Longer Looks: The $629 Band-Aid; Venezuela’s Failing Health System; Going Gluten-Free
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Case Of The $629 Band-Aid — And What It Reveals About American Health Care
Last January, Malcolm Bird took his 1-year-old daughter, Colette, to the local emergency room. His wife had accidentally cut the young girl's pinky finger while clipping her fingernails, and it had begun to bleed. They were nervous, first-time parents who wanted a doctor's opinion. (Sarah Kliff, 5/13)
From A Medical Standpoint, We Absolutely Shouldn’t Cancel The Rio Olympics
Latin America has emerged as the epicenter of the Zika epidemic—and that has foreign businesses, medical experts and tourists all weighing the risks of travel abroad. Fanning the flames of the debate this week was a provocative article by Canadian lawyer and biologist Amir Attaran declaring that the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil “must not proceed,” released on the heels of Major League Baseball’s decision to move two games from Puerto Rico to Miami last week. (Celine Gounder, 5/13)
The New York Times:
Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals
By morning, three newborns were already dead. The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward. (Nicholas Casey, 5/15)
The Harm In Blindly ‘Going Gluten Free’
May is Celiac-Disease Awareness Month. Which might seem unnecessary, if the superfluity of “gluten free” labels and advertisements were any indication of people’s awareness of the disease. Gastroenterologist Norelle Rizkalla Reilly believes it’s quite clearly not. (James Hamblin, 5/16)
Los Angeles Times:
Our Bodies Make Vitamin D Naturally. So Why Do Americans Spend Billions On Supplements?
Consumer surveys find that vitamin D now outsells all other supplements, including fish oil, probiotics and even multivitamins. That’s rather surprising given that vitamin D is actually one of the few vitamins we can make on our own. All we need is to expose our skin to the sun, and our bodies take care of the rest. But the D vitamin boom isn’t a scam, necessarily — it’s just rife with confusing science and misinformation. (Catherine Price, 5/16)
Theranos Is Wrong: We Don’t Need More Blood Tests
Much of the debate over the last few months has been about whether Theranos’s technology can actually do what the company has said it can. But there’s a dubious assumption at the heart of Theranos, arguably just as damning as the questions about its technology. Theranos wants us to believe that ostensibly healthy people can get healthier by having more tests. But the science suggests that is far from true. (Katherine Hobson, 5/13)
Should Paid 'Menstrual Leave' Be A Thing?
In several, mostly East Asian, countries, so-called “menstrual leave” is a legally enshrined right for female workers. However, as these countries attempt to move toward greater gender equality in the workplace, menstrual leave has come under debate. Do these policies simply further the notion that women are weak, hormonally-addled creatures controlled by their uteri? Or do they encourage more equality by accommodating female workers’ biological demands, much as maternity leave does? (Emily Matchar, 5/16)