Health Care

Local News
9:11 am
Thu October 30, 2014

How Should Boston Hospitals Prepare For Ebola?

Massachusetts General Hospital.
Credit AP Photo

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's suggestion for a single Ebola treatment center in Boston is not sitting well with many local hospitals. They argue such a plan would prove burdensome and say it's better for multiple facilities to treat small numbers of patients.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
4:06 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

'Quarantine Is Not Necessary In The War Against Ebola'

Kaci Hickox in quarantine in University Hospital in Newark, NJ. Hickox said she has no intention of maintaining an in-home quarantine now that she is back in Maine.
Credit Associated Press / courtesy NPR

Kaci Hickox is a nurse who worked with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone as part of a Doctors Without Borders team. Last week she returned to the US, where Hickox was ordered immediately quarantined by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. After three days Hickox returned to Maine, where state officials expected she would stay in self-imposed home quarantine. Hickox and her lawyer have said she will not remain inside because she has not displayed Ebola-like symptoms.

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Local News
9:08 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Why Aren't There Any Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Massachusetts?

Boston Gardner in Dudley Square. Owner Jon Napoli wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary next door.
Credit WGBH

Next week will mark two years since Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly said yes on a ballot question legalizing the use of medical marijuana. When it first passed, would-be dispensary owners and entrepreneurs were seeing green. But now, they’re seeing red — frustrated by what they call foot-dragging by the state Department of Public Health in approving licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
5:06 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

'Ostrich Effect': How Much Do You Want To Know About Your Health?

How much do you want to know about your medical condition? Some people want to know every detail. Others ....... as little as possible.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/meddygarnet/ / Flickr

Want to know how many steps you took today? Fitbit counted. How about the calories you burned on the elliptical? The machine tallied them for you. Need a pulse check? Here's an instantaneous readout. Consumer health products have become more sophisticated thanks to tiny computers packing lots of punch.

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Local News
11:26 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Unions Offering Ebola Training To Mass. Health-Care Workers

Union health-care workers demonstrate safety procedures during a training presentation.
Credit Screen shot

Ebola is sometimes called the "caregivers disease." It's transmitted by bodily fluids that people can come in contact with when caring for an infected person. Nurses and healthcare workers are particularly at risk, and both here in Massachusetts and across the country, they're advocating for increased education in dealing with Ebola.

They say the issue of training has taken on even greater urgency since Monday’s announcement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have revised their recommended guidelines for handling the virus.

So, unions are mobilizing their own training.

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Local News
7:53 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Is Massachusetts Prepared For Ebola?

Fallon Ambulance employees demonstrate Ebola protocol on a dummy.

When it comes to Ebola, Gov. Deval Patrick has been striking a reassuring note.

“There is not a cause for alarm,” Patrick said at a press conference earlier this week. “We are coordinating well."

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
4:07 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

The Next Threat — Pandemic Flu?

Got your flu shot yet? Medical ethicist Art Caplan said Ebola fear in the US is overblown -- we should worry more about a flu pandemic.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/aneedleinthearm/ / Flickr

If you were to judge by the media coverage the past few weeks, the Ebola virus poses an unprecedented threat to the US healthcare system. Unceasing bulletins bring news of possible exposures, contaminations, and new patients placed under medical supervision.

To be sure, the Ebola virus has had a devastating effect in West African countries like Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The World Health Organization has estimated at least 4,447 people have died from Ebola in West Africa, but some think the number is much higher.

In spite of a number of possible new Ebola cases, the risk of infection in the US is low. Healthcare providers have moved quickly to contain the spread. While that notion may not jibe with our emotional alert-level, statistically there is a threat far greater to the average American: the flu.

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Local News
4:19 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Nurses Say They Need Better Training, Equipment For Ebola Treatment

David Schildmeier of the Massachusetts Nurses Association shows a gown given to some nurses as protection from serious viruses like Ebola. He says it's inadequate.
Credit Anne Mostue

  The Massachusetts Nurses Association is voicing concern about identifying and treating patients with Ebola symptoms, after a patient in Braintree was quarantined and taken to a Boston hospital over the weekend. Nurses say they need better training and protective equipment.

