After YouTuber Stevie Ryan’s dying, a nurse practitioner faces scrutiny

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Stevie Ryan appeared prepared to interrupt out of a rut.

Her pioneering work as an early YouTuber had led to a VH1 present, however “Stevie TV” was canceled after two seasons and Ryan subsequently struggled to chart a course in Hollywood. For a interval, she had stopped going to auditions altogether.

In spring 2017, nevertheless, she recommitted to her profession, telling her supervisor that she was able to get again to work.

Across the similar time, Ryan was additionally allegedly beginning a brand new relationship — one with Gerald Baltz, a nurse practitioner who for 2 years had supplied her with psychiatric care, issuing her prescriptions for a number of medication used to deal with psychological well being issues.

“We simply exchanged numbers and he had a meltdown over it being unethical,” Ryan texted a pal in April 2017, in keeping with a authorized doc.

Three months later, Ryan took her personal life. Her July 1, 2017, suicide on the age of 33 staggered her family and friends.

“You don’t count on to be making funeral preparations in your daughter — that’s devastating,” mentioned her father, Steve Ryan. “There’s simply so many unanswered questions.”

Stevie Ryan attends the launch of the Socialvibe.com in 2008.

Stevie Ryan attends the 2008 launch of Socialvibe.com on the Stone Rose Lounge in Los Angeles.

(Charley Gallay / Getty Photographs for SocalVibe)

Now, an ongoing authorized continuing introduced by the top of the California Board of Registered Nursing in opposition to Baltz is revealing new particulars about Stevie Ryan’s last months.

Baltz is alleged to have engaged in an inappropriate, boundary-crossing relationship with Ryan whereas she was his affected person, after which a sexual relationship along with her whereas she was receiving remedy on the facility the place he labored, in keeping with a proper accusation filed in opposition to him with the nursing board in June 2020. The submitting consists of passages of textual content messages allegedly exchanged by Baltz and Ryan about their intimate encounters, and his instruction for her to delete the dialog.

Baltz additionally allegedly issued Ryan prescriptions for about 10 medication used to deal with a spread of circumstances — together with melancholy, schizophrenia and bipolar dysfunction — with out offering “clear rationale for prescribed drugs,” in keeping with the accusation. And he allegedly failed to hunt supervision for her when she was suicidal.

“Noticed my doc. He mentioned DO NOT go to the hospital,” Ryan texted a pal in an undated message, in keeping with the accusation. “He’s placing me on new meds AGAIN … However he’s so scorching … like FINE … I feel I’m relationship my physician now.”

Suicide prevention and disaster counseling sources

For those who or somebody is combating suicidal ideas, search assist from an expert and name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Textual content “HOME” to 741741 within the U.S. and Canada to achieve the Disaster Textual content Line.

The accusation seeks the suspension or revocation of Baltz’s nursing licenses for alleged misconduct that’s topic to disciplinary motion below the California Enterprise and Professions Code. It accuses Baltz of gross negligence and incompetence, amongst different allegations.

There isn’t a public report of Baltz’s response to the accusation, which got here after the nursing board, an company inside the state’s Division of Client Affairs, obtained a criticism in 2018 about his remedy of Ryan. Nevertheless, throughout an interview with a nursing board investigator, Baltz, 47, mentioned that he couldn’t “clearly” keep in mind Ryan nor recall what he had handled her for, in keeping with the accusation.

The Instances requested Baltz greater than 25 detailed questions in regards to the reporting on this article. In a written response, Baltz’s lawyer, Melanie Balestra, mentioned that she had suggested him to not reply to the inquiry as a result of he was sure by a “confidentiality assertion” with the Board of Registered Nursing. The lawyer mentioned that the nursing board had made “absolute errors of their details” however didn’t specify what she was contesting.

“There isn’t a approach that anybody can understand the quantity of ache [Ryan] was in or what brought on her to resolve to take her life,” Balestra mentioned. “Accountable one individual is unconscionable.”

A nursing board spokeswoman declined to reply questions in regards to the case, explaining it “doesn’t touch upon pending issues.” A listening to through which Baltz will current a protection to the accusation is scheduled for Oct. 12 with the state’s Workplace of Administrative Hearings.

