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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2014 | Sandy Banks
It will take more than doctors, judges and medical records to convince Nailah Winkfield that her child is dead. Winkfield's 13-year-old daughter, Jahi McMath, entered an Oakland hospital for tonsil surgery three weeks ago and wound up on life support. Now Jahi is hooked to a ventilator that handles the mechanics of breathing, but she's been declared brain-dead by several physicians, including a court-appointed neurologist from Stanford. Officials at Children's Hospital Oakland want to disconnect the machine; Jahi, they say, has zero chance of recovery.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
The California Department of Public Health has taken steps to decertify three centers for the developmentally disabled from receiving Medicaid funding for some of their programs after discovering “situations involving immediate jeopardy” to patients, the agency said late Friday. The Porterville, Lanterman and Fairview Developmental Centers had been under review throughout the last year due to “deficient practices” and “chronic systems failures in providing patient care,” the department said in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2014 | By Richard Winton, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
A Montebello hospital accused of dumping a homeless patient on skid row will pay a $250,000 fine and face new protocols rather than face civil and criminal charges, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's office. Officials at the 224-bed Beverly Hospital in Montebello last year allegedly had the patient driven to skid row -- long a magnet for the region's most vulnerable citizens -- without any prearrangement with a shelter to take the patient in. The settlement, announced Friday, marks the first time in several years that a hospital has been caught dumping a patient without adequate medical care illegally on skid row. [Updated 9:40 a.m. PDT Jan. 3: The hospital agreed to pay $200,000 in civil penalties and $50,000 in legal fees.]
SCIENCE
December 30, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Both the American Medical Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise doctors to talk to their teenage patients about sex, but discussions about sexual feelings and health occurred in only 65% of the checkups analyzed in a new study. Even when physicians and adolescents did talk about sex, those conversations lasted for only 36 seconds, on average, according to a report published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. The data in the study make clear that most teens didn't feel comfortable speaking with their doctors about sexual issues.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 29, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
It's one of the next big hurdles for the Obamacare rollout: What will happen when hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians shift from county health plans to the state's huge Medi-Cal system on Jan. 1? Judging from a similar surge in 2011, patients and physicians could see plenty of problems. Starting on New Year's Day - Wednesday - as many as a million formerly uninsured or underinsured people will begin moving onto Medi-Cal rolls and reporting to clinics and hospitals that have agreed to provide treatment at set rates.
NATIONAL
December 25, 2013 | By Becca Clemons
WASHINGTON - The tidy Takoma Wellness Center, one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the nation's capital, has a quaint reception area furnished with black leather chairs, plants and artwork. On the front desk are a pile of business cards and a sign-in sheet. In the back, shelves are stocked with the latest marijuana accessories: pipes, cookbooks, even a machine that mixes the drug into butter or oil for cooking. All that's missing are more patients. Since opening this summer, the three Washington, D.C.-based marijuana dispensaries have served a total of 111 patients in a district with about 600,000 residents.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2013 | By Cynthia Dizikes
When Janet Rowley was accepted into the University of Chicago's medical school in 1944, the quota for women was already filled - three in a class of 65. So she had to wait a year. Dr. Rowley made up for that early setback by becoming an internationally known scientist whose research in the 1970s redefined cancer as a genetic disease and led to a paradigm shift in how it is studied and treated. An advisor to presidents and recipient of her nation's highest honors, Rowley achieved breakthroughs that prolonged the lives of countless cancer patients.
NATIONAL
December 18, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
The man who went on a shooting rampage with a 12-gauge shotgun at a Reno medical clinic Tuesday killed one doctor and injured another physician and a patient before killing himself, officials said Wednesday morning. Dr. Charles G. Gholdoian, who worked at the Urology Nevada office on the Renown Regional Medical Center, was killed, authorities said. A female doctor at the clinic, who was not identified, and a patient identified as Shawntae Spears were wounded and remained in critical condition Wednesday morning, officials said.
SCIENCE
December 18, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Experts are urging doctors to ease up on using medications to control blood pressure in older patients. Rather than aim for a target blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg, the target will be relaxed slightly to 150/90 mm Hg, according to new guidelines issued Wednesday. The authors of the new guidelines , published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., emphasized that they were not changing the definition of high blood pressure. Rather, they are recognizing that data from randomized clinical trials do not show that using drugs to nudge down systolic blood pressure from 150 to 140 provides any health benefit.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 13, 2013 | By Ruben Vives
A 70-year-old man suffered burns early Friday when a fire broke out inside a room at the Long Beach Veterans Administration hospital, fire officials said. According to Long Beach Fire Capt. Jim Arvizu, the fire was reported about 12:40 a.m. at the hospital at 5901 E. 7th St. Firefighters who arrived at the scene saw heavy smoke coming out from one of the windows of the building that houses elderly and hospice patients, Arvizu said. When they made it inside the building, crews discovered that the hospital's sprinkler system had doused the flames.
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