Ruby de Luna

Reporter

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

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.

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

Washington state’s whooping cough outbreak continues to grow. So far this year, there have  been 397 confirmed cases, compared with 85 last year.

Whooping cough is cyclical; it peaks every 3 to 4 years.

Maria Fabrizio

It’s a discussion that most people avoid: end-of-life planning.

Doctors say it’s important to have these conversations while you’re still able. But let’s face it, talking about advanced directives can be uncomfortable, even terrifying.

Replacement parts for King County's emergency radio system won't be available after 2018, County Council member Joe McDermott says.
Flickr Photo/Bryan Jones (CC-BY-NC-ND)

King County's aging emergency radio system is facing crunch time: After 2018, replacement components won't be available.

So the county is proposing a replacement and asking voters to pay for it in a special election April 28. Boosting the existing property-tax levy would generate an estimated $273 million to pay for the upgrade, the county says.

Firefighters, police or paramedics responding to a crisis depend on reliable radios. Seattle’s new fire chief, Harold Scoggins, pointed to the communication problems that hampered first responders’ efforts during the 9-11 attacks.

Pages