Author: Jennifer McLelland

Analysis: You Can’t Surf With a Ventilator. The Problems with AI in Health Care, and Some Solutions

I spent a recent afternoon querying three major chatbots on some medical questions that I already knew the answers to. I wanted to test the kind of information that AI can provide.

“How do you go surfing while using a ventilator?” I typed. It was an obviously silly question. But Meta’s AI suggested using “a waterproof ventilator designed for surfing” and “set the ventilator to the appropriate settings for surfing.”

Analysis: California Has the Best Programs for Kids with Complex Health Needs, But We Can Do Even Better

California’s about to bail programs overboard as it works to keep the state afloat amidst a huge budget deficit. It’s a problem, and I’m concerned for some programs that help children with special health care needs.

But I wanted to take a moment to talk about something that I don’t often bring up. Overall, California has the best health care for children and youth with special health care needs.

Analysis: My Son’s Journey With Food, and How I Learned to Love Meal Supplements

For me, the most important thing about the holidays is food. I love cooking almost as much as I love eating.

But that perception was challenged when my son, James, was born with medically intensive disabilities. I wanted my son to have a positive relationship with food, even though he is fed through a tube. To do that, I had to tackle my own emotional baggage about what it means to feed my family.

Analysis: Day Cares for Medically Fragile Children Are Closing. Here’s How to Save Them

Children who need medically intensive care cannot attend traditional day care programs. California has an option for these kids, called Pediatric Day Health and Respite Care facilities.

But the amount the government pays these facilities to care for children has not kept pace with inflation and rising staffing costs. Because of the stagnant rates, California’s pediatric care facilities are in danger of closing.

Analysis: When the Power Goes Out, These Devices Save Lives. More Californians Need Them

Our house lost power a few nights ago, during one of 2023’s record-setting storms. For our family, losing power is a medical emergency.

But on this occasion, for the first time, I had access to a portable power station. Portable power stations are rechargeable batteries that can provide hours of backup electricity, which is especially important for people who use medical devices or assistive technology.

Analysis: 30 Years After the Americans with Disabilities Act, There’s Still Work to Be Done

As an abled parent of a disabled child, I’m learning to help my son manage accessibility burdens because our communities and institutions aren’t designed with him in mind.

We can do better for children with disabilities by building more accessible, more inclusive communities and by teaching them how to assert their rights in situations that aren’t in compliance with the law. 

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