After she landed in the hospital with a broken hip, Parkinson’s disease and the novel coronavirus, 84-year-old Dorothy “Poogie” Wyatt Shields made a request of her children: “Bring me home.”
America’s healthcare workers are dying. In some states, medical staff account for as many as 20% of known coronavirus cases. From doctors to hospital cleaners and from nursing home aides to paramedics, those most at risk have already helped save thousands of lives.
[UPDATED on June 19]
The latest miracle machine in modern medicine — whose use has skyrocketed in recent years — is saving people from the brink of death: adults whose lungs have been ravaged by the flu; a trucker who was trapped underwater in a crash; a man whose heart had stopped working for an astonishing seven hours.
But for each adult saved by this machine — dubbed ECMO, for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — another adult hooked up to the equipment dies in the hospital. For those pat...
Overzealous in preventing falls, hospitals are producing an ‘epidemic of immobility’ in elderly patients
Dorothy Twigg was living on her own, cooking and walking without help until a dizzy spell landed her in the emergency room. She spent three days confined to a hospital bed, allowed to get up only to use a bedside commode. Twigg, who was in her 80s, was livid about being stuck in a bed with side rails and a motion sensor alarm, said Melissa Rowley, her cousin and caretaker.
“They’re not letting me get up out of bed,” Twigg protested in phone calls, Rowley recalled.
In just a few days at the Oh...
Anne Brescia sat beside her only child, Anthony, as he lay unconscious in a hospital bed at age 16. Just a few months before, he was competing in a swim meet; now cancer was destroying his brain. Brescia couldn’t save her son. But she was determined to bring him home.
Anthony Gabriel Brescia-Connell was not conscious for his voyage from Boston Children’s Hospital to his home in Medford, Mass., where he died on March 3, 2011, surrounded by his family and beloved stuffed animals. He may not hav...
A six-month investigation by Kaiser Health News and PBS NewsHour finds that older Americans are quietly killing themselves in nursing homes, assisted living centers and adult care homes.
Some patients refuse to answer. Many doctors don’t ask. Family members worry about offending a suffering loved one. As the number of Americans with dementia rises, health professionals are grappling with when and how to pose the question: “Do you have guns at home?”
While gun violence data is scarce, a Kaiser Health News investigation with PBS NewsHour published in June uncovered over 100 cases across the United States since 2012 in which people with dementia used guns to kill themselves or o...
In a four-month investigation, JoNel Aleccia and I talked to families across the country about how they cope when a gun owner, often the family patriarch, develops dementia (and accompanying symptoms of paranoia, delusions and aggression). There's scant guidance for families in this situation, and our reporting uncovered dozens of tragic outcomes.
One patient got a $3,660 bill for a four-mile ride. Another was charged $8,460 for a trip from a hospital that could not handle his case to another that could. Still another found herself marooned at an out-of-network hospital, where she’d been taken by ambulance without her consent.
These patients all took ambulances in emergencies and got slammed with unexpected bills. Public outrage has erupted over surprise medical bills — generally out-of-network charges that a patient did not expect or ...
WASILLA, Alaska — As her husband lay moaning in pain from the cancer riddling his body, Patricia Martin searched frantically through his medical bag, looking for a syringe.
She had already called the hospice twice, demanding liquid methadone to ease the agony of Dr. Robert Martin, 66. A family practice physician known to everyone as “Dr. Bob,” he had served this small, remote community for more than 30 years.
But the doctor in charge at Mat-Su Regional Home Health & Hospice wasn’t responding....
Hospice workers will be allowed to destroy patients’ unneeded opioids, reducing the risk that families misuse them, according to one little-noticed provision in the bipartisan opioids bill headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for his likely signature.
The bill would empower hospice staff to destroy opioid medications that are expired, no longer needed by the patient because of a change in treatment, or left over after the patient dies.
A spokesperson for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massach...
The opioid crisis is forcing hospices to consider how to control drugs in the home.
RECIFE, BRAZIL — Baby Duda sat in bed, a pink barrette in her hair. She was ready to go home after a month in the hospital — when she began gasping for breath. Nurses rushed to her side with emergency oxygen. Her sister, out in the hallway, pressed her face against the window, watching yet another medical setback punctuated by high-pitched wails.
As she sat down for theater class in her fourth week at Fairfield University, freshman Chastity Berrios checked her back pocket. Her car key was gone.
Chastity, who’s 18, is starting an uphill journey to become the first in her family to graduate from college. Instead of studying and going to ecology class, she spent four hours Tuesday solving a transportation crisis that highlighted the type of the challenges ...