health

Across the Northwest medical professionals are getting ready for Ebola.

Flickr Photo/hapal (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds has a wide-ranging discussion of end-of-life issues with Atul Gawande, author of “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End."  

Gawande discusses  several issues such as how medical science views death as a failure, and does not always examine how medical treatments affect people at the end; innovations in assisted living and hospice to not only improve the quality of life, but also allow people to live longer; and how health care professionals are trying to become better at end of life care.

Ebola screening for passengers flying out of Monrovia's airport on Monday night wasn't functioning like a well-oiled machine. Parts of it were chaotic and slightly concerning.

After 10 days of reporting in Liberia, we arrived at the airport to take two of the same flights that Thomas Eric Duncan took last month: Monrovia to Brussels and then on to Dulles in Virginia. There were three of us: me, another reporter and a producer.

Before we went inside the terminal, a woman from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention greeted us outside.

Translating from one language to another is a tricky business, and when it comes to interpreting between a doctor and patient, the stakes are even higher.

Consider the story of 18-year-old baseball player Willie Ramirez.

For Lori Bandt, who works as a medical technician and an EMT in a suburb of Madison, Wis., the print on vials of medication has become so difficult to read that if she forgets her reading glasses she has to resort to having a younger EMT worker read the directions. The 45-year-old says: "I'm just stuck."

When Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, hugged Dallas nurse Nina Pham on Friday it was as much to combat the stigma surrounding the deadly virus as to celebrate her being free of Ebola.

Fauci said it was an honor to treat Pham and get to know "such an extraordinary individual." Pham said she felt "fortunate and blessed" and put her trust "in God and my medical team."

Pham later met with President Obama in the Oval Office. The president and the nurse also hugged as news photographers captured the moment.

Seattle Is Blazing The Trail On Cremation

Oct 23, 2014
KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Ross Reynolds talks with Jeff Jorgenson, owner of Elemental Cremation and Burial, about why 90 percent of people in Seattle are cremated, compared with only 47 percent nationally.

Flickr Photo/Lisa Parker (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Parveen Bhatti, environmental epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, about how researchers determine causality.

Health officials are saying it. Scientists are saying it. Heck, even many journalists are saying it: "The risk of Ebola infection remains vanishingly small in this country," The New York Times wrote Wednesday.

But what does that mean? Are you more likely to be struck by lightning or catch Ebola?

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Community health centers have been busier than usual. They’re seeing more patients, many of them newly insured.

The centers, which provide care for mostly low income families, are meeting the demand by branching out to remote, underserved communities. But the challenge now is finding enough providers to staff these clinics.

When Ebola began killing people in the Monrovia suburb of Clara Town several months ago, some residents blamed vaccines.

One vaccinator in the town says mothers didn't want her near their babies.

"They had a notion that when the people come to the hospital, we would inject them and kill them," says vaccinator Che Che Richardson at the Clara Town Health Center, "because it was the hospital giving the people Ebola."

Rumors like that, combined with the closing of many health facilities, have caused childhood vaccination rates to plummet in Liberia.

Ebola has rightly gripped the world's attention, but its death toll pales in comparison to other infectious diseases like tuberculosis. TB is the world's second leading infectious killer, after HIV/AIDS, and it's claiming more victims than previously thought — 1.5 million last year alone — according to a report released today by the World Health Organization.

Saturday, the 21st of September, is a day I will never forget in my life.

I was out working with MSF [Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders] as a health promotion officer in Foya, in the north of Liberia, visiting villages and telling people about Ebola: how to protect themselves and their families, what to do if they start to develop symptoms and making sure everyone has the MSF hotline number to call.

Later that night, my brother called me. "Your wife has died." I said, "What?" He said, "Bendu is dead."

Litesprite

If you’re feeling depressed or stressed out, and therapy seems overwhelming, consider spending time with a fox.

Why I Didn't End Up Donating My Eggs

Oct 20, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Two five-inch syringes with bright orange caps have been placed atop the white linen of the grand banquet table, like little sterile centerpieces.

The table sits in an elegant meeting room – arched floor-to-ceiling windows, rich floral carpet – on the second floor of a posh downtown Portland, Oregon, hotel.

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