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The X-ray of Tove Schuster's spine shows the metal cage and four screws her surgeon used to repair a damaged disk in her back. Daniel Zwerdling/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Daniel Zwerdling/NPR

The screenshot from a simulation video shows the magnitude and distribution of forces NPR correspondent Daniel Zwerdling endured on his spine while re-creating the way nurses lift patients from their beds. Courtesy of the Spine Research Institute at The Ohio State University hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the Spine Research Institute at The Ohio State University

McArthur Edwards' driver's license was suspended for two years because he was unable to pay a $64 fine. He's using this bus stop to commute. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Joseph Shapiro/NPR

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, a former Red Cross official says, as many as 40 percent of the organization's emergency vehicles were assigned for public relations purposes. This photo, which shows one of the trucks in Long Island, N.Y., in January 2013, is one example of the many publicity photos taken by the Red Cross. Les Stone/American Red Cross hide caption

itoggle caption Les Stone/American Red Cross

Desiree Seats, 23, lost her license for two years before she even got it because of an unpaid fine. Without a license, she couldn't find the jobs she needed to start earning money. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Joseph Shapiro/NPR

Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo., is changing its name to Mosaic Life Care. It was the focus of an NPR and ProPublica investigation into its billing practices. Steve Hebert for ProPublica hide caption

itoggle caption Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Antipsychotic drugs aren't necessary in the vast majority of dementia cases, gerontologists say. The pills can be stupefying and greatly raise the risk of falls — and hip fracture. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

Marian Grunwald (from left), Earl Elfstrom and Verna Matheson bounced a balloon back and forth with nursing assistant Rick Pavlisich on Dec. 13, 2013, at an Ecumen nursing home in Chisago City, Minn. Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, Minneapolis St. Paul hide caption

itoggle caption Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, Minneapolis St. Paul

NPR's analysis of government data found that harsh penalties are almost never used when nursing home residents get unnecessary drugs of any kind. Owen Franken/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Owen Franken/Corbis

An American Red Cross worker stands on an inundated Brooke Avenue following heavy rains and flash flooding Aug. 13, in Bay Shore, N.Y. Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, a former Red Cross official says, as many as 40 percent of the organization's emergency vehicles were assigned for public relations purposes. This photo, which shows one of the trucks on Long Island, N.Y., in January 2013, is one example of the many publicity photos taken by the Red Cross. Les Stone/American Red Cross hide caption

itoggle caption Les Stone/American Red Cross

This photo of Roy Middleton working underground at the Kentucky Darby mine now sits on the mantel in the Middleton home in Harlan County, Ky. He was killed after an explosion in 2006. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/NPR/Original photo courtesy of the Middleton family hide caption

itoggle caption Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/NPR/Original photo courtesy of the Middleton family

Jim Justice owns Southern Coal Corp., which has 71 mines that have racked up thousands of violations and millions of dollars in fines. Scott Halleran/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Halleran/Getty Images

People line up to take part in an amnesty program to clear up outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants in August 2013, in Ferguson, Mo. For those living on the economic margins, the consequences of even a minor criminal violation can lead to a spiral of debt, unpaid obligations, unemployment and even arrest. Jeff Roberson/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Roberson/AP

John Huckleberry sits in the back seat of a friend's car on the way back from visiting inmates at Sterling Correctional Facility. After 30 years in prison, Huckleberry — who was released in 2012 — helps aging inmates prepare for life outside prison. John W. Poole/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption John W. Poole/NPR

The proliferation of court fees has prompted some states, like New Jersey, to use amnesty programs to encourage the thousands of people who owe fines to surrender in exchange for fee reductions. At the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, makeshift courtrooms allow judges to individually handle each case. Nicole Beemsterboer/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Nicole Beemsterboer/NPR