What Exactly Is Going On at Parkland's Troubled Psych Wing?

Categories: Healthcare

The public mental health system has long been plagued by outlier difficulties and controversy.
Parkland's psychiatric services division has been getting a hell of a lot of bad press lately, and it continues today, with reports that an elderly woman in Parkland's psych wing ended up with broken bones after she claims she was forced out of her wheelchair. Earlier this week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services threatened to cut funding to the hospital after it was found that a homeless patient who had attempted suicide was prematurely discharged. And after an incident this past March, several employees were fired after a patient was found to have been gagged with a roll of toilet paper.

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Texas Abortion Clinics Await a Decision that Will Decide Whether They Stay Open Sept. 1

Categories: Healthcare

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
Dallas' new ambulatory surgical center-certified Planned Parenthood, which will meet state requirements no matter what.

On September 1 the most stringent portion of House Bill 2, the anti-abortion legislation passed by the Texas Legislature last year, is scheduled to go into effect. Any healthcare clinic in the state that provides abortions will be required to be an ambulatory surgical center.

If the rule takes effect, the number of clinics that provide abortions in Texas will drop from 20 to seven, all located in urban areas. Whether or not it will comes down to a lawsuit awaiting a decision in federal court. The suit, brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, asserts that the final requirement of HB2 places an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion.

One of the seven clinics would be Planned Parenthood's new Dallas clinic, pictured above, a retrofitted ambulatory surgical center. The clinic, which began serving patients two weeks ago, meets every HB2 requirement regardless of what happens with the lawsuit, says Sarah Wheat, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas.

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Many New Moms Are Eating Their Placentas. Baylor Wants Them Off the Menu.

By Mark Graham
Brittany Wackowski says Baylor's hardball stance on releasing placentas to new mothers is putting a dent in her placenta-pill business.
She was recovering in a postpartum room at Baylor University Medical Center this spring, exhausted from giving birth, when her husband gave her the good news. "We got the placenta," he told her. "It's in the cooler."

Now she just had to get it off the hospital property without being caught. "We were petrified that they were going to realize that we had it," says the mother, who is still too nervous about the placenta-snatching to go on the record with her name, the date she gave birth or how her husband managed to get the placenta into the cooler in the first place.

That placenta was important to her. She wanted to eat it.

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Federal Funding for Parkland Threatened after Staff Calls Cops on Homeless Patient

Categories: Healthcare

Thumbnail image for Parklandfront.jpg
The homeless man identified only as Patient No. 5 was in a wheelchair, recovering from a suicide attempt and three broken bones when Parkland Memorial Hospital staff discharged him to a homeless shelter. He didn't want to go. "The patient stated he did not feel safe going to the shelter with three casts on," says a social worker's note.

An unnamed doctor gave the staff permission to call the cops if he didn't comply. "Dr. ... says that if patient refuses shelter and transportation, that we can call the police," say notes written by a hospital nurse last month. So when the patient "stated he wanted to file an appeal on his discharge" and refused to get in a van that would take him away, the staff took the doctor's advice. "Police called," conclude the hospital staff notes detailing that episode. The cops seemed to do the trick, with the hospital somehow finally getting him off the property. But now Parkland's treatment of Patient No. 5 is coming back to bite the hospital.

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How Texas Prisons Should Treat Mental Illness to Keep Former Inmates from Coming Back

Bart Everson
Nonviolent inmates with mental health problems are much more likely to return to prison after release. Peer support groups could cut down that return rate.
In Texas, we already knew there was plenty of work to be done to alleviate the tired and overburdened public mental health care system. In Dallas, we know that we have the same stretched resources that are reported statewide, but in addition we have also not received the majority of recent state funding for public mental health programs.

The suffering state of access to free or cheap mental health care has a huge effect on the criminal justice system. Roughly 40 percent of those incarcerated in 2013 had previously received public mental health services, and many of those were returning to jail for the second, or third or fourth, time.

Which is why, experts are saying, Texas needs to better treat its inmates before they're released.

