Longer Looks: A Young Woman’s Mental Illness; Dr. Oz; Hospitals And Patient Satisfaction
Each weekend, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Washington Post:
My Daughter, Who Lost Her Battle With Mental Illness, Is Still The Bravest Person I Know
I lost my darling daughter Natalie to mental illness last month. She killed herself a few weeks short of her 29th birthday by stepping in front of a train in Baltimore. ... My daughter lived more than six years with an incurable disease that filled her head with devils that literally hounded her to death, and she did it while laughing, painting, writing poetry, advocating and bringing joy to the people around her. She was the bravest person I have ever known, and her suicide doesn’t change that. (Doris A. Fuller, 4/20)
The New Yorker:
The Catastrophe: Spalding Gray’s Brain Injury
Once he was seated, I was struck by his lack of spontaneous movement or speech, his immobility and lack of facial expression. He did not initiate any conversation, and responded to my questions with very brief, often single-word, answers. My first thought ... was that this was not simply depression, or even a reaction to the stress and the surgeries of the past two years—to my eye, it clearly looked as if Spalding had neurological problems as well. (Oliver Sacks, 4/22)
The Making Of Doctor Oz
After covering [Dr. Mehmet] Oz for several years, I'm fascinated by him. How did a gifted, award-winning cardiothoracic surgeon with credentials from three Ivy League schools become a TV star who promotes belly-fat busters and anti-aging tricks? I'm also intrigued by the hold he has on his fans. Why do so many people place their trust — and their health — in the hands of a TV personality? What does his popularity say about Americans' attitudes toward science? (Julia Belluz, 4/16)
The Problem With Satisfied Patients
When Department of Health and Human Services administrators decided to base 30 percent of hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement on patient satisfaction survey scores, they likely figured that transparency and accountability would improve healthcare. ... They probably had no idea that their methods could end up indirectly harming patients. ... A national study revealed that patients who reported being most satisfied with their doctors actually had higher healthcare and prescription costs and were more likely to be hospitalized than patients who were not as satisfied. Worse, the most satisfied patients were significantly more likely to die in the next four years. (Alexandra Robbins, 4/17)
My Son, The Statistic
I should say up front that I am not an anti-vaxxer. When I quizzed the doctor about possible side effects of vaccination at my son’s one-year checkup, I did so more out of my science-journalist habit than any concern that her answers might change my mind. ... It turns out that one side effect of the MMR vaccine that she didn’t mention—because it is so rare—is immune thrombocytopenia purpura. In a person with ITP, the body attacks its own platelets, the cells that help blood to clot. (Liz Savage, 4/16)
What Good Is 'Raising Awareness'?
According to a commentary published this month in the American Journal of Public Health, the United States has almost 200 official “health awareness days.” (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists all national health observances on its website.) And that’s not counting all the unofficial ones, sponsored by organizations. The paper was an attempt to begin to investigate whether awareness days actually improve people’s health. Jonathan Purtle, an assistant professor at Drexel University’s School of Public Health, teamed up with Leah Roman, a public-health consultant, to see whether awareness could even be quantified. (Julie Beck, 4/21)