From Health Care

PTSD Isn’t Limited To Combat Soldiers: Parents Of Sick Kids Often Have All The Same Symptoms Yet Go Overlooked

Historically, psychiatrists didn’t consider medical diseases traumatic events, but parents of sick children can often have PTSD symptoms such as reliving the experience, avoiding reminders of the event or condition, feeling numb or detached from others, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and being constantly on the lookout for danger. In other public health news: a depression treatment, genetic testing, heart health, women’s safety and healthy diets.

When Background Checks Fail, Job Of Taking Guns From People Who Aren’t Supposed To Have Them Falls To An Understaffed ATF

Even though background checks are required to purchase guns, the overtaxed system doesn’t always work in a timely fashion. More weapons are getting into the hands of dangerous people, The Wall Street Journal reports. Then, understaffed federal and state agencies struggle with how to take away those guns. In other news on gun control efforts, some companies are installing gunshot detectors.

What Role Should Big Social Media Companies Play In Public Health Issues?

The recent attempts from social media companies to limit antivaccination posts highlights both the struggles of trying to monitor such content and the impact the tech leaders can have on the national conversation. In other health and technology news: the limits of artificial intelligence, exposure of personal health information, and a mental health app that can help with loneliness.

How The Medicaid Battle Is Far From Over: Despite Some Red States Embracing Limited Expansion, Others Dig In Their Heels

Recent moves by red state Republicans to block voter-approved Medicaid expansion, as well as threats from some Republican governors to slash funding highlight the fact that both sides are still fighting the Medicaid expansion battle. Medicaid news comes out of Georgia and Texas, as well.

Maryland Law Designed To Curb Drug Price Gouging Dealt Fatal Blow As Supreme Court Refuses Case

The legislation had previously been ruled unconstitutional by an appeals court because it tried to regulate commerce beyond Maryland’s borders. The law, which was enacted following several high-profile drug hikes, prohibited what it termed “unconscionable” price increases for essential drugs no longer covered by patents or generic drugs that are sold in the state.

Lucrative Commissions For Insurance Brokers Seem Like Normal Business Practices–Until You Realize Who Ultimately Pays For Them

Human resource directors often rely on independent health insurance brokers to guide them through confusing benefit options offered by insurance companies. But what many don’t fully realize is how the health insurance industry steers the process through lucrative financial incentives and commissions, the cost of which are built into premiums. In other health industry and cost news: affordability, the business of specialty surgeries, health record costs, and more.

Despite Safeguards, FDA And Doctors Allowed Fentanyl To Fall Into Hands Of Thousands Of Inappropriate Patients, Report Finds

After reviewing thousands of pages of documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act, researchers also found that both the FDA and drug companies became aware of what was happening but took no action to stop it. “The whole purpose of this distribution system was to prevent exactly what we found,” said Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness. In other news on the national opioid crisis: the Oklahoma court case, copycat drugs, marijuana and car crashes.

‘These Women’s Lives Mattered’: Nurse Builds Database Of Women Murdered By Men

PLANO, Texas — In February 2017, a school nurse in this Dallas suburb began counting women murdered by men.

Seated at her desk, beside shelves of cookbooks, novels and books on violence against women, Dawn Wilcox, 54, scours the internet for news stories of women killed by men in the U.S.

For dozens of hours each week, she digs through online news reports and obituaries to tell the stories of women killed by lovers, strangers, fathers, sons and stepbrothers, neighbors and tenants.

Dawn Wilcox(Courtesy of Dawn Wilcox)

“I’m trying to get the message [across] that women matter, and that these women’s lives mattered, and that this is not acceptable in the greatest country in the world,” Wilcox said.

Her spreadsheet, a publicly available resource she calls Women Count USA, is a catalog of lives lost: names, dates, ages, where they lived, pictures of victims and their alleged killers, and the details that can’t be captured by numbers.

For Wilcox, these women are more than statistics.

She wants you to know Nicole Duckson, a 34-year-old Columbus, Ohio, woman whose friends “remembered her as a prayerful person and a loving mother.”

And Duckson’s 4-year-old daughter, Christina, who was stabbed to death alongside her mother, “a polite, happy little girl.”

And Claire Elizabeth VanLandingham, 27, a Navy dentist fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend. She had appeared in a video for Take Back the Night, the organization known for fighting dating violence, sexual violence and domestic violence on college campuses nationally. Her mother said, “Her heart was kind; her spirit generous; her soul wise. She gave her smile to everyone who needed it; to everyone who hadn’t even realized they did.”

Those are just a few of the nearly 2,500 women listed in Wilcox’s album during the past two years.

“Where is the outrage? Where are the marches, the speeches? I know where the silence is. It is everywhere and it is deafening,” Wilcox said.

Her crusade, Wilcox said, was spurred in part by the media frenzy about the shooting death of a gorilla, Harambe, at the Cincinnati Zoo and the uproar over the killing of Cecil the Lion, shot by a Minnesota dentist as a trophy.

As an animal lover, she was horrified by those killings. But as she saw the social media fury and the online petitions spread, she asked herself: “But what about women?”

“Women are people and they deserve to have their lives valued,” she posted on Facebook in 2016 after Harambe’s death. “They deserve our voices speaking out on their behalf. And when they are abused, assaulted, murdered and erased they deserve our attention and our outrage.”