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Breast Cancer Rates Are Higher In Flower Mound, but Officials Have No Idea Why

Categories: Healthcare

Roger Mommaerts
Women in Flower Mound may be more susceptible to breast cancer than in other areas.
A state study released yesterday found that from 2002 to 2011, the female breast cancer rate for Flower Mound residents was significantly higher than surrounding areas.Even better? Officials have no idea why.

Last April, after allegations of a faulty previous study, the Department of State Health Services agreed to conduct an analysis of cancer clusters around the state, with a focus on Flower Mound. The Department had concluded in 2010, despite suspicions of increased cancer rates in the area, that there were no cancer clusters in Flower Mound. But the University of Texas published a report in April that criticized the methods of the 2010 study.

In the results of this latest study, the DSHS did not seek to find a cause but only to document local and statewide cancer incidence rates. The study found that several other cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, had comparatively normal rates. The study zeroed in on zip codes 75022 and 75028, which had the highest rates of female breast cancer.

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How Texas' New Abortion Restrictions Have Actually Impacted Access to the Procedure

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
Planned Parenthood's new Dallas ambulatory surgery center
The number of abortions being performed in Texas has dropped moderately, clinics offering abortions are vanishing rapidly and women seeking abortions must travel much farther to get an abortion, according to almost 18 months of data compiled by researchers looking at the effects of Texas' passage of some of the most restrictive abortion regulations in the country.

A group made up primarily of researchers from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project and Ibis Reproductive Health document the law's impact in a report to be published in an upcoming issue of Contraception, an academic journal. Over the course of the team's study, which concluded in April, almost half of the state's women's health clinics that provided abortions closed.

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Communist-Led Anti-Patriarchy Protesters Don't Give a Crap if Texas Feminists Are Offended By Its Abortion Rights Freedom Ride

Categories: Healthcare

This man in Seattle supports the Texas Abortion Freedom ride, but Texas feminists aren't so sure.
In 2011, there were 44 abortion clinics in Texas. By September, providers expect that number to drop to somewhere around six. While big-name health organizations like Planned Parenthood are trying to open new clinics that comply with strict state laws or challenge lawmakers in court, a scrappy protest group Stop Patriarchy has simpler strategy: getting the people who support abortion to be as loud, and perhaps as obnoxious, as they feel the anti-abortion crowd has been acting.

"The people who support abortion are very timid about saying so," says Sunsara Taylor, head of Stop Patriarchy. She's referring to the people she meets on the street, when her group travels the country and approaches strangers to talk to them one-on-one about the dwindling number of abortion clinics nationwide. "People who are against abortion are very unafraid. They really feel that they have the moral high ground right now."

So while abortion opponents might hold photographs of dead fetuses in front of clinics, Stop Patriarchy organizes demonstrations like the Bloody Coat Hanger Street Actions. They'll go on tours across the country and stand, hangers in hand, in front of institutions that lobby against abortion access.

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Children's Medical Center Worries Selfies Fuel Narcissism, Heavily Promotes its Concern

Categories: Healthcare

The White House
Selfies, the photographic expression used by teenage girls and brilliant minds across the world.
Forget the measles and chikungunya. If you've perused the Children's Medical Center website in the last few weeks, you know that there's another, more troubling outbreak threatening to undo us all: selfies.

The hospital has devoted itself of late to the psychology of selfies. Doctors there are worried about their effect on narcissism, social relationships, and poor body image that can be related to kids taking selfies.

"It's definitely something that is very widespread among the adolescents we see," says Dr. Celia Heppner, a psychologist in the craniofacial plastic surgery division at the Children's Medical Center. "In terms of my patients, there are specific concerns of body image, things like that."

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It Really Sucks to Be a Kid In Texas

Dallas County kids are some of the poorest in the country, but recent grassroots programs are helping to improve those numbers.
And we're not just talking about the unaccompanied Central American variety. A new report by the Center for Public Policy Priorities zeroes in on a national study ranking child well-being. Several factors come into play, including health care, education, parental employment, and standard of living.

See also:
- It Really Sucks to Be Old In Texas
- It Really Sucks to Be Mentally Ill In Texas

Texas ranks 43rd in overall child well-being, with roughly a quarter of Texas children live below the poverty line. Specifically, Texas ranks 47th in the Family and Community category, with 19 percent of kids living in high-poverty neighborhoods.

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