Longer Looks: Mental Health In Massachusetts; Treating Cancer; Demystifying Zika
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Desperate And The Dead: Families
In the instant of her death at the hands of her son — a deeply troubled man discharged without restrictions from hospital care — Nancy Chiero wasn’t merely failed by the state mental health care system. She was her son’s mental health care system — or at least the only one he could rely on. In a state that prides itself on leadership in human services and compassionate government, it has come to this, a Spotlight Team investigation has found: threadbare policies, broken promises, short-sighted decisions, and persistent underfunding over decades. As a result, the seriously mentally ill, including those at greatest risk of harming others or themselves, are far too often left in the care of parents, police, prison guards, judges, shelter workers, and emergency room personnel — almost anyone, in fact, but professionals trained to deal with their needs. (Michael Rezendes, Anica Butler, Lisa Tuite and Eric Bosco, 8/2)
The New York Times:
Setting The Body’s ‘Serial Killers’ Loose On Cancer
The young surgeon was mystified. A fist-size tumor had been removed from the stomach of his patient 12 years earlier, but his doctors had not been able to cut out many smaller growths in his liver. The cancer should have killed him, yet here he lay on the table for a routine gallbladder operation. (Andrew Pollack, 8/1)
Zika Is In Florida. Here Are 9 Facts To Calm You Down.
With Zika moving through nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere over the past year and a half, it was only a matter of time before the virus made its way to the continental US. (Julia Belluz and Brian Resnick, 8/3)
By all appearances, this was just another fatal heroin overdose — something that happens more than once an hour in a country awash in opioids. But it wasn’t heroin that killed DJ. It was fentanyl, an opioid manufactured in hidden laboratories to be up to 100 times more powerful than heroin. It’s what killed the musician Prince. Fentanyl is a stealth killer, often sold to clueless buyers as heroin, prescription pain pills or the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. ... The drug has flooded the marketplace as street dealers on up to major international cartels have discovered that it delivers heroin’s high at a fraction of the cost. (David Armstrong, 8/2)
The Burdens Of Mental Illness In The Service Industry
The scene opens with me on a bathroom floor in the first days of 2016, cradling a knife and threatening to kill myself, but it starts much earlier, months and months before, when I moved from North Carolina to the Bay Area and felt my small-town axis shift with the violence of an earthquake. Sometimes it takes a radical re-configuring of the landscape — the sorts of tremors that expose our tenderest parts — to show us what was really dormant all along. For those, like me, who have mental-health issues and work or worked in the Bay Area’s service industry, those fault lines are everywhere, ubiquitous as cracks in the sidewalk. (Linnie Greene, 8/3)
The Danger Of Ignoring Tuberculosis
A century or so ago, tuberculosis was everywhere. It killed babies and brides, firemen and heads of state. The colloquial term of the era, “consumption,” littered the obituary pages and underscored how ubiquitous the disease was. Tuberculosis was so pervasive it eventually consumed you. (Adrienne LaFrance, 8/3)
Religious Leaders Grapple With Doctor-Assisted Dying
Research shows that religious people are more likely than the non-religious to oppose assisted dying. But there is wide variation between faiths. A survey of Britons, carried out by YouGov in 2013, found that only three in ten Muslims felt the law should be changed to allow close friends and relatives to help people with incurable diseases take their own lives, should they wish to do so. Around half of Hindus and Sikhs surveyed agreed, and six in ten Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and Buddhists. Seven in ten Jews, and 77% of Anglicans, supported such a change in the law. For comparison, 85% of people who claimed no faith were in favour of legalising assisted dying. (8/1)