Health

Psychiatric patients in crisis can wait days in emergency departments due to a lack on inpatient beds.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

VPR's investigative reporter Emily Corwin has been looking into the care received by young psychiatric patients in crisis. As with adults, children and adolescents can spend days in hospital emergency departments. And some parents and doctors have complained about the quality and amount of care they receive from psychiatrists while in the ER.

America's big drugmakers and pharmacy chains are scrambling to respond to hundreds of lawsuits tied to the deadly opioid epidemic. Billions of dollars are at stake if the companies are found liable for fueling the crisis.

Even before judgments are rendered, companies like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and CVS are already suffering damage to their reputations as evidence in civil suits reveals more about their internal workings.

A scanning electron microscope image of an HIV virus.
Wikimedia Commons

In Vermont, almost 700 people have received care for HIV in the last few years. Vermont Edition spoke to Roy Belcher - an epidemiologist and HIV surveillance coordinator for the state - about what life looks like for Vermonters living with the virus, what has changed and what treatments are available.

Dr. Hannah Rabin
Emily Corwin / Vermont Public Radio

Emergency rooms are intended for short-term care. Say a child comes in with a broken bone. She'll have it set, get a cast and some pain meds, and be sent on her way with an appointment for follow-up care.

At the University of Vermont Medical Center’s emergency room, most children average less than four hours in the ER before they are sent home or admitted for specialized care.

But for children suffering from mental health emergencies, the ER is more like a windowless purgatory. It’s a secure place to wait for a bed to open up someplace else — often 150 miles away, in Brattleboro.

In New Hampshire, there's no requirement that employers offer paid leave to workers who are caring for newborns or taking care of elderly parents.

Wendy Chase campaigned last fall for a seat in the state House promising to change that — and won.

"This is my first term, and I'm not a politician. I'm just a mom on a mission," she says.

Watts: Vape Tax

Mar 5, 2019
Christa Guzman / The Vermont Cynic

Vaping as it’s called - the act of sucking in flavored water vapor laced with nicotine - has become quite the rage among young people. As I walk across campus, little puffs linger in the air as students’ draw at their e-cigarette devices.

Headshot of Mayor Miro Weinberger at the VPR studios
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Earlier this month, Chittenden County government and public health leaders celebrated report that said the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in the county dropped by 50 percent in 2018. Statewide, overdose deaths rose two percent last year. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger spoke with VPR about the county’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.  

Hundreds of Vermonters turned out for a public hearing earlier this month on an abortion-rights bill introduced in Montpelier. The Vermont House preliminarily approved the legislation by a vote of 104-40 Wednesday evening.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

An abortion-rights bill approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday evening wouldn’t change the legal status quo in Vermont, but the legislation nonetheless spurred a six-hour debate on the House floor.

Sue Minter, left, and Eileen Nooney, center, welcome visitors to the grand opening of Capstone Community Action's Essentials Closet in Morristown.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

From diapers to toothpaste and household cleaners, there are many essential items that Vermont's low-income benefits programs don’t pay for. But now there’s a place in Morristown where Lamoille County residents can pick up what they need.

Vermont's suicide rate is among the highest in New England. The map above, using CDC data, shows Vermont's overall youth suicide rate between 2005 and 2016 was among the highest in the country.
CDC

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Vermont, claiming more lives every year than car accidents in our state. And Vermont's young people die by suicide at one of the highest rates in the country. We're talking with doctors and researchers about effective suicide prevention. 

EMT Andy Luce, left, and Cabot Select Board Chair Michael Hogan, right, stand with the town ambulance, housed at the Cabot Fire Department. The town's emergency ambulance service will stop transporting patients in June.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A lot of Vermont’s emergency medical services are on life support thanks to declining volunteers and increasing costs. For some, time has run out.

Connor Gage on Mount Mansfield in September 2018.
Ronnie Gage, courtesy

The mother of a University of Vermont student who died of hypothermia earlier this month wants to make sure other parents don't have to go through the same grieving experience. Dorothy Connor has created the "Connor Gage Never Walk Alone Fund" in her son's memory.

Sue-Ellen Booher of Warren helps patients at UVM Medical Center, then swims marathons in her free time.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Vermont Edition's ad-hoc series interviewing Interesting Vermonters has led us to a 106-year-old man from Townshend, the rose-sharing traditons of a Charlotte farmer and the maple syrup-swilling (unofficial) mayor of East Dover.

Now Warren's Sue-Ellen Booher is the latest Interesting Vermonter, a hematology nurse navigator at the Cancer Center at UVM Medical Center who's also a marathon swimmer.

A reading lamp pointed during a made bed in a darkened room at a nighttime.
BenAkiba / iStock

What do you do when you can't fall asleep? Some people meditate, others count sheep — and some pop in their headphones and listen to Sleepy, a podcast made by audio producer and Vermonter Otis Gray.

Brittany Lovejoy, of Montgomery, wears a black veil at a public hearing in Montpelier Wednesday, where she urged lawmakers to reject legislation that would create a "fundamental right" to abortion in Vermont.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

It’s been more than 45 years since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, but as Vermont House lawmakers learned at a public hearing Wednesday evening, the debate over abortion rights is as intense as it’s ever been.

Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux swears in a room full of deputies.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A shortage of mental health treatment beds in Vermont has forced hospital emergency rooms to provide unprecedented levels of psychiatric care in recent years. Many of those ERs have used sheriff’s deputies to supervise violent or disruptive patients, but officials now say that practice runs afoul of federal regulations.

Proposed legislation that would protect abortion rights in Vermont is leading to intense debate.
Matthew Smith / VPR

In response to potential threats to abortion rights at the national level, the Vermont House and Senate have both introduced legislation to explicitly protect women's access to abortion as a fundamental right. While the bills have strong support, they are also facing energetic opposition. We're talking through the debate.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Department of Health has offered free radon tests for any school in Vermont since 2001, but so far less than one third of the schools have tested their air.

A lunch from Crossett Brook Middle School in Duxbury features whole-grain spaghetti with meat sauce, local apple, salad, broccoli, and a roll.
Vermont Agency of Education

Vermont schools offer free or reduced-cost meals to thousands of students every day. But how did schools become the venue to enact food policy? We're looking at school meal programs and the role they play in nutrition and education in school today.

The production floor at Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, which was just ranked as the best brewery in the world by the RateBeer website.
Amy Noyes / VPR

Vermont prides itself on producing award-winning beer and spirits; the industry is part of the state's brand and boosts tourism and the economy. But we also have one of the highest rates of excessive drinking in the country. We're talking about the culture of drinking in Vermont, and how we think about alcohol in our state.

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