Fourth of July Deaths Rulings

More than three months later, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday released its conclusions on the deaths. The cause for both: Drowning. The manner of Patterson’s death was “undetermined,” while Siler’s was “accidental.”

By Julie Shaw

City Restaurants

For the first time, Philadelphia has actually quantified its bustling restaurant scene. According to a new report from the Health Department, the city offers just over 6,000 places to eat.

The study pulled together the count of Philly’s dine-in options via restaurant inspections and online searches, per spokesperson Jim Garrow. Anything that’s characterized as “primarily on-premise consumption” and within the city limits is included.

By Michaela Winberg

E.coli Update 9/20/19

Food Safety News

“A total of 19 cases were identified in this cluster. The last report was received on Sept. 6, and our investigation into the source continues,” department spokesman James Garrow told Food Safety News.

By Coral Beach

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The Philadelphia E. coli outbreak has grown to include 19 ill persons. James Garrow of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health updated Food Poisoning Bulletin in an email. The Department cannot confirm whether or not anyone has been hospitalized. The case count is accurate as of September 6, 2019.

By Staff

Brian Smart Death Investigation

Upper Darby school officials said in May that Smart, 25, appeared to have died of a heart attack, meaning a blockage in an artery that cuts off the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart.

But a heart attack is just one of many conditions that can lead to a sudden cardiac death. The actual cause in this case is unclear, said James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.

By Tom Avril

Overdose Hospitalization Report

“As the number of overdose deaths in Philadelphia dropped in 2018 from the 2017 watermark and naloxone became more prevalent in the community, we expect that the number of hospital admissions would go down; more people are surviving overdoses,” James Garrow, a spokesperson for Philadelphia’s health department, wrote in an email. “This is great news because it means that these folks have another chance to get into treatment.”

Still, he added, Philadelphia’s historically high overdose fatalities — 1,116 people died here in 2018, a rate higher than anywhere else in Pennsylvania — mean that it’s not surprising the city leads the state in hospitalizations.

By Aubrey Whelan

E.Coli Update


“This a wide-ranging investigation that asks very sick people to list every single thing that they’ve eaten or drank, at the level of every individual ingredient, during the period when they were exposed to the bug,” Garrow said. “This generates a massive list of possible items and locations that may have been the culprit.”

By Rita Giordano

Gregory Eells Death

NBC Nightly News

His death was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner’s office, according to James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

By Janelle Griffith

Cornell Daily Sun

James Garrow, the director of communications for the City of Philadelphia’s Public Health Department, confirmed reports by student paper The Daily Pennsylvanian that the city’s medical examiner had ruled the death a suicide.

By Sarah Skinner

Daily Pennsylvanian

His death was ruled a suicide by the Medical Examiner’s Office, spokesperson James Garrow confirmed to The Daily Pennsylvanian, and reports indicate he jumped from a building in Center City Philadelphia.

By Manlu Liu and Max Cohen


His death occurred about 6:40 a.m. along the 100 block of South Broad Street, where Eells had been living. It was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner’s office, said James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

By Susan Snyder, Mike Newall and Mensah M. Dean

CBS Evening News

The head of the University of Pennsylvania’s psychological and counseling services department died by suicide, officials confirmed on Wednesday. Dr. Gregory Eells, 52, died on Monday morning due to multiple blunt impact injuries, according to the Philadelphia Department of Health, and the University of Pennsylvania confirmed his death to CBS News.

By Brian Pascus


Dr. Gregory Eells, the executive director of counseling and psychological services at the University of Pennsylvania, died by suicide, a spokesperson with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health confirms to PEOPLE.

By Helen Murphy

Queen Village Rats

James Garrow, a spokesperson for the city’s Health Department, said Vector Control is working to abate the Queen Village infestation. He said construction in the area seems to have exacerbated the problem. The city is also continuing to treat Lawncrest, where Garrow said treatment is “working and [Vector Control] will continue to follow up until the problem is solved.”

Garrow said removing trash and potential rodent shelters (think: tall grasses, creeping vines) are the two biggest steps communities can take to reduce a rat problem. Gardens with crops are another food source, he said — so be sure to pick your vegetables as soon as they’re ripe.

“If you can get rid of the food and lack of shelter, [rats will] generally move,” Garrow said.

By Claire Sasko

Fountain Swimming

While it may be fun, swimming in a public fountain presents a health risk, the city’s Public Health Department said. The water undergoes vigorous treatment, the same as drinking water, but once in the fountain, “it’s essentially like a pool, but without all of the treatment chemicals to make it safe.” The department discourages swimming in fountains.

Cryptosporidium and giardia are two main illnesses of concern, according to Health Department spokesperson James Garrow, as they are the “most common causes of recreational water illness” in the country. Both are spread by swallowing contaminated water and cause diarrhea.

By TyLisa C. Johnson and Lucia Geng