health care

On the final day of June 2015, Colin LePage rode waves of hope and despair. It started when LePage found his 30-year-old son, Chris, at home after an apparent overdose. Paramedics rushed Chris by helicopter to one of Boston's flagship medical centers.

Doctors revived Chris' heart, but struggled to stabilize his temperature and blood pressure. At some point, a doctor or nurse mentioned to LePage that his son had agreed to be an organ donor.

"There was no urgency or, 'Hey, you need to do this.' I could see genuine concern and sadness." LePage says, his voice quavering.

WUSF

The hottest trend in health care these days may be “integrative medicine,” which claims to blend the best ideas from alternative medicine and conventional practice.

But there is vast disagreement on what the best ideas are. And it’s not clear who will decide.

Women are less likely to die of breast cancer than they were a decade ago, but not all women are benefiting from that trend.

White women saw more of a drop in death rates than black women — 1.9 percent a year from 2010 to 2014, compared to a 1.5 percent decrease for black women, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stephanie Sofronsky was just 23, close to graduation from Florida Atlantic University, when she learned she had lymphoma.

She didn’t want to believe it. So she sought a second opinion from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and a third opinion from Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, state records show. Moffitt double-checked with the National Cancer Institute. 

When an 8-year old boy showed up at his school's clinic in rural Haiti with a low-grade fever and abdominal pain, he was told he had typhoid and given medicine to treat it.

But blood tests showed something else: Mayaro, a mosquito-borne virus that may now be circulating in the Caribbean.

The Haitian boy remains an isolated case.

The Food and Drug Administration's approval of a new insulin delivery system for people with Type 1 diabetes is a big deal.

With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin so people have to replace it with either multiple daily injections or a pump. In either case, that process involves constant error-prone adjustments, particularly around food and exercise. Over the long term, high blood sugar levels can lead to organ damage, but over-correcting by giving more insulin can cause dangerous low blood sugars that can lead to unconsciousness.

Federal health officials are urging all Americans to get their flu shots as soon as possible, and are especially concerned that too few elderly people are getting vaccinated.

"Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable," Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters during a joint briefing Thursday with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. "Flu often does not get enough respect."

Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida is expanding its services for transgender people.

It will now offer hormone replacement therapy for those who want to transition genders. This will start in early October.   

Almost two decades ago, Dr. Lars Aanning sat on the witness stand in a medical malpractice trial and faced a dilemma.

The South Dakota surgeon had been called to vouch for the expertise of one of his partners whose patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability after an operation. The problem was that Aanning had, in his own mind, questioned his colleague's skill. His partner's patients had suffered injuries related to his procedures. But Aanning understood why his partner's attorney had called him as a witness: Doctors don't squeal on doctors.

BOBBIE O'BRIEN / WUSF Public Media

It may seem counterintuitive – but a military medic or corpsman, trained to save lives in combat and provide health care at home, does not qualify for most civilian medical jobs.

What’s worse – many veterans are at a competitive disadvantage when seeking admittance into nursing colleges.

 

So in 2013, the federal government funded pilot programs at nine universities to create curriculums so veterans, medics and corpsmen can earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Privately insured people with cancer were diagnosed earlier and lived longer than those who were uninsured or were covered by Medicaid, according to two recent studies.

It has been four months since WLRN launched Pricecheck, an online guide to bring clarity to health care costs in Florida. Along with our partners WUSF in Tampa and Health News Florida and with input from our audience, we created a searchable database of prices of common health care procedures and supplies aiming to answer a single question: "How much does it cost?"

Sorry, kids. Your pediatrician will probably give you the flu vaccine in the form of a shot this year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday that it doesn't recommend using the flu vaccine that comes as a nasal spray. That's because the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at its performance last year and concluded it wasn't up to snuff.

It really hit Terry White eight years ago when he was at the mall with his wife. He was out of breath every few minutes and had to sit down. "My wife told me I had to get to the gym and lose weight," he says.

He had dieted most of his life. "I've probably lost 1,000 pounds over the years," says White, a realtor in North Myrtle Beach, N.C. But he put most of it back on.

  Transparency is the new buzzword in health care with consumer demand fueling changes to state laws and giving birth to websites that publish prices for medical procedures.

WUSF partnered with WLRN in Miami to launch their own database called PriceCheck. But we're not the only game in town.

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