Neven Mrgan takes a prescription drug called Cuprimine. Without it, he would slowly die from liver disease. Unfortunately, the price of Cuprimine has gone from $400-$1,700/month to $44,000/month. Curprimine is made by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, run by billionaire J. Michael Pearson. He's stepping down, not because he jacked up the price of Cuprimine and other medications, but because the company's misstated earnings hurt its stock value.
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In America, chicken has better health care than you.
David Cameron repeatedly promised to protect "our NHS" but now the world's most beloved healthcare system is on the chopping block, thanks to a quiet inquiry in the unelected House of Lords.
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The state of Colorado has been conducting a massive experiment with birth control over the last 6 years.
Steve Herbert for ProPublica
At ProPublica, the story of a young woman
who had a mental health crisis -- a psychotic episode -- and as a result, lost custody of her infant daughter. In the crisis incident, the mom became delusional and believed her child had been raped. The child had not been assaulted, nor was she ever harmed by her mom. Four years later, the mom is receiving effective treatment for her postpartum depression and psychosis, and capably raising a son. Yet, the courts in Kansas still won't give back her daughter, arguing she is unfit based an principle sometimes called "predictive neglect." Is this right
? Read the rest
The sign in the front of the headquarters building at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, DC. (Reuters)
The Veterans Administration worker who leaked damning information about the federal agency has a name: Sam Foote. He is an internist, and for 19 years was a VA outpatient clinic director. Read the rest
Karen Kelley is one of about 10 million people who suffer from mental illness. The cost is staggering, and could never account for the emotional toll, since that could never be fully calculated. [USA Today]
"More than half a million Americans with serious mental illness are falling through the cracks of a system in tatters," reports Liz Szabo and colleagues in an important USA TODAY special report
. Absolute must-read. Read the rest
Earlier this week on Facebook, Senate Democratic caucus chairman Kirk Watson posted this photo.
The NYT's John Schwartz, who is himself from Texas, live-tweeted the dramatic proceedings yesterday in the Texas Senate surrounding one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country. The law was pushed forward by governor Rick “The louder they scream, the more we know that we are getting something done” Perry.
No surprise: it passed. Read John's coverage today, and weep.
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A post on Dr. Roni Zeiger's blog (it's a few months old, but new food for thought for me) explores models for shared intelligence in health care.
"We’ve heard a lot about crowdsourcing, or outsourcing work that one person would normally do to a large and often distributed crowd. There is a related and I think even more important idea of a network of microexperts and how they amplify the collective intelligence of their members," Zeiger writes.
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Investigative reports released under a court order to Bloomberg News
show that caregivers at a Florida center for brain-injured and "non-neurotypical" adults physically and sexually abused patients, in a systematic and brutal manner. Caregivers "goaded them to fight each other and fondle female employees and in one instance laughed at complaints of mistreatment." At least five patients have died at the center in question, the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, from alleged abuse or neglect there since 1998. Two patients died in just the last two years. (Bloomberg) Read the rest
Why are women first to pay for every crisis? In every society, capitalist, socialist, or transition? It's because the bodies of women are expendable.
I always noticed how women over eighty in Turin looked incredibly well, beautiful and loved and taken care of: desirable, because old and valuable. I connected this to Italy's long-established and sophisticated health care system. Italian hospitals were famous for methods which preserved the dignity of the patients, in tumor cures, especially breast cancer: the "invisible mastectomy" was invented in Milan. Rather than simply intervening in crisis, they were good at illness prevention and attentive follow-ups.
The economic crisis and financial harassment of Italy has reached this safe haven of health and dignity. In Turin, one of the best clinics for cure and prevention of breast cancer is about to be closed. The patients are on the streets, their appointments cannot be scheduled, they are paying for their urgent operations because their doctors cannot help them. The doctors are on the streets too. Read the rest
occurs in about 7% of breast cancer patients who have undergone sentinel lymph node biopsy (to see if disease has spread to these lymph nodes), and in greater percentage of patients whose nodes end up being removed (because one or more contain cancer) and patients who receive radiation therapy after breast surgery. Lymphedema is basically a chronic swelling of the affected arm, caused by trapped lymph fluid. It can be disabling, disfiguring, and extremely painful.
"Once lymphedema develops, it is permanent," says my friend Dr. Deanna Attai, a breast surgeon in Burbank, CA. "Physical therapy can help minimize swelling and other complications, but there is currently no cure. Early recognition and prompt treatment definitely makes a difference." Read the rest
"It goes by many names, but around here they call it 'the malady of the sugar cane," writes Will Storr in the Guardian
. A quiet epidemic has been preying on Central American sugar field laborers for decades, and it is killing more and more each year. "Between 2005 and 2009, incidents in El Salvador rose by 26%. By 2011 the chronic kidney disease (CKD) had become the country's second-biggest killer of men." But what exactly is it
? Read the rest
Recently, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told members of the Columbus Dispatch editorial board
, "We don't have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don't have insurance. We don't have a setting across this country where if you don't have insurance, we just say to you, 'Tough luck, you're going to die when you have your heart attack.' No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, and it's paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital."
Many of us who have cancer laughed and shook our heads. Yes, people in America do die because of lack of health insurance, and because having health insurance is not a guarantee that you will receive affordable care.
In an opinion piece over at HuffPo, Wendell Potter, former insurance industry PR guy turned whistleblower and author, writes:
Romney is absolutely right, people who are uninsured don't have to die in their apartments. They can indeed be rushed to a hospital, and the hospital is obligated to treat them. It's what he didn't say, and likely doesn't understand because he simply can't relate to 47 percent of us, that is actually more important: many of the uninsured die in the hospital, in the emergency room, because they could not afford to get care earlier when it might have saved their lives. Instead of going back home to their apartments, many of them, unfortunately, go to the morgue.
More: Romney's Talking Points on the Uninsured Are Like the Ones I Wrote When I Was an Insurance Industry Flack. Read the rest
Cancer survivor Lani Horn, who helped me through some painful times during my cancer treatment, writes in a piece for kveller.com about anger, justice, and the search for deeper meaning in the Jewish holy days. She talks about a moment of clarity during a workshop for survivors, where she witnessed much talk about "making meaning out of the cancer experience, deepening our gratitude for the ordinary, becoming more compassionate." Snip:
After losing my brother, two breasts, and almost three years of my life to illness and hospitals, I was over these platitudes. I stood up to speak. “This is all fine. I get it. But my problem is that I am mad at God.” I even talked about the Unetanah Tokef, which had been a grueling part of the High Holiday liturgy since Jeremy died. Who shall live and who shall die?
A surge went through the room. I had uttered the unspeakable. Afterwards people came up to thank me for my honesty. One was a hospice chaplain, himself a cancer survivor.
“Remember,” he said, “there is a such thing as holy anger. Think of the prophets. Anger can be a spiritual feeling.”
For the first time, I did not feel like my anger separated me from God. It was an honest description of my relationship.
Yes, I was angry. Who shall live and who shall die? Why him and not me? And why him at all?
Read the rest: Rethinking Who Shall Live & Who Shall Die (Raising Kvell)
(Image: Dad's Grave's Broken Headstone at the Jewish Cemetery in Mumbai, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from Avi Solomon's photostream. Read the rest
A new study published in Cancer
, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, shows that many survivors of adolescent and young adult cancers don't get the routine medical care they need after basic treatment
because it's too expensive—even though most of them have health insurance. Translation: in America, even when you have insurance, cancer is financially devastating. So much so that young survivors (= teens through thirties) tend to not get the followup care they need to continue surviving. (thanks, @zooko) Read the rest