The Pulse

South Georgia teen rests after beating the plague

The first Georgia patient ever diagnosed with the plague is recovering at home after a week in a Thomasville hospital.

Hannah Lindquist, 18, probably was bitten by an infected flea while hiking with her family in Yosemite National Park in California, her father, Ben, told GHN on Wednesday.

Hannah, under doctors’ orders, will take a semester off from Valdosta State University, where she is a sophomore majoring in biology and pre-med, said Ben Lindquist, an attorney in Thomasville.

Hannah Lindquist in the hospital

Hannah Lindquist in the hospital

“Although still on Doxycycline [an antibiotic], medically Hannah is cured and is now in the process of recuperating and regaining her strength,’’ noted her father. “Thankfully, all Hannah’s tests have returned normal.”

He added, though, that “Hannah’s doctors have cautioned it will be a while before she’s feeling 100 percent.”

Lindquist credited “God’s mercy,” his wife’s quick action, and a doctor prescribing the right antibiotic as helping save Hannah’s life. full story

‘Narrow’ networks are the exchange norm here

Georgia had the highest percentage of “narrow’’ insurance networks in the 2014 health exchanges, a new report says.

Healthcare CostFive of six Georgia “Silver” exchange plans last year had medical provider networks with a limited choice of doctors, the report said.

The 83 percent of Georgia plans having narrow networks surpassed that of all other states, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers.

The report, released Monday, said health insurers are using narrow networks to keep premiums down as consumers shop for coverage on the exchanges, created under the Affordable Care Act. full story

Pediatricians, facing new realities, form network

More than 1,100 Georgia pediatricians have joined a new physician-led network that aims to improve quality of care and eventually contract for payments from insurers.

The sign-ups so far represent roughly one-third of the total number of pediatricians practicing in the state.

Dr. Bob Wiskind

Dr. Robert Wiskind

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta helped create the nonprofit entity, called the Children’s Care Network.

Dr. Robert Wiskind, an Atlanta pediatrician who is the network’s board chairman, told GHN recently that members will share  national “best practices’’ of medical care, such as identifying which children with concussions need to get a CT scan.

The doctors, who practice in the Atlanta region, will also share data on how the care they each give to kids compares with the care given by their peers.

The creation of the Children’s Care Network comes at a time of dramatic change in the way medical providers are paid for their services. full story

Carter says cancer has reached his brain

Former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday that the cancer originally found in his liver has spread to his brain.

Carter, speaking at an Atlanta news conference, also said he would receive his first radiation treatment later Thursday.

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“Four spots of melanoma’’ have been found on his brain, he told a media throng at the Carter Center.

Carter, 90, the only Georgian ever to become U.S. president, announced his cancer diagnosis last week. On Thursday, he appeared remarkably upbeat while discussing his illness for the first time, even showing his sense of humor at several junctures. He also showed his deep religious faith.

After finding out the cancer had spread to his brain, Carter said, “I just thought I had a few weeks left, but I was surprisingly at ease. I’ve had a wonderful life. It’s in God’s hands. I’ll be prepared for anything that comes.”  full story

Testing shows patient in Georgia has the plague

Public health officials said Wednesday that initial tests have identified a case of plague in Georgia.

A Department of Public Health spokeswoman told GHN that tests by the state show an individual in Georgia has the disease. CDC testing results have not yet been completed.

DPH-Logo-Center-HeightThe patient has the bubonic version of the plague, which is less transmissible than the pneumonic version, said the spokeswoman, Nancy Nydam.

The individual, whose name has not been released, returned to Georgia last week from hiking in California and then became sick, Nydam said. The patient has been hospitalized and treated with antibiotics, and may be released from the hospital Wednesday.

Health officials say the patient will fully recover, but that there may be lingering symptoms for a few days.

The CDC is also investigating the case.

Plague, an infectious bacterial disease, is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages, when its cause was unknown and unsanitary conditions sometimes allowed it to spread uncontrollably. But plague is now well understood, public health practices have greatly limited its spread, and modern antibiotics are effective in treating it. full story

Consumer Corner

Texting helps diabetes patients

Mobile technology can help diabetes patients with the process of titrating their dosage without having to see a doctor.

Around the State

25 acres for med cannabis

Just 25 acres would be enough space to cultivate all of the marijuana needed to treat the patients in Georgia with eight conditions, a California grower told a state commission.

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Athens Banner-Herald

Georgia’s Katrina response

FEMA estimates as many as 100,000 people from New Orleans flooded into Atlanta to escape the horrendous conditions in their city after Katrina hit.

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WABE

Conyers: Abuse case

The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for donations to help 12 former residents of a personal care home who have allegedly been victimized by the owner.

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Rockdale Citizen

Psychiatric hospital CON bid

Atlanta’s Pill Hill could be getting a new $20 million psychiatric hospital that specializes in treating eating disorders.

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Atlanta Business Chronicle

Gainesville: $20,000 fine

A Georgia drug treatment center has agreed to pay $20,000 to settle allegations by federal investigators that it failed to keep required records of controlled drugs.

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Augusta Chronicle

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