Longer looks: 'Bad suga' damages a neighborhood; A nurse's dying gift; Are ethical guidelines impeding patient care?

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Every week Shefali S. Kulkarni selects interesting reading from around the Web.

Health Affairs: To Fight Bad Suga', Or Diabetes, My Neighborhood Needs More Health Educators
Bad suga' is devastating my neighborhood of North Lawndale, one of Chicago's poorest communities. Diabetes is commonly called "bad suga'" in many African American communities like the one where I grew up and live today. "Bad suga'": because when your blood sugar levels are out of control, it makes you feel bad, and over time, bad things start happening to your body. No matter what you call it, the disease is pervasive and destructive, and many people in my community are in its grip. At the same time, some in the community are working to ease the burden that bad suga' has heaped on an already suffering population (Joseph F. West, January 2013).

PBS NewsHour: How A Boy Became The First To Beat Back Diabetes
On Jan. 11, 1922, a 14-year-old boy hovered between life and death. His name was Leonard Thompson and he was suffering the end stages of diabetes mellitus. Because the only treatment available was a starvation diet, the boy weighed a mere 65 pounds when he was admitted to the Toronto General Hospital. Worse, Leonard was drifting in and out of a diabetic coma. His father was so desperate to save the boy that he agreed to let the doctors inject Leonard with a newly discovered wonder drug that had never been tried on another human being. The doctors called it insulin (Dr. Howard Markel, 1/11).

The New York Times: As Nurse Lay Dying, Offering Herself As Instruction In Caring
It was early November when Martha Keochareon called the nursing school at Holyoke Community College, her alma mater. She had a proposal, which she laid out in a voice mail message. "I have cancer," she said after introducing herself, "and I'm wondering if you'll need somebody to do a case study on, a hospice patient." ... Kelly Keane, a counselor at the college who received the message, was instantly intrigued. Holyoke's nursing students, like most, learn about cancer from textbooks. ... Ms. Keochareon, 59, a 1993 graduate of Holyoke's nursing program, was offering students something rare: an opportunity not only to examine her, but also to ask anything they wanted about her experience with cancer and dying (Abby Goodnough, 1/10).

The Atlantic: 40 Years After Tuskegee: Reuniting Medical Research And Practice
It is estimated that we lack sufficient scientific evidence about the effectiveness of over 50 percent of commonly used medical treatments, and that 100,000 patients die annually from healthcare acquired infections. The pressing need for better evidence on how to deliver medical care effectively, safely, and efficiently, however, is butting up against another moral imperative -- protecting patients from unethical research. ... The need to build a firewall between research and practice emerged during a period of intense societal focus on egregious violations of human rights that occurred in research, including most notably the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. The dominant concern then was to protect patients and other subjects from risky and exploitative research. Today, however, the segregation model we put in place to protect patients is actually harming them (Ruth Faden, 1/16).

American Medical News: Using Mindfulness To Soothe Physician Stress
At a Rush University Medical Center continuing education course in Chicago last fall, a room of more than 80 physicians and other health professionals did something they rarely do during days packed with rushed patient encounters and consultations with colleagues -; they sat together in silence for a solid 35 minutes. ... "The effort in this practice is remembering to come back -; back to your posture, back to your breathing, over and over again," said Mitchell M. Levy, MD. He led the exercise, known as mindfulness meditation, with a quiet yet commanding tone of voice. ... the well-attended course is just one sign of the rising interest among physicians, medical schools and hospitals in using mindfulness practices to help alleviate doctors' stress and reconnect them with their patients and their calling in medicine. Nearly half of doctors report experiencing at least one symptom of burnout, according to a nationwide survey (Kevin B. O'Reilly, 1/7).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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