Wednesday, January 23, 2008

First call after Ledger found: Olsen

Massage Therapist's First Call After Finding Ledger Was to Mary-Kate Olsen

AP News

Jan 23, 2008 19:52 EST

A massage therapist who discovered a lifeless Heath Ledger in his Manhattan apartment made her first call to Mary-Kate Olsen, according to an in-depth timeline police released Wednesday of the moments surrounding the Australian-born actor's death.

Police said Ledger probably died sometime between 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday of what authorities say may be an accidental drug overdose.

Authorities found six different types of prescription drugs in Ledger's apartment, including pills to treat insomnia and anxiety, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Three of the drugs were prescribed in Europe.

Ledger's housekeeper, Teresa Solomon, arrived at his apartment with her own key and let herself in. At 1 p.m., she went to his bedroom to change a light bulb, and saw Ledger sleeping and heard him snoring. She left the room without thinking anything was wrong.

At 2:45 p.m., massage therapist Diana Wolozin showed up for her appointment with Ledger, who didn't answer when she knocked on his door. She then tried to call him on his cell phone, but again got no response. She went into the bedroom, set up her massage table and again tried to wake Ledger.

Wolozin told police that Ledger was cold to the touch, but she just assumed he was unconscious. She proceeded to grab his cell phone and call Mary Kate Olsen, whose number is programmed into the phone. Wolozin knew that the "Full House" star and Ledger were friends, and she asked Olsen for advice on what she should do next.

Olsen, who also lives in Manhattan but was in California at the time, responded by saying she would send over her private security guards to help deal with the situation. In the ensuing moments, Wolozin realized that Ledger might be dead, and called 911.

The emergency operator provided Wolozin directions on how to do CPR, but it was too late.

Paramedics arrived minutes later — at about the same time as Olsen's security guards.

Numerous messages left at telephone numbers listed to Wolozin and Solomon were not returned Wednesday.

Source: AP News

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger Found Dead

January 22, 2008, 4:42 pm
Actor Heath Ledger Is Found Dead
By Sewell Chan
The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, according to the New York City police. Mr. Ledger was 28.
At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived at Apartment 5A in the building, at 421 Broome Street in SoHo, for an appointment with Mr. Ledger, the police said. The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger naked and unconscious on a bed, with pills scattered around his body. They shook him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities. The police said they did not suspect foul play. The police said they believed Ms. Olsen, 21, was in California and said it was not clear why Mr. Ledger was in her apartment.
Mr. Ledger, a native of Perth, Australia, won acclaim for his role as a co-star in “Brokeback Mountain”, a 2005 film. The film, based on a short story by Annie Proulx about two cowboys who fall in love, won critical acclaim. Reviewing the film in The New York Times, the critic Stephen Holden wrote, “Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn.”
Mr. Ledger met the actress Michelle Williams while filming ‘’Brokeback Mountain.” The two actors fell into a romance and moved to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, where their comings and goings were widely noted by paparazzi. They had a daughter, Matilda Rose, who was born on Oct. 28, 2005. The couple separated last year.
In an interview in London for an article published in November, Mr. Ledger told The New York Times, ‘’I feel like I’m wasting time if I repeat myself.” He said in the interview that he was not proud of his latest role, in Todd Haynes’s “I’m Not There,” in which Mr. Ledger was one of a half-dozen actors depicting the musician Bob Dylan. ‘’I feel the same way about everything I do. The day I say, ‘It’s good’ is the day I should start doing something else,” said in the interview.
Calls by The Times to Mara Buxbaum, a publicist for Mr. Ledger, and Steve Alexander, the actor’s agent, were not immediately returned this afternoon.
Thomas J. Lueck contributed reporting.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Organ ruling hits home

David Watson has polycystic kidney disease and may well be in need of a kidney transplant one day. Health Canada’s recent decision to exclude sexually active gay men from donating their organs for transplant does not sit well with Mr. Watson, who is gay. (Jeff Harper / Staff)

David Watson has raised money and awareness for organ donation. Ottawa’s new regulations on gay donors feel like a slap in the face.By JOHN GILLIS Health ReporterSat. Jan 12 - 5:14 AM

WHEN David Watson learned about a new Health Canada regulation excluding sexually active gay men as potential organ donors, he took it as a slap in the face. Mr. Watson, who is gay, has polycystic kidney disease and will most likely require a kidney transplant in the future. His father has already had a kidney transplant after his own organs failed and his brother also has the disease.
This summer Mr. Watson, 25, cycled 7,550 kilometres across Canada, raising more than $25,000 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada and urging Canadians in every province to become organ donors.
The Halifax man said he’d just come from having kidney-related tests done at the hospital when he heard Health Canada had introduced a policy in December excluding any man who had had sex with a man in the previous five years from becoming an organ donor.
Mr. Watson was dumbfounded.
"After doing what I did . . . I put so much to raise awareness for organ donation. It’s not a personal thing, but I took it so personally."
Health Canada has said the regulations are based on risk and not lifestyle and that a man who has had sex with another man within five years is a high risk for transmitting infectious disease.
Spokeswoman Carole Saindon said that a gay man who had been abstinent for five years would not be excluded, but even a straight man who had a one-night stand with another man within that period would be.
Other people who cannot donate organs under the regulations include prison inmates and those who have spent more than 72 straight hours in custody in the preceding year, people with recent tattoos or piercings, people who have had sex for money or drugs within five years, and people who have used non-medical intravenous drugs in the preceding five years.
The QEII screens all potential donors using medical histories, questionnaires (for surviving relatives) to detect high-risk behaviour and blood tests to detect viruses like HIV or hepatitis.
A recipient and a doctor may agree to use an organ from a high-risk donor under an "exceptional distribution" clause, though doctors involved in organ transplantation in Nova Scotia have said getting such approval isn’t logistically plausible when many transplants require urgent action.
Mr. Watson said the regulations go too far.
"You can’t say that all homosexuals are at a higher risk," he said. "I’m personally in a very monogamous safe relationship. I’m absolutely no more risk than anyone else."
Mr. Watson is keenly aware of the long wait lists for kidney transplants. And while he couldn’t donate his own kidney, he hopes his other organs could be used in the event of his death.
"If I was in an accident today going home from work and I was killed, those organs would just go to waste," he said. "I think that’s horrible."
He’s been speaking to others and finds no one needs convincing the regulation is unjust — the use of organs should be based on real risk of disease transmission, not sexual orientation.
Mr. Watson encouraged others, especially gay men, to speak out against the regulation but not to tear up their donor cards. He hoped a change of policy or an exception would mean they could still be potential donors.
The Health Canada regulations seem to echo a now widely ignored 1994 policy of the American Centers for Disease Control, said Dr. Jeff Zaltzman, a member of the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s national organ donation committee and a transplant nephrologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto
"The regulations as they are written . . . are quite draconian; they’re probably not very well thought out and they also appear somewhat discriminatory," he said.
He noted the American rules date to a time when AIDS treatments and tests to detect the disease were not as reliable as they are today.
Dr. Zaltzman said the new Health Canada rules came as a surprise but won’t prevent him from doing kidney transplants from an acceptable living gay male donor, provided the patient is aware of the small risk of disease transmission.
"Physicians and surgeons in consent and in discussion with their recipients make those decisions all the time, regardless of what the regulations say," he said.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January Edition Now On-Line!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's January again and the start of another fresh year. This month's Outlooks includes some tips for New Year's Resolutions and a fitness routine to get you started. Our travel story is Buenos Aires and there is also a special feature about investing in resort property in Puerto Vallarta. Plus our regular columnists from across Canada and some Year In Review Out & Abouts from 2007.