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Local News
11:30 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Mass. Governor And Boston Mayor Reassure Public Of Ebola Threat

BOSTON — State and city officials say there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Massachusetts, and no cause for alarm.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh were among officials who met at Logan Airport on Tuesday and declared that the state was well-prepared to deal with Ebola.

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Local News
8:53 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Boston Ebola Update: Anxiety Appears To Outstrip Infection

Electron micrograph of an Ebola virus virion.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Update, 8:45 p.m., Oct. 13, 2014: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has determined the man from the Braintree incident does not have Ebola.

Sometime Tuesday afternoon doctors at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are expected to issue a definitive diagnosis on the condition of a man who was rushed to the hospital after he presented flu-like symptoms at a Braintree clinic that could be consistent with Ebola.

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Local News
5:44 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Health Officials: Patient Not High Risk For Ebola

Beth Israel Hospital
Credit Anne Mostue / WGBH News

Boston public health officials say a patient who had been to Liberia and whose symptoms forced a brief shutdown of a Braintree medical center was not a high risk for Ebola.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
4:47 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Atul Gawande On Radically Rethinking Patients' Last Days

The newest book by Dr. Atul Gawande deals with end-of-life care and the responsibility doctors have to find out what patients want.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/americanprogress/ / Flickr

Singer Johnny Paycheck once wrote that "there's no easy way to die." Paycheck was a bummed-out country singer lamenting a fizzled relationship, but his tossed-off line is full of existential import. In fact, Paycheck cut to the very heart of a modern medical crisis: the inability of doctors to prepare patients for their eventual deaths.

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Local News
10:42 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Massport: Logan Airport Is Ready For Ebola

Logan International Airport

In the wake of the death of Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are beginning what they call enhanced Ebola screenings at five U.S. airports. The locations — New York's JFK International Airport, Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O'Hare and Atlanta — receive over 94 percent of travelers from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.

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Local News
9:36 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Does Ebola Belong In The South End? Inside The BU Biolab

National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory at Boston University in the South End.

The current Ebola outbreak has added urgency to research into the deadly disease — and it’s put a spotlight on Boston University’s controversial biolab in the South End. Activists have called the lab a danger to the neighborhood — but after years of delays, researchers there could soon be taking critical steps toward advancing our understanding of Ebola.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
4:45 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

'Tower Of Babel' Overseeing The US Ebola Response

A European mobile lab tests for Ebola in Guinea earlier this year. On Wednesday, Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person this year to die from Ebola on American soil.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/ / Flickr

On Wednesday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital announced Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national being treated for Ebola, had died from the virus. Just under 4,000 people in Liberia and Sierra Leone have died from Ebola amid the rush to contain the virus' spread. Duncan was the first person this year to die from Ebola within US borders.

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Science and Technology
10:58 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Learn More About The Lyme War

WGBH science reporter Heather Goldstone hosted a panel of experts to take a closer look at the growing public health threat of Lyme disease and how to stay safe from ticks, the tiny parasites that bear the infectious organism.

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Local News
9:02 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Mass. School Nurses On Guard For Enterovirus

Many school nurses across the commonwealth say they’re watching like hawks, but they just aren’t seeing signs of an Enterovirus D68 outbreak here.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
4:51 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

No Reason To Panic About Ebola Virus In The US — Yet

Jim Braude and Margery Eagan spoke to medical ethicist Art Caplan about why we shouldn't panic about the Ebola virus here in the US.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/waelder11/ / Flickr

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed a person who took a commercial flight from Liberia to Dallas had been diagnosed with the Ebola virus. This is the first documented Ebola case within US borders. The next day it was reported the patient may have exposed five young children to the virus.

