August 21, 2016
Welt am Sonntag
In the Eyes of the Patient
From arthritis and cancer to high cholesterol: Eyes often serve as the body’s early warning system - U.S. researchers are working on retinal scans for early Alzheimer’s detection
Whether it’s a routine checkup, a case of pink eye, or the need for new glasses: A visit to the eye doctor can save lives.
Sounds surprising? In fact, ophthalmologists are frequently among the first to spot systemic diseases that can potentially be fatal.
The eyes may be the proverbial windows to the soul, but for physicians, they are also windows to the brain, the heart, the blood stream, the nervous and immune systems. Eyes are a sensitive and highly efficient early warning mechanism for the human body.
July 7, 2016
Jews Before News
The American Jewish Press Association (AJPA) focuses on dealing with ethical conflicts in journalism
The Jewish-American media remains a strong niche voice in the United States, but it has not escaped the same problems that plague global media.
“The common challenge we share with mainstream media is looking for survival strategies in times of declining print revenue,” says Rick Kestenbaum, current president of the American Jewish Press Association (AJPA).
There are also unique challenges for Jewish media, primarily “the declining level of engagement of Jews in their communities over time,” says Kestenbaum, who is also general manager of The New Jersey Jewish News.
Speaking with members of AJPA I heard many different opinions, perspectives, warnings, interpretations, anecdotes – and stories of new beginnings.
June 22, 2016
Higher Workloads Are Leaving US Doctors In Distress
Long hours, higher patient load, financial pressures, and a pile of bureaucracy: Physician burnout is on the rise in the United States.
“I think that medicine is all encompassing,” says Dr. Lisa Robbins, a primary care physician with a practice in Stone Mountain. “It just takes up so much of your energy, your time, your whole self.” Robbins has been a doctor for over 20 years. She says there have been many moments in her career where she felt empty, exhausted, without joy.
The burnout rate among physicians in the United States has jumped 10 percent in the last five years. According to a study by the Mayo clinic, more than half suffer from one form or another of burnout. Also, the suicide rate among physicians is higher than the national average, and many doctors are prone to substance abuse.
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June 16, 2016
Weed with a Blessing
Orthodox Rabbis in New York decided to certify kosher medical marijuana
Rabbi Moshe Elefant is used to making difficult decisions about what complies with Jewish dietary laws. But this one “was particularly complicated,” says the Rabbi, an executive with the world’s largest kosher certification agency, the Orthodox Union (OU). The bone of contention: kosher cannabis.
Since January, medical marijuana is legal in New York, the state with the largest Jewish population in the U.S. As the niche market for kosher cannabis opens up, marijuana producers as well as the OU have entered unchartered territory.
I spoke with the Rabbi in charge of certifying kosher cannabis, the CEO of the company that produces it, and a cannabis lawyer who looks to the future of the rapidly growing marijuana industry.
June 6, 2016
Georgia Health News
Fit, or Not Fit to Fly?
Flight doctors carry big responsibility for aviation safety: Screening pilots for physical and mental health
News stories of possible terrorism in the skies and long waits on the ground are grabbing the headlines as summer air travel heats up. Lingering in the background are ongoing discussions of pilot health and its impact on airline safety.
The issue jumped to the forefront last spring when the co-pilot of a Germanwings flight locked himself into the cockpit and deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board. An investigation revealed that the co-pilot had a long history of severe depression, along with suicidal tendencies. And while that story has faded from the news, aviation experts continue to debate whether tougher health screenings and stricter medical oversight of pilots should be implemented.
I met with a flight doctor who conducts aeromedical exams and ensures pilots are fit for duty in the skies.
June 2, 2016
DIE ZEIT/Christ & Welt
Pain, Addiction, Stigma
The opioid epidemic soars in the United States - Many professionals are affected by the disease - Churches play an ambivalent role
In the beginning, there was appendicitis. Or a sore wisdom tooth. Or a knee replacement. This is usually how the stories go, stories that Father Jim Duffy, Catholic priest at Our Lady of the Assumption in Atlanta, hears from parishioners and strangers.
The opioid epidemic soars in the United States. More than 2.1 million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers. More than 28,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2014, four times as many as in 1999. The disease affects people from all walks of life.
I had the opportunity to speak with a lawyer who’s using secretly, with an addiction physician who used to be an addict, and with a priest who’s trying to fight the stigma.
February 11, 2016
Open Heart Surgery on Parking Level Three
Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel is home to the world’s largest fortified underground hospital. It has become a global example of emergency preparedness.
The converted hospital, which during peacetime is a parking garage, provides shelter from conventional and unconventional threats for 2,000 patients. It has four operating rooms, 85 intensive care beds, 94 dialysis stations, an infectious disease unit, a lab, a blood bank, as well as a provisional childcare facility and a synagogue. It's an entire city in the underground. I had the opportunity to visit Rambam and speak with doctors, nurses and disaster relief experts.
December 30, 2015
Georgia Health News
Driving Doctors to the Brink
Long hours, higher patient load and increased scrutiny of their work. Those factors, along with others, have led many physicians into burnout.
According to a recent study by Mayo Clinic, more than 54 percent of physicians in the United States suffer from one form or another of burnout, almost 10 percent more than in 2011.
In a new GHN Commentary, Katja Ridderbusch says physician burnout is “a global trend that describes more than an alarming accumulation of facts, figures and anecdotes, but points to a systemic problem. It is a very real cause of concern for doctors, health care systems around the world and, most importantly, patients.’’
Setting Out and Settling In
My friends inspire and motivate me, they make me laugh, and they bring me back down to earth whenever necessary.
But at the moment my friends primarily make me nervous. Very nervous. Some of them have decided to make a new start. Move house, give themselves a big push and step into new territory, with all the undiscovered possibilities that entails. In all beginnings dwells a magic force, wrote German-Swiss poet and novelist Hermann Hesse. True, yet sometimes, after a while, reality bites.
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November 23, 2015
When Healers Need Healing
The burnout rates among American physicians have reached alarming levels, resulting in disruptive behavior and medical errors. The dire state of doctors’ health has created a booming market for physician coaches and counselors.
Frenesa Hall never regretted giving up her job. A job which only the brightest, the hardest working, and the most resilient get to pursue; and a job that society still holds in high regard. Frenesa Hall was a doctor, a primary care physician with a private practice in Atlanta, Ga. She decided to hang up her white coat for good, 13 years ago.
Frenesa Hall suffered from burnout and depression. She’s not alone. The burnout rate among physicians has increased dramatically over the past few years in most industrialized countries around the word and in the United States in particular. Every other physician, recent studies say, experiences symptoms of burnout.