Baltz has continued to work as a nurse practitioner throughout the board’s years-long scrutiny of his actions. He’s listed because the lone workers member on the web site for Melrose Psych, a facility within the Beverly Grove neighborhood. Emails despatched to Baltz late final month generated an automated response that supplied hyperlinks to guide appointments and defined that “all remedy/treatment classes can be completed by way of telepsychiatry” because of the pandemic.

Family and friends of Ryan mentioned they’re talking out for the primary time partially as a result of they’re fearful for any sufferers Baltz could also be treating.

“That’s what made me so livid — that he’s nonetheless working towards,” mentioned Yuni Kim, a pal of Ryan’s. “She had ineffective … healthcare.”

A few of the allegations disclosed within the accusation are much like these contained in a wrongful-death lawsuit introduced by Ryan’s dad and mom in opposition to Baltz in 2018. He and his firm, Baltz Psychiatry Nursing, settled the L.A. County Superior Court docket case for $200,000, in keeping with a settlement discover filed with the court docket.

Steve Ryan mentioned he discovered in regards to the particulars of his daughter’s relationship with Baltz solely after her dying.

“We all know that she was weak,” he mentioned, “and [Baltz] took an oath … to assist and never hurt. And I don’t assume he helped in any respect.”

From YouTube to TV

Stevie Ryan grew up in Victorville, the excessive desert metropolis 90 miles from Los Angeles. She got here of age throughout the Nineties web increase and developed a eager sense of what would — and wouldn’t — work on the internet. As a preteen, Ryan frolicked in chat rooms and discovered tips on how to use a video digicam, in keeping with a 2007 profile of her in The Instances.

“Since I used to be younger, I’ve been a complete digicam hog,” she mentioned.

By her teenage years, Ryan harbored Hollywood desires that she pursued with tenacity. When she was 18, she burrowed beneath a fence to sneak onto the set of a Moby music video, and wound up being featured in it, The Instances reported. The expertise impressed her to ship head photographs to expertise companies.

She was on the ground-floor degree of individuals to get well-known from YouTube … to launch it right into a TV present. Again then, that was a significant leap.

Michael Pelmont, Stevie Ryan’s supervisor

Ryan moved to Los Angeles round 2005, the identical 12 months YouTube launched. It quickly turned her ardour. In Might 2006, she posted her debut video as Little Loca, a personality that might turbocharge her profession. Little Loca was a tough-talking 18-year-old from East L.A. who Ryan, a white girl, mentioned was patterned after Latina highschool classmates she admired.

She additionally launched different varieties of movies, together with brief movies within the fashion of silent films set to ethereal piano music, however Little Loca attracted probably the most consideration — and controversy. On YouTube, some commenters objected to Ryan portraying a self-described “chola.”

Ryan’s hometown newspaper, the Victorville Every day Press, wrote that her viewers “was divided between those that obtained the bit and those that felt an outsider was propagating racial stereotypes.” However she appeared to court docket the outrage, saying in a single video that those that didn’t like the truth that she was enjoying a Latina may “F— off.”

The recognition of the Little Loca character led to a New Yorker profile that positioned Ryan, then 22, as an innovator. On the time, YouTube was a distinct platform: Diary-like video collection have been in vogue, and a DIY aesthetic proudly reigned. Ryan, in the meantime, was specializing in storytelling and experimenting with kind.

Stevie Ryan poses for a photo with Crispin Glover

Crispin Glover and Stevie Ryan stroll the purple carpet at BAFTA Los Angeles’ Britannia Awards in 2010.

(Toby Canham / Getty Photographs)

Quickly, she was producing movies that obtained greater than 1 million views apiece — a notable milestone in YouTube’s early days. And the leisure trade got here calling.

At a gathering with expertise supervisor Michael Pelmont in 2010, Ryan made clear that her ambitions went far past on-line fame. “She mentioned, ‘I would like my very own TV present,’” recalled Pelmont, who turned Ryan’s supervisor. “She simply went for it.”

Ryan obtained that present: “Stevie TV,” a VH1 sketch comedy program that marked a breakthrough in YouTube’s tastemaking ascent. “She was on the ground-floor degree of individuals to get well-known from YouTube … to launch it right into a TV present,” Pelmont mentioned. “Again then, that was a significant leap.”

