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  1. Hillsborough clinic offers kids much-needed dental care with help from NY medical center


    PALM RIVER — Last month a woman searched four days for a dentist who could help her 18-month-old daughter. The child had barely eaten after falling and breaking her front tooth in half.

    Dr. Harrison Black, left, and dental assistant Crystal Ortiz, right, prepare to clean the teeth of patient Yaisel Cruz, 6, center, at the Palm River Community Health Center.  The recently opened center has 7 dental stations and caters to the health care needs of children. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. MS patient talks about relief she finds with marijuana (w/ video)


    SEMINOLE — Peggy Alcorn, a 68-year-old retiree, exercises every day in her swimming pool. • She hangs onto the edge for an hour — bouncing, swaying, kicking and singing to a mix of 1980s hits streaming from her computer. Every 15 minutes or so, she picks up a pipe and takes a few puffs of pot. • …

    Peggy Alcorn, 68, suffers from multiple sclerosis and smokes marijuana in her pool between songs as part of her daily dance workout. She says dancing in the pool for about an hour and smoking a small amount of pot is enough to make her able to move without pain for the day.
  3. Why they smoke: Medical marijuana and Floridians who use it


    Floridians will decide Nov. 4 whether to add medical marijuana to the state Constitution, testing if a cultural change fostered in the liberal West and Northeast can penetrate the South.

    Toby (right) waits while his owner Jim Buresch, 45, who is HIV positive, smokes marijuana to help with joint pain before taking their daily morning walk. Buresch says the drugs he takes to fight HIV disease made him vomit and eliminated any interest in eating. Pot minimized nausea, restored appetite, helped with joint discomfort and helped his frame of mind. "I wasn't as depressed. I wasn't as traumatized. I wasn't just sitting around waiting to die,'' he said.

  4. Laughing gas in delivery rooms? More area hospitals say yes


    TAMPA — Pregnant with her third child, Lizzy Lester knew she wanted a natural, unmedicated delivery. But she jumped at an option to take the edge off the labor pains: nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.

    Lizzy Lester holds her 11-pound son, Sylas Spencer, born Tuesday at Tampa General Hospital, which just began offering nitrous oxide. Lester opted for it and said it made the pain tolerable.
  5. Shades of Pigpen: We travel with our own germs


    WASHINGTON — Sorry, clean freaks. No matter how well you scrub your home, it's covered in bacteria from your own body. And if you pack up and move, new research shows, you'll rapidly transfer your unique microbial fingerprint to the doorknobs, countertops and floors in your new house, too.

  6. Florida website aimed at the uninsured draws little interest

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Last year, legislators allocated $900,000 to help Floridians find affordable health care through a new state-backed website.

    Six months after the launch of the state's effort, called Florida Health Choices (, just 30 people have signed up. Another seven plans were canceled either because consumers changed their minds or didn't pay for services. [Times]
  7. Medical cannabis concerns unfounded, Amendment 2 organizer says


    ST. PETERSBURG — An organizer of Florida's medical marijuana amendment beat back the latest round of opponents' attacks Thursday, contending that the proposal says more than enough to address concerns about legal implications.

  8. HCA opens first local 'seniors ER' at St. Petersburg General


    ST. PETERSBURG — Emergency room patients come in all ages, but St. Petersburg General Hospital decided to focus a makeover on one group: seniors.

  9. Freud, sea turtle that couldn't swim, is ready for release


    TAMPA — A couple of months ago, Freud the sea turtle gave a reassuring sign to his caretakers at the Florida Aquarium: He swam to the bottom of his tank and chilled out.

    Freud, a green sea turtle rehabilitated at the Florida Aquarium, is prepared for a CT scan at University of South Florida Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in Tampa. [EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN   |   Times (2013)]
  10. Study suggests medical marijuana reduces opiate overdoses


    In a finding that could ripple through Florida, a study released this week reported that the average number of narcotic painkiller overdoses in medical marijuana states is 25 percent lower than would be expected if pot use weren't legal.

    A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests medical marijuana reduces opiate overdoses.