Hospitals nationwide are experiencing drug shortages, including critical nutrients needed to keep premature babies and other patients alive. Are drug manufacturers and the FDA both at fault?
"Some hospitals have resorted to bartering with one another to secure even a small supply of nutrients, and many are rationing.
"At least one NICU in the District is administering some trace elements only three days a week instead of seven. At Atticus’s hospital, no patients heavier than 2½ kilograms (5½ pounds), including NICU babies, are getting intravenous phosphorous. 'You could have a brand-new, full-term baby and they don’t qualify,' a staff member says. 'There are really sick babies and one-, two-, three-year-olds that don’t get anything at all because we’re rationing it for our tiniest preemies.'
"'It almost makes me cry—our patients are starving because of drug shortages. How can this happen in this country?' says ASPEN past president Jay Mirtallo, a professor of clinical pharmacy at Ohio State University. 'In the last three years, there hasn’t been one PN product that hasn’t been in short supply. I’ve traveled all over the world talking about parenteral nutrition, and our colleagues in Europe, South America, and Asia just look astounded and ask how this can be such a significant problem when they have no issue whatsoever in any of their countries.'"
PUBLISHED: May 22, 2013
LENGTH: 30 minutes (7538 words)
On Oct. 6, 1964, first lady Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson hit the campaign trail to court Southerners to vote Democrat:
"The tour, organized out of the East Wing, was primarily a woman-planned, woman-run operation. Johnson had the capable and charming Bess Abell as her social secretary and Liz Carpenter as her press secretary and staff director. A former reporter, Carpenter had cut her teeth on the Kennedy-Johnson campaign and went on to serve as the vice president’s executive assistant, the first woman to hold the position. Kenny O’Donnell, LBJ’s principal campaign adviser, wasn’t sure Lady Bird’s plan would work. 'He sat sphinx-like in meetings with me—half laughing at the whole idea and obviously feeling that neither the South nor women were important in the campaign,' wrote Carpenter in her memoir, Ruffles and Flourishes. The president, however, loved the idea and pored over maps with the first lady, tracing railroad lines and making suggestions for where to stop."
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2013
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4848 words)
The disgraced congressman and his wife, Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, attempt to piece together their lives and careers after "that fateful tweet":
"But nearly everyone who cares about Weiner says that pugilistic political persona long ago bled into his personal life and made him 'hard to take,' as his brother Jason puts it. 'I wouldn’t stand for other people saying this about him, but there was definitely a douchiness about him that I just don’t really see anymore.' His family agrees that the post-scandal Weiner, the diaper-changing Weiner, is far more likable. 'No one has been harder on him than he has been on himself,' Jason says. 'I find that refreshing, because he was always — in his political career, and it was sort of overflowing into his personal life — this completely decisive, "this is the right thing because this is what I’m doing." It’s like this circular reasoning that was kind of hubristic. He doesn’t have that anymore. The irony is that it could make him a better politician.'"
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2013
LENGTH: 33 minutes (8383 words)
The Friday Night Lights author on his shopping addiction:
"I own forty-three pieces of Gucci—twelve leather jackets, six evening jackets, five pairs of pants, six pairs of boots, four shirts, seven pairs of gloves, and three scarves. I own items from Acne, Affliction, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Balmain, Band of Outsiders, Belstaff, Bottega Veneta, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Charles David, Diane von Furstenberg, Helmut Lang, Ines, Jan Hilmer, J.Crew, Jimmy Choo, Jitrois, Jos. A. Bank, Joseph, Junker Designs, Loewe, Lucchese, Marc Jacobs, Mr. S Leather, Nike, Northbound Leather, Prada, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Saint Laurent, 7 For All Mankind, Thomas Wylde, Valentino, Versace, and Wesco. I also have had several pieces custom-made for me by an amazing designer named Carla Dawn Behrle, who specializes in leather; they're worth every penny and more, given her fastidiousness and attention to detail. I apologize to those letters of the alphabet I have not gotten to yet. Zara, don't give up hope."
