KHN Morning Briefing

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‘This Thing Could Get Worse’: Calif. Wildfires Force Hospital Evacuations And Hit Medical Personnel

Medical services in California are under pressure from the wildfire crisis as doctors and nurses are impacted personally and professionally at a time when they are needed by residents coping with the air quality. Asthmatics and the elderly are particularly at risk.

Los Angeles Times: Northern California Firestorm Brings Illness, Strains Healthcare System
The deadly Northern California fires — by forcing the evacuation of several hospitals and clinics and destroying the homes of many doctors and nurses — have put a strain on available medical services. The Petaluma Health Center canceled all scheduled appointments this week to make time for people requiring urgent care. They’ve treated asthmatics struggling to breathe amid some of the most unhealthy air in Bay Area history, as well as people who sprained their ankles or forgot to grab their medications as they raced from burning homes in nearby Santa Rosa, clinic chief administrative officer Pedro Toledo said. (Karlamangla, 10/12)

NPR: Wildfire Smoke Has Made Bay Area Air Quality Its Worst On Record
Air pollution in counties of the San Francisco Bay Area this week has been the worst since 1999 when officials began collecting data. "The pollution is so high it's comparable to high pollution days in China," says Lisa Fasano at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. (McClurg, 10/12)

California Healthline: Fires Prey On Frail Residents Living On Their Own
They were asleep when the fire reached their home. Charles Rippey, 100, and his wife, Sara, 98, had been married 75 years. They died together, after a caregiver struggled to save them but couldn’t get them out in time. A 27-year-old woman had spina bifida and used a wheelchair. In the hours after the fires broke out, her relatives frantically sought information about her whereabouts. When a fire inspector visited her home, he found her body. (Feder Ostrov, 10/13)

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