Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births has risen steadily since the CDC started reporting the data in 1987 when the rate was 7.2. In its most recent report, the rate was 16.9.
For the past several years, health care journalists have correctly focused on the rising rate of pregnancy-related mortality in the United States. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that over the past 40 years, the nation’s rate of pregnancy-related deaths has more than doubled.
Although the rate dropped slightly in 2016 to 16.9 per 100,000 live births (from a high of 18 in 2014), the rate was 7.2 per 100,000 in 1987 when the CDC began tracking the data. Continue reading
Today, Sept. 17, is the first World Patient Safety Day, declared by the World Health Organization to draw attention to ever-present need – still – to reduce avoidable patient harm in health care settings.
And November marks the 20th anniversary of “To Err is Human,” the National Academy of Medicine’s 1999 report that estimated as many as 98,000 people die a year in United States hospitals. That widely publicized report called for a national agenda to improve patient care processes to make it easier for honest providers to safely treat patients and harder for them to cause harm. Continue reading
Death is not something most people want to think about, let alone read about in the local newspaper. Reporting on end-of-life issues takes sensitivity, sound editorial judgement, patience and tenacity to develop relationships with patients and families, to share their stories and for them to allow a virtual stranger into their lives during such an intimate time.
Luanne Rife, health reporter at The Roanoke Times, not only wrote extensively about these issues, she gave readers a close-up view of the process through intimate and memorable profiles. Continue reading
Sacramento Bee health reporter Sammy Caiola worked quickly to give her readers the story about the death of a young California father from complications of a dental infection.
Her reporting began at 10 a.m. on Jan. 31 when she found the kernel of the story in an email. By that afternoon, Caiola had tracked down and visited with the man’s grieving widow, interviewed a knowledgeable local dentist on the causes of dental deaths and located peer-reviewed research that added depth and context to her piece. Continue reading
Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk and his daughters in an undated family photo before his death after complications from a dental infection.
The recent story of a young California husband and father who died after suffering complications from a dental problem serves as a sad reminder of the important ties between oral health and overall health.
Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk, 26, a long-haul truck driver, was headed east to New York when he started feeling pain in the lower left side of his mouth.
“He pulled over in Oklahoma to see a dentist, who diagnosed an infection and prescribed antibiotics,” recounted health reporter Sammy Caiola in a Jan. 31 Sacramento Bee story. Continue reading
Maintaining an emotional distance when reporting on life and death issues can be challenging; even more so when you’ve been following a subject for months, waiting for him to die.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Lane DeGregory wanted to investigate the frustrations many terminally ill patients experience surrounding aid-in-dying laws. She connected with a counselor from Compassion & Choices who introduced her to the key players in her story, “Prince Vinegar’s Last Stand.” Continue reading