Ruby de Luna


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

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)/

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)

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 Thursday.
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.