Jenny McCarthy will be the co-host of "The View," Barbara Walters announced Monday.
So the most prominent anti-vaccine nutjob in the world gets a gig hosting the most influential daily talk show on a major television network. If you think this isn't a big deal, go visit stopjenny.com, which has a bunch of reasons why McCarthy is a dangerous kook. And then expect the numbers at jennymccarthybodycount.com to start climbing once McCarthy joins The View full time this fall.
Nature once again struggles to bring "short" back into the Hobbesian equation:
But his most life-threatening encounter has been with coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, for which he is being treated here. Coccidioidomycosis, known as “cocci,” is an insidious airborne fungal disease in which microscopic spores in the soil take flight on the wind or even a mild breeze to lodge in the moist habitat of the lungs and, in the most extreme instances, spread to the bones, the skin, the eyes or, in Mr. Klorman’s case, the brain.
The infection, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled “a silent epidemic,” is striking more people each year, with more than 20,000 reported cases annually throughout the Southwest, especially in California and Arizona.
Oh great. Brain fungus. I'm already a hypochondriachondriac (I'm excessively concerned with the possibility of developing hypochondria). The last thing I need is yet another disgusting disease to worry about worrying about contracting.
The New York Times' Room for Debate blog, where they compile a handful of short opinion pieces addressing controversial questions, is hosting this debate today: "Would support for abortion rights grow if more women talked publicly about their abortions?"
Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life, thinks support would more likely falter, that the women she's talked to who regret their abortions make compelling cases against abortion. And Daniel Allott (from Gary Bauer's right-wing American Values organization) says that just as proximity to out gay people in their lives has shifted Americans' attitudes toward same-sex marriage—turns out gay people "are not so different from the rest of us," he says—so people's exposure to fetuses through ultrasound technology has "allow[ed] the unborn to be revealed as the living and feeling human beings they are."
I disagree with both of these people on a personal and political level (every time I've heard someone talk about their abortion experience, it's only made me more sure that the procedure should be safe and legal). But I also can't believe anyone would reasonably put forth the argument that you could shift people to be against legal abortion if people who have had negative abortion experiences speak up. If abortion were illegal, or even a lot less accessible—as Texas is trying to make it right now—do these people not realize there would then be new horror stories about illegal abortions? Those stories are also important to this debate.
Allott's piece quotes statistics showing support for the pro-choice position is actually dropping (even as abortion rates stay decidedly the same), and I've heard many people wonder if that slide is happening partly because we don't hear the horror stories of pre–Roe abortion anymore.
The batting metaphor concerns cricket, not baseball...
The Obama administration and members of Congress are pressing India to curb its generic medication industry. The move comes at the behest of U.S. pharmaceutical companies, which have drowned out warnings from public health experts that inexpensive drugs from India are essential to providing life-saving treatments around the world.This is the change we voted for! We very much wanted a president the pocket of a pharmaceutical industry that's in the business of milking the state at every level. This is not an exaggeration; this is exactly how it is. If you read Mariana Mazzucato's The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Myths in Risk and Innovation, you find these passage:
But India's generic industry has also cut into profits for Pfizer and other U.S. and European drug companies. In response, these companies have sought to impose aggressive patenting and intellectual property standards in India, measures that would grant the firms monopoly pricing power over new drugs and lock out generics producers.
The ex-editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Marcia Angell (2004), has argued forcefully that while private pharmaceutical companies justify their exorbitantly high prices by saying they need to cover their high R&D costs, in fact most of the really ‘innovative’ new drugs, i.e. new molecular entities with priority rating, come from publicly funded laboratories. Private pharma has focused more on ‘me too’ drugs (slight variations of existing ones) and the development (including clinical trials) and marketing side of the business. It is of course highly ironic, given this sector’s constant bemoaning of ‘stifling’ regulations.
Economists measure productivity by comparing the amount of input into production with the amount of output that emerges. In this sense the large pharmaceutical companies have been fairly unproductive over the last few years in the production of innovations...
