The Medical News that Mattered in 2016

With the new year around the corner it is time to look ahead and pray the health and healthcare in our country is better in 2017. But year end is also a time to look back at the news that scared us, worried us and gave us hope. For me, the most significant medical news stories of last year were:

zikaZika Virus — This devastating infection captured our newsfeed as images of its littlest victims captured our hearts. We watched and hoped it wouldn’t hit U.S. soil, so that avoidance of travel to endemic areas would keep us safe, but to date Florida has 210 local acquired cases and Texas has six.
2017 … please bring us a vaccine!

election stress 2016 health news Election Stress — The most controversial, heated and in many ways absurd election our nation has ever seen caused, and continues to cause, stress to a huge portion of our population. A survey by the American Psychological Association in October reported more than 50% of Americans were experiencing significant stress due to the election. Many are still suffering with emotional and psychological sequelae.
2017 … please bring us peace!

2016 health newsEpiPen Prices — The cost of an Epipen two pack skyrocketed to $600 — from just $100 in 2009 — in the U.S. this year. As the mom of a peanut allergy kid, I know you always need at least two, and as a doctor, I want all my patients with food allergies to have a couple on hand. They expire in about 18 months, so a lifetime of protection against anaphylaxis carries an expensive price tag.
2017 … please bring us effective regulation!

2016 health newsOpioid Addiction — Death from opioid addiction is four times greater than it was in 1999. 91 people die each day from opioid overdose, with about 1/2 of that number coming from prescribed pills. According to the CDC, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic.
2017 … please bring us earlier detection and better treatment for addiction.

2016 health newsCancer Moonshot 2020 — This comprehensive collaboration aims to do what has for so long seemed impossible — cure cancer. It aims to reduce red tape, individualize patients, use the combined knowledge of drug companies, research facilities, government agencies and more to make a real difference in cancer treatment by the start of the next decade.
2017 … please bring us a cure!

2016 health newsFlint, Michigan — The water contamination in Flint wasn’t discovered this past year, but in January, President Obama declared Flint to be in a federal state of emergency. On December 9th, the Senate approved a bill to provide $170 million in aid to Flint for healthcare costs and infrastructure repair. The financial and medical repurcussions continue to reverberate.
2017 … please bring us responsible government leaders.

2016 health newsMedical Error Makes the Death Stats — Based on an analysis of previous research, Johns Hopkins estimated 250,000 deaths yearly due to medical error or preventable harm. This would put it as the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer (both causing about 600,000 deaths each year.)
Ouch.
2017 … please help us learn from our mistakes.

2016 health newsFlu Shot Nasal Spray Ineffective — Data from the last few flu seasons revealed the live attenuated vaccine in the form of the nasal spray was ineffective and recommended all patients over the age of 6 months receive the vaccine in the injectable form. This was bad news for me, as no one likes needles or taking their kids to get a shot. But, as reported by 4 out of my 5 kids who received the shot, it didn’t hurt at all, and it was much better than the nasal spray. An ounce of prevention …
2017 — please keep our children free from illness.

I hope you have a happy and HEALTHY new year!


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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Physician, Wellness Coach, and founder of Tips From Town. She is passionate about sharing her medical expertise, her coaching techniques and her parenting experience to encourage happier and healthier lives.