Tracking Of Maternal Deaths So Riddled With Flaws, U.S. Doesn’t Even Publish An Official Rate
ProPublica offers a look at the "embarrassing" state of data collection on maternal deaths in the country. In other public health news: fixing birth defects in the womb; discrimination; Uber for birth control; diabetes; firefighters and cancer; germs; and more.
How Many American Women Die From Causes Related To Pregnancy Or Childbirth? No One Knows.
Indeed, for the last decade, the U.S. hasn’t had an official annual count of pregnancy-related fatalities, or an official maternal mortality rate — a damning reflection of health officials’ lack of confidence in the available numbers. (Fields and Sexton, 10/23)
The New York Times:
To Mend A Birth Defect, Surgeons Operate On The Patient Within The Patient
The patient, still inside his mother’s womb, came into focus on flat screens in a darkened operating room. Fingers, toes, the soles of his feet — all exquisite, all perfectly formed. But not so his lower back. Smooth skin gave way to an opening that should not have been there, a bare oval exposing a white rim of bone and the nerves of the spinal cord. (Grady, 10/23)
Poll: Most Americans Say They Are Discriminated Against, Regardless Of Race
Majorities in many ethnic, identity and racial groups in America believe that discrimination exists against their own group, across many areas of people's daily lives, according to a poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The poll asked a wide range of questions about where Americans experience discrimination — from the workplace to the doctor's office — and people's experiences with discrimination and perceptions of it. The groups polled include whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and LGBTQ adults. (Neel, 10/24)
App Known As The ‘Uber For Birth Control’ Sparks Ire In Conservative States
It’s a telemedicine app that seems rather innocuous — enter your info, have it reviewed by a physician, and get a prescription. The California-based company behind it has raised millions to support its mission of expanding access to the pill, ring, or morning-after pill with minimal hurdles. But that last option is now starting to attract pushback from anti-abortion activists, who consider the morning-after pill equivalent to abortion — and who say lax telemedicine laws are enabling access to this drug with insufficient oversight. (Blau, 10/24)
Screening For Diabetes Is Working Better Than We Thought
Undiagnosed diabetes may not be as big of a public health problem as thought. That's the takeaway from a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine that says that some previous efforts have likely overestimated the number of people with undiagnosed diabetes because they relied on a single positive test result. (Hobson, 10/23)
Unmasked: Firefighters And Cancer
Until recently, the National Fire Protection Association, which sets standards for departments such as Columbus, had no guidelines on cancer prevention. The agency released standards aimed at cancer prevention for the first time this summer. (Wagner and Sullivan, 10/24)
New Pediatrician Guidelines On Kids, Germs And How To Prevent Illness
As Boston heads into cold weather and flu season, the American Academy of Pediatrics is out with new guidelines on what pediatricians' offices should do to prevent and control infections. The new guidelines, out Monday, include items like diligent hand washing, and asking anyone who treats your kids if they've washed their hands too. (Becker, Sundt and Goldberg, 10/23)
The Washington Post:
Conjoined Twins Survived One Of The World’s Rarest Surgeries. Now They’re Preparing To Go Home.
Abby Delaney can roll onto her stomach, hold up her head and turn pages in her favorite books. Her sister, Erin, can now sit up on her own, and she is starting to think about crawling — learning to hold herself up on her small hands and knees. More than four months after the formerly conjoined twins were separated in a rare surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, their mother said there have been rewarding but “terrifying” moments as the 15-month-olds recover. (Bever, 10/23)