Longer Looks: A Cluster Of Rare Cancer Cases; A Return To Hunter-Gather Lifestyle; Maternal Health; And More
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Wall Street Journal:
After String Of Rare Cancer Cases, Pennsylvania Investigates Potential Link To Fracking
An increase in the number of teens and young adults diagnosed with a rare cancer in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania has caused the state to look for a link between fracking and the disease. The investigation was sparked by a spate of Ewing’s sarcoma cases in and around Washington County, which has more Marcellus Shale gas wells than any other county in the state. In April, the state Department of Health found that the cases didn’t constitute a statistically significant cancer cluster. But affected families and other residents lobbied the governor for an investigation. “We’re not pointing a finger,” said Kurt Blanock, whose teenage son died of Ewing’s sarcoma three years ago. His wife, Janice Blanock, was one of the parents who pushed for the study. (Maher, 12/20)
Extolling The Virtues Of The Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle
As the 21st century progresses, it seems clear society has gone cattywampus in an astonishing number of ways. Our elected leaders appear to be more bumbling, sinister, and narcissistic than ever before. Our waterways are choked with cup lids and chemicals. Our relationships are strained and distant. And technology is nudging us ever closer to blowing up the planet, whether literally or metaphorically. The way out of this global maelstrom, says author and podcaster Christopher Ryan, is to look closely at how our early human ancestors chose to live — and to tear down the structure of values, innovations, and social hierarchies that supports modern civilization. (Svoboda, 12/20)
Native American Women Tackle High Rate Of Maternal Mortality
As the sun begins to set on a blustery fall day, the rugged buttes of Navajoland glow red in the soft light and swift gusts spiral dust through the air. About 40 women, most draped in traditional dress, stand in a circle as Melissa Brown, an indigenous midwife, asks the group to reflect on the day just ending — and the mission still ahead. “We have talked about being safe here. That is our goal,” she tells them. “We’re going to cry, and we’re going to laugh. And that’s OK.” (Warren, 12/17)
The New York Times:
Inside Wayne LaPierre’s Battle For The N.R.A.
Wayne LaPierre was sitting in a chair with his hands over his ears, looking straight down. “It was horribly painful,” he said of the nearly two years of investigations, intrigue and infighting that have roiled the National Rifle Association, which he has led since 1991. Now, a once-invincible organization, and its chief, are girding for a legal reckoning. “I mean,” LaPierre said, looking up, “it’s the most painful period of my life.” (Hakim, 12/18)
The Secret Of Saving The Lives Of Black Mothers And Babies
Bianca Davidson was 17 and still in foster care when she got pregnant. The baby, a boy, arrived a month-and-a-half early, and no one warned Davidson that being premature put him at risk for life-threatening illnesses and developmental delays. She hemorrhaged after delivering her second son, but the doctor simply told the nurses to “clean her up.” A family member insisted to staff that something was wrong and a second doctor ordered blood transfusions. “It was super-scary,” Davidson, 29, recalled. “Nobody talked me through … ‘Ok, you lost a lot of blood so you can’t be with your baby at the moment.’” Her third pregnancy, three years later, required an emergency caesarean section when her son’s heartbeat dropped suddenly. Davidson was afraid the next time she gave birth, either she or her baby would not survive. (Rab, 12/15)
The New York Times:
A Doctor’s Diary: The Overnight Shift In The E.R.
My choices as a doctor in the emergency room are up or out. Up, for the very sick. I stabilize things that are broken, infected or infarcted, until those patients can be whisked upstairs for their definitive surgeries or stents in the hospital. Out, for everyone else. I stitch up the simple cuts, reassure those with benign viruses, prescribe Tylenol and send home. Up or out is what the E.R. was designed for. Up or out is what it’s good at. Emergency rooms are meant to have open capacity in case of a major emergency, be it a train crash, a natural disaster or a school shooting, and we are constantly clearing any beds we can in pursuit of this goal. (Siddiqui, 12/16)