Tag Archives: WHO

Straight, No Chaser: Hoping for Health, Happiness and Healthcare Reform that isn't Sexist On Mother's Day

Apologies in advance for this not being the Mother’s Day post you might have expected, but in the current environment, it’s perhaps a more valuable gift than your typical set of platitudes…
There’s something about being a Mother that men clearly don’t get. Even as a physician, I’ve always been fascinated at how seemingly oblivious to their own health women are in pursuit of the care of their children. I’m not just talking about all the infection risks that come from caring for the snotty noses, strep throats, flu and pneumonia that kids get (moms, you do know that stuff is contagious, right?). I’m talking about risks of death. Mother’s Day is as good of a time as any to remind the thirteen men in the US Senate drafting a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) why this matters.
Did you know that the U.S. has the absolute worst maternal mortality rate (death during childbirth) in the developed world? That’s right (or wrong), we’re #1 in the worst possible way here. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. was one of a very few countries in which the rates of death for pregnant and new mothers increased in the years between 1990 and 2015. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, that rate dropped by 44% – nearly half. In 2014 alone, the estimated US maternal mortality rate increased by 26.6%. The sum total here is about three mothers die every single day. In case you were wondering, according to this same data, African-American women are three times as likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women.

Of course, nothing compares to an actual death, but our ongoing national tragedy is compounded by analysis from the CDC Foundation suggesting that approximately 60% of maternal deaths are preventable. In other words, this isn’t just attributable to say, women choosing to have children at more advanced ages, which independently increases the risk of death.

Incredibly, it is against this backdrop that steps are in place to worsen the situation. Remember, death is an absolute and not a factor of your political inclinations. In the American Health Care Act bill just passed in the House of Representatives, here’s a three-pack of considerations that will predictably further increase the maternal mortality rate:

  • Labeling pregnancy as a pre-existing condition
  • Reducing or eliminating coverage for contraception and abortion
  • Removal of funding for Planned Parenthood and other sources of reproductive health

Medicaid pays for approximately one-half of the childbirths in the United States.
This post probably isn’t what you think it is. Given everything happening in the political arena regarding proposed changes in this nation’s provision of health, Mother’s Day is as good of a time as any to remind the 13 men in the US Senate why this matters.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. Here’s hoping it’s a healthy one. Let’s all give the additional give of fighting for adequate health care.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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Straight, No Chaser In The News: Ebola Virus – Likely Not Coming Soon To a City Near You


We must be doing something right when so many of you are asking about Ebola virus. I say that because of the incredibly high probability that neither you nor I will ever see a case of Ebola. In the news is an outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. In this Straight, No Chaser, we will discuss the threat and spread of Ebola, and in a subsequent post, we will review the disease itself.
The basis of concern of diseases such as Ebola is we have become a global community. Worldwide travel now imports and exports diseases in a way not previously common, exposing far-flung populations to seemingly esoteric and rare conditions. The concept that a deadly disease such as Ebola virus is simply a plane ride away is a scary one.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ebola has infected 1,323 people and killed 729 people in the current outbreak, which includes Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The Director of the CDC has described this outbreak as follows: “This is a tragic, painful, dreadful, merciless virus. It is the largest, most complex outbreak that we know of in history.” Notably, as the World Health Organization (WHO) has mobilized medical attention and support to those in need, some of those providing care have become infected. As such…
Your concerns are straightforward:

  • Is Ebola “coming” to my country?
  • Can I become infected by the Ebola virus?

Focusing on the United States, the answers to both questions are yes, but the risk of your becoming infected are so remote that you should simply understand how to avoid the threat. Furthermore it is important to understand that bringing an infected American home for treatment (as is occurring in Atlanta) is not the same as exposing the population to the disease.


And so, here are some quick facts for your consideration:

  • Ebola virus is not transmitted like the cold or flu. It requires significant exposure to blood or bodily fluids.
  • Prior to that contact, you’d be most likely be aware of its presence. Those infected with Ebola are so ill so quick that it’s obvious.
  • The chances of an infected and unrecognized person infected with Ebola making it to the U.S. through commercial air travel are infinitesimal.
  • Over $100 million in medical support is being provided by the WHO and CDC to combat this outbreak.
  • Medical management of Ebola is not especially complicated once identified.
  • It is estimated the current outbreak will be defeated within 3-6 months.

What should you do? Continue the same diligence you should be applying to your health everyday.

  • Engage in healthy habits, including hand washing and maintaining a level of health to support a vibrant immune system.
  • Avoid risky behaviors involving transfer of blood and other bodily fluids.
  • Get prompt medical attention for those appearing sick, particularly after recent travel to areas affected by disease outbreaks.

We end this post with another two thoughts from the Director of the CDC:

  • “Although it will not be quick and it will not be easy, we do know how to stop Ebola.”
  • “Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population.”

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook atSterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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