Health

Fitness, well-being, disease, medical research and issues related to Seton and St. David's Healthcare, Austin Regional Clinic and other health care providers in Austin and Central Texas

Spinal surgery made it possible for Liv Cannon to plant her first vegetable garden.

"It's a lot of bending over and lifting the wheelbarrow and putting stakes in the ground," the 26-year-old says as she surveys the tomatillos, cherry tomatoes and eggplants growing in raised beds behind her house in Austin, Texas. "And none of that I could ever do before."

For the first 24 years of her life, Cannon's activities were limited by chronic pain and muscle weakness.

Premature Migrant Baby Found At Texas Border Patrol Facility

Jun 14, 2019
Eddie Gaspar for KUT

The teenage girl with pigtail braids was hunched over in a wheelchair and holding a bunched sweatshirt when an immigrant advocate met her at a crowded Border Patrol facility in Texas.

Eric Kayne for The Texas Tribune

As measles cases hit a 25-year high in the United States, Texas medical experts fear the state could see the next outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease. Texas has reported 15 confirmed cases of measles so far in 2019, six more than in all of 2018.

Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When lawmakers ended this year’s legislative session, they had addressed their biggest goals: They tamped down property taxes, overhauled school finance laws and gave teachers a pay raise. By various measures, the session was a success.

To health care advocates in the state, however, it was a missed opportunity.

The Food and Drug Administration is holding its first public hearing on CBD, the cannabis extract that has quickly grown into a billion-dollar industry. Today's hearing will help officials determine how to regulate CBD products.

The compound can be extracted from marijuana or from hemp. It's promoted as a way to ease anxiety and inflammation – and it doesn't get people high because it doesn't contain THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

About 146,000 fewer children in Texas were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program between the end of 2017 and the end of 2018, according to a study released Thursday by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Missouri is within days of losing its last remaining health center that provides abortions. Unless a court intervenes, it will become the first state in the nation without such a clinic.

Planned Parenthood officials say they are filing a lawsuit in state court Tuesday, asking for a restraining order to prevent its St. Louis clinic from being forced to stop offering the procedure after a state license expires Friday.

Spencer Selvidge / KUT

Dr. Pat Crocker, a retired Central Texas emergency room doctor, says one of the struggles of his career was "trying to walk that line between empathy and self-harm." He says he wanted to maintain the human connection of medicine while not identifying too closely with patients' pain and tragedy.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Free-standing emergency rooms have not reduced hospital ER visits or wait times in Texas' major metropolitan areas, according to a new study from Rice University.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured women between the ages of 18 to 44, according to a new study from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

A surprise medical bill may be a thing of the past for many Texans. In a unanimous vote, the Texas House approved a Senate bill banning health care providers from sending steep medical bills to insured Texans in emergencies.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County is one of 25 counties in the U.S. that is at highest risk for a measles outbreak, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and UT Austin ranked Travis County 22nd on the list, citing its high rates of nonmedical childhood vaccination exemptions and its high volume of international travel. 

Callie Richmond/KHN

President Donald Trump announced ongoing bipartisan efforts in Congress to tackle surprise medical billing, during an event at the White House on Thursday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Kindergarten and seventh-grade students in Texas have slightly lower vaccination rates this school year, according to a new report from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

On a Tuesday afternoon last month — a work and school day — more than 1,000 parents and children made their way to the state Capitol in Salem, Ore., bearing signs reading, "hands off our rights" and chanting "we do not consent!"

Like activists around the country this year, they had been mobilized by what for many is a noncontroversial fact of life: vaccines.

Gauze and other medical supplies on a tray in a hospital room.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that his office filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

Katherine Edmundson didn’t know her 7-year-old son was off Medicaid until she took him to the dentist for his annual cleaning in February. An employee at the front desk told her that his coverage was invalid and that her son couldn’t be seen that day.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As the June deadline draws closer for Sendero Health Plans to prove its worth in the insurance market, Central Health officials gathered Monday night to update the community about the nonprofit health insurance company.

Sneezing, runny nose, congestion, or irritated eyes? Yes, we hear you: The misery of seasonal allergies is real. A lot of people find temporary relief with over-the-counter medications, but these don't treat the cause.

As we head into grass pollen season over the next few months, here's an option to consider: Many allergists now prescribe immunotherapy tablets, which work in the same way as allergy shots, to some of their patients with grass allergies.

It wasn't the rash covering Meliza's feet and legs that worried Dr. José Manuel de la Rosa. What concerned him were the deep bruises beneath. They were a sign she could be experiencing something far more serious than an allergic reaction.

Meliza's mom, Magdalena, told the doctor it started with one little bump. Then two. In no time, the 5-year-old's legs were swollen and red from the knees down.

One point drew clear agreement Tuesday during a House subcommittee hearing: When it comes to the problem of surprise medical bills, the solution must protect patients — not demand that they be great negotiators.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

In a significant shift, the Trump administration says the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be struck down in the courts. Previously, the administration had pushed to remove the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions but had not argued in court that the whole law should be struck down.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday to talk about how he decided to get vaccinated against the wishes of his mother, who is anti-vaccine.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Almost two-thirds of Texans think state lawmakers should expand Medicaid to cover more low-income uninsured people, according to a survey funded by the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced plans to address surprise medical bills in way that would take the "burden" off Texans.

Carol Marley wants everyone to know what a life-threatening cancer diagnosis looks like in America today.

Yes, it's the chemotherapy that leaves you weak and unable to walk across the room. Yes, it's the litany of tests and treatments – the CT scans and MRIs and biopsies and endoscopies and surgeries and blood draws and radiation and doctor visits. Yes, it's envisioning your funeral, which torments you day and night.

But none of these is her most gnawing, ever present concern.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health issues than the general population, according to Integral Care, which provides mental health care in Travis County.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Twenty child advocacy groups and nonprofits called on Texas lawmakers this week to increase funding for a struggling program that helps more than 50,000 small children with disabilities and developmental delays in the state.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin’s health department is taking precautionary steps in case the measles virus arrives in Travis County. So far, officials say, there are eight reported cases in Texas, the closest to Austin being in the Temple area.

At least 11 states have seen measles cases this winter.

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