Tracking The Data

The FBI releases crime data every year, including the number of women who have been killed by men, but local police are not required to file reports to the federal agency, so some state figures are missing.

Florida, for example, has not provided its data to the FBI since 1996, according to reports by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates to stop gun violence. Numbers from Alabama and Illinois have also been unavailable or limited in certain years.

Since 1996, between 1,613 and 2,129 women were murdered by men each year, FBI data show. In 2017, the latest year for which data are available, the FBI counted 1,733 women. An overwhelming majority of those women were killed by a man they knew.

“If you just go by the raw numbers, it is undoubtedly an undercount of domestic violence homicides,” said April Zeoli, an associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University and an expert on domestic violence homicides and gun laws. Still, she added, “it’s the most accurate picture we have.”

Wilcox, however, is doing something the FBI does not: putting faces to the cases. Recording the correct number of women murdered isn’t the only goal of Wilcox’s effort. Her work is about searching for their stories, finding their photos, trying to learn who they were, so that these women aren’t forgotten.

Touched By Abuse

Wilcox is no stranger to violence against women.

When she was 21, she began dating a man she met in a bar in Dallas. She’ll never forget the first time he hurt her.

On a night out at a dance club, Wilcox’s boyfriend stepped into the restroom. When he came back, she said, he sprayed cologne into her face, burning her eyes as she groped her way to the bathroom to rinse it out. It was an accident, she said he told her. But Wilcox knew it was an attempt to humiliate her.

The violence escalated, Wilcox said, culminating in a night that left a deep scar on the inside of her arm and a memory of abuse that echoes the stories of the lost women for whom she searches.

It was hot and the power had gone out, leaving her with no air conditioning as she read a book by candlelight in her apartment. The man began kissing her leg, she said, but soon she felt his teeth digging into her as he bit her. She told him to stop, but he put his hand to the base of her throat, pushed her down onto the bed and, after telling her he wanted to taste her blood, bit into the crook of her arm, tearing out skin, she said.

Wilcox went to a hospital emergency room and then fled to her mother’s home. She eventually ended the relationship with the man.

He was subsequently convicted of sexual assault and kidnapping after he raped two women before forcing them into his car, driving them to a secluded, wooded area, knocking them out and threatening to kill them. The women managed to escape.

Wilcox considers herself lucky. “I could’ve easily ended up one of the women on my own list.”

Today, she is married to a man who said his wife’s work has opened his eyes to the pervasiveness of violence against women.

“She’s inspired me,” said Mike Nosenzo, who married Wilcox in 2018. “The amount of time that she spends on it, the dedication that she puts into it. I don’t see how I could feel any other way.”

As her project nears the two-year mark, Wilcox wants to dig deeper to find more details on the lives of these women before their deaths: How many of the women had a protective order? And how many cases involved a prior history of domestic violence?

She is here, she said, not only to remember these women, but to make people care about their fate, with the hope of raising awareness to save others.

“I feel like these women were completely failed by all of us, really,” Wilcox said. “A lot of these women did everything you’re supposed to do to keep themselves safe. They told people, they went to the police, they got protective orders, and it still was not enough.”

This story was reported by Schreyer partly during her tenure at The Fuller Project, a nonprofit journalism organization that covers issues affecting women and girls.

Have The Days Of Double Hospital Rooms Passed? Patients Start To Expect Private Rooms As The Norm

More and more hospitals are transitioning toward private rooms as the standard, reflecting a growing sentiment that patient comfort is an essential part of the hospital business. Hospital news comes out of California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Illinois, and Kansas, as well.

When Being Tied Down To Kidney Dialysis Is Unappealing, An Alternative Option Few Are Told About Can Help Older Patients

More than 200,000 patients age 65 and older receive dialysis and are often told they’d die without it, yet few are informed about a conservative option that helps manage the disease. Public health news also looks at spanking; gay Catholic priests; CBD oil; a CRISPR patent; unsafe radiation exposure; presidents’ public speech patterns; new Ebola treatments and more.

Resistance And Mistrust Around Vaccinations Aren’t Anything New–They’ve Always Existed Together

Although the antivaccination movement has grown in the past few years, thanks in part to social media, there has always been a fierce outcry against compulsory shots for as long as vaccines have been used. Experts are hoping to leverage the recent outbreak in the Pacific Northwest to change minds. And some recent trends suggest that it might be the case.

Following Investigation Into IHS Doctor, Lawmaker Calls For Broad Assessment Of The Indian Health Service

An investigation this month has revealed that the Indian Health Service mishandled allegations against a doctor who was allowed to continue practicing for years following the accusations. Now Sen. Mike Rounds wants a broader assessment of the problems at the department. “Come hell or high water, we’re going to get to the bottom of what the problems are,” he said.

VA Paid Thousands For Adviser Involved In Privatization Push To Commute From California To D.C. Over Three Month Period

Darin Selnick, a senior Veterans Affairs adviser, flew to Washington, D.C. from California for two weeks out of every month, at taxpayers’ expense. Reports show that the costs for the six trips during the time period between Oct. 21, 2018, and Jan. 19, 2019 included: $3,885.60 for six round-trip flights in coach, $5,595.46 for 23 nights in hotels and $1,976 for meals. In other news, an army veteran is suing over defective earplugs.