Longer Looks: Opioids In Virginia; Abortions By Mail; And Prescription Drug Shortages
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
How Winchester, Virginia United To Help The Babies Of The Opioid Epidemic
Emma is rocking her baby, speaking to her softly in the neonatal intensive care unit of Winchester Medical Center in the city of Winchester, Virginia. The blinds are drawn and the room is quiet. A cheerful poster on the wall says that Emma’s daughter, Story, was born six days ago. She weighs six pounds and 13 ounces. (Annabelle Timsit, 10/21)
Abortions By Mail Are Available Now In The US. Here’s What You Need To Know.
With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the future of Roe v. Wade is looking increasingly grim.But even while the landmark law remains in place, the rollback of abortion access across the US is already well underway — and women who want to safely terminate their pregnancies face an increasing number of roadblocks. (Julia Belluz, 10/20)
Why The Trump Administration’s New Gender Definition Worries Doctors
After a court ruling, the Trump administration has already said it might not investigate health-care discrimination claims involving transgender people. Now the administration is urging government agencies to define “sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with … Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing,” according to a memo obtained by The New York Times. (Olga Khazan, 10/23)
Nonprofit Drugmaker Civica Rx Aims To Cure A Health Care System Ailment
There are two main reasons for drug shortages that are both terrifying and becoming more frequent: There are not enough companies making these drugs and those companies aren’t producing adequate supplies. This situation has led several hospitals and foundations to form Civica Rx, a nonprofit generic drugmaker. (Stacie B. Dusetzina, 10/24)
DNA Tests Could Help Docs Detect Infectious Diseases Like Typhus Faster
Once thought to be eradicated from the US, typhus is starting to make a comeback in Texas, spread by the common fleas found on dogs and cats. The right antibiotics will clear up the infection, but if left untreated, typhus can lead to organ failure and even death. That’s why the state requires doctors to report cases to local health departments whenever they come across one. (Megan Molteni, 10/22)
“Information Is Our Biggest Weapon”
A century ago, the Spanish flu swept across the globe, wreaking such devastation that it earned itself the haunting title of “one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in recorded history.” All said, the pandemic is estimated to have infected 500 million people (one-third of what was then the world’s population) and killed at least 50 million of them. We’ve learned a lot since then, but so have the diseases that threaten us. (Mia Armstrong, 10/23)
Genetics Has Learned A Ton — Mostly About White People. That’s A Problem.
A treatment plan like this — tailored to an individual’s genetic risk — is one of the great promises of “precision medicine.” Whether genomic analysis will ever yield enough useful results to make it possible is a subject of heated debate. If it does pan out, it could be a game changer. Though, as it stands, the game won’t be changed for everyone: If you’re not white, this new research may fail you. (Brian Resnick, 10/22)