Health & Medicine

Health, Medicine

Angela Kellner/KLCC

Baby Ellanor Blanchett of Texas and her family traveled to Oregon this year to try a new medical marijuana treatment developed in Eugene. The parents were hopeful it could alleviate their daughter’s daily seizures.

Angela Kellner/KLCC

In 1998 Oregon voters approved a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana. Today nearly half the states have passed similar laws. Another fifteen allow the limited use of cannabis to treat conditions like epilepsy.

Oregon is the only place in the nation that lets out-of-state residents get a medical marijuana card here. For one Texas family, it gave them a chance to try a new cannabis treatment for their baby. She suffers from a rare brain disorder and seizures.

Peacehealth

Lane County organizations are collaborating on a 2nd county-wide Community Health Needs Assessment. This week, there's a visioning session to gather input on the process.

Doctor Rick Kincade is Director of Community Based Services at Peacehealth in Eugene. He says the first health assessment, completed 2 years ago, found problems related to high rates of tobacco use. Kincade says since then, health providers stepped up smoking cessation efforts. He says they found health disparities based on income and ethnicity.

In Oregon, nearly one in seven people infected with HIV Aids is unaware they have the disease. The longer someone goes without treatment, the greater the risk of spreading HIV. A simple test is available to anyone who wants to know their status.

Paul Homan, who has been HIV positive for 12 years, is Senior Program Manager with HIV Alliance. He says testing and treatment are the keys to breaking the viral transmission cycle.  

Tiffany Eckert

A serious illness can be life-changing. It often leads to doctors and specialists, who evaluate, test and diagnose. Treatment becomes the means to recovery.  But what if a patient's condition is rare to a geographic region? In part two of our reports on “Invisible Illness”, KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert speaks to one Oregon woman about her plight to discover what’s been ailing her.

For thirty years, Deb Elder has been hurting. She says her chronic pain started after a traumatic accident. Then she was told she had Fibromyalgia. Deb describes her symptoms:

Tiffany Eckert

“Invisible Illness" is a moniker given to chronic conditions that seriously impair daily living --but have symptoms that are difficult to diagnose. Health advocates report worldwide sufferers number in the tens of millions. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert talks to patients with an invisible illness- who struggle to have their condition recognized and treated.

Kelly McCabe is a 41 year old mother of three.

Kelly: 07 “I suffered from some chronic fatigue and what I thought was cases of shingles since about 2006.”

Low-Income Kids Won't Go Hungry When School Gets Out.

Jun 8, 2015
Photo courtesy Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon

When school breaks for the summer, it can mean children living in lower-income households won't be receiving lunches they normally would at school. Organizations across the state are preparing to serve around two million meals during the summer.

More than 130 sponsors including the YMCA and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon are ready to provide nutritious lunches and in some cases learning activities for kids when school is out. Annie Kirschner is a spokeswoman for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. She says the food costs for the programs are reimbursed by the USDA.

Jes Burns

Oregon Health Officials have confirmed a seventh case of meningococcal disease linked to the outbreak at the University of Oregon. 

SEIU Local 49

Caregivers and service employees in Eugene and Springfield voted to unionize Thursday night at  Sacred Heart PeaceHealth Medical Center. The nearly 11-hundred employees will now be members of the nation’s largest health care union. 

After the ballots were tallied, the “yes” votes took it.

“My name is Meg Neimi. I’m President of SEIU Local 49, the health care union. And, I’m standing right outside of Sacred Heart RiverBend Medical Center with a group of health care workers who are celebrating the fact that they have just won their union election resoundingly.”

eugene-or.gov

Eugene’s Parks and Open Space Department has been considering a smoking ban for years. They happened to present their idea to the City just as the City Council began debating a downtown smoking ban.

There’s plenty of precedent for these kinds of bans. All Oregon State Parks are smoke free. Craig Carnagey is with Eugene’s Parks Department. He says the ban is a logical step:

peacehealth.org

Next week, “frontline” workers like surgical support aides and housekeepers at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Hospitals in Eugene and Springfield will vote whether or not to unionize.

Chris Tonry has worked in patient admissions at Sacred Heart for 36 years. She has never been a part of union. Next week, she plans to check the “yes” box to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49. Tonry believes a union could help with inadequate pay raises and understaffing.

Pearl Wolfe

On January 28th, advocates and volunteers from 28 agencies conducted the annual homeless count in Lane County. They hit the streets and parks, looked under bridges, and checked in with shelters and churches. Lane County Human Services released the numbers Tuesday.

At one point in time, 1,473 un-housed people were counted. These are the “literally homeless” who stay in emergency transitional shelters or locations not meant for habitation-- like cars or doorways.

For the first time in 10 years, more Oregon kindergarteners have been getting vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough.

Whooping Cough is on the rise in Oregon. Deschutes County health officials report more than 20 cases since the first of the year. Lane County has confirmed nine.

The bacterial infection, Pertussis, is also known as whooping cough. The Chinese named it the "hundred day cough"—because of the severe spells it elicits.

(Cough sounds…)

According to the World Health Organization, 195,000 children die from the disease each year. Whooping cough is easily spread through coughs and sneezes.

In the months and weeks after six cases of Meningitis-B appeared on campus-- killing one student---the University of Oregon continues communication with students and parents about vaccination efforts. The college reports that students are still coming in for shots. However, data on the vaccination rates among the highest-risk groups on campus is still not available.

Fundraiser for Scarlet Craig

Family and friends are rallying around a 5-year-old Eugene girl diagnosed with cancer. A fundraiser is planned for this Saturday for Scarlet Craig.

Scarlet's mother, Elena Rudy, says they found out in July that her daughter has neuroblastoma.

