Health & Spirit

The other opioid crisis: Hospital shortages lead to patient pain, medical errors

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Even as opioids flood American communities and fuel widespread addiction, hospitals are facing a dangerous shortage of the powerful painkillers needed by patients in acute pain, according to doctors, pharmacists and a coalition of health groups.

The shortage, though more significant in some places than others, has left many hospitals and ...Read more

Fewer foreign doctors are coming to study in the United States, report shows

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Fearing he would die if he stayed, Mohamed fled the civil war in his home country of Syria, heading to Saudi Arabia where he spent six years working as a physician. While there, Mohamed worked toward his goal of coming to the United States to train.

He aced the U.S. exams required of all physicians and scored an interview with a New York ...Read more

California's anti-abortion pregnancy centers want the Supreme Court to overturn state notice law

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SAN FRANCISCO -- At a faith-based pregnancy center here, rooms are crammed with baby supplies, new and used, for expectant mothers, and a medical office contains equipment to allow pregnant women to view their fetuses.

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass," reads a saying on a wall, "but learning to dance in the rain."

The Alpha ...Read more

Cooper doctors study 'compassion crisis' in health care

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CAMDEN, N.J. -- Stephen Trzeciak's obsession with compassion started with his son's seventh-grade cultural geography assignment three years ago.

The son asked the father, a critical-care doctor at Cooper University Hospital, for help with a speech that would count for half his grade. Trzeciak saw a father-son bonding opportunity. Then he read ...Read more

California's tax on millionaires yields big benefits for people with mental illness, study finds

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A statewide tax on the wealthy has significantly boosted mental health programs in California's largest county, helping to reduce homelessness, incarceration and hospitalization, according to a report released this week.

Revenue from the tax, the result of a statewide initiative passed in 2004, also expanded access to therapy and case ...Read more

A new way to reduce gun suicides, and maybe mass shootings too

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Mass shootings dominate the headlines and seem to drive the movement to change gun policy, but reducing gun suicides could save many more lives.

More than 20,000 people each year kill themselves with a gun; that's twice the number of gun homicides. The Parkland, Fla., massacre claimed 17 lives; roughly 59 people die by gun suicide each day.

An...Read more

Environmental Nutrition: Turn to dark chocolate for a heart-healthy treat

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Environmental Nutrition

EN investigates the not so dark side of eating chocolate.

The mighty Mayans touted it as the "Food of the Gods," and ever since millions of palates have been held hostage to the seductive, silky ways of chocolate. Beyond its feel-good factor, partly in thanks to a mix...Read more

Breast cancer patients risk heart damage. UK doctor's study shows a way around that

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For years, breast cancer patients on the chemotherapy drug regimen of doxorubicin and Herceptin have risked heart damage.

A University of Kentucky cardiologist thinks that for some of those patients, there's a solution.

Dr. Maya Guglin of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute recently presented data from a major clinical trial on the ...Read more

Can men pass exposure to PBBs to kids? Emory U. study seeks volunteers

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It was the worst agricultural contamination incident in U.S. history -- the accidental inclusion of PBB fire retardant in cattle feed at the Velsicol Chemical factory in St. Louis, Mich., in 1973.

Researchers have identified ongoing human health problems from exposure to the chemical in the four and a half decades since -- from thyroid ...Read more

Fetal surgery sets the stage for a healthy birth

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Diagnosed with a life-threatening condition at 20 weeks gestation, Xavier Sorying underwent an innovative operation while in utero that helped him overcome his birth defect.

Xavier Sorying is a calm, smiley 7-month-old who seldom fusses and recently discovered his voice. His baby squeals and babble, and even his cries, delight his parents, ...Read more

A health plan 'down payment' is one way states try retooling individual mandate

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WASHINGTON -- As President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans tirelessly try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a number of states are scrambling to enact laws that safeguard its central provisions.

The GOP tax plan approved by Congress in the last days of 2017 repealed the ACA penalty for people who fail to carry health insurance, a...Read more

No-go for Idaho: Back to the drawing board on state-based health plans

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No, you can't.

That's what federal officials told Idaho regulators and the state's governor late Thursday regarding the state's plan to allow insurers to sell health plans that fall short of the Affordable Care Act's requirements.

But the letter from the Trump administration did offer an alternative: Tweak your plan a bit to make them qualify ...Read more

Tips to avoid traveler's diarrhea

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Millions of people traveling internationally experience traveler's diarrhea every year. And, during spring break, that number is especially high for Americans, who may have symptoms ranging from mild to severe, as they travel to countries with warmer climates. But there are some steps you can take to ensure that your trip isn't interrupted by ...Read more

From the ER to inpatient care — at home

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Phyllis Petruzzelli spent the week before Christmas struggling to breathe. When she went to the emergency department on Dec. 26, the doctor at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital near her home in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood said she had pneumonia and needed hospitalization. Then the doctor proposed something that made Petruzzelli ...Read more

Male OB-GYNs are in decline, stirring debate

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Some patients wait until Dr. Jerome Chelliah snaps on his gloves to make the request. Others blurt it out as soon as he walks in the exam room.

"I'd rather see a female doctor," they say.

Chelliah thinks he can be a sensitive obstetrician-gynecologist even though he's a man. But he has no choice but to comply.

"I've been rejected many times ...Read more

Need a medical procedure? Pick the right provider and get cash back

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Laurie Cook went shopping recently for a mammogram near her home in New Hampshire. Using an online tool provided through her insurer, she plugged in her ZIP code. Up popped facilities in her network, each with an incentive amount she would be paid if she chose it.

Paid? To get a test? It's part of a strategy to rein in health care spending by ...Read more

States weigh response to proposed short-term health plan rule

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration's proposal to increase how long consumers can maintain a short-term health insurance policy offers states an opportunity to either rebel or endorse the change.

While officials in some states are looking to reject the proposed rule -- which would allow people to be covered by a short-term, limited duration ...Read more

At new health office, 'civil rights' means doctors' right to say no to patients

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The Trump administration is embarking on a sweeping effort to redefine civil rights in health care, with critics accusing the Department of Health and Human Services of sidestepping the rights of patients to soothe a far smaller constituency: conservative nurses, hospitals and other caregivers.

The department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has...Read more

Kindergarten teacher's request for mental health books goes viral

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"Think about it."

Tina DuBrock repeatedly yet gently tells this to her kindergartner students at Protsman Elementary School in Dyer.

"This is brand new to you, but you'll learn it quickly if you think about it," DuBrock told them again one Wednesday morning when I visited her classroom.

Her class of 18 kids, some with special needs, were each...Read more

Research collaboration gives hope for future of babies with rare heart defect

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Collaboration among hospitals across the U.S. as part of a new research consortium is giving hope for the future of babies born with a rare congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. A baby from Alabama named Ryals is one of the first to benefit from the consortium.

"He's amazing," Andrea Sexton says, beaming about her ...Read more