I-Team In-Depth

Recent Stories

Diabetes Takes Disproportionate Toll On Hispanics And Blacks

Diabetes graphic

Connecticut’s diabetes rate ranks lower than the national average, but Hispanics and African-Americans are more than twice as likely to have the disease compared with their white neighbors and are at greater risk of dying from diabetes-related causes. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Hospital Reports Of Surgical, Medication Errors Climb

Adverse events

Connecticut hospitals reported record numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by hospital errors in 2013, with large increases in the numbers of falls, medication mistakes and perforations during surgical procedures, a new state report shows. The report, covering 2013, marks the first time that the number of so-called “adverse events” in hospitals and other health care facilities has topped 500 – double the number in 2012, when 244 such incidents were reported. Much of the increase was due to an expansion of reporting on pressure ulcers, which added a new category with 233 “unstageable” ulcers that were not counted before. Even without that category, however, reports of adverse events climbed 20 percent over 2012. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Breastfeeding Rates On The Rise, As Mother-Baby Support Systems Expand

Amy Devoe breastfeeds Zoe, five months.

Candid online posts describing the challenges of breastfeeding fill the Facebook page of Breastfeeding USA’s Connecticut chapter. The daily stream of anecdotes, questions and comments alternate in tone from exasperated to celebratory. “Small victory for today. I actually breastfed in the open with my husband and day care provider in the same room (with a nursing cover, of course), but I haven't done that yet, so I feel good about it. “

“Any tips to get better pumping results? Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Operating Profits Drop At State Hospitals: New Report

Windham Hospital, Willimantic

Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals saw gains from their operations tumble 35 percent in the last fiscal year, with seven of 29 hospitals reporting operating losses, according to a new state report. While hospitals still ended the year with $597 million in profits overall, the report by the state Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) raises concerns that non-operating revenue, such as income from investments, was masking the decline in operating revenue. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Half Of State Hospitals Exceed Infection Rates, New Data Show

Hosp op room

State health inspectors visiting Stamford Hospital in late 2012 turned up several infection-control violations, including the improper drying and storage of endoscopes, instruments used to look inside the body. An inspection of Hartford Hospital in 2012 found an operating room with “dust and darkened debris” on top of pumps attached to IV poles, a container of syringes “overflowing” a protective cover, and brownish stains on the floor and underside of the operating table. These kinds of lapses, while not directly tied to patient infections, have contributed to Connecticut’s poor ratings on some federal measures of hospital-acquired infections. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Medicare Costs For Breast Cancer Screenings Soar, But Benefits Remain Unclear

Dr. David Gruen, director of Women's Imaging at Stamford Hospital, reviews a 3-D image.

Medicare-funded breast cancer screenings jumped 44 percent from $666 million to $962 million from 2001 to 2009, yet those added costs did not improve early detection rates among the 65 and older Medicare population, according to a Yale School of Medicine study published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Federal Funding For Cancer Research Plummets In State

National Cancer Institute researchers.

Connecticut’s share of funding from the National Cancer Institute has dropped 19 percent since 2010 – a steeper decline than many other states, an analysis of National Institutes of Health (NIH) data show. Federal cancer institute funding to Connecticut fell to $33.4 million in 2014 – down from $41.1 million in 2010. The biggest grantee, Yale University, is receiving $7 million less from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the NIH’s most prominent centers. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Exploring Black Cohosh, Hot Peppers, In Breast Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture

Dr. Erin Hofstatter, a young research scientist and breast cancer specialist at Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, often prescribes tamoxifen, raloxifene and similar drugs to her patients. The drugs “reduce your risk (of cancer recurring) by half … but they come with baggage,” she tells her patients, “hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, small risk of uterine cancer, small risk of blood clots, small risk of stroke, you have to get your liver tested.”

Hofstatter’s unease with standard treatments for breast cancer has spurred her to seek alternative, safer ways to treat breast cancer. To this end, she has begun a study of black cohosh, in the pill form of an herb from the buttercup family, used for thousands of years by Native Americans to treat menopausal symptoms.

(more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

ER Visits And Hospitalizations For Asthma On The Rise

Megan Judkins, a nurse, helps Ariana Gomez, 7, test her breathing.

Ava Passley covered her nose and giggled as Dr. Jacob Hen walked into an examination room at his pediatric pulmonology office in Trumbull recently. Ava, 3, of Bridgeport, knows what to expect from a visit with Hen, having dealt with asthma since she was 1. She also spent several nights in the hospital after an attack in 2012. "I had always heard about wheezing, but had never really heard it before that," her mother, Beverly Passley said. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Meds To Alleviate Stress May Help Women Smokers Quit

Woman smoking

For the last 50 years, men have consistently had an easier time quitting smoking than women. More men go cold turkey. More men stop on nicotine blockers like gum and patches. More men succeed on medications. Sherry McKee, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, thinks she may know why. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,