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Lab cleared to resume tests after three die due to error

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A hospital won approval from health officials to resume blood-clotting tests after a lab error caused three deaths and dozens of overdoses at the facility.

Officials also said Friday that a 78-year-old woman died Aug. 26 from bleeding on the brain due to drug therapy based on the lab error that caused two other deaths, said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the city medical examiner.

The patients were among dozens at St. Agnes Medical Center given overdoses of a blood thinner after a laboratory incorrectly interpreted a blood-thickness test. The mistakes occurred between June 5 and July 25.

The hospital voluntarily stopped doing the test soon after the errors were discovered and sent the work to an outside lab.

St. Agnes has improved its ordering process and instituted checks and balances to ensure that what they received was what they ordered, said Richard McGarvey, spokesman for the health department.

Judge urges suppression of seaman's confession

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A former Navy seaman's videotaped confession to the killing of an officer 33 years ago should be suppressed because it was not voluntary, a federal magistrate has recommended.

Michael LeBrun faces federal murder charges in the 1968 death of Andrew Muns while their ship, the USS Cacapon, was anchored in the Philippines. Muns, a payroll officer, was never found, and more than $8,000 was missing from a ship safe.

The investigation was reopened three years ago at the urging of Mun's sister.

Prosecutors said LeBrun gave a videotaped confession in September 2000, but on Friday U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays advised District Judge Dean Whipple not to let jurors see the tape. Whipple must still rule on the recommendation.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said prosecutors plan to ask Whipple to reverse the magistrate. Investigators testified last spring that LeBrun's confession was crucial to the case.

California lawmakers skip power company bailout

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The state Senate adjourned early Saturday without voting on a plan to rescue Southern California Edison from bankruptcy, and Gov. Gray Davis called an emergency legislative session for next month to try again to help the struggling utility.

As the California Legislature rushed to finish the 2001 session, senators remained cool to Davis' idea of bailing out the utility. They failed to vote on the measure after it was approved last week by the Assembly.

"We didn't take it up because we didn't want to embarrass the governor," said President Pro Tem John Burton. "It would have been a rip-off of residential people to help big business and bail out a corporation."

The deal's quiet death closed more than five months of work since Davis first announced the plan in April, saying the state would pay $2.76 billion for Edison's transmission system and let the utility sell consumer-backed bonds to repay the rest of its $3.9 billion debt.

Without the deal, Edison faces bankruptcy along with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the state's largest utility.

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