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New vlogbrothers video: Looking Away.

(Reminder that if we raise $100,000 to get clean water to people in Ethiopia, BILL GATES WILL MATCH IT WITH ANOTHER $100,000: http://water.org/johngreen

America, we have a problem:You don’t need a medical degree to realize how badly the U.S. government is failing when it comes to women’s health. 

Just this year we’ve suffered huge setbacks in access to key services and resources, from the Supreme Court’s disastrousHobby Lobbydecision toits elimination of “buffer zones" at abortion clinics.

But we’re overlooking a key part of the story: These trends disproportionately affect women of color. For every step backwards in the fight for health care access, a confluence of poverty, geography and racial discrimination ensures that black, Latina, Asian and Native American women fall even further behind their white peers.

It gets worse: The crisis is so bad that the United Nations has been put on notice.

Photo by Yann Libessart/MSF

“Residents have written on banners or sections of walls that are still standing. ‘Here I had an ice cream shop,’ ‘Here I had a car garage’, ‘If you want to help, call…’ In Haiti after the earthquake, I saw the same level of destruction, except here it is not because of a natural disaster,” said Michele Beck, MSF medical team leader. Beit Hanoun is one of the neighborhoods most affected by the bombings in northern Gaza.

Go to https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org

Photo by Yann Libessart/MSF

About 1,500 people, including 350 children, are using this UN school in Beit Hanoun as a displaced persons camp. The camp has poor hygiene, no electricity, nor running water. On average, 50 people share one room. Beit Hanoun is one of the neighborhoods most affected by the bombings in northern Gaza. There, “…whole streets are no more than piles of rubble,” said Michele Beck, MSF medical team leader.

Go to https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org

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Jeffrey Grossman, a Chatham High School graduate, was apprehended by the U.S. Secret Service last Thursday when he successfully climb over the White House fence. He was wearing a Pokemon-themed shirt and hat, and carried a Pikachu doll from the Pokemon card game and cartoon.

Grossman went to an out-of-state hospital to admit himself for mental health treatment but was unable to due to his healthcare coverage. When he asked about it further, he was told that was how the healthcare system is set up and he should talk with the president about it. He then traveled to Washington, D.C.

“I was informed that, when he was apprehended, he told security that he had come to talk with the president about his health care program,” his mother, a local pharmacist, said.

http://www.troyrecord.com/general-news/20140915/rensselaer-man-detained-after-trying-to-reach-president

This device uses infrared technology to help find veins

How? Well it works in a similar way to pulse oximetry. Haemoglobin in the blood absorbs infrared light. When AccuVein’s device is held above the skin, it can detect the difference in the haemoglobin concentration between the veins and surrounding tissue, projecting a map of the veins on the skin above them. Locating the point of needle placement is suddenly simplified for phlebotomy techniques.

This technique has been used for some time when drawing blood from newborns, but is now becoming more frequently used in adults. Those with particularly difficult venous access (DVA) can include:

  • The elderly;
  • Dark-skinned patients, whose veins may not be visible;
  • Obese patients, whose veins may not be visible or palpable;
  • Patients having many diagnostic or therapeutic intravenous procedures;
  • Burn victims;
  • Agitated or restless patients;
  • Oncology patients on chemotherapy;
  • Other patients with chronic diseases;
  • Drug abusers.

(TPM) The Obama administration rolled out a plan on Friday to protect access to copay-free birth control for women in response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.

A new “proposed rule” by the Department of Health and Human Services lets female employees of for-profit businesses, like Hobby Lobby, obtain birth control directly from their insurer, at no extra cost, if their boss opts out of covering the service in the company’s insurance plan for religious reasons.

The move extends an accommodation that already exists for non-profit organizations, which are allowed to refuse to cover for birth control. In short, the religious owners can pass the cost on to the insurer so that they’re no longer complicit in what they view as sin.

"Women across the country deserve access to recommended preventive services that are important to their health, no matter where they work,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. "Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to providing women with access to coverage for contraception, while respecting religious considerations raised by non-profit organizations and closely held for-profit companies."

A little bit of good news for once.

The first time it was an ear, nose and throat doctor. I had an emergency visit for an ear infection, which was causing a level of pain I hadn’t experienced since giving birth. He looked at the list of drugs I was taking for my bipolar disorder and closed my chart.

“I don’t feel comfortable prescribing anything,” he said. “Not with everything else you’re on.” He said it was probably safe to take Tylenol and politely but firmly indicated it was time for me to go. The next day my eardrum ruptured and I was left with minor but permanent hearing loss.

Another time I was lying on the examining table when a gastroenterologist I was seeing for the first time looked at my list of drugs and shook her finger in my face. “You better get yourself together psychologically,” she said, “or your stomach is never going to get any better.”

If you met me, you’d never know I was mentally ill. In fact, I’ve gone through most of my adult life without anyone ever knowing — except when I’ve had to reveal it to a doctor. And that revelation changes everything. It wipes clean the rest of my résumé, my education, my accomplishments, reduces me to a diagnosis.
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Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.

Insurers have long tried to steer their members away from more expensive brand name drugs, labeling them as “non-preferred” and charging higher co-payments. But according to an editorial published Wednesday in the American Journal of Managed Care, several prominent health plans have taken it a step further, applying that same concept even to generic drugs.

The Affordable Care Act bans insurance companies from discriminating against patients with health problems, but that hasn’t stopped them from seeking new and creative ways to shift costs to consumers.

http://www.propublica.org/article/a-new-way-insurers-are-shifting-costs-to-the-sick

At the age of 24 I began to ask my doctors if I could be sterilized. Year after year at my annual exam I would state my case — each year unchanged from the previous year. At each visit my physician told me that I was too young, what if I changed my mind? But the reality was that I didn’t change my mind. In fact, my desire to not have children grew and grew with each passing visit.

[…]I had asked for a procedure for six straight years with no break in my desires, opinions, or beliefs. Why did the medical community continue to deny me of my personal right to sterilization? I attempted to argue with her, citing examples of several men who were allowed vasectomies at the age of 21, but she wouldn’t budge. My anger was fueled by such blatant sexism. What is the difference from an adult man deciding he doesn’t want to procreate and an adult woman making the same choice? Why can’t I be the one to decide what’s best for my life? And why, with the advancements in healthcare and women’s rights issues, were women still being forced into conforming to the societal definition of how women should conduct their lives? Society has begun to recognize how the stereotypical nuclear family ideals are outdated, yet at the same time these ideals are perpetually imposed — harming those who choose to live outside of this box.
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