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Local News
8:15 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Judge 'Impressed' With Opposition To Partners HealthCare Expansion

Massachusetts General Hospital, a Partners HealthCare member.
Credit AP Photo

This spring, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced an agreement with Partners HealthCare that she felt addressed antitrust concerns over the company’s acquisition of South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health System, At the time, she hoped that the deal would close quickly, with little fanfare. But it’s now fall, and not only is the deal now mired in controversy, its future is also in doubt, with no resolution in sight.

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Local News
5:05 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Final Decision On Partners Healthcare Deal Expected After Mass. Election

There will be no final decision on a proposed deal between Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Partners Healthcare, who are seeking to add Hallmark Health and South Shore Hospital to their network, until November at the earliest.

On Monday afternoon, Suffolk Superior Court judge Janet Sanders said she needed more time to parse the 163 public comments she received regarding the agreement - and a revised version of the deal put forth by the Attorney General last week.

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Local News
1:11 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Boston Heavyweights Weigh In On Partners Health Care Expansion

Credit Flickr, jdlasica

The state's healthcare industry is waiting on a ruling on the agreement between the Attorney General and Partners HealthCare that would allow them to acquire Hallmark and South Shore hospitals.

The expansion of Partners HealthCare has been an issue in the Commonwealth for years. Some say the network's ongoing acquisition of hospitals has made Partners a monopoly and bad for consumers. Partners says it's all about serving the communities and providing better care. A superior court judge is now considering partners' latest move to acquire South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health and will consider public comments on the case.

What do Patriots Owner Bob Kraft, Newton Mayor Setti Warren and Boston University Professor Alan Sager have in common? They’ve all gone on the record either for or against Partners HealthCare going from big to bigger.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
1:36 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

What Do You Have To Lose? Picking Up Smoking At Eighty Years Old

Singer-songwriter recently owned up to becoming a smoker again at 80 years old. Medical ethicist Art Caplan discussed getting older and doing what you want.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen announced he's started to smoke cigarettes again at the age of 80. With average male life expectancy in the US currently hovering at 76, Cohen has surpassed the mark and decided to focus on his happiness.

"If I had taken my doctor's advice and quit smoking when he advised me to, I wouldn't have lived to go to his funeral," cigar smoker George Burns famously quipped. When is it okay to ignore medical advice and just focus on being happy?

On Boston Public Radio, medical ethicist Art Caplan said his thinking runs counter to conventional medical wisdom. "I happen to agree with Leonard Cohen," Caplan said.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
8:52 am
Wed September 24, 2014

BPR: New Hampshire Politics, The BSO, And The Power Of The LGBT Vote

Andris Nelsons takes the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Credit Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • The bad news has been piling on lately. We chat about feelings of hopeless, and check in with you to see how you're feeling. 
  • Andrew Cline, Editorial editor for the New Hampshire Union Leader on the Shaheen/Brown Senate race. He helps us follow the money, and talks about what politicians are testing this year in New Hampshire.
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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
8:54 am
Thu September 18, 2014

BPR: Healthcare, Women in Tech, and Wine

BPR: Healthcare, Women in Tech, and Wine
Credit Flicker via NPR

  

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Local News
8:44 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Hospital Coalition Asks AG's Office To Reject Partners Settlement

Credit Flickr, jdlasica

A coalition of health providers is asking Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to reject a settlement with the state’s largest hospital and physician’s network. The coalition detailed their concerns in a Superior Court filing today.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
11:16 am
Wed September 10, 2014

BPR: Primary Analysis, Brian McGrory, Juliette Kayyem, Art Caplan

Attorney General candidate Maura Healey greets supporters after winning the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.
Credit Cristina Quinn / WGBH News