What is important is that 75 per cent of the NMEs trace their research not to private companies but to publicly funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) labs in the US. While the State-funded labs have invested in the riskiest phase, the big pharmaceutical companies have preferred to invest in the less risky variations of existing drugs (a drug that simply has a different dosage than a previous version of the same drug).
As evidenced in this data, Lazonick and Tulum (2011, 9) argue that the US government, through the NIH, and by extension via the US taxpayer, ‘has long been the nation’s (and the world’s) most important investor in knowledge creation in the medical fields’. This knowledge base was ‘indispensable’ and without it, venture capital and public equity funds would not have poured into the industry. They have ‘surfed the wave’ rather than created it.
[I]t cannot be denied that at the same time that private pharma companies have been reducing the R of R&D, they have been increasing the amount of funds used to repurchase their own shares – a strategy used to boost their stock price, which affects the price of stock options and executive pay linked to such options. For example, in 2011, along with $6.2 billion paid in dividends, Pfizer repurchased $9 billion in stock, equivalent to 90 per cent of its net income and 99 per cent of its R&D expenditures. Amgen, the largest dedicated biopharma company, has repurchased stock in every year since 1992, for a total of $42.2 billion through 2011, including $8.3 billion in 2011. Since 2002 the cost of Amgen’s stock repurchases has surpassed the company’s R&D expenditures in every year except 2004, and for the period 1992–2011 was equal to fully 115 per cent of R&D outlays and 113 per cent of net income ...
I know this is sooooo last week, but summer is here people. Let Joanna, one of Florida's finest, prance you into fitness (insert horse whinny sound here).
h/t to Resso!
UPDATE: Governor Inslee's office says that he "remains very concerned" about this issue and has asked his staff to look into "all available options—including a moratorium—that will help ensure all Washingtonians maintain access to all health care services, whether reproductive care [or]end of life services."
Ten women's and civil rights organizations, led by the ACLU of Washington, are calling on Governor Jay Inslee to enact an immediate six-month moratorium on all proposed or pending hospital merger decisions in Washington state. As I reported earlier this year, the proposed mergers involve Catholic healthcare institutions that could severely restrict patient access to lawful treatments like abortion and end-of-life care.
Noting that "serious state constitutional concerns" arise when public tax dollars are used to fund religious hospitals that restrict access to women's reproductive healthcare and death-with-dignity services, the three-page letter (.pdf) states, "As leader of our state, we ask you to act immediately to safeguard patients' access to all lawful and medically appropriate health care services by: (i) enacting a six-month moratorium on any decision by the Washington State Department of Health on proposed or pending applications related to hospital ownership, operations, or management; and (ii) utilizing this six-month period to conduct a community health needs assessment that would provide an objective evaluation of such mergers' impact on patients' ability to access medically appropriate health care services and provide policy guidance moving forward.
I've contacted Inslee's office for comment; I'll let Slog know when I get a response.
The letter notes that without such a moratorium, 45 percent of hospital beds could be controlled by religious institutions by year's end (that number is currently at 40 percent). By contrast, religious institutions only controlled 20 percent of hospital beds in April 2010.
To get a better sense of how ominous all these mergers are, it's helpful to take a look at the Ethical and Religious Directives that guide Catholic hospital care (and the ACLU's letter helpfully includes a few, .pdf). For example:
Directive 1: A Catholic institutional health care service is a community that provides health care to those in need of it. This service must be animated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and guided by the moral tradition of the Church.
As I wrote about last week, Medicare (for the first time ever) released what hospitals in the United States charged, and what they were paid, for the top 100 diagnoses in 2011.
If you're curious, I've written a simple (and ad-free) web app you can use to browse the data. (I suggest comparing the Las Vegas, NV region to Baltimore, MD.)
Be gentle, but have at it.
As a big fan of savory foods, I welcome this news:
In a report that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.
