pregnancies over the past few years. So I wanted to wait until I had at least had my first appointment when a doctor would say, 'It looks good' before I even told my family."

Thankfully, everything checks out within normal parameters. Templeton's baby is viable and growing well. She's clear to tell her 85-year-old grandfather that he's got a new great-grandbaby on the way. She'll be bringing a brother or sister home for her nine-year-old daughter.

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Murky Waters: Oystermen Battle Over the Future of Texas Oyster Reefs

Categories: Cover Story

Lisa Halili had to scream into the phone to get her old friend and longtime competitor in the Texas oyster industry, Mihael Ivic, to calm down enough so that she could understand what he was saying.

"The Nelsons are stealing the bay!" Ivic yelled. Lisa's stomach knotted and her hands grew slick with sweat as she handed the phone to her husband, Johnny Halili, to see if he could get Ivic to make sense. The story Ivic told seemed like some kind of sick joke. After everything they'd been through the past few years -- the hurricanes, the drought, the oil spill, an entire litany of disasters -- even Ben Nelson, known curmudgeon that he was, couldn't really do this.

But Nelson's son-in-law, Tracy Woody, confirmed it when Johnny Halili called him.

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Tim Miller Thinks He Knows Who Killed His Daughter, But Is He After the Right Monster?

Categories: Cover Story, Crime

Photo by Max Burkhalter
Shortly after Tim Miller's teenage daughter Laura went missing from her League City home in September 1984, he had a feeling he wasn't really searching for Laura but for her body.

Six months earlier, a dog had dug up a human skull in a pasture off Calder Road in League City, leading police to the rest of what turned out to be a 25-year-old woman who'd disappeared in October 1983. Heide Fye lived with her parents, about three blocks from the Millers. The medical examiner believed she'd been beaten to death. She was last seen at the same convenience store where Laura's mother dropped Laura off in September 1984. The 16-year-old had planned to use the pay phone to call her boyfriend and walk home afterward.

Miller was bothered by the coincidence.

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40 Weeks Later, No One Has Been Charged With the Murders of Britney Cosby and Crystal Jackson

Brian Stauffer
The bodies were impossible to miss. They were the first thing the beer-truck delivery man saw when he stepped out to haul the trash to the dumpster behind the little convenience store on Bolivar Point on Friday morning, March 7, 2014. They'd been left in a messy pile and could almost be mistaken for stacked mannequins if it weren't for the trail of blood dribbling toward the street.

One was dressed in men's clothing and work boots and was lying face-down on the pavement. Her head was swaddled in a reddish-brown plaid sheet that covered her face entirely and caught most of the blood. She was small-framed and only about five feet tall, and at first detectives mistook her for a teenage boy because of her clothes. She'd been beaten to death, with the killing blows administered to her head. A young black woman was piled on top of her, their legs tangled. Pretty with a triangle of a face composed of high cheekbones and a small rosebud mouth, the woman was even shorter, with long, dark hair. Her large brown eyes were wide open and blank, her mouth shaped in an almost-perfect circle of surprise. A quarter-size gunshot wound marked her right temple.

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Great Hair, Stellar Entertainment: We're Really Going to Miss Rick Perry

For the past 14 years, the state of Texas has been run by the guy with the best head of hair in professional politics. Now we are reaching the end of an era. Come January 20, Gov. Rick Perry will leave office after serving the longest gubernatorial term in the state's history, roughly 5,110 days. Whether he follows through on his threat to go into quiet California Dreamin' retirement or takes the more likely path and tries another quixotic run at the White House, one thing is certain: We're going to miss that hair and the strange and wondrous mind beneath that gorgeous dome.

Perry has been many things to us in Texas -- an Aggie, a Sam Rayburn-inspired Democrat, a state legislator, a more-conservative-than-your-most--conservative-relative Republican, agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor -- but he has also been something infinitely more priceless -- dear Lord, even when his policies have been the stuff of nightmares, Perry has been entertaining.

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