Viewpoints: Is miscarriage now a criminal offense? ; The FDA shouldn’t have approved an electronic cigarette

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Editorial writers address these public health topics.

Los Angeles Times: Miscarriage Injustice In Oklahoma Sends Woman To Jail

Criminalizing a woman for having miscarried seems unfathomable and even barbaric. But that’s exactly what happened earlier this month in a courtroom in Lawton, Oklahoma. When Brittney Poolaw, a woman from Oklahoma, miscarried at her home in January 2020, she was taken to hospital where she told staff she had used methamphetamine and marijuana for her pregnancy. Two months later, she was charged with first degree manslaughter. Her pregnancy lasted 17 weeks. (10/22)

NBC News: The FDA approved a vaping device for the first time. Ex-smokers like me are shaking.

Not that long ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released alarming news about the epidemic of lung damage associated with vaping. He confirmed in 2020 that at least 68 people who used e-cigarettes, both legally and illegally, had died. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, electric cigarettes are bad for the heart and lungs and just as addictive as traditional cigarettes. Yet last week the United States Food and Drug Administration authorized the sale of tobacco-flavored electronic cigarettes for the first time. What is most shocking is that the government is allowing this to happen during a pandemic in which smokers and vapers may be at higher risk for serious coronavirus disease. (Susan Shapiro, 10/21)

The Atlantic: “personal care” is not the solution to the discomfort of the late pandemic

If the years could be assigned a dominant sentiment (1929: hopelessness; 2008: hope), those of 2021 could be exhaustion. As the coronavirus pandemic crosses its 20th month, many of us feel like we’re running a race we haven’t signed up for, and it gets longer with every mile we walk. (Jamil Zaki, 10/21)

Statistics: What the death rattle and capital punishment have in common

Death pangs. This is the sound some dying people make, caused by a buildup of mucus and other secretions in the throat as the body slowly begins to lose life force. It may sound wet and crackling, or like a soft moan, snore, or gargle. No one knows whether a dying person finds the rattle disturbing or agonizing, for no one can claim to know for sure the subjective inner experience of someone too sick to express it. The common medical assumption, however, is that they are not afflicted by it. But the death rattle bothers family members and loved ones who are with loved ones as they die. (Joel B. Zivot and Ira Bedzow, 10/21)

East Bay Times: Oncologist Tells What Matters Most To Patients At The End

I never died. But as an oncologist, I have witnessed the last breaths of many patients. When I go to the hospital, I am sometimes called upon to “pronounce” a death. The ritual surpasses the strange. (Tyler Johnson, 10/21)

Chicago Tribune: Now is the time to protect ourselves from the invisible threat of main service lines

The tragedies that unfolded in the towns of Flint and Benton Harbor in Michigan are set to serve as a wake-up call for Chicago to replace the more than 400,000 lead service lines that supply homes with clean drinking water every day. If Chicago continues at its current pace, it will take us over 600 years to get those lead pipes out of the ground. We cannot afford to have another generation of Chicagoans threatened by toxic lead in their drinking water. (Jeremy Orr and James Coyne, 10/21)

Modern healthcare: what big tech doesn’t have in healthcare

The world of technology has revolutionized almost everything we do, from the way we work, shop and travel to the way we consume news and information. Yet transforming the way we access healthcare, one of the most essential services in our lives, continues to elude the tech giants. (Dr Rod Hochman, 10/21)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of coverage of health policies by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.


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