Those levels, 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, or a little more than half a teaspoon of salt, were supposed to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people at risk, including anyone older than 50, blacks and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease — a group that makes up more than half of the American population. ... But the new expert committee, commissioned by the Institute of Medicine at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there was no rationale for anyone to aim for sodium levels below 2,300 milligrams a day. The group examined new evidence that had emerged since the last such report was issued, in 2005.
I mostly cook and bake for myself rather than eating out or buying prepared foods, so I'm guessing my sodium intake is way lower than the average American's. But there's no way I manage to stay below 1,500 milligrams on most days. Now I can stop giving myself hypertension worrying about my salt intake.
You know those gruesome old stories about back-alley abortions, from way back before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal and safe? They looked somewhat like this:
A Philadelphia jury on Monday convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on three counts of murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of three babies and one adult patient at his inner-city clinic. The case, which revealed horrific conditions at Gosnell’s practice as well as gruesome details about the illegal operations he performed there, became a flashpoint in the national debate about abortion.
So-called "pro-lifers" are attempting to use the Gosnell case as an argument for tightening restrictions on abortion, but experience tells us that would only create more Gosnells. In addition to the murder charges, Gosnell was convicted of dozens of counts of performing medically unjustified late-term abortions beyond Pennsylvania's 24-week limit. Gosnell's practice wasn't just alleged to be unsanitary, unsafe, and unqualified—much of it was determined to be illegal. As this case shows, criminalizing abortion—even late-term abortion—does nothing to reduce demand; instead, it just drives desperate women to seek ever more desperate options.
That was America's experience before Roe v. Wade, and that is the experience repeated in countries throughout the world. Indeed, a recent study in the Lancet reports that the abortion rate is actually lower in the jurisdictions with the most liberal abortion laws: "Restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates," the study finds, a conclusion entirely consistent with past research. In the US, legal abortions remain remarkably safe, with only a handful of maternal deaths out the approximately one million abortions performed each year. But worldwide, 47,000 women still die each year from unsafe abortions, accounting for 13 percent of all maternal deaths. That is the reality that US pro-lifers would return us to.
Clinics like Gosnell's are rare. If they weren't, this case wouldn't have been so sensational. But if pro-lifers have their way, it will once again become the norm.
SANTA FE, Texas (AP) - A Southeast Texas woman is facing a felony charge for allegedly delaying hospital treatment of her teenage son's gunshot wound until she researched treatment options online.
And this in a nutshell is why the market cannot function on its own to provide efficient and affordable health care.
Markets only function properly when consumers have the ability and opportunity to make informed comparisons of products, services, and prices. It's not the wisdom of the capitalist that drives innovation but the wisdom of the market—the mass of consumers for whom's dollars the capitalists compete. Without the ability for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions there is no rational competition for products and services, and thus no rational market. And without a rational market to allocate resources, there is no inherent efficiency.
But who is going to shop around for the best health care product at the best price when oneself or one's child is suffering from a high fever, or a kidney stone attack or, say, a gunshot wound? Not only does one not have the luxury of taking the time to shop around for the right deal in the midst of a health care crisis, one might even be prosecuted for behaving like market theories dictate an informed health care consumer should behave. Instead, when faced with unbearable pain or impending death, most of us head to the nearest emergency room, and then deal with the hospital bill as best we can after the fact.
Under those circumstances, there is no market at all. And in that context—with little or no consumer feedback—it is a fantasy to insist that a private health care market can efficiently allocate health care resources.
How much a plate of spaghetti is going to cost you isn't usually a mystery. Sure, the price can vary quite a bit—from a few cents if you're making the plate yourself from groceries, to dozens of dollars at a fancy restaurant. You shouldn't be too surprised by the bill at the end; the price is right there on the menu, or on the box—same for you as anyone else.
The American healthcare system remains remarkably opaque—particularly if you are among the uninsured. The cost of a hospitalization for a heart attack varies tremendously depending upon the hospital giving the treatment. And, unlike a restaurant, hospitals generally refuse to state the price up front.
