Category Archives: Children

Flu season hitting older adults hard

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: KOMUnews via Flickr

The headlines say it all: In Houston, “Elderly should avoid the flu at all costs this season;” in Cleveland, “Flu deaths continue to rise;” and in New Orleans, “Flu overwhelming emergency rooms.

This flu season is terrible. Really bad, this Time explainer notes. Unfortunately, it has been the most vulnerable — mostly children, those with serious chronic conditions, and older adults — who are paying the highest price. Continue reading

Journal roundtable explores practices to reduce anesthesia-related deaths in pediatric dentistry

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ’s topic leader on oral health and the author of “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.” She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Mikael Wiman via Flickr

A small child is taken to a dental office for care. He is placed under sedation for the treatment of advanced tooth decay. He never wakes up.

The case, outlined in a recent “Ethics Rounds” commentary for the journal Pediatrics, bears a heartbreaking similarity to stories that sometimes lead the local news. Continue reading

Doctors talk about ethical decisions, surgery on conjoined twins

Gideon Gil

About Gideon Gil

Gideon Gil (@GideonGil) is a managing editor of Stat, treasurer of AHCJ and chair of AHCJ’s Finance and Development Committee. He was the health and science editor at The Boston Globe for a decade and a medical reporter and an editor at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., for 19 years, and had a hand in three Pulitzer Prizes.

Photo: Gideon Gil/StatDr. Oscar J. Benavidez (left), Dr. Allan M. Goldstein and other doctors at MassGeneral Hospital for Children used a 3-D model of the twins’ anatomy during surgery to separate them.

The twin girls were joined at the abdomen and pelvis. They had two heads and four arms, but three legs. They had two hearts, but shared a liver, a bladder, and other organs. One was active, the other subdued and growing weaker.

Some 20 hospitals had said they couldn’t help the girls, who had been born nearly two years earlier in a village in Africa. But Dr. Allan M. Goldstein, surgeon-in-chief at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, said yes, they would consider operating to separate the twins. Continue reading

As CHIP funding runs out, at least one state begins alerting parents

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that when the Children’s Health Insurance Program was enacted in 1997, the uninsured rate among children (those individuals under age 18) was 14 percent and that it reached an all-time low of 5 percent last year.

Officials in 12 states may start sending letters to parents this week, alerting families that funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program is running out, according to reporting by Colby Itkowitz and Sandhya Somashekhar in The Washington Post. In Colorado, letters went out in the mail today.

“Many states have enough money to keep their individual programs afloat for at least a few months, but five could run out in late December if lawmakers do not act,” Itkowitz and Somashekhar wrote. “Others will start to exhaust resources the following month.” Continue reading

New guidelines may encourage use of low-cost, painless dental treatment

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ’s topic leader on oral health and the author of “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.” She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

A treatment that offers a painless, minimally-invasive alternative to drilling and filling teeth has gotten a boost from a prominent children’s dental organization.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has issued new guidelines for the use of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) for treating tooth decay in children and adolescents. Continue reading