I-Team In-Depth

Recent Stories

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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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Children As Young As Ten Battling Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders graphic

Thousands of Connecticut adults and children – some as young as 10 – struggle with eating disorders with many suffering secretly because the life-threatening psychiatric condition has gone undiagnosed and untreated, experts in the field report. “We used to see eating disorders start at 13 or 14. Now we frequently see 10- and 11-year olds,” said Dr. Diane Mickley, founder and director of the Wilkins Center for Eating Disorders in Greenwich, which has treated females and males for three decades. Mickley is a founder and past president of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). (more…) Continue Reading →

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Long ER Stays For Kids In Crisis On The Rise

Hartford Children's Medical Center

Just a few years ago, it was rare that children with mental health problems would spend two or more nights in the emergency room at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Only 40 children stayed that long in 2010. So far this year, more than 250 children have spent multiple nights in the emergency department (ED) – a number expected to reach 500 by the end of the year. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Years Home, Female Iraq Vets Endure The Wounds Of War

Vet Eunice Ramirez

It’s been nine years since Eunice Ramirez served in Iraq, but she still suffers from war wounds – post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, respiratory problems and frequent crying triggered by her memories. Suzanna Smaldone, who also returned home from Iraq in 2005, lives in constant pain and can’t bring herself to talk about her war injuries. Cheryl Eberg, home from Iraq for seven years, counsels other veterans, but their war stories can trigger her own mental health issues. Though it’s not unusual for veterans of both sexes to struggle for years with war injuries when they return home, officials say that women veterans have their own unique challenges, which can make their transition to civilian life particularly hard. (more…) Continue Reading →

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