Extra Extra : Health

Forgotten Soldiers

The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal. Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals.

The VA doctors considered themselves conservative in using lobotomy. Nevertheless, desperate for effective psychiatric treatments, they carried out the surgery at VA ...

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An effective eye drug is available for $50. But many doctors choose a $2,000 alternative.

Doctors choose the more expensive drug more than half a million times every year, a choice that costs the Medicare program, the largest single customer, an extra $1 billion or more annually, the Washington Post reports

Spending that much may make little sense for a country burdened by ever-
rising health bills, but as is often the case in American health care, there is a certain economic logic: Doctors and drugmakers profit when more-costly treatments are adopted.

Technical problems, discord plagued health care site

Although state officials have provided the public scant detail about the troubled launch of Maryland's version of Obamacare, emails and documents show that the project was beset behind the scenes for months by an array of technical issues, warring contractors and other problems.

Since Maryland's online health exchange opened Oct. 1 for people to buy insurance under the Affordable Care Act — and immediately crashed — the two main companies in charge of the website have taken their fight to court, a corporate project manager was replaced and a high-powered consulting firm was quietly brought in to restore order. Though ...

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ExtraExtra Monday: Newborn screening delays, state fails to keep track of waste, the Pentagon's bad bookkeeping

Regulations Are Killed, and Kids Die | The Nation
Under pressure, the Obama administration withdrew rules barring young laborers from dangerous work—a decision with grave consequences for several families.

Health-care Web site’s lead contractor employs executives from troubled IT company | The Washington Post
The lead contractor on the dysfunctional Web site for the Affordable Care Act is filled with executives from a company that mishandled at least 20 other government IT projects, including a flawed effort to automate retirement benefits for millions of federal workers, documents and interviews show.

Addiction Treatment With a Dark Side | The New York Times ...

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Body found in hospital stairwell: San Francisco sheriff details what went wrong

In September, Lynne Spalding checked into San Francisco General Hospital for a bladder infection. Soon after, she went missing. No one ordered a full search for Spalding until nine days after she disappeared.

In that time, Lynne Spalding Ford's family scoured the city and passed out thousands of fliers -- only to find out she was dead in a stairwell at the same hospital. Now, authorities have revealed a series of mishaps leading up to the discovery of Spalding Ford's body at San Francisco General Hospital -- 17 days after she was reported missing.

Waste Lands: America’s forgotten nuclear legacy

The Department of Energy says it has protected the public health, and studies about radiation harm aren’t definitive. But with the government's own records about many of the sites unclear, the Journal has compiled a database that draws on thousands of public records and other sources to trace this historic atomic development effort and its consequences.

Spinal fusions serve as case study for debate over when certain surgeries are necessary

The rate of spinal fusion surgery has risen sixfold in the United States over the past 20 years, according to federal figures, and the expensive procedure, which involves the joining of two or more vertebrae, has become even more common than hip replacement, the Washington Post reports. More than 465,000 spinal fusions were performed in the United States in 2011, according to government data, and some experts say that a portion of them — perhaps as many as half — were performed without good reason.

The rapid rise of spinal fusions in the United States, especially for diagnoses that generally don ...

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Breathless and Burdened

“This yearlong investigation examines how doctors and lawyers, working at the behest of the coal industry, have defeated the benefits claims of miners sick and dying of black lung, even as disease rates are on the rise and an increasing number of miners are turning to a system that was supposed to help alleviate their suffering.”

Extra Extra Monday: Drone strikes, wrongful arrests, black lung and surgical device profits

Secret memos reveal explicit nature of U.S., Pakistan agreement on drones | The Washington Post
"Despite repeatedly denouncing the CIA’s drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan’s government have for years secretly endorsed the program and routinely received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts, according to top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos obtained by The Washington Post."

St. Louis wrongful arrests mount as fingerprint mismatches are ignored | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The Post-Dispatch has identified 100 people arrested in error over the past seven years. Collectively, they spent more than 2,000 days in jail — an average of ...

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