Military’s heat-related illnesses, deaths demonstrate link between climate change, health reporting

Cheryl Clark

About Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) is AHCJ's core topic leader for patient safety, a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Climate change and health care are two separate beats, right? Usually that’s the case.

Environmental reporters worry about endangered species and greenhouse gases. Health reporters worry about hospital and physician quality and safety and reducing costs of care.

But the two are increasingly intertwined, as my former San Diego Union-Tribune colleague and Pulitzer Prize winner David Hasemyer points out. He documents in his series of stories for InsideClimateNews a disturbing link between rising global temperatures and numbers of heat-related deaths and serious illnesses such as stroke, in our military forces.

Hasemyer’s new “How I Did It” piece provides a detailed step-by-step on how journalists can find out about heat-related deaths at their regional bases, lists great data sources and public relations representatives, and provides a lot more helpful information.

David Hasemyer

David Hasemyer

His stories are excellent:

The growing link between climate change and health care was also apparent during the American Medical Association’s interim meeting in San Diego Nov. 16-19, which MedPage Today asked me to cover.

During a special session, three physicians who are climate experts admonished their physician audience that they have a moral obligation to convince their fellow practitioners and their chief executive officers that their industry contributes a lot of avoidable pollution, in waste and greenhouse gases, and that the health care system can and should work quickly to reduce.

Some of the speakers also advised physicians to use their influence and trust to persuade climate change deniers among their patients that the impacts from global warming on the planet are real.

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