Health & Science

Photo by CORBIS

Sometimes, despite the best efforts of doctors and the determination of a patient, there's just nothing more to be done to fight against a terminal illness. As we heard yesterday on our death and dying in the 21st century series, palliative care can then offer medical, emotional and even spiritual support as treatment to cure a life-threatening illness transitions into quality-of-life management.

Photo by Mrs. Logic, via Flickr

We continue our series on death and dying in the 21st century by turning our attention today to the growing field of palliative care. This kind of medicine actively cares for people with life-threatening and terminal diseases, working to effectively transition between treatments focused on a cure to managing symptoms in order to maximize quality of life and respect patient wishes.

'Camp Lloyd' Helps Grieving Kids Process Loss

Oct 1, 2012
Photo courtesy of Camp Lloyd

As we've explored so far in our death and dying in the 21st century series, adults, frankly, don't like to talk about dying. So it comes as no surprise then that most adults avoid the topic of death with children - perhaps even going so far as to think kids don't know what death is.

The High Cost of Dying in the 21st Century

Sep 28, 2012
By Boris Rasin, via Flickr

It’s no secret that health care in this country costs a lot. That’s especially true at the end of life. A new study indicates a quarter of Medicare recipients exhaust their entire savings and more on out-of-pocket health care expenses during the last five years of their lives.

This goes along with previous numbers that have shown that the last few years of life are the most expensive, medically speaking.

This week on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci has been exploring issues surrounding death and dying. While death is as old as time itself, the study of it is considerably younger. The relatively new and growing field of thanatology - that is, the study of death, from the Greek word "thanatos" - extends beyond just the medical aspects to dying. Rather, it crosses boundaries through interdisciplinary fields. And as technologies in medicine and society advance, so does the research.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

This week, Lake Effect producer Stephanie Lecci is exploring issues surrounding death and dying in the 21st century. Indeed, the questions surrounding end-of-life care today are much different from the way they were in the past. Technology is allowing us to live longer with more disease, and to sustain life even when we are no longer able to communicate our wishes.

As we heard yesterday, that can put a lot of stress on caregivers making proxy decisions. But how did we get here? And what do we have to consider when we try to lay out our wishes ahead of time?

Easing the Stress of Caregivers in End-of-Life Care

Sep 25, 2012
via Flickr

This week on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci is exploring issues surrounding death and dying in our culture. One of those issues is what it's like to care for someone who is in the final stages of his or her life. As difficult as it may be to make our own decisions regarding our own dying process, it is even more difficult to make those decisions on behalf of a loved one. Complicating this is a condition known as "caregiver syndrome," the manifestation of the physical and emotional stress of long-term care of a loved one. This can affect a proxy's ability to make sound decisions about end-of-life care.

Death and Dying Series preview

Sep 24, 2012

Beginning tomorrow on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci brings us a series of conversations around the theme of death and dying in the 21st Century.

The series was born out of a scholarship she received from the Religion Newswriters Association that allowed her to take a course at Alverno College in Control of Life and Death.

Stephanie Lecci joins us in the studio to give us a preview of what we can expect to hear for the rest of the week.

One of the biggest financial burdens individuals and businesses face is the rising cost of health care. In order to ease that weight, some people and employers have been turning to High Deductible Health Care Plans. They keep monthly premiums low by requiring patients to spend a significant amount of money before their insurance kicks-in. As WUWM’s LaToya Dennis reports, those high deductible plans can pay off, but are a gamble.

Many of us are rightfully concerned about the safety of what we eat and what might be added to foods along the processing chain from farm to table. But Lake Effect essayist Judy Steininger says a knowing a little basic chemistry might help ease some of our concerns.

Wisconsin AIDS Care a National Model

Jun 14, 2012
Erin Toner

Wisconsin recently reported a sharp increase in new HIV infections. They rose nearly 20 percent from 2010 to 2011, with the most new cases in Milwaukee County. While the numbers are alarming and the population sometimes difficult to reach, those who connect early with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin are in good hands. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it has become a one-stop-shop for the many services patients may need and is considered a national model.

He had cared for Ebola patients. He himself caught the virus. Only then, said Dr. Kent Brantly, did he fully grasp the awful nature of this disease.

In 30 years of practicing medicine, Dr. George Risi has never had an experience as emotionally draining as his month in Sierra Leone.

Orangutans Hop on the iPad Bandwagon

May 21, 2012
Milwaukee County Zoo

Back in February, Lake Effect celebrated Primate week with a series of stories and features about our close cousins. One of those features considered the technological prowess of primates – and we’re not talking just humans. There was Albert II, the first rhesus monkey in space. Or the orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo, who, like their human counterparts, really enjoy iPads. It may not be what Steve Jobs had in mind, but it turns out that iPads have some practical uses at a zoo.

Erin Toner

Monday, we reported on a one-year-old clinic in West Allis treating a growing number of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some say they’re seeking outside therapy because they’re dissatisfied with their VA health care. This morning, WUWM’s Erin Toner revisits the clinic to report on another free service it provides – mental health services for the families of veterans. Family members don’t qualify for care at VA hospitals.

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