Articles written by Whitney Bryen

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Oklahomans share their struggle for mental healthcare as feds investigate statewide treatment

A Guthrie father spent two nights in an emergency room after his son attempted suicide only to be sent home because every state mental health treatment facility that cares for children was full. After...

 By Whitney Bryen    Regional    May 27, 2022

Despite scathing audit, federal agencies award $1.5 million to Oklahoma nonprofit

It has been nearly a year since federal auditors revealed a pattern of improper spending at the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, jeopardizing critical aid for the state’s abused women and children. But those findings...


Oklahoma nonprofit used federal funds for vacations instead of victim services

She was in San Diego to learn how to protect abuse victims. Instead, Candida Manion went wine tasting. Federal funds paid Manion's salary as executive director of the Oklahoma Coalition Against... Full story


Nursing homes hit by latest Covid surge

At least one long-term care worker and 16 residents are casualties of Oklahoma's largest Covid-19 spike since the pandemic began, Oklahoma Watch found in a review of the state health department's... Full story


'If I can save one person's life, I've done it in honor of my mom'

Less than a month after losing her mother to Covid-19, registered nurse Jennifer Davis provided the first monoclonal antibody treatment to a patient at Norman Regional Hospital's Covid Infusion Unit.... Full story

 By Whitney Bryen    Local    March 18, 2021

What you don't know and should about nursing home care

After a year of Covid-19 restrictions, Oklahoma's long-term care facilities are beginning to reopen to visitors. It could still be weeks or months before families are reunited. Last March, nursing... Full story


Vaccines reach nearly all Oklahoma long-term care facilities

Nearly seven weeks after Covid-19 vaccines reached Oklahoma nursing homes, first doses have been delivered to residents and staff at nearly every long-term care facility in the state. CVS and... Full story


Arms race: Why 62,000 doses of Covid vaccine sit frozen in Oklahoma

The state Department of Health provided 97,500 doses to CVS and Walgreens, who were contracted by the federal government to vaccinate vulnerable residents and workers at nursing homes, assisted...

 By Whitney Bryen    Local    January 7, 2021

'God, please keep us safe': Amid Covid, an Oklahoma nursing home faces impossible decisions

ALVA - It's 4:45 a.m. when the first chimes of Dayna Jordan's phone alarm vibrate softly from her nightstand. The volume, and Jordan's anxiety, grows with each ring until the once peaceful room is... Full story


A guide to State Question 805 and its potential impact on Oklahoma criminal justice

As the Nov. 3 general election date draws near, public confusion regarding State Question 805—a ballot initiative which would amend the Oklahoma Constitution and end the use of sentence enhancements against some repeat offenders—remains high. In...


Oklahoma City mental health emergencies outpace police trained to handle them

(Editor's Note: This collaboration between Oklahoma Watch and StateImpact Oklahoma was aided by a grant from The Center For Cooperative Media at Montclair (N.J.) State, supported by the Democracy... Full story


Nursing homes: 95 deaths, no violations

After COVID-19 reached Oklahoma, the state health department began coronavirus-specific inspections of nursing homes, focusing on facilities already exposed. Inspectors found no violations in the 10...


State readies plan for opening nursing homes, but industry skeptical

State health officials are developing a plan that could allow visitors back into nursing homes. But facility managers and industry advocates point to complications with testing and a shortage of...


With lockdowns relaxing, talk of reopening nursing homes emerges

Deaths of nursing home residents and staff reached triple digits this week and facility officials say the number will likely continue to climb. But a state legislator wants to allow visitors back...


Violence at home

Family violence is escalating in parts of the state as the stress of the pandemic mounts. Weeks of isolation, financial strain and fear are heightening tensions, and some agencies say they have seen... Full story


After resisting, state decides to release number of COVID-19 cases, deaths for all cities

Weeks after mayors and other local officials asked the Oklahoma State Department of Health to release COVID-19 infections and deaths by city, the state began publishing some of that information this week. The catch? The city breakdown excluded...


State investigates more than 25 long-term care centers

More than 25 long-term care facilities were under investigation by the state last week as coronavirus outbreaks kept rising, with now 25 deaths of residents and 335 positive cases. But officials are...


Police communication gaps allow abuse suspects to avoid quick arrest

State law allows police to arrest accused domestic abusers without a warrant if there is sufficient evidence, such as a witness statement or a victim’s visible injuries. But a lack of communication among law enforcement agencies is allowing...


Courts rely on domestic abuse defendants' word for surrendering guns

Oklahoma judges order hundreds of defendants to surrender their firearms under victim protective orders every year. But the courts rely on defendants to voluntarily comply – an honor system that... Full story


Fewer Oklahoma women report pregnancy discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination stole the social media spotlight recently after questions arose over Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s account of being pushed out of a teaching job in the 1970s because she was pregnant.   Despite a...


Most domestic abusers defy court-ordered intervention

All Sean Jones had to do to avoid prison was to attend some domestic violence classes and check in with a probation officer once a month. Jones felt relieved as District Judge Kevin McCray approved a plea deal in an Oklahoma City courtroom last May....


Rape counts keep rising even as police clear fewer cases

The number of reported rapes and attempted rapes in Oklahoma climbed for the seventh consecutive year in 2018, reaching its highest level in at least 20 years, new data shows. But it’s unclear whether most of the increase came from a rise in...


In rural areas, a ceaseless struggle to get domestic abuse victims to testify

On a March morning in 2017, Tamera Moore, a 38-year-old woman living in the southeast Oklahoma town of Valliant, began the day with a bitter argument. She and her boyfriend, Geoffrey Briley, began quarreling and she told him she wanted to break up....

 By Whitney Bryen    Local    June 6, 2019

Strangulation of women is common, chilling – and often a grim harbinger

On a June night last year, an argument broke out at an Atoka County home. A woman’s teenage daughter was playing loud music, and her husband asked her to tell the daughter to turn the music off. The argument escalated, and the woman said her...


In unannounced move, Oklahoma jails begin collecting DNA from arrestees

With no announcement, Oklahoma jails are beginning to collect DNA from individuals arrested on felony charges – the first step in implementing a controversial state law passed two years ago. So far, hundreds of jail inmates have had the insides of...


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