Side Effects

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Bram Sable-Smith/Side Effects

When Darvin Bentlage needed colon surgery in 2007, he had an expensive stay at the hospital.

“The room alone for a week was $25,000,” Bentlage says. Add in the cost of the procedure and, “it added up to about $60,000 or $70,000.”


Mark Fisher/CC

The Affordable Care Act passed its second major test before the Supreme Court Thursday. In King v. Burwell the Supreme Court upheld a key measure of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that federal health insurance subsidies should be allowed in all states,  regardless of whether the state has created its own insurance exchange or relies on the federal governments'.

Seth Herald

If a town could be said to hit rock bottom, Austin, Indiana, did so this year. Drug abuse has been out of hand there for some time, but it took the worst possible outcome to make the Southern Indiana community of 4,200 wake up to the problem: more than 170 newly identified cases of HIV since December 2014, spread almost entirely by needle-sharing.


Seth Herald

Getting Right, Part 2

Read our entire Getting Right series.

Heading out into the field, public health nurse Brittany Combs is a little angry, and in a hurry. Driving the county’s mobile needle exchange through Austin, Indiana can be hectic. Today she’s on a mission to find Jessica, a young mother who wants to go to rehab. But Brittany keeps getting interrupted.

“I’m supposed to be going to get Jessica right now,” she says as she pulls out of the community center, where the needle exchange is based. ”I told her I’d be there at three. Well, that’s not gonna happen.”


Seth Herald

Getting Right, Part 3

Read the whole Getting Right series.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, Police Chief Don Spicer is on patrol in Austin, Indiana. He drives through the northern part of town, where dilapidated houses are interspersed among tidy ones with manicured lawns.


Seth Herald

Getting Right, Part 4: A Person Struggling With Addiction Wakes Up

Read the entire Getting Right series.

It’s early in the morning, and Kevin Polly is getting ready to go. His daughter has called to wish him well, and when he gets off the phone, he excuses himself. Before he leaves, he has to get right.

One last shot—that’s the hope, anyway.


By Official Navy Page from United States of America MC2 John O'Neill Herrera/U.S. Navy, via Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Navy

A growing number of babies are going through detox in their first few days of life. The rate of admissions to neonatal ICUs for symptoms of drug withdrawal, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS, nearly quadrupled between 2004 and 2013, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When cattle farmer Greg Fleshman joined the board of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in rural northern Missouri in 2011, the hospital was on the brink of closing.

“Things we just falling apart financially and the morale of the employees. And it just seemed to get worse and worse,” he recalls. “Those were the darkest days.”


Cruelty of Teen Bullying Feeds Into Adult Depression

Jun 5, 2015
Two teen girls talking taunting another teen girl
zalouk webdesign/CC via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve ever sat in a therapist’s chair wondering if those bullies from junior high are responsible for your adult depression, a study published earlier this week in the British Medical Journal lends weight to your theory.

Michael McFadden

Six-year old Jason Green squirms in a dental chair at a clinic in Sodus, New York while a hygienist probes his mouth with an unusual instrument. It looks like an electric toothbrush, but it is a camera and it’s capturing images that allow Jason’s dentist to inspect his teeth in detail--from 30 miles away. The dentist, Dr. Sean McClaren, practices at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health in Rochester, NY, but he sees several patients a week in this rural community, via a secure internet connection and a video call.

At 59 years old, Michael Froome just got a new heart.  His problem goes back 20 years after a chest pain led his doctor to order a cardiac stress test.

“When they put on the last electrode so the monitor comes live with your data, someone in the room goes, ‘Oh! That’s not good,’” Froome recalled.

Spencer Rosero, a cardiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is one of Froome’s doctors. He has an idea that could cut the number of hospital visits patients like Froome have to make.

Seth Herald / Side Effects Public Media

On a recent afternoon, Brittany Combs drove a white SUV through a neighborhood at the northern end of Austin, Indiana. In the back of her vehicle, there were hundreds of sterile syringes, each in a plastic wrapper.


Andrew Chambers is one of five addiction psychologists in the state of Indiana.
Andrew Chambers

Containing the nation’s growing heroin addiction and ongoing prescription opioid abuse epidemic, is often presented as a law enforcement problem. But behavioral health specialists say the addiction treatment side of the equation is equally urgent. And it’s an uphill battle in many states where addiction psychiatrists are few and funding is lacking.