After two seasons and 14 episodes in all, VH1 canceled “Stevie TV” in 2014. The loss weighed on Ryan, her father mentioned, and pursuing a extra easy profession as an actress didn’t jibe along with her sensibilities. “She wasn’t actually enthusiastic about changing into a personality that any person else made up,” he mentioned.

After “Stevie TV,” Ryan went on her share of auditions, Pelmont mentioned, however struggled with the method. And a few initiatives she pursued by no means moved ahead.

Pelmont fearful about Ryan, whom he described as “simply fearless, however on the similar time petrified.”

That’s “a extremely onerous dichotomy,” he mentioned, including that Ryan struggled to beat her insecurity “for years and years.”

A altering relationship

In April 2015 — somewhat greater than a 12 months after “Stevie TV” was canceled — Ryan started receiving medical care from Baltz, in keeping with the accusation.

On the time, Baltz, who goes by Jay, was about six years into his nursing profession. A St. Louis native, he graduated from Brooklyn Faculty in 1998 with a bachelor’s in high quality arts in artistic writing, in keeping with his LinkedIn web page. Later, Baltz turned to nursing, incomes three levels from Saint Louis College, together with two on the graduate degree, in keeping with LinkedIn.

Baltz has 4 nursing licenses in California, every energetic via April 2023, together with one that enables him to offer psychiatric-mental well being care and two for working as a nurse practitioner, in keeping with filings with the state’s Client Affairs Division. He additionally secured nursing licenses in Colorado in 2018 and Washington in 2019, information present.

Apart from the Ryan accusation, there isn’t any report of disciplinary or enforcement motion in opposition to Baltz by any state company that oversees nursing licensure.

Nurse practitioners have a singular and evolving function within the healthcare system. They’re registered nurses with extra training, which affords them the power to prescribe medication, supply diagnoses and take a complete function in a affected person’s healthcare. In California, their actions presently require doctor oversight — a stricter customary than in lots of states. Beginning in 2023, nevertheless, California regulation will permit nurse practitioners to function with out oversight after working below supervision for 3 years.

Stevie Ryan attends a Beverly Hills gifting lounge

Stevie Ryan attends a Beverly Hills gifting lounge honoring MTV Film Awards nominees and presenters in 2012.

(Tiffany Rose / WireImage by way of Getty Photographs)

The accusation alleged that Baltz’s care of Ryan violated the principles from the beginning. His consumption be aware allegedly “supplied scant data,” “did not doc” varied components of Ryan’s well being historical past and “supplied no clear documentation” for diagnosing her with consideration deficit hyperactivity dysfunction. The authorized submitting additionally claimed that Baltz “failed to incorporate the formulation of the prognosis or clear rationale” for medicines he prescribed her.

Baltz was speculated to be reviewing Ryan’s chart along with his supervising doctor. Nevertheless, the doctor — who was interviewed by a nursing board investigator however is just not named within the accusation — “admitted he had not completed chart evaluations” with Baltz, in keeping with the accusation. The doctor additionally mentioned that he had not accomplished different components of his required oversight of Baltz and had final met with the nurse “a few years” prior, the authorized submitting mentioned.

Loyola Legislation Faculty professor Brietta Clark, an knowledgeable on healthcare regulation who reviewed the accusation at The Instances’ request, mentioned that “if the allegations are true, [Baltz] is any person who was ignoring the principles.”

Baltz discontinued remedy of Ryan roughly two years into their practitioner-patient relationship. The change occurred after he had allegedly flirted along with her and obtained her cellphone quantity whereas nonetheless serving as her care supplier, in keeping with the accusation, which establishes a timeline of occasions partly by way of Ryan’s medical information and textual content messages the nursing board investigator accessed on her cell phone. (The authorized submitting doesn’t consult with Ryan by title, as an alternative utilizing her initials; 4 individuals confirmed the “S.R.” in query is the late actress.)

In an April 5, 2017, message to a pal, Ryan mentioned that she had requested her “doc” out, and that Baltz “agreed however … she needed to get a brand new physician,” the accusation alleged. After that go to, Baltz referred her to a different psychological well being supplier at Perception Decisions, the ability the place he labored as an unbiased contractor, in keeping with the authorized submitting.

