Category: Medicine

Doris Hutchinson wanted to use money from the sale of her late mother’s house to help her grandchildren go to college.

Then she learned the University of Virginia Health System was taking $38,000 of the proceeds because a 13-year-old medical bill owed by her deceased brother had somehow turned into a lien on the property.

“It was a mess,” she said. “There are bills I could pay with that money. I could pay off my car, for one thing.”

Property liens are the hidden icebergs of patient medical debt, legal experts say, lying unseen, often for decades, before they surface to claim hard-won family savings or inheritance proceeds.

An ongoing examination by KHN into hospital billing and collections in Virginia shows just how widespread and destructive they can be. KHN reported a year ago that UVA Health had sued patients 36,000 times over six years for more than $100 million, … Read the rest

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McMaster University researchers who analyzed thousands of documents covering a 300-year span of plague outbreaks in London, England, have estimated that the disease spread four times faster in the 17th century than it had in the 14th century.

The findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show a striking acceleration in plague transmission between the Black Death of 1348, estimated to have wiped out more than one-third of the population of Europe, and later epidemics, which culminated in the Great Plague of 1665.

Researchers found that in the 14th century, the number of people infected during an outbreak doubled approximately every 43 days. By the 17th century, the number was doubling every 11 days.

“It is an astounding difference in how fast plague epidemics grew,” says David Earn, a professor in the … Read the rest

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As I cut a slice of lemon for my tea one morning last March, I found that I could not detect the familiar zing of citrus. Nor, it turned out, could I taste the peach jam on my toast. Overnight, my senses of smell and taste seemed to have disappeared. In the days prior to that I’d had body aches and chills, which I ascribed to a late-winter cold — nothing, I thought, an analgesic and some down time couldn’t take care of. But later that day I saw a newspaper article about the loss of smell and taste in patients with COVID-19, and I realized that I’d likely caught the virus. While I was fortunate enough to eventually recover from it without a trip to the hospital or worse, months after testing negative for COVID, my senses of both smell and taste are still not fully recovered.

In this, … Read the rest

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The president’s remarks came during a call intended to discuss strategy for the Nov. 3 election.

(Image credit: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images)

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California Healthline correspondent Angela Hart discussed how the coronavirus pandemic has derailed California’s efforts to deal with homelessness on KPBS “Midday Edition” on Oct. 8.

KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed the difference between D.O.s and M.D.s with Newsy’s “Morning Rush” on Tuesday.

KHN correspondent Anna Almendrala discussed how L.A. County’s enforcement of workplace coronavirus protocols has cut COVID-19 deaths with KPCC’s “Take Two” on Tuesday.

KHN senior correspondent Sarah Jane … Read the rest

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Shaynna Blaze is known for her bubbly personality and honest opinions as a judge on The Block.

But the interior designer has admitted that life under Melbourne‘s strict COVID-19 lockdown took its toll on her.

The 57-year-old, who was filming the Channel Nine renovation show just before Victoria’s second wave hit, told TV Week: ‘I’m a strong person, but I’ve got to say [lockdown] affected me greatly.’

'I had days where I just sobbed and sobbed': The Block's Shaynna Blaze revealed she broke down during Melbourne's strict second lockdown

‘I had days where I just sobbed and sobbed’: The Block’s Shaynna Blaze revealed she broke down during Melbourne’s strict second lockdown

‘I’m going to say this for the first time: I had days where I just sobbed and sobbed,’ she revealed.

The blonde explained that her moments of sadness were not just about being unable to go out to local restaurants and coffee shops.

‘It’s about that general conversation and connection and human touch. You’ll never take that for granted,’ … Read the rest

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The effects of COVID-19 have been extensive, with more than seven million confirmed cases and more than 200,000 deaths in the US alone. COVID-19 has caused additional impacts on healthcare; for example, patients have delayed seeking care for serious symptoms over fears of exposure to COVID-19. But the consequences of COVID-19 have reached beyond healthcare alone, with daily impacts on our financial, social, and emotional well-being.

As we attempt to cope and settle into this new normal, we will learn about the long-term effects of these hardships. Doctors have already begun to study the effects of COVID-related stress and anxiety on people around the world.

Physical effects of stress

Stress can have real physical effects on the body, and it has been linked to a wide range of health issues. Stress directly activates our sympathetic nervous system, initiating a fight-or-flight response that can elevate blood pressure and blood sugar. Though … Read the rest

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NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks to Dr. Aluko Hope, co-director of the COVID-19 Recovery Clinic at Montefiore Health Systems in New York, about virus long-haulers, who experience months of symptoms.

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In March, Sue Williams-Ward took a new job, with a $1-an-hour raise.

The employer, a home health care agency called Together We Can, was paying a premium — $13 an hour — after it started losing aides when COVID-19 safety concerns mounted.

Williams-Ward, a 68-year-old Indianapolis native, was a devoted caregiver who bathed, dressed and fed clients as if they were family. She was known to entertain clients with some of her own 26 grandchildren, even inviting her clients along on charitable deliveries of Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas hams.

Without her, the city’s most vulnerable would have been “lost, alone or mistreated,” said her husband, Royal Davis.

Despite her husband’s fears for her health, Williams-Ward reported to work on March 16 at an apartment with three elderly women. One was blind, one was wheelchair-bound, and the third had a severe mental illness. None had been diagnosed with COVID-19 but, Williams-Ward … Read the rest

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Health authorities fear a coronavirus cluster in Sydney’s outskirts could spread to tourist towns on the NSW south coast as the state records five new infections. 

Four overseas travellers in quarantine tested positive to COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in NSW to 4,149. 

The one new locally acquired case is a close contact of cases linked to Great Beginnings Childcare Centre in Oran Park, in Sydney’s south west. 

There are now six cases associated with the childcare centre, and 19 in total in the Oran Park community cluster. The centre has been closed since October 13 and will remain shut until October 28 and contact tracing and investigations continue. 

Those who attended Great Beginnings Childcare Centre between 2- 13 October close contacts and have been urged to get tested immediately and self-isolate for a full 14 days from when they last attended. … Read the rest

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