Longer Looks: Mental Illness And Jails; The Rise Of Medicare For All; A Heart Health Mystery; And More
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Mental Illness Behind Bars: The Lessons Of Orleans Parish
In May of 2016, not long after his release from a psychiatric hospital, Colby Crawford, a 23-year old black man, was booked into the Orleans Justice Center (OJC) — a new $150-million-dollar jail opened a year earlier to replace the crumbling and now shuttered Orleans Parish Prison complex, and touted as a symbol of a more progressive approach to incarceration in New Orleans. Ten months later, he was dead. Prior to Crawford’s incarceration, he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorder. A psychiatrist at OJC noted that he was prone to “seeing spirits and ghosts, insomnia, anxiety, paranoia, and bad dreams,” and prescribed an antipsychotic and anticonvulsant. A month after Crawford’s arrest on allegations that he hit his mother and sister, he was transferred about an hour outside of New Orleans to a state prison called the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center — the one place he received adequate mental health care while incarcerated, according to a wrongful death suit filed by his mother. (Chrastil, 11/20)
Why People Support Medicare For All
How a socialist-seeming health-care policy became a rallying cry in the Democratic mainstream. (Khazan, 11/21)
The New York Times:
She Had Two Heart Attacks, But Normal Arteries. What Was Going On?
The 56-year-old interior designer was at her desk, on the phone, when the now-unmistakable burning ignited her chest. Since her heart attack the year before, the pain, which her cardiologist called angina, would hit her at the strangest times. Just sitting or even sleeping, she’d get this sensation like terrible heartburn. She quickly got off the phone, knowing what was coming next — the rib-crushing pressure that made it hard to talk or even breathe. She made her way to the kitchen and bathroom, looking for nitroglycerin, the only medicine that relieved the pain. She couldn’t read the labels on the pill bottles — that’s when she knew she was in real trouble. She could feel her heart beating erratically as she called 911. She collapsed before she could even unlock the door. (Sanders, 11/20)
PM2.5 Air Pollution Is Still Killing Thousands Of People In The US
Soot kills. Still! Even in America, even in 2019. Those suspended fragments and droplets smaller than 2.5 micrometers across, small enough to be inhaled into the deepest recesses of the lungs and slip into the bloodstream—that’s soot. Or PM2.5 in technical terms. Breathing it in can inflame airways, triggering respiratory troubles, heart problems, even dementia. And, as study after study have shown, these adverse health effects can trim years off a person’s life. (Molteni, 11/20)
The New York Times:
Will Science Ever Give Us A Better Night’s Sleep?
We humans spend a third of our lives asleep, oblivious to our surroundings and temporarily paralyzed. It’s a vulnerability that would seem to diminish our odds of survival, so evolutionarily speaking it must also somehow confer tremendous benefits. Yet our best guesses about what those benefits are tend to come from observing what happens when sleep is curtailed. As far as we know, all animals sleep in some way; deprive most of them of it for long enough, and they will die, but exactly why is unclear. (Tingley, 11/19)
The New York Times:
When Mental Illness Is Severe
There are some crimes that are almost impossible to forget. For me, they include the death in 1999 of Kendra Webdale, an aspiring young journalist who was pushed in front of a New York subway train by a 29-year-old man with schizophrenia who had stopped taking his medication. That same year, two mentally ill teenage boys massacred 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado. Thirteen years later, a seriously emotionally disturbed 20-year-old man murdered 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. (Brody, 11/18)