Longer Looks: Immigrant Health Tied To Their Status

Every week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The Atlantic: The Immigrant Healthcare Imperative
I didn't know much about my patient, a young man originally from Tibet, other than that he worked in a restaurant in Queens.  For most of my patients, their coming-to-America story is an intrinsic part of their medical history. It's certainly medically relevant in terms of what diseases they might have been exposed to, what nutritional, environmental and genetic factors might play a role in their health, but it's also such a key part of who they are that it's usually a central part of our initial interview. … As my patient's story slowly unfurled from him I realized that there was so much I did not know about him. He was not a loner at all. He was married, with two young children. His parents lived with him, as well as an aunt. But no one was getting any medical care because they were undocumented and worried about deportation. ... As immigration reform wends its way through a fractious and polarized House of Representatives, many are thinking about the implications for health care. From the medical perspective, bringing people into a primary care system is beneficial for our entire society, both from the public health standpoint and the moral standpoint (Danielle Ofri, 7/16).

The New York Times: A Life-Or-Death Situation
If Margaret Pabst Battin hadn't had a cold that day, she would have joined her husband, Brooke Hopkins, on his bike ride. Instead Peggy (as just about everyone calls her) went to two lectures at the University of Utah, where she teaches philosophy and writes about end-of-life bioethics. Which is why she wasn't with Brooke the moment everything changed. Brooke was cycling down a hill in City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City when he collided with an oncoming bicycle around a blind curve, catapulting him onto the mountain path. His helmet cracked just above the left temple, meaning Brooke fell directly on his head, and his body followed in a grotesque somersault that broke his neck at the top of the spine. … Suffering, suicide, euthanasia, a dignified death — these were subjects she had thought and written about for years, and now, suddenly, they turned unbearably personal. Alongside her physically ravaged husband, she would watch lofty ideas be trumped by reality — and would discover just how messy, raw and muddled the end of life can be (Robin Marantz Henig, 7/17).

Scientific American: Poem: Asymmetry
We met on my birthday and
your age trailed mine by a week.
Your past medical history bare,
you let me see you sick.
You let me feel the margins
of your spleen,
your sexual history,
your confusion over why this
and why you
and what now
and what next (Shara Yurkiewicz, 7/9).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare: Health Insurance Changes Coming Your Way Under the Affordable Care Act
2014 is coming–are you ready for Obamacare? Join the YouToons as they walk through the basic changes in the way Americans will get health coverage and what it will cost starting in 2014, when major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” go into effect. Written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Narrated by Charlie Gibson, former anchor of ABC’s World News with Charlie Gibson and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Creative production and animation by Free Range Studios (7/17).

Time: Sick Before Their Time: More Kids Diagnosed With Adult Diseases
Diabetes, obesity and elevated blood pressure typically emerge in middle-age, but more young children are showing signs of chronic conditions that may take a toll on their health.  The latest report on the trend, from researchers at Harvard Medical School found that children and adolescents are increasingly suffering from elevated blood pressure. Published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, the study showed a 27% increase in the proportion of children aged 8 years to 17 years with elevated blood pressure over a thirteen-year period (Alexandra Sifferlin, 7/18).

The New York Times: Talking Female Circumcision Out Of Existence
Like every other girl of her era in her part of southern Ethiopia — and most girls in the country — Bogaletch Gebre was circumcised. …Today, however, cutting has vanished from Kembata-Tembaro, as have bride abduction and widow inheritance. A study done for the Innocenti Research Center, a research arm of Unicef, found that cutting had only 3 percent support in 2008 — down from 97 percent in 1999. This is a remarkable achievement. There is nothing more difficult than persuading people to give up long-held cultural practices, especially those bound up in taboo subjects like sex (Tina Rosenberg, 7/17).

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