Side Effects

Our reporting focuses on the impacts of environment, policy and economic conditions on Americans' health. Please contact us if you are interested in republishing these stories for free. Learn more about joining our network here.

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.


HIV public health brochure
Jake Harper/WFYI

A couple of weeks ago, Scott County public health nurse Brittany Combs started getting a lot more calls asking about STD testing.


Pages