To reduce healthcare costs, the plan for the past few decades has been to pass on costs to the consumer. The idea here is to use the market (in the Adam Smith sense of the word) to force down prices—expecting patients to find the most efficient, cheapest, hospital for a given problem. (Spoiler: It hasn't worked.)
But, how can you decide which hospital is most efficient, if you have no idea what they're charging? The net result is underinsured or uninsured Americans understand that getting sick is a good way to end up bankrupt, without any real sense of how to pick a more efficient provider.
Something exciting has happened this week, possibly changing this dynamic: The Center for Medicare Services, for the first time, has published the list prices charged by hospitals around the country (to Medicare) for the top one hundred reasons patients end up in the hospital.
Let's look at what hospitals are charging, and receiving, in the Seattle area. In each of these charts, the blue bars is the bill charged to Medicare by the hospital, the red the payment the hospital actually received (from Medicare and all copayments or deductibles paid by the patient). You'll note, like almost all insurers in the US, Medicare pays a significant discount from the billed cost. A patient without insurance can expect the full, undiscounted rate.
First up, the charge for a pneumonia admission:
For a COPD (rotten lungs, usually after a lifetime of smoking) flare:
Coronary artery disease, requiring a stent (either a heart attack or a heart-attack-to-be):
The overbilling is (in part) a negotiation tactic between the hospitals and the insurers—a way of amplifying the percentage discount to a prospective insurer while maintaining revenues. The side effect is to leave the uninsured or underinsured as road-kill—charged two or three times the total bill payed from an insured person.
If nothing else, the Affordable Care Act (i.g. Obamacare) will make this better by shifting a majority of people from the uninsured into the insured group—paying the discounted rate, with insurance picking up most of the total tab.
Today, the city of Portland is mailing out ballots for a special election to determine whether their water should be fluoridated. Our (hot) sister paper, The Portland Mercury, published a feature debunking the 7 sanest anti-fluoride arguments. The comment thread to this story is incredible, and I encourage you to read it. I can't wait to see how this vote turns out; if the results of the vote was based on noise in comment threads alone, I'd expect fluoridation to go down in flames.
Take care of sick people, in person, at home, on an ongoing basis. Wait, TOO revolutionary! SHUT IT DOWN!!!
Nothing like a press release from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to cheer up your day:
The time for spring cleaning is here, and with it, the risk of exposure to serious animal-carried diseases like hantavirus and rabies. The Department of Health recommends taking precautions when cleaning areas where wild animals may have been. Visible droppings, nests, dead rodents or bats are signs of animals that can carry these dangerous diseases.
“Although these illnesses are rare, they can be deadly,” says State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes.
The news release page on the DOH web site is always an uplifting read. For example, in recent months I've enjoyed "Tick season is here and the state Department of Health is collecting them," "Chicks and ducklings can carry Salmonella, putting kids at risk," and of course the classic "Seattle psychologist suspended indefinitely due to mental illness."
I've never met Marilyn McKenna—like most of my coworkers, I've only had the pleasure of being forcefully ignored and shut out of press events by her husband—but like Dan, the more I hear about her, the more I like her. Take yesterday's profile in the Seattle Times, which covers her relationship with food, her dramatic weight loss, and her evolving stance on gay marriage, all delivered with a refreshing I-don't-give-a-fuck frankness:
McKenna has called Inslee “a legitimate moron”; said that she would eat dog food if it had peanut butter on it; and admitted to ogling the much-younger lifeguard at the local YMCA.
“What can I say? I’m married, not dead,” she told me the other week. “Twitter is fun. I enjoy talking to people. I use it like you would a diary.”
So what brought on the change from quiet, conservative political wife to someone who admits to sleeping in a Hooters T-shirt?
I'm lukewarm on dog food but I'd enthusiastically ogle lifeguards with Mrs. McKenna.
