Ruby de Luna | KUOW News and Information

Ruby de Luna

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 1994

Ruby de Luna is a features reporter at KUOW. She had originally planned to go into TV, but ditched the idea after discovering public radio.  Ruby has reported on immigrant communities. She currently covers health care issues.  

Ruby is a transplant from Taipei, Taiwan. She holds a BA in communication from Seattle Pacific University. 

In the age of computer/digital audio editing, Ruby is proud to be one of the few old–schoolers who can still edit tape with a razor blade. In her free time she practices her knife skills on new recipes. 

Ways to Connect

washington state vaccination rates historic
KUOW Graphic/Kara McDermott

Washington is prepared for infectious outbreaks — or so it seems.

But a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health says the state can do better.

The report evaluated states on indicators such as flu vaccine rates and needle exchange programs. These indicators are related to prevention, detection and response to outbreaks.

Dr. Uma Pisharody advises parents to cut back on sugar in their kids’ diets, even sugar from unsweetened fruit juice.
Flickr photo/stvcr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Juice boxes and children seem to go together. Juice is often the main drink in school cafeterias and at kids’ parties and sports events. But at Swedish Medical Center's First Hill campus, fruit juice is now off the pediatric menu.

Group Health members are reacting to the news of Kaiser Permanente acquiring the Seattle-based cooperative.

KUOW’s Ruby de Luna went to Edmonds where she found loyal, longtime members.

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1jxhkty

The University of Washington is opening a new center focusing on the immune system and how to fight a range of infections and autoimmune disorders.

The hope is to find therapies for infections like Ebola and dengue fever, as well as therapies for autoimmune disorders.

Group Health colon cancer kit with directions.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Mention colonoscopy and most people will make a face. Prepping for it is unpleasant, so much so that some people would rather avoid it altogether.

But Group Health researchers have found an approach that removes the “ick" factor in screening.

Bernie Sadowski at the Ballard Senior Center. He credits the senior center for giving him direction after the death of his wife of 50 years.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

When Bernie Sadowski first came to the Ballard Senior Center in 2009, he didn’t care about life. His wife of 50 years had died.

Chuck Lee, 73, goes in for dialysis three times a week. Each session takes four hours.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

For more than 600,000 patients living with end-stage kidney disease, dialysis is a lifesaver. But the blood-cleaning process keeps people attached to a large machine for hours multiple times per week.

What if there were a device they could just wear around?

For small businesses in Washington state, the Export-Import Bank has been crucial when they do business overseas. But the credit agency’s ability to help them is at risk: Its federal charter has expired and renewal legislation has bogged down in Congress.

A doctor takes a blood sample from an older patient.
Flickr Photo/World Bank Photo Collection (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bq7jFt

American seniors are growing in numbers. But the number of geriatricians, doctors who specialize in treating older patients, is actually shrinking.

And there aren’t enough in the pipeline to meet the growing need.

Elderly couple walking
Flickr Photo/Abdulsalam Haykal (CC BY 2.0)

If you’re an older person, a fall can be devastating. One in every three older adults falls each year, and the risk of falling increases with each decade.

Jeff Lahti, microbiologist at the Department of Health tests samples for E. coli.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

There are now 25 confirmed cases of E. coli in Washington state, 12 more in Oregon. Most of the cases are linked to Chipotle Restaurants.

Officials have identified the strain that’s responsible for the outbreak: E. coli 026. Washington state health officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said this strain produces Shiga toxins, which can cause serious illness, including sever abdominal cramps, diarrhea which is often bloody, vomiting, kidney damage and other issues.

It’s that time of year again: open enrollment period, when consumers choose a health plan for medical coverage.

Customers can browse for insurance at Washington Healthplanfinder, now in its third year.  

Illustration of human heart and circulation.
Wikipedia Photo

UW Medicine is moving ahead with clinical trials to repair damaged hearts, thanks to a $10 million grant from a local foundation.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. When a person has a heart attack, one of the arteries gets blocked, often by a clot. Without oxygen, the heart muscle dies off pretty quickly.  

It’s common for patients to call or email Dr. Heather Evans with questions about their surgical wounds. Sometimes they even email photos.

But there’s no way to know for sure if something’s wrong without seeing the patient and the wound in person.

KUOW reporter Ruby de Luna interviews David Whedbee about the challenges of navigating a wheelchair around bad curb cuts in Seattle.
Courtesy of Disability Rights Washington

Crossing Seattle streets can be hazardous for people with disabilities. That’s because curb cuts are either missing, broken or poorly placed.

Disability Rights Washington, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, wants to change that and has filed a class action suit against Seattle.

Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Rob Ketcherside (CC-BY-NC-ND) http://bit.ly/28QrplE

A commonly used medical device that has contributed to a spate of infections nationwide is getting more scrutiny.

The FDA has ordered companies that make duodenoscopes to conduct detailed studies on how the device is used and cleaned. It also instructed the companies to collect culture samples from the scopes to check for contamination.

A woman is taken to an ambulance on the Aurora Bridge after the crash Thursday.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

They came to Seattle from around the world: Austria, China, Indonesia and Japan. 