Matt Stevens, an lawyer representing Perception Decisions, mentioned the corporate was not conscious of Baltz’s claimed conduct on the time it allegedly occurred and couldn’t touch upon the method of securing one other supplier for Ryan. Balestra mentioned that Baltz had “correctly referred [Ryan] out of his care to a psychiatrist who continued her remedy.”

Textual content messages allegedly despatched by Baltz to Ryan on April 9, 2017, centered on the ethics of the scenario. After Ryan requested Baltz if texting was unethical, he replied, in keeping with the accusation, “I’m a healer, it might be unethical for me … not you. I took an oath!!”

“If I did something to hurt you it might not solely be a dick transfer however trigger 10 years of faculty and work to vanish for me,” Baltz additionally texted Ryan that day, in keeping with the accusation.

Ryan and Baltz mentioned the small print of their sexual liaisons in textual content messages despatched over the course of the following week, in keeping with the accusation. After an alternate through which Baltz apologized for biting Ryan, he urged her to delete the messages, the accusation alleged.

Noticed my doc. He mentioned DO NOT go to the hospital. He’s placing me on new meds AGAIN … However he’s so scorching … like FINE … I feel I’m relationship my physician now.

Stevie Ryan, in a textual content message to a pal

Though Baltz stopped treating Ryan on the identical day they allegedly agreed to exit, medical regulation specialists who spoke with The Instances mentioned that the scenario was troubling.

“They begin a relationship and he’s nonetheless working on the similar clinic and she or he will get remedy on the similar clinic — that also strikes me as problematic,” mentioned Dr. Julie Cantor, who till 2020 was a longtime lecturer on medical ethics and different subjects on the UCLA Faculty of Legislation, and reviewed the accusation at The Instances’ request. “By way of a treating relationship, these energy dynamics are nonetheless in play.”

Baltz’s alleged intimate relationship with Ryan is trigger for self-discipline below a bit of the state enterprise code associated to “unprofessional conduct,” the accusation mentioned. The code stipulates that such conduct consists of “the fee of any act of sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a affected person, shopper, or buyer.”

Nationwide medical organizations universally condemn healthcare professionals having sexual relationships with present sufferers or purchasers, although just some take a stance on intimate contact with former care recipients.

Host Stevie Ryan and executive producer for "Online Nation" David Hurwitz in 2007.

Stevie Ryan and TV producer David Hurwitz converse on the 2007 Tv Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills.

(Kevin Winter / Getty Photographs)

The American Psychiatric Assn.’s medical ethics code is unequivocal: “Sexual exercise with a present or former affected person is unethical.” The American Psychological Assn. says that psychologists should wait two years after terminating remedy earlier than partaking in an intimate relationship with a former shopper and cautions that if such contact is to happen, the medical skilled would “bear the burden of demonstrating that there was no exploitation.”

In the meantime, the American Nurses Assn.’s code of ethics for all nursing professionals says that “relationship and sexually intimate relationships with sufferers are at all times prohibited” however gives no steerage on relationships with former ones.

Whereas reporting this story, The Instances reviewed an alleged textual content message dialog between Baltz and Ryan that started after he stopped treating her and spanned a lot of April 2017. The texts have been supplied by a former boyfriend of Ryan’s who’s famous within the authorized submitting as having made the 2018 criticism to the nursing board about Baltz. This individual, who requested to not be named over his personal privateness issues, confirmed The Instances e-mail correspondence indicating the identical textual content messages have been despatched to the nursing board investigator.

Within the dialog — sections of that are cited within the accusation — Baltz weighed in on Ryan’s medical care when she complained about unwanted effects from treatment. “Altering meds could cause individuals to really feel bizarre for a couple of weeks that’s regular,” he texted. When Ryan talked about her melancholy, Baltz mentioned, “You could magnetize your mind,” an obvious reference to transcranial magnetic stimulation remedy she obtained at Perception Decisions, in keeping with the accusation.

Baltz additionally repeatedly voiced worries over relationship Ryan, texting: “I do really feel a robust connection and really feel responsible on the similar time,” and later saying that he hoped she would “by no means say something.”

As their relationship appeared to bitter, Baltz wrote: “I made a horrible error in judgement. You wanted assist and I worsened the scenario.”