I know Goldy mentioned it in Morning News, but it feels like the news that emergency contraception will soon be available over the counter without age restrictions deserves its own celebration.
From the New York Times:
A federal judge ruled Friday that the government must make the most common morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger. In his ruling, he also accused the federal government of “bad faith” in dealing with the requests to make the pill universally available, and said its actions had been politically motivated.
Says Senator Patty Murray:
Today's ruling highlights the importance of Food and Drug Administration regulations being based on science, not politics. As numerous medical societies and patient advocates have argued, improved access to birth control, including emergency contraception, has been proven to benefit a woman's personal, economic and social health and stability. Increasing access to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy is an essential part of basic health care.
You're goddamn right, judge and senator. The 2011 decision by Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to overrule the FDA's recommendation on the safety and regulation of a medicine was a fucking embarrassment. It was backhanded political bullshit and it had really serious implications: A drug that has been proven safe for all ages and loses efficacy by the day should not be made more difficult to acquire for people who really need it—young teenagers who just had unprotected sex (for any of a variety of reasons) and don't want to be pregnant. The judge today called the government's continued refusal to lift restrictions on the drug "arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."
Did you ever have to acquire Plan B as a teenager and find it confusing, difficult, and embarrassing? Ever buy it for a terrified younger friend who didn't know how to navigate the health-care system alone? Thanks to this ruling, those days may be over. Finally. Unless the DOJ decides to appeal. Also, let's recall that it's not always easy to get ahold of emergency contraception even if you can find a pharmacy that carries it. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington has a handy map of pharmacies that dispense it and ones who've said they may not, usually on moral/religious grounds. Still, a celebration is in order.
The first airline in the world to charge passengers by weight declares their new pricing model a success:
Passengers do not pay for a seat but pay a fixed price per kilogram, which varies according to the length of the route. Analysts believe other airlines around the world are likely to follow suit, especially as the rising weight of populations adds to fuel costs. Some airlines in the United States have already begun forcing passengers who cannot fit in a single seat to buy two tickets....
The head of Samoa Air, Chris Langton, said the new system was fairer and that some families with small children were now paying substantially cheaper fares. "This is the fairest way of travelling," he told ABC Radio. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo."
Hi there, Senator Tom. Let's talk, huh?
As Goldy reported in Morning News, the senate committee to which you referred the Reproductive Parity Act seems destined to abort the bill. The anti-choice committee chair, Randi Becker (R-Eatonville), released a statement last night saying that after a packed hearing yesterday, "the decision of the committee is that the bill will not move forward from here this year." Which, c'mon, Senator Tom, you knew. You knew this would happen when you assigned this important bill to the Republican-controlled health care committee instead of the insurance committee, which is led by Democrat Steve Hobbs.
But I know you support the bill—you told me so. Your office did, and so did you. And it's passed in the house already. And the governor supports it. And a majority of the senate has come out in support of it, pledging in a public letter that "when House Bill 1044 comes to the floor of the Senate we are all committed to vote for it." (And hey! That's your signature right there on that letter of support, second to last!)
And I mean, there's no way you're just using your "pro-choice" position and the support of pro-choice voters and advocates to look more bipartisan and moderate than you are, right? There's no way you've bragged about your 100 percent NARAL rating and let them vociferously defend you in elections (listen to that press release! "Senator Tom's steadfast support for women's health care and women's rights"!), that you've spoken to a rally of women's health advocates as recently as this February—Planned Parenthood presented you as one of the "inspiring... pro-choice voices in Olympia!"—and then you're just going to let this legislation die.
You have other options.
The deadline for bills to pass out of committee is tomorrow. But you have a little time—you can show some of that "steadfast support for women's health care" by throwing your weight around. You did get yourself this sweet-ass majority leader status, after all—you know how to pull some shit when you need to. So go ahead: Move that the senate advance to the ninth order of business. Yeah, it's a weird parliamentary workaround, but you can do it. I know you know how it works—you did it last year to help Republicans hijack the budget. And you'd have the votes, that majority of senators who signed that letter, to pull the bill out of committee, and put it to a floor vote, and pass it.
