Month: December 2012

MLK

New MLK hospital rising in LA

In 1966, one year after the Watts Riots illuminated the scarcity of health care services in South Los Angeles, 25-year-old Leonard Deadwyler lay mortally wounded in his car, shot by a police officer who insisted Deadwyler was drunk instead of what he was: A husband rushing his pregnant wife to a hospital some 20 miles away. Los Angeles County leaders reacted to the riots and Deadwyler’s passing by building what became known as Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, a full-scale teaching hospital, complete with trauma center, which opened in 1972. The hospital became an icon and a godsend to the community. Yet in 2007, the county shut down King/Drew after years of gross mismanagement, preventable patient deaths and other scandals. And that left the mostly Latino and African American residents of Watts and surrounding neighborhoods in the same predicament as Deadwyler four decades earlier: No nearby emergency room or inpatient facility, and a dearth of other medical services. But sometime in 2014, the community, its political leaders and county officials are hoping for a do-over – the expected opening of a new, smaller community hospital that will feature a basic emergency room and digital sharing of patient records.

A road map to a healthier state

A task force appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown has laid out a road map for California to become the healthiest state in the nation by 2022. The ten-year plan establishes 39 specific, measurable goals from cradle to grave. They range from infant mortality and childhood obesity to the management of chronic disease, preventable hospitalizations and the number of terminally ill people using hospice care.

One stop for free food and medicine

By Jessica Portner

Serve the People Community Health Center opened its doors in 2009 to offer free health care to the needy. The clinic’s dedicated founder, Dr. Dimitri Sirakoff thinks there’s more to health than health care – especially after seeing the effects of a poor diet on patients in his years of practice.

Optimism on the rise in California

Californians are suddenly feeling good about themselves. And their state. The economy is showing signs of life, employment is rising, and the state budget – and the schools – are in better shape financially thanks to voter-approval of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise taxes. All of that is fueling a level of optimism about the state and its future that hasn’t been seen in these parts for years. See Daniel Weintraub’s essay.

Do Not Disturb: Grandma’s Having Sex

Birds do it. Bees do it. And so do grandmothers and grandfathers. Touching, intimacy and sex are central pleasures to the human experience, yet don’t stop when older adults qualify for Medicare.

Smoking climbs among young adults

Smoking among young adults in California is climbing even as the tobacco habit has leveled off or is declining among younger and older residents of the state, according to a new report from the state Department of Public Health. The smoking rate among adults aged 18 to 24 rose from 12.3 percent in 2010 to 14.6 percent in 2011, the report said. The increase came after the rate had declined in four of the previous five years.

Advocates give voice to foster children

The demand for court-appointed advocates for foster children – volunteers who make a minimum 18-month commitment to meet with children regularly and be by their side for court dates – is rising in Monterey County.

Flame retardants in furniture more common than expected

Multiple animal and human studies suggest that many flame retardant chemicals used to treat furniture are either toxic or have not yet been proven safe for long-term use. Now, new research suggests that these chemicals are more even more widespread than experts originally thought.

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