By late April 2017, Ryan appeared prepared to interrupt up with Baltz. Kim supplied The Instances with a textual content message dialog she mentioned she had with Ryan on April 23 through which they mentioned the top of the connection. Within the messages, which Kim mentioned she additionally gave to the nursing board investigator, Ryan defined that she informed Baltz by way of textual content message, “I don’t really feel like texting any extra.”

“Although I don’t like him I really feel tremendous dangerous,” Ryan informed Kim, who mentioned she knew the connection was inappropriate and supported her pal’s resolution to finish issues with Baltz.

Ryan additionally shared with Kim display grabs of her breakup textual content dialog with Baltz, together with one through which he mentioned: “So that you don’t need to date anymore? It’s okay I figured you may not be pondering clearly. That sucks I such as you but when that’s what you’re saying I’ll go away you alone.”

Throughout his interview with the nursing board investigator, Baltz mentioned “he couldn’t recall if he ever despatched textual content messages to” Ryan, and denied he’d written ones proven to him, in keeping with the accusation. Nevertheless, it additionally mentioned that Baltz confirmed his cellphone quantity, which matched his contact data in Ryan’s cellphone; and, when prompted, he confirmed the investigator a tattoo on his clavicle that was similar to 1 seen in {a photograph} from the textual content dialog.

A couple of days after the breakup, Baltz texted Ryan to ask her whether or not she’d be doing transcranial magnetic stimulation remedy at Perception Decisions, in keeping with the accusation.

“F— it I’m not doing it. It’s an excessive amount of drama,” Ryan replied, in keeping with the accusation. Baltz allegedly then wrote: “Hear I really feel horrible about this entire factor. Most necessary factor is your psychological well being. That is precisely why I’m an fool.”

Yuni Kim and Stevie Ryan at a Dodgers game in 2016.

Yuni Kim and Stevie Ryan at a Dodgers sport in 2016.

(Yuni Kim)

Kim mentioned that Ryan wound up persevering with transcranial magnetic stimulation remedy at Perception Decisions. However she quickly stopped due to Baltz’s presence there, added Kim, who mentioned that, on the time, she didn’t know the small print of her pal’s medical points.

Requested about Ryan’s transcranial magnetic stimulation remedy, Stevens, the lawyer for Perception Selection, mentioned, “We don’t touch upon affected person remedy.”

Throughout Baltz’s interview with the nursing board investigator, the nurse allegedly “admitted that he was conscious that S.R. had suicidal ideas,” in keeping with the accusation, which used Ryan’s initials. “When S.R. was suicidal, [Baltz] didn’t refer her to a better degree of care, didn’t ship her to the emergency room, and didn’t conduct an in-depth suicide evaluation or disaster plan,” the authorized submitting claimed, with out saying whether or not Baltz’s alleged inaction occurred whereas he was treating Ryan or after their practitioner-patient relationship ended.

California regulation obligates nurses who observe “irregular traits” in sufferers to provoke “acceptable reporting, or referral” to others within the medical subject.

Nevertheless, in keeping with state regulation, a medical skilled’s obligation to a affected person can finish as soon as she or he terminates that working relationship, supplied sure necessities are met, reminiscent of giving the affected person affordable time to search out one other healthcare supplier. Nonetheless, per case regulation, even after a remedy relationship seems to have ended, subsequent contact between a well being skilled and former shopper — reminiscent of a practitioner providing medical recommendation — may resurrect the prior patient-provider relationship, and the obligation that comes with it.

“If they’re persevering with any sort of interplay forwards and backwards, then the nurse opens himself to the doable discovering that there was a unbroken remedy relationship,” mentioned Clark, the Loyola regulation professor. “There’s a motive we regulate so strictly any sexual relationships between affected person and practitioner, particularly within the psychological well being area, as a result of [intimate contact] actually does alter … the dependence of the affected person on the supplier.”

Ryan’s last months

Though Ryan’s Hollywood profession had stalled out after the cancellation of “Stevie TV,” there have been alerts in 2017 that she was able to make a change.

After having refused to go on auditions, Pelmont mentioned, Ryan reached out to him within the spring of that 12 months to say she was able to get again to work.

And he or she had different initiatives, together with a podcast with a pal, comic Kristen Carney.