They died on the Aurora Bridge on Thursday.

They were mourned at North Seattle College on Friday, where some students said they were frightened by the collision between a large tourist vehicle known as “the Duck” and a bus.

An injured person is taken from the scene of the Aurora Bridge bus crash on Sept. 24, 2015
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

UPDATE, 3;10 p.m.: A duck amphibious tour vehicle swerved into a charter bus carrying international students on the Aurora Bridge Thursday. At least four people died and dozens were injured, emergency officials said.

At least 44 people were taken to hospitals.

Guys, we need to talk. You lag behind women when it comes to getting health coverage, according to a recent U.S. Census report. Not only that, you tend to shy away from health screenings.

And compared to women, you don’t have a regular clinician to go to when you’re sick or need medical advice. That’s according to the Journal of American Medical Association.

Wing Luke's surviving siblings, Ruby Luke (left), Marge Young, and Bettie Luke at Attorney General Bob Ferguson's announcement of the new civil rights investigative unit.
Washington State Office of the Attorney General

The state Attorney General Bob Ferguson likes to say he heads the state’s largest law firm: There are 550 lawyers in 27 divisions. They represent the state on different cases like fraud, labor issues and consumer protection. But he felt something was missing.

Jon Tucker (left), 76, has been a regular mall walker for 10 years.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Shops aren’t open yet, but a little before 8 a.m., Bellevue Square is already buzzing with walkers.

Carrying a portable oxygen tank, Jon Tucker is one of them. “I’m not very fast, but I get there,” he says.

Participants in a lung-cancer screening study interpreted their results 'in all kinds of different ways that were not very accurate,' says Dr. Steven Zeliadt of the UW  School of Public Health.
CDC Photo/Debora Cartagena

We screen for breast cancer and colon cancer, among others. The scientific consensus: These screenings help detect disease and prevent it from spreading. But one Seattle doctor found that lung cancer screening alone may not be enough to motivate smokers to quit.

Daniel Lyon is seen this summer, his first season as a firefighter.
Courtesy Lyon Family

Daniel Lyon, the firefighter severely injured during the deadly Twisp River Fire, is slowly making progress but not out of danger, his doctors said Tuesday.

Operators of some hookah lounges in Seattle say the city's crackdown unfairly targets them. This hookah lounge is on Roosevelt Way Northeast in the University District.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Seattle’s hookah lounges got a little reprieve. The city had planned on closing down the smoking lounges on Monday, but now officials are backing off.

Earlier this month Seattle Mayor Ed Murray took hard a stance against local hookah lounges, citing public safety concerns associated with the businesses. But the city eased off after business owners and supporters pushed back.

Last week, city officials and hookah lounge owners met. Both sides say they’re pleased with the initial conversation.

Last year only 67 percent of toddlers in Washington state were fully vaccinated by age 3.
Flickr Photo/Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)

More Washington kids are at risk of getting measles, whooping cough and other preventable diseases. The reason: many toddlers are not getting vaccinated. KUOW’s Ruby de Luna has more.

This horse went missing during the wildfires and was recently reunited with its owner.
Facebook/Chelan and Okanogan Wildfires Lost and Found Pets - NDARTT

The Northwest wildfires have not only displaced people – they’ve displaced animals too.

A non-profit group from Colorado is helping people in disaster area reunite with their pets. They post photos of missing animals to a Facebook group. It reads a lot like a lost-and-found bulletin board.

Mountlake Terrace resident Jennifer Calnon, 67, recently discussed her advance directive with her doctor. Starting January, Medicare plans to pay physicians for end of life counseling.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

For Jennifer Calnon, end-of-life discussions boil down to this: “This is my life,” she says. “I should be the one who gets to make the decision.”

Calnon, of Mountlake Terrace, is 67 years old and fairly new to retired life. These days she has a list of projects she wants to finish. Like finishing the pillowcase she started years ago for her daughter’s birthday and cleaning out her junk room. 

Operators of some hookah lounges in Seattle say the city's crackdown unfairly targets them. This hookah lounge is on Roosevelt Way Northeast in the University District.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says hookah lounges are attracting crime and violence and he wants to shut them down. But some operators say they're not part of the problem.

The city has started cracking down by filing criminal charges against King’s Hookah Lounge in Seattle’s International District, alleging that the operators failed to pay taxes.

Don Elliget, a patient at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, with transplant surgeons, Drs. Andrew Precht and Marquis Hart.
Courtesy of Swedish Hospital

Nearly 10,000 Americans got organ transplants this year. They’re the lucky ones; there are more than 10 times that number waiting for an organ. That gap between supply and demand is only expected to grow.

Kevin Stormans, owner of Ralph's Thriftway, is at the heart of a seven-year legal over whether pharmacists can withhold prescriptions for religious reasons. The debate began over whether pharmacists may refuse to dispense the contraception pill Plan B.
Google Maps Street View

Pharmacists in Washington state must stock emergency contraceptive – even if they believe it goes against their religious beliefs.

A federal appeals court says the pharmacy rule does not infringe on religious freedom.

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