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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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« Today's Globe: avian flu, trauma trials, breast cancer genes, business of survival, Children's seizure drug trial | Main | On the blogs: surgeons and sleep, cholesterol testing for kids, shortage of primary care doctors »

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Today's Globe: young adult coverage, bird flu antibodies, Thai AIDS activist, heart choices, Fosamax suit, MGH expansion cost

friedmans300.bmp
Ekaterina and Mark Friedman of Lowell once
faced massive hospital bills related to their
daughter's early birth. They were enrolled in a
student insurance plan that had coverage limits.

The state's new low-cost health insurance coverage for young adults may have the same drawback as a long standing program for college students: It doesn't work for the seriously ill.

Blood donated by four survivors of bird flu seems to harbor a potent protection against the deadly virus.

viravaidya150.bmpIn Thailand, he persuaded Santas and toll booth operators to hand out condoms. Traffic police gave them away, too, which he called "Cops and Rubbers." And Buddhist monks blessed packets of the latex sheaths in ceremonies. Such creative HIV prevention tactics helped Mechai Viravaidya (above) -- known as "Mr. Condom" -- and his Population and Community Development Association win the Gates Award for Global Health, a $1 million prize to be announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Physicians at a growing number of hospitals nationwide are signing cooperative agreements designed to cool turf battles that can leave patients confused by differing treatment recommendations and unsure about which specialist to see. Competition for patients has become especially intense in recent years among doctors who treat diseases of the circulatory system -- including cardiologists, vascular surgeons, cardiac surgeons, neurosurgeons, interventional radiologists, and neurologists -- as treatment options have increased and the lines between specialties have blurred.

Merck & Co., the drug maker defending about 27,000 lawsuits filed by users of the painkiller Vioxx, was accused in a Canadian lawsuit of failing to warn consumers its bone drug Fosamax may damage jaw bones, a law firm said.

There wasn't a whisper of opposition last week at the state Public Health Council as Massachusetts General Hospital presented its plan to replace some old buildings with a $498 million complex. The council approved the plan unanimously, but the expansion raises the question of whether the state can afford to rely so heavily on healthcare providers who combine quality with high costs, a Globe editorial says.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:22 AM
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