PUBLISHED: March 26, 2013
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6645 words)
How an underfunded, understaffed crime lab in Hamilton County, Ohio manages to operate:
"On our tour we stop first in the trace evidence office, where analysts look for hair, fibers, paint chips, and other material left at a crime scene. The firearms office, which has a backlog of about 350 cases, has outgrown its own room and its machines have spilled into the trace evidence room; as a result, whenever trace evidence analysts have to look for gunshot residue—say, when they’re scouring a suspect’s garment to see if there’s any indication he fired a weapon—they must move the material two floors away to another office, to avoid contamination during testing or examination of the gunshot residue. The hallway outside is lined with microscopes and printers, and a folding ping-pong table nearby is pulled out whenever a large item needs to be spread out and examined."
PUBLISHED: March 22, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3313 words)
The number of Americans on disability has skyrocketed in the last three decades, and the Social Security Administration says the reserves in the disability insurance program are on track to run out in 2016:
"Scott tried school for a while, but hated it. So he took the advice of the rogue staffer who told him to suck all the benefits he could out of the system. He had a heart attack after the mill closed and figured, 'Since I've had a bypass, maybe I can get on disability, and then I won't have worry to about this stuff anymore.' It worked; Scott is now on disability.
"Scott's dad had a heart attack and went back to work in the mill. If there'd been a mill for Scott to go back to work in, he says, he'd have done that too. But there wasn't a mill, so he went on disability. It wasn't just Scott. I talked to a bunch of mill guys who took this path -- one who shattered the bones in his ankle and leg, one with diabetes, another with a heart attack. When the mill shut down, they all went on disability."
PUBLISHED: March 22, 2013
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4105 words)
Meet the woman who wants to reprogram the porn industry and change our perceptions of meaningful sex:
"Gallop's residence in the Flatiron District--a glamorous and sprawling loft dubbed The Black Apartment--looks more like the set of a high-class erotic thriller than a casual homemade porn video. A converted YMCA locker room, it was actually used as the set for The Notorious B.I.G.’s 'Nasty Gal' video in 2005. The cavernous loft, filled with taxidermy and lined with bookshelves, windows, and a display case for Gallop’s 300 pairs of high heels, also serves as the base of operations for Make Love Not Porn when her staffers are in New York.
"As we sat there, Gallop facing me over a taxidermy statue of a mongoose fighting a cobra, she began to tell me the story of her fascination with porn."
PUBLISHED: March 6, 2013
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2573 words)
A look at mental illness and the death penalty:
"The doctor would later testify that Andre was 'really mentally ill,' as if to stress that this wasn't just your run-of-the-mill crazy person. And then there was this detail from the physician's records: "Thomas," he wrote, "is psychotic. He thinks something like Holodeck on Star Trek is happening to him." If you don't know what that is, and there is no good reason you should, a holodeck is a simulated reality facility—a place where nothing is real.
"Finally, the patient wanted to know whether he had volunteered for his life, or been forced to live it. Maybe that was the final straw. The doctor referred Andre to the hospital's mental health unit and filled out an emergency detention order to hold him against his will. But while staffers waited for a judge to sign the order, Andre simply wandered off. The hospital called the police, but there's no evidence that officers went looking for him at the home of Andre's mother or any of his other relatives. The next time they saw him, he was walking into the Sherman police station to confess to killing his family."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 12, 2013
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6080 words)
It's one of the most dangerous jobs in the world—working as a deep-sea diver:
"Most offshore divers aspire to work saturation jobs ('Sat is where it’s at,' says Newsum), but after graduating diving school and passing an extensive physical, a diver must begin as a 'tender,' or apprentice diver. A tender will serve on the support staff for deeper divers, and work at depths as shallow as four feet of water. Often a tender will assist on jobs involving oil pipelines, which tend to be buried four to six feet below the mud line in order to avoid contact with ships or marine life. A tender might be called upon to bury a repaired pipe, using hand jets to displace the bottom so that the pipe will sink belowground. Or he might excavate a pipe, in preparation for a more experienced diver to repair it. An apprentice makes about $40,000 a year."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 19, 2013
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4582 words)