So do it.
In Tennessee, Republican Governor Bill Haslan has refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. But he must acknowledge that rising health care costs are a problem, right? What's the solution to this problem in Tennessee? ThinkProgress explains:
Twice a year, Tennessee holds a “health care lottery” that gives some hope to the uninsured residents in the state who can’t afford health coverage. Tennesseans who meet certain requirements — in addition to falling below a certain income threshold, they must be elderly, blind, disabled, or a caretaker of a child who qualifies for Medicaid — may call to request an application for the state’s public health insurance program, known as TennCare.
Go read the whole post. It sounds absolutely terrible.
This Reddit Ask Me Anything is pretty fascinating. Here's the introduction:
For work I get to break into hospitals and steal things. It's referred to as a "Physical Penetration Test." It's an integral part of a risk assessment, which is required under 164.308(a)(1) of HIPAA.
I routinely pick locks, steal access badges, impersonate medical personnel, harvest data and credentials, crack passwords, and utilize various social engineering tactics.
My official title is "Information Security Consultant." I have a degree in Information Systems Management, as well as; CCNA, Sec+, and CISA certifications.
Ask Me Anything!
It's easy to forget because we all have jobs, but few things are as interesting as a person talking about the things they do every day. And this job is an especially fascinating one. You should go read the whole interview thread.
Expanding the availability of nutritious and affordable food by developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner markets and farmers’ markets in communities with limited access is an important part of the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative.
There are many ways to define which areas are considered "food deserts" and many ways to measure food store access for individuals and for neighborhoods. Most measures and definitions take into account at least some of the following indicators of access:
• Accessibility to sources of healthy food, as measured by distance to a store or by the number of stores in an area.
• Individual-level resources that may affect accessibility, such as family income or vehicle availability.
• Neighborhood-level indicators of resources, such as the average income of the neighborhood and the availability of public transportation.
Up there to the right is what it looks like if you zoom in on Seattle. Food deserts are colored green. You can go zoom around the map yourself right here.
Or something! We just got the results of the biennial Healthy Youth Survey from the state's Department of Health, and while teen smoking and drinking are down (just say no!), the rate of "feeling crappy because being a teenager can be really bullshit sometimes"* among Washington's youth remains pretty much the same.
*Not a direct quote.
About 10 percent of 10th graders reported smoking a cigarette at least once in the past 30 days, which is waaaay down (it was around 13 percent in 2010 and 25 percent in 1999). Weirdly, "nearly as many 10th graders smoked tobacco from a hookah pipe as from a cigarette, and about 7 percent said that they smoked a cigar in the last month." My suggested follow-up question: "Cigar-smoking sophomores: totally boss or totally lost?"
On boozin': The survey reports that 12 percent of 8th graders, 23 percent of 10th graders, and 36 percent of 12th graders used alcohol in the past 30 days. They DOH says this represents "nearly 11,000 fewer students... using alcohol compared to 2010" survey results.
But the emotional health part of the survey is not trending downward:
About 8 percent of 8th and 10th graders attempted suicide in the past year. Over 100,000 youth, ages 12-17, seriously considered suicide—about one in every six students. More than one in four teens surveyed said they felt so sad or hopeless for two weeks in a row that they stopped doing usual activities: 26 percent in 8th grade, 31 percent in 10th grade, and 30 percent in 12th grade. These numbers haven’t changed much over the past 10 years.
The DOH says it's a "concern" that "the percentage of Washington 10th and 12th graders who smoke marijuana is nearly double the percentage of cigarette smokers." But, um, that seems about right to me. According to a DOH fact sheet on the survey, "In 2010, suicide was the leading cause of death in Washington for youth ages 15 to 24." I'd say maybe we should go ahead and focus a little bit of the drug- and alcohol-prevention money on some counseling, huh?