  • Former Romney advisor Charlie Chieppo and former Treasurer Shannon O'Brien talk to Jim and Margery about primary election results.
  • Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory joins Jim and Margery to talk about his paper's busing coverage, as well as the New York Daily News editorial decision to stop using the name of Washington's professional football team. [50.09]
  • Juliette Kayyem will be Wednesday's Open Mic guest. Kayyem will talk about Mass. election results, Pres. Obama's speech Wednesday night about ISIS, and the new head of the Veterans Administration, Robert McDonald. Kayyem is a former Mass. gubernatorial candidate, and a current contributor to CNN. [1:10:31]
  • Medical ethicist Art Caplan talks about an excess of media coverage about the ebola virus when so many other deadly and widespread diseases need equal time. Caplan will also discuss new research showing that people eat at least twice as much when watching action films than they do in less exciting ones. Art Caplan is head of the division of medical ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center. [1:28:36]
BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
10:39 am
Wed August 27, 2014

BPR: Juliette Kayyem, Women Leaders, Art Caplan, More Sleep For Teens, Workplace Movies

In the wake of the police response in Ferguson, MO, questions have been raised about military vehicles and weaponry being used by US police forces.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/braintoad/ / Flickr

  • (Starts at 1:00) Former Homeland Security administrator Juliette Kayyem talked about the threat of ISIS and the prospect of Americans being recruited to the group. Kayyem also discussed her latest Globe piece about militarizing US police forces.
  • (Starts at 25:00) Would we have fewer armed conflicts — and less of a rush to take up arms in the first place — if the world had equal numbers of male and female leaders? Jim and Margery talked with listeners about the effect that greater numbers of female leaders would have.
  • (Starts at 44:00) Medical ethicist Art Caplan talked about a decrease in opiate overdoses in states where medical marijuana is now legal. Caplan also looked at  the Ice Bucket Challenge, and why so many Americans are woefully uninformed about Ebola, how it's spread, and the risk it poses to people in the U.S. Art Caplan is head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center. He's also the co-host of the new podcast Everyday Ethics.
  • (Starts at 1:07:30) Should we push back school start times so teens can get more rest? The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending doing so. Jim and Margery asked parents, teachers and teens whether they'd be open to the idea.
  • (Starts at 1:27:41) Ahead of Labor Day, film critic Garen Daly broke down the best workplace movies. Office Space, The Apartment, Glengarry Glen Ross — what's your favorite? Leave it in the comments below.
BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
4:50 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Nancy Koehn On The Heroism Of West African Ebola Workers

An Ebola virus quarantine in Eastern Sierra Leone. Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn said community leaders have been doing the bulk of work to combat the virus, while world leaders stand by.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/ / Flickr

Last week the head of Doctors with Borders, Brice de la Vigne, said world leaders are doing "almost zero" to help countries affected by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. When broad-shouldered world leaders — many of whom have enormous international stature — aren't pitching in, everyday local leaders have stepped in to fill the void.

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BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
2:36 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

BPR: Crazy Mass. Drivers, Charlie Sennott, Hostage Negotiating, Nancy Koehn, TV Bob Thompson

Why are Boston, Springfield and Worcester ranked so low for driver safety? The cities have had historically bad drivers.
Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/ / Flickr
  • (Starts at 1:00) Professor Michael Knodler talked about a new study that says Mass. drivers in cities like Boston or Worcester may be some of the worst drivers in the American population at large.
  • (Starts at 26:25) GlobalPost cofounder Charlie Sennott -- leader of the GroundTruth Project -- talked about a possible Middle East ceasefire, and the dangers of journalists working in war zones.
  • (Starts at 50:07) To what extent should the United States be willing to negotiate for the release of American citizens from hostile groups? Jim and Margery asked listeners to weigh in.
  • (Starts at 1:03:16) Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn joined Jim and Margery in Studio Three to talk about leadership in the face of a deadly ebola threat in Africa.
  • (Starts at 1:23:29) Bob Thompson recapped the 2014 Emmy Awards, where Breaking Bad, Sherlock and Modern Family came up big winners. Thompson is director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture.
Boston Public Radio Podcast
10:00 am
Tue August 19, 2014

BPR: Sister Simone Campbell, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Nancy Koehn, Ben Bradlee

Sister Simone Campbell
Credit By Thomas Altfather Good via Wikimedia Commons

Jim Braude and Margery Eagan speak with five authors about anxiety, economics, activism, politics and baseball.

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