Gabriela Garbero poses outside Britches Clothing, in Columbia, Mo., while she is beta testing the accessibility app Compeer.
Jack Howard / KBIA

A new accessibility app called Compeer is currently being beta tested and may soon be able to help those with disabilities navigate cities more easily. Based in Missouri, the app is being tested in two cities in that state: St. Louis and Columbia.

The Indiana State Department of Health promotes safe sleep habits as part of its efforts to reduce infant mortality.
Daniel Rothamel via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Indiana is focusing resources on some of the state’s most vulnerable communities to address a major health inequity. Earlier this month, Governor Mike Pence signed legislation to authorize $13.5 million over the next two years to a grant program aimed at reducing infant mortality, a problem which disproportionately affects African Americans.

Be.Futureproof / flickr

Several years ago, Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder’s daughter struggled with prescription drug abuse. “She had cut her thumb at work and went and got stitches and got a prescription,” Rehder recalls. When her prescription ran out she continued using the pain killers, says Rehder, “because they were so easy to obtain.”

Now, Rehder is sponsoring a bill to make it harder for addicts to obtain drugs in Missouri.


Nursing students at Crowder College's Jane campus practice on medical dummies.
McDonald County Instructional Center

McDonald County, in the rural far southwest corner of Missouri, ranked last in the 2014 County Health Rankings for clinical care compared to other Missouri counties, a measure which includes access to doctors, dentists, number of residents who are uninsured, and a few other factors.


Dentists see patients at a free dental care event sponsored by the Indiana Dental Association. More than 1200 people attended, many of whom hadn't seen a dentist in years.
Jake Harper

Antionette Salifou is a school bus driver in Indianapolis. She recently went to a dentist because of a pain in her mouth. She was told she needed a root canal, and along with the other care she needed, it was going to cost $2000 -- way more than she can afford, since she doesn't have insurance to cover it. 

“It’s just hard to fit in there with paying bills and everything," she said.

Salifou’s problem is not uncommon. About one in three Americans lacks dental insurance, and those that have it still may not be getting the care they need.

naloxone kit
Andrea Muraskin

  A bill to expand access to the overdose intervention drug naloxone was signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence Friday, after passing both the house and the state senate unanimously. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can instantly save the life of a person who is overdosing. It was previously only available to medical personnel and public safety officials, and opioid drug users with a prescription from their doctor.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Lucia Sebastian is the Language Assistant at the Head Start in Noel, Missouri. She works with the numerous immigrant children who have limited English skills and need help to communicate.

She has a four-year old daughter enrolled at Head Start, but she recounted an incident where Head Start was instrumental in helping her older son, Victor.

When her son was eleven years old, he was playing baseball with a friend in the yard and got hit in the mouth with the bat. The blow knocked out several teeth, but Sebastian was unsure she could afford the costs of taking Victor to the hospital.


Michelle Faust

Palmer Gaetano served in the army in France and Belgium World during War II. The 92-year old now lives in a hospice facility in Spencerport, near his daughter and her family.  He proudly points to an American flag quilt and pin, and two plaques, now hanging on the walls which he received during a private ceremony held in his honor shortly after he entered hospice in late 2014. A group called We Honor Veterans presented each of these items to him. “It was quite a day for me,” he says.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

This story is part of the series "Shortage in Rich Land" on Missouri's Bootheel region. Click here to see all of the stories.

It’s a cold afternoon in Kennett, Mo. The lawns in this low-income housing neighborhood are still wet from yesterday’s rain. And just inside the door of her mother’s brick home, 27-year-old Marylouisa Cantu sits on a couch, pregnant and draped in a blanket.

Her mother beckons, through the storm door.

“Come in, come in.”

 


Bottle of donor stool
Jake Harper

Three weeks ago, James Kidwell, 57, lay in a bed at IU Health University Hospital, waiting to receive a procedure he hoped would beat back an invasion of harmful bacteria called Clostridium difficile, or C-diff, in his colon.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

This story is part of the series "Shortage in Rich Land" on Missouri's Bootheel region. Click here to see all of the stories.

It’s early morning. The sun is shining brightly on the corrugated metal siding of the Otto Bean Medical Center in Kennett, Mo., and inside the building, Judith Haggard is pricking the soles of her patient’s feet with a pin.


Kevin Moore and Bailey Jacobs
Andrea Muraskin

The scene of a heroin overdose is familiar to Michelle Hodge, a patrol officer on the Near Westside of Indianapolis: someone lying blue and unconscious on the floor, a very faint heartbeat, long pauses between breaths, and the family in a panic, begging her help. Until last spring, all she could do when she arrived was monitor the pulse and wait for an ambulance to arrive.


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