Rudy: "It's a nerve cancer. So it started with a tumor on her adrenal gland. At some point. It wasn’t actually discovered until it had metastasized into her bone, which is the normal progression of the disease, usually. It's not discovered until it starts to create problems with pain, walking."

Bill McLean / JPR

For many elderly people, having to move into a nursing home is frightening and traumatic. It’s also very expensive, and taxpayers usually end up footing a lot of the bill. A groundbreaking program that originated in Oregon is helping many people stay in their homes longer, enhancing the quality of their lives and reducing the need for nursing home care.

Cecil Michael is 96 years old. He still lives in his own home, and he has no plans to leave. Only, he can’t do all the things he used to. Enter... The Caregiver.

Benton County prides itself on its public health programs. It’s been ranked the healthiest in Oregon four of the past six years. Now it’s fallen behind Washington and Hood River counties. Deputy Director of the Benton County Health Department Charlie Fautin says an increase in deaths before age 75 cost them the top spot:

Fautin: “We'll need to go back into our death records and take a closer look at what's behind that during that period. It wasn’t a statistic we were really aware of before this.”

Benton County prides itself on its public health programs. It’s been ranked the healthiest in Oregon four of the past six years. Now it’s fallen behind Washington and Hood River Counties. Benton County Health Spokesman Charlie Fautin says an increase in premature deaths before age 75 cost them the top spot:

Fautin: “We’ll need to go back into our death records and take a closer look at what’s behind that during that period, it wasn’t a statistic we were really aware of before this.”

Lane Blood Center

Lane Blood Center says recent trauma situations in area hospitals and reduced mobile blood drives have depleted inventories of negative blood types-- particularly the highly coveted-- “O” negative. They are actively seeking donations.

Some people give blood as a matter of course. When their eligibility comes back around, they show up at the blood bank, roll up their sleeve and donate. It’s all over in about 45 minutes. According to the Lane Blood Center, every donation saves up to three lives.

Health Officials Urge U of O Students To Get Meningococcal Vaccine

Mar 20, 2015

The state confirmed Thursday a sixth student from the University of Oregon has come down with meningococcal disease. Health officials want parents to persuade students to get vaccinated over Spring Break.

So far, one student has died, a second was seriously ill on a ventilator and three others missed classes. Now, another student has come down with the disease.
Lane County Public Health officer, Dr. Patrick Luedtke  , would only say he's a 20-year-old sophomore who lives off campus.

Wikimedia Commons

There are 4 confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, at the Village School in Eugene.

The charter school notified students and parents last week. Andy Perra is Executive Director of the Village School. He says 2 of the cases were kids that were up to date on their vaccinations. The other two were not completely vaccinated. Perra says the school has been in close contact with Lane County Public Health.

Spring is the time of year when people purchase baby poultry. Maybe they are replacing older birds. Sometimes they become gifts in an Easter basket. Health authorities have some precautions.

Chicks and ducklings are fuzzy and cute. But, many of them carry a bacteria that is dangerous--particularly to young children.

Dr. Emilio DeBess is Oregon's Public Health Veterinarian. He says between the months of March and May his office sees increased cases of Salmonella which are directly attributed to poultry.

Wi-Fi, Cell Towers And Smart Meters -- Oh My!

Mar 16, 2015

Recorded on: March 13, 2015

Air Date: March 16th, 2015

Some ongoing concerns among community members center on cell tower locations, mobile telephones, digital “smart meters,” wi-fi in homes, schools, and even some new autos. Emissions from the devices range along the microwave electromagnetic spectrum bands between radio waves and infrared light. The issue is whether increased exposure to those devices have an impact on people’s health.

srpenvironmental.com

The Oregon Association of Hospitals has developed a new initiative to make the cost of medical care known to patients in advance.  All of Oregon's 62 community hospitals have agreed to participate. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert explains what this means to patients with and without insurance.

When it comes to health care price transparency, a national rating system finds Oregon is failing, literally.

Davidson: "Oregon currently receives an F."

A fifth University of Oregon student has tested positive for the meningococcemia bacteria. This is the first confirmed case since a student died of the illness last month.

The student is a sophomore who lives at the Capstone complex in downtown Eugene. He was diagnosed Thursday with the bacteria that can cause a deadly blood infection. Mike Eyster is Executive Director of the U of O Health Center. He says they alerted the campus community immediately:

A bill introduced last week in Salem would give Oregonians and lawmakers more tools to regulate aerial spraying of chemical pesticides on private forest land.

Lisa Arkin is Executive Director of Beyond Toxics, based in Eugene. She says the bill, called the Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act, was inspired by cases in Triangle Lake and Curry County where residents believe they were poisoned by spraying of pesticides on nearby private forestland.

ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Oregon may soon join Washington and 2 other states by requiring tougher regulations on products used by children ages 12 and under. Public hearings were held last week on Senate Bill 478.

The Toxic-Free Kids Act would require manufacturers and importers to report children's products containing 66 toxic chemicals to the State. In 6 years the use of those chemicals would be phased out.  Eugene Senator Chris Edwards is the Chief Sponsor of SB-478.

KEZI.com

A Eugene-based secure residential treatment center for the mentally ill was closed Monday after state officials suspended its license. The patients were taken to other facilities.

The ShelterCare Heeran Center Residence on Coburg Road housed 12 adults who required “high levels of psychiatric treatment.”  

Tiffany Eckert

KLCC's Tiffany Eckert visits the mass vaccination clinic at Matthew Knight Arena on the University of Oregon campus. The newly approved vaccine Trumenba is being administered to any undergraduate who wants it. As students trickle in for the vaccination, Tiffany spoke with Andre Le Duc, Executive Director of Enterprise Risk Services.

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