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

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.

Dr. Raphael Bernier of the UW Autism Center hopes a new autism study will help researchers identify biomarkers that are indicators of autism.
University of Washington

Researchers may have a handle on the genetics of autism, but they haven’t developed medical tests to diagnose it. A new nationwide study hopes to change that.

Swedish Hospital's facility on Seattle's First Hill.
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge (CC BY 2.0)

New state rules intended to address secular hospitals' partnerships with Catholic health organizations has been rejected by the Washington Supreme Court.

The court ruled unanimously that the state Department of Health overextended its authority in expanding oversight of hospital mergers and affiliations.

Bridgette Hempstead, left, and Charity Jokonya are breast cancer survivors who advocate for African Americans with the disease. They were photographed in Hempstead's home in Seattle on June 25, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Charity Jokonya was 40 and a single mom when the diagnosis came a little over a year ago: breast cancer.

She read everything she could to better understand the disease. But what she really needed was someone to talk to, someone who understood what it felt like to be an African American with cancer.

A Clallam County woman was exposed to measles at a health clinic. She died three months ago at the University of Washington Medical Center, where she was transferred after being treated in Clallam County.
University of Washington Medical Center

A Clallam County woman died of a measles infection three months ago, health officials said on Thursday, making her the first person to die of measles in Washington state in 25 years.

She was the first person to die in the U.S. in 12 years.

The default in Washington state is to be rescusitated. Residents must fill out this bright green end-of-life care form (known as a POLST) to forgo being revived.
Washington State Department of Health

If you’ve talked with your family about end-of-life wishes – that’s the first step. You’ll also need paperwork to make your wishes clear.

There are different names for the documents you’ll need — living wills, advance directivesFive Wishes. They all serve the same purpose; they spell out what kind of medical treatment you’ll want if you become seriously ill, and how aggressive you want the treatment to be.

In this 2012 file photo, Troy Kelley, the Democratic candidate for state auditor at the time, takes questions at a debate.
Flickr Photo/Daniel Brunell (CC-BY-NC-ND)

State Auditor Troy Kelley is facing another investigation. This time the state is looking into possible criminal activities.

The state’s investigation is separate from the federal charges he currently faces.

Nurses Fatima Guillen, left, and Fran Wendt, right, give Kimberly Magdeleno, 4, a Tdap whooping cough booster shot.
AP File Photo/Ted S. Warren

Doctors on tight schedules often have a hard time answering questions about vaccines.

It’s especially challenging when the questions are not straightforward, says Group Health researcher Nora Henrikson.

Dr. Sara Jackson, left, and Linda Johnson were part of Open Notes, a national study that gave patients access to their medical records.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Do you wonder what your doctor scribbles in the chart during your visit?

Patients at Harborview Medical Center got to read their medical records, including their doctors’ detailed notes. For some, that access prompted them to become more involved in their health care.

Dr. Christian Sidor, Burke Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology, right, holds Washington’s first dinosaur fossil to compare it with the cast of a femur of another theropod dinosaur held by  Brandon Peecook, University of Washington graduate student.
Burke Museum

A large bone from a two-legged, meat-eating dinosaur has been discovered in the San Juan Islands – the first dinosaur fossil ever found in Washington state.

Researchers found the fossil by accident. In 2012, they were in Sucia Island State Park collecting sea creature fossils when they stumbled on a bone that looked unusual for that area.

A month later they returned to the site with paleontologists. Initially, Professor Christian Sidor of the Burke Museum didn’t believe it belonged to a dinosaur.  

But one feature of the bone convinced Sidor, a professor of biology at the University of Washington and vertebrate curator at the Burke Museum: “The muscles that actually attach to the back of the leg and retract the femur attach here. So this structure, the shape of it, and how close it is to the head of the femur tell us that this is a carnivorous dinosaur. All dinosaurs have this feature.”  

The scientists don’t know what kind of dinosaur the bone comes from, however, because there’s only a third of the bone. Sidor said it’s likely a therapod, which includes Tyrannosaurus rex, birds and Velociraptors. And they are pretty sure it is from the Late Cretaceous period and is about 80 million years old.

Meeting a pediatrician in rural Georgia change Dr. Wes Henricksen's career path and led him to a clinic in Longview, Wash.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

As a new doctor, Wes Henricksen wanted to help poor communities. But doing that hasn’t been simple. 

Henricksen joined the Child and Adolescent Clinic in Longview, Washington, nine months ago, soon after he completed his residency in Seattle. He had planned to work in global health, but in medical school, he met a pediatrician in rural Georgia who changed his career decision.

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