children's health

A 6-year-old Florida boy died from rabies he contracted after being scratched by an infected bat.

Dr. Mahendra Patel, a pediatric cancer doctor, has begun giving away medications to some of his young patients, determined not to disrupt their treatments for serious illnesses like leukemia. He's worried Congress will fail to renew funding soon for a health program that pays for the care of millions of children across the country.

Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Florida is looking to make major changes to Children’s Medical Services, the state-run health care program for children with complex medical needs.

Dr. Howard Bennett creates elaborate Lego sculptures, juggles squishy balls during office visits and transforms exam gloves into water balloons, but it's his booger and fart jokes that crack up even his grumpiest pediatric patients.

"Kids of any age are curious about their bodies," the pediatrician writes in his latest book, The Fantastic Body: What Makes You Tick & How You Get Sick, "especially if what they're learning about is gross! That's why kids laugh hysterically if someone tells a booger joke or lets out a big, juicy fart in class."

Congress again failed to approve long-term funds for a popular program that provides health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income children, leaving each party blaming the other for Christmas-season gridlock and states scrambling to decide how to parcel out dwindling money.

With money for Florida's subsidized children's health-insurance program due to run out in a matter of weeks, the state has not warned the parents of roughly 200,000 children that they could soon lose coverage.

Editor's note: This story contains language that may be offensive.

In February 2009, Samantha Pierce became pregnant with twins. It was a time when things were going really well in her life.

She and her husband had recently gotten married. They had good jobs.

"I was a kick-ass community organizer," says Pierce, who is African-American and lives in Cleveland. She worked for a nonprofit that fought against predatory lending. The organization was growing, and Pierce had been promoted to management.

It's a beautiful morning in Pittsburgh, but Ariel Haughton is stressed out. She's worried her young children's health insurance coverage will soon lapse.

"So, we're like a low-middle-class family, right?" she says. "I'm studying. My husband's working, and our insurance right now is 12 percent of our income — just for my husband and I. And it's not very good insurance either."

The policy that covers the couple requires high fees to even see a doctor, and it has a high deductible for further treatment.

Editor's note, Jan. 17: Some identifying information has been removed from this report to guard the privacy of the family that is part of the probiotics test.

It's a typical hectic morning at Michele's house in Northern Virginia when she gets a knock on her front door.

Two years ago, when the Zika virus was first identified as the cause of microcephaly in babies, women were scared. Expectant mothers who got infected had no idea what the chances were of having a healthy baby.

Researchers have since learned that while Zika infection is dangerous, about 94 percent of babies born to women infected with Zika appear to be normal at birth.

Ariana Marciano is adding to her collection of about 75 tattoos at Body Electric, a tattoo and piercing studio on trendy Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. "I think they're so cool and I think they're visually really nice to look at," she says. There's a ram's head, an elk, a green-and-peach praying mantis, a love bug and a moth. Today she's getting a ladybug.

"I love bugs," Marciano, 23, says. "I think they're kind of overlooked." In about 20 minutes, a small ladybug with dots on its back and a bit of rusty orange takes its place on her elbow.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor are asking the federal government to step in after thousands of kids were kicked off a state Medicaid program. The two Democrats sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price earlier this week.


Sammy Mack / WLRN News

There are more than 4 million children in Florida and Dr. Jeffrey Brosco just became responsible for them.

Brosco is a pediatrician at the University of Miami and a bioethicist with Jackson Memorial Hospital. And as Florida’s new deputy secretary for Children’s Medical Services, he now oversees everything from Florida’s poison control hotline to a state-run insurance program for extremely sick children.

In the spring and summer of 2015, the state switched more than 13,000 children out of Children's Medical Services, a part of Florida Medicaid, according to a report by CNN.

Kyle Holsten / WLRN

When he had a landscaping business, Bob Hartmann grew 200,000 orchids and thousands of other plants on his three acres in Southwest Ranches, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.

 


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