Editorial writers weigh these public health topics.
The Washington Post: Extreme heat is no joke. This is a public health crisis
When dangerously high temperatures become part of life in Phoenix every year, people remember the old joke: “It’s a dry heat.” Of course, there is some truth in this, but when the high temperature is well over 100 degrees for days on end, as it is now, the low humidity doesn’t matter much: every day is just brutally, menacingly hot. And, in any case, this line is only funny if you’re privileged enough to limit your existence to a house with good air conditioning, a car and a job, with the occasional dip in the pool. (Fernanda Santos, 6/16)
NPR: From Kigoma to Kyiv, refugees everywhere deserve quality healthcare
In the Nyarugusu refugee camp in western Tanzania, a 39-year-old Congolese refugee and mother of nine children entered our lives when her life was almost at an end. She bled to death due to complications during childbirth. We met this patient in April as part of our collaboration with the Tanzania Red Cross Society. As medical and public health interns at Johns Hopkins University, we attended the camp to understand and improve the quality of medical and surgical services. (Alexander Blum and Zachary Enuma, 15/6)
The Boston Globe: Medical devices that sound like music to our ears could save lives
If you have spent any time in the hospital, you know how disturbing this can be. Medical devices are constantly emitting long whining and staccato beeps, competing for attention. However, despite the fact that these loud alarms seem to be alarming, you are unlikely to ever see doctors and nurses running towards them. This is because up to 99 percent of these sounds in hospitals are not actually “alarms” as you might think. They’re more like notifications, providing useful updates on everything from a patient’s blood pressure to how much fluid is left in an IV bag. Only a very rare sound serves as a general alarm indicating a serious event such as cardiac arrest. (Michael Schutz, 16.06.)
Kansas City Star: Kansas Amendment Vote Will Determine Women’s Reproductive Choices
I’m from a small town in south-central Kansas, and I wasn’t a voter until I had to leave the state to get life-saving emergency medical care. Now – as if my life and yours depended on it – I created a non-profit organization to encourage other people to start voting and change the future of my home state. I wasn’t a voter because I didn’t think my vote mattered. I felt that I did not understand everything about rather polarizing issues, and that I should not interfere in the results that are decided by voting through elections. Until I had to leave Kansas to get the medical care I needed. (Peyton Browning, 17.06.)
Statistics: Medical schools can play a role in preventing gun violence
Like many Americans, we have watched in horror as news reports of mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalda and the heartbreaking consequences of families mourning their losses. We medical students are taught one day to deal with the aftermath of gun violence: people dying upon arrival at the emergency room or injured so badly that there is little that can be done; bodies torn apart by bullets and shrapnel that will never be the same again; lingering pain or post-traumatic stress disorder; and more. We are not taught what matters most: how to prevent gun violence. (David Velasquez and Jesper Ke, 06/17)
Palm Springs Desert Sun: Music can help in the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic
You can say you’re not okay, but it’s hard. Now more Americans than ever are receiving treatment for mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The solutions we currently have are either therapeutic or drug-based, with mixed results. For years, we have overlooked what can be a very effective treatment: music. (Bill Protzmann, 15.06.)
San Francisco Chronicle: No, I’m Not Fine, Like Millions of Americans
I spent my early 20s looking at bridges, subways, high-rise windows, and busy corridors, evaluating which would provide the most reliable relief from my heartache. Although inpatient treatment for severe depression helped save my life, two decades later I know that I am not “okay.” The depression returned as I endured pandemic fatigue, grief over the death of my father, backlog of work, and burnout from caregivers. The smallest tasks require courage and tremendous energy. (Stacey Torres, 16.06.)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a health policy brief covered by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.