Imaging test dye is the latest example of critical drug shortages

The U.S. is caught in a critical shortage of a drug known as contrast media that helps physicians diagnose conditions like a heart attack or stroke. Doctors perform about 50 million scans a year using the injectable drug, which is also used for cancer patients and gunshot and car crash victims. It helps them see […]

When children with sickle cell grow up, they face a system not designed for them

https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/06/sicklecelladults-feature-web.mp3   One night when Paul Gakpo was 9 months old, he fell sick and wouldn’t eat. His parents grew worried and rushed him to a nearby hospital the next morning. It was 1984. The doctors figured out baby Gakpo’s red blood cells were changing from the typical doughnut shape into the shape of a […]

Getting fertility care is complex. It can be harder if you have sickle cell disease

Teonna Woolford has always wanted to have six kids. “I don’t know where that number came from. I just felt like four wasn’t enough,” Woolford said. “And I never wanted an odd number of children. I don’t know. Six is a good number.” https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/06/sickelcell-fertility-feature-web.mp3 Listen to this story here. Woolford was born with sickle cell […]

A new national mental health crisis line launches soon. Some states aren’t ready

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, help is available. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Updated June 16 at 2 p.m. SPRINGFIELD — Staff at Memorial Behavioral Health in Springfield, Illinois, are on call around the clock to […]

Sickle cell patients face a double whammy: Systemic racism and a crippling disease

INDIANAPOLIS — Gary Gibson has a clear memory of his first conversation with his future wife Brenda Williams back in 1973. “Hello, my name is Brenda,” was the first thing Gibson remembers her saying. The second was, “I have sickle cell disease.” “I was like, sickle what?” Gibson said. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/06/sicklecelldisease-story1-lackofresources-web.mp3 Listen to this story here. […]

Call centers struggle to hire for nation’s new mental health crisis line

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, help is available. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. HOUSTON — Jennifer Battle is open to just about anything to find people to answer the phones at her Houston-area crisis line. “It’s […]

Why scientists are looking for clues about coronavirus variants in wastewater

COLUMBIA – Mo. — Offshoots of the omicron coronavirus variant have driven a spike in cases in the U.S. Some scientists believe clues to how these subvariants emerge lie in wastewater, and tracking them down could help prevent the next dangerous strain of the virus. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/05/covidvariants-web-edit.mp3 Listen to this story here. Marc Johnson, a professor […]

Fixing the Obamacare ‘glitch’ that pushed one couple to divorce

PORTLAND, Maine — The scene seems straight out of a movie: A young couple stands solemnly before the judge. They’ve been married just a year, and they’re here – for the second time – to ask for a divorce. A month ago, the same judge gave them a hard time, then said no. He still […]

How one Midwest doctor is preparing for a world without Roe

Dr. Lisa Harris has spent the past few months helping her health system prepare for the possibility that abortion could become illegal in Michigan. When a draft document leaked on May 2 indicated the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade, she realized she needed to double down. “I realized, wow, we really need […]

If Roe falls, many in the Midwest will have to travel to access abortion

    Kentucky lawmakers have been hard at work to erode access to abortion in the state — long before the leak of a draft opinion on May 2 indicating the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade and remove federal protections for abortion as early as June. In April, the Republican-led legislature overrode […]

Home health aides are hard to find — and it could get worse

WEST DES MOINES, Ia. — A lot has changed in Jonathan Miller’s life in the past decade, but one thing that’s remained consistent is his house. The brick two-bedroom ranch-style house in West Des Moines, Iowa, is filled with Jonathan’s art, photos, puzzles and a substantial collection of University of Iowa gear, like a handmade […]

How funding cuts for COVID-19 tests and treatments could worsen health disparities

INDIANAPOLIS — At the start of the pandemic, many wished there was a pill people could swallow to make a COVID-19 infection go away. Two years later, we have not just one, but two of those pills, in addition to other outpatient and inpatient treatments. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/03/covidfunding-feature-web.mp3 Listen to this story here. The federal government established […]