Stevie Ryan, right, with Kristen Carney in 2017

Stevie Ryan, proper, poses with Kristen Carney after recording an episode of the podcast they co-hosted, “Mentally Ch(in poor health),” in 2017 at a Sherman Oaks studio.

(Kristen Carney)

With a deal with melancholy, “Mentally Ch(in poor health)” debuted April 4, 2017. Over the course of 11 episodes, the podcast lined subjects together with Ryan going off of Prozac “chilly turkey” and her transcranial magnetic stimulation remedy.

Discussing self-confidence, Ryan appeared to counsel she may flip a nook. “I do know what I’m able to doing,” she mentioned on the present. “I’ve been a badass bitch earlier than — and I do know I could be a badass bitch once more.”

In her last look on the podcast, Ryan tearfully talked via the then-recent dying of her grandfather. “I’m simply fearful that that is going to ship me right into a deeper melancholy,” she mentioned.

Three days after the episode was launched, Ryan killed herself.

“She was robust on the surface,” Carney mentioned, “but it surely was solely as a result of she was so weak on the within.”

Rather less than a 12 months after Ryan’s suicide, her dad and mom filed the wrongful-death lawsuit in opposition to Baltz; his firm, Baltz Psychiatry Nursing; and Perception Decisions, which he left a month after Ryan died. Not like the accusation, the 2018 lawsuit alleged that Baltz engaged in sexual contact with Ryan whereas she was his affected person, amongst different claims.

There isn’t a report in a web based authorized database of Baltz’s response to the allegations. In a court docket submitting, Perception Decisions denied the claims; it additionally mentioned that any accidents, damages or losses allegedly suffered by Ryan’s dad and mom have been brought on by “individuals separate and aside from this answering defendant.”

Baltz’s settlement with Ryan’s dad and mom was paid by his skilled legal responsibility insurance coverage service, in keeping with the nursing board accusation. After the settlement settlement, the case was dismissed in opposition to Baltz and his firm in March 2019, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

The claims in opposition to Perception Decisions have been dismissed in Might 2019, information present. Stevens, who mentioned that the corporate’s administration discovered of Baltz’s alleged sexual contact with Ryan solely after the lawsuit was filed, famous that the case “was dropped with none settlement or cost by Perception Decisions.”

“We uphold the best customary for our suppliers and cling to neighborhood requirements in addition to federal, state, and native statutes,” Perception Decisions mentioned by way of Stevens. “Any deviation from the regulation or neighborhood requirements are reviewed and corrected shortly.”

Stevie Ryan at a 2012 taping of the TV show "What's Trending" in Hollywood.

Stevie Ryan at a 2012 taping of the TV present “What’s Trending” in Hollywood.

(Michael Bezjian / WireImage by way of Getty Photographs)

Finally, Steve Ryan mentioned, he pursued the lawsuit as a result of he hoped Baltz would “lose his license” over the matter. Such an end result is feasible within the nursing board motion.

Some who have been near Stevie Ryan expressed unhappiness over the tempo of the continuing, which has been in course of since summer season 2018.

Requested in regards to the delay, the nursing board’s spokeswoman mentioned it “is engaged in continuous efforts to enhance processing timelines,” with out offering particulars on the specifics of Baltz’s case.

The board has prior to now been criticized for shifting slowly in such issues. After The Instances and nonprofit information group ProPublica reported in 2009 that it took a mean of three years and 5 months for the company to shut complaints introduced in opposition to nurses, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fired half of the nursing board. The problem has endured: In 2016, for instance, a evaluation of the nursing board by the California state auditor’s workplace discovered that “important delays” within the criticism decision course of had allowed some nurses who might be a danger to sufferers to maintain working towards.

The nursing board’s spokeswoman mentioned the company had addressed all of the suggestions within the auditor’s report, including that it “is at all times enthusiastic about figuring out alternatives to raised fulfill its mission of defending California customers.”

Whereas Steve Ryan awaits the result of the nursing board continuing, he worries about any purchasers Baltz could also be treating. He harbors some discomfort over the considered potential repercussions for the nurse practitioner, however, greater than something, Ryan needs a measure of justice for his daughter.

“I don’t need to smash any person’s life,” he mentioned. “However … a minimum of he’s obtained a life to smash.”

Instances researcher Scott Wilson contributed to this report.

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