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Commentary: This shouldn’t happen to women

A northwest Georgia hospital, in financial peril, shut down its labor and delivery services this week.

Dr. Carla Roberts

Dr. Carla Roberts

Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe joined many other Georgia hospitals that have given up obstetrical services, citing costs.

In a new GHN Commentary, Dr. Carla Roberts, a founding partner of Reproductive Surgical Specialists at Northside Forsyth Hospital, argues that these obstetrics closures, coupled with a high maternal mortality rate, constitute a “war on women.’’ She doesn’t use this controversial term to make a partisan point, but she doesn’t use it lightly, either.

“Good prenatal care requires 10 prenatal visits,” Roberts writes. “Georgia Medicaid currently reimburses each physician $300 in toto for these 10 visits. That is $30 per visit.” And malpractice insurance remains expensive, she says.

Roberts calls for a legislative solution to these problems.

Here’s a link to her Commentary.

 

Georgia Health News welcomes Commentary submissions. If you would like to propose a Commentary piece for Georgia Health News, please email Andy Miller, editor of GHN, at amiller@georgiahealthnews.com

 

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

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

Carter has advanced case of cancer

Former President Jimmy Carter, who is both a pre-eminent citizen of Georgia and a history-making figure in international public health, announced Wednesday that he has cancer.

Carter, 90, had surgery earlier this month to remove a small mass from his liver. Tests showed that it was malignant and that the cancer had spread to other parts of his body, he said in his announcement. He will be cutting back his travel schedule to remain in Atlanta for treatment at Emory Healthcare, he added.

Jimmy Carter in 2011 at the LBJ Library

Jimmy Carter in 2011

Before serving as president from 1977 to 1981, Carter was a naval officer, a South Georgia peanut farmer, a state legislator and governor of Georgia. Since leaving the White House, he has devoted himself to peace and philanthropy. He founded the Carter Center in Atlanta in 1982 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

Among other projects around the world, Carter and the Carter Center have promoted public health as a way to increase prosperity and advance peace. He is the individual most identified with the campaign to eradicate guinea worm, a tropical disease caused by parasites in drinking water. full story

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