The missing one is stuck deep inside my ear canal. No one has any tweezers.
David George Gordon is a municipal treasure. He's a naturalist, bug chef, cookbook author, musician, and one of the odder (and more endearing) stars in the constellation of Seattle culture.
I first met him in 2008, when he came to my kitchen for a Stranger video about how to cook a tarantula (the squeals you hear in the background are courtesy of photographer/videographer Kelly O and food critic/managing editor Bethany Jean Clement):
Later, I got to know him as the harmonica player for God's Favorite Beefcake (two of whose members were killed during the Cafe Racer murders). And I've always been a fan of his "Feast of St. Gratus," when he cooks a bug banquet and serves it up to the public.
Recently, Gordon had stroke—thankfully, he lost none of his cognitive abilities, but he's got some steep hospital bills to pay. Tonight, Cafe Racer is throwing a benefit party starting at 6 pm. (I'm not sure exactly what it'll look like, but these folks know how to have fun. Facebook page here.)
On a side note: I'm always (and increasingly) infuriated by how many people have to resort to fundraising to cover their necessary medical bills. This is old news, but still—when we have to crowd-source and rely on donations to pay for urgent medical care, we have been failed by both the government and the market.
As I wrote in this feature, Catholic hospitals are taking over local hospitals, imposing their religious morals on patients' healthcare, and denying access certain legal treatments (abortions, information about physician-assisted suicide, even access to birth control) to their patients.
The ACLU of Washington has created two maps that depict the reaches of religious healthcare in Washington state. The first map shows what counties are currently dominated by religious hospitals. (As you can see, it includes the most populous counties.)
The second map shows what will happen should 10 proposed Catholic hospital mergers be completed in western Washington.
Basically, the difference between the two maps is that all hospitals in Skagit, Snohomish, and Kitsap county would become religiously affiliated, as well as over 50 percent of hospitals in Grays Harbor. This means that in these counties, accessing comprehensive healthcare could become much harder as residents find themselves at the brutal mercy of the Catholic church.
For more information on what the ACLU of Washington is doing to raise awareness about the potential impacts of these mergers, go here.
So, there's a new "nightmare bacteria" surfing the immune systems of four percent of U.S. hospitals and 18 percent of its nursing homes. It's nightmarish because it often doesn't respond to "last-resort antibiotics" called carbapenems. The fatality rate is reportedly about 50 percent in people who contract serious infections. Some more:
Although CRE bacteria are not yet found nationwide, they have increased fourfold within the United States in the past decade, with most cases reported in the Northeast.
Health officials said they're concerned about the rapid spread of the bacteria, which can endanger the lives of patients and healthy people. For example, in the last 10 years, the CDC tracked one CRE from one health-care facility to similar facilities in 42 states.
One type of CRE, a resistant form of Klebsiella pneumoniae, has increased sevenfold in the past decade, according to the CDC's March 5 Vital Signs report.
"To see bacteria that are resistant is worrisome, because this group of bacteria are very common," said Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
So, basically, Washyourhandsington.
On March 30, UW TEST—a student-run organization that offers free HIV testing and trains med students to be better providers when it comes to sexual health and working with the LGBTQ community—is having a fundraiser cabaret.
"It's a pretty cool group," writes UW med student and UW TEST volunteer Adam. "And last year they hosted a variety show fundraiser with a bunch of people from the Seattle Men's Chorus in Meany Hall. Each performance somehow reflects an experience of knowing someone with, being diagnosed with, or living with HIV. Song, dance, monologue, etc. Attendance is around 300; all volunteer."
Here's the Facebook page for the event. Full information about UW TEST and the cabaret are below the jump.
Family and friends in Michigan are mourning the death of a 4-year-old Jackson County deputy’s son, who accidentally shot and killed himself over the weekend.
[...] “How did that kid get that weapon? How did he get a loaded weapon? How did they have access to it?” the neighbor wondered.