The Pulse

The Pulse is written by Kristin Gourlay, an award winning health care reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Full archive of The Pulse can be found here.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Your weekly briefing about what's happening in health care: opioid legislation, depression treatment, special needs, and child welfare.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This September, Rhode Island’s Department of Human Services launches a new online portal for health and social service benefits. It’s the state’s biggest IT project ever. 

Evelyn Simak / Creative Commons

The question of a patient’s privacy came up during this legislative session. Should the family members of a patient who has overdosed be notified about that patient’s hospital stay? It came up again after the shooting in Orlando: can doctors communicate with family or friends about a patient’s status if that patient is still unconscious? 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A recent report from Massachusetts shows the number of cases of elderly abuse is on the rise. Experts attribute that to the state’s opioid addiction crisis, which leads some addicts to take financial advantage of or abuse older family members.

For this week’s The Pulse, we speak with Division of Elderly Affairs Director Charles Fogarty to learn how Rhode Island could be facing a similar problem.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Medical students have been learning anatomy – by dissecting cadavers – in much the same way for hundreds years. But the method is time consuming. 

Christine Montross

Christine Montross, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, is, in addition to that long title, an author. She wrote Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab (Penguin Books, 2007) as a way to understand her own experience as a medical student going through anatomy lab.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Postpartum depression can be debilitating for moms and devastating for babies. It can rob them both of the ability to connect at a time when that’s crucial. Some data show that Hispanic women are at higher risk for postpartum depression. On this week’s The Pulse, we hear from a unique program in Providence where more Latina moms are seeking help.

First signs of postpartum depression
This is how Aliez Roman was feeling after the birth of her second child: “I couldn’t sleep at night. A lot of racing thoughts.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The national crisis of opioid addiction has led many doctors and patients to look for alternatives for managing pain. 

photo by Megan Hall

Consolidation is the name of the health care game right now – but is it good for patients?

Let's review what's in the works in our state right now:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Veterans seeking care at the Providence VA can now sign up for acupuncture treatments. It’s just one of several new alternative medical therapies offered at the VA to try to address pain and mental health. 

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

The spread of Zika virus may have come as a surprise to some. But not to Julia Gold. The Rhode Island Department of Health’s climate change expert speaks with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay for this week’s The Pulse about the future of mosquito and other vector-borne diseases and how the state can prepare and respond. 

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

With the recent suspected outbreaks at an elementary school in Coventry and, now, Wright's Farm restaurant in Burrillville, you might be wondering what's going on. But norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs. Here are a few facts to put things in perspective.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

There’s a good chance your doctor is working towards creating something called a patient-centered medical home. It’s designed to offer patients more coordination and convenience. But can it make patients healthier?

Kaiser Family Foundation

It's no surprise that politicians play fast and loose with the facts and terms that support their positions. But health care seems to get so jargon-y, so vague in the mouths of candidates it's laughable. So here are the results of my modest attempt to translate just a couple of the leading candidates' proposals into everyday language, with some possible consequences if implemented. In alphabetical order:

Atisha Kadampa Buddhist Center

Hospitals and doctors have made a concerted effort to control their patients’ pain over the past 10 years. That’s led, in part, to epidemic rates of painkiller and heroin addiction. On this week’s The Pulse, we hear from Buddhist teacher Kyle Davis about a different approach to pain and suffering.

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