Friday, August 17, 2018


Justine Griffin

Justine Griffin

Justine Griffin covers health and medicine for the Tampa Bay Times. She is a native Floridian who spent most of her childhood in Pasco County. She previously wrote about business news. Prior to coming to the Times in 2015, she worked for the St. Augustine Record, the Sun Sentinel and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, where she gained national attention for her retail coverage and for a longform article she wrote about her experience as an egg donor. Justine is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she studied journalism. She's an equestrian. Her horse is named Mikey.

This image provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows an electron microscope image of a measles virus particle, center. Measles is considered one of the most infectious diseases known, and three people in Pinellas County have been diagnosed with it this week. Health officials say they are prepared for the possibility of more cases. [Associated Press (2015)]

Two new cases of measles reported in Pinellas, with the possibility of more

Health officials have identified two more confirmed cases of measles in Pinellas County, bringing the total to three, and they are preparing for the possibility of more. The two additional cases are from the same household, and are separate...
Published: 08/15/18
Florida Hospital Tampa, which is undergoing at $300 milion renovation, is the flagship property of the Florida Hospital chain locally. The company announced Tuesday that it will soon have a new name -- AdventHealth. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]

Florida Hospital to change its name to AdventHealth

Beginning next year, the Florida Hospital brand will be known as AdventHealth.The Central Florida-based health care chain, which has nearly 50 hospital campuses and more than 80,000 employees, including seven hospitals around Tampa Bay,...
Published: 08/14/18
A pediatrician holds a dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which most people receive in two doses. Pinellas County Health officials said Monday they are investigating a case of an unvaccinated child with measles. [AP Photo | Damian Dovarganes]

Pinellas health officials report measles in an unvaccinated child

An unvaccinated child has contracted the contagious measles virus in Pinellas County, according to the Florida Department of Health, which said Monday it is investigating the case. It was unclear how the child contracted the virus, according to...
Published: 08/13/18
Lyme disease cases are up across the nation, but notably in states like California and Florida, where the disease has not been an issue in the past. The disease comes from bacteria carried by ticks like this one that get it by feeding on an infected animal. Inftected ticks can then transmit it to humans through bites. [Times files]

Lyme disease is on the rise in Florida, but experts don’t know why

When Jackie Dube found circular rashes with bullseye points on her stomach, she went to the hospital. Doctors told her she had an allergic reaction to flea bites. A year later, she became seriously ill. Flu-like symptoms and chronic joint pain...
Published: 08/08/18
Updated: 08/09/18
Dr. Byron Moran, right, works with Christopher Santos, a graduate student at USF Health. Moran, who is medical director of the USF Health Concussion Center, said adults with concussions not related to sports are a neglected community.

More people are being diagnosed with concussions. Here are some things you should know.

As kids across the Tampa Bay area prepare to return to school, physicians are gearing up for the start of the fall sports season and the head injuries that inevitably follow. Concussion diagnoses are on the rise, especially in youth sports in...
Published: 08/06/18
At Byrd Alzheimer's Institute run by USF Health, the number of participants in its memory clinic could reach 3,000 in a year. But not all want to be in studies or are eligible. [Times (2007)]

Promising treatments for Alzheimer’s are out there, but who will step up to help test them?

More than 5.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, but physicians and researchers struggle to find them. Including in Tampa Bay. The problem, outlined this week in the New York Times, is hindering medical...
Updated one month ago
Taylor Turosz, 27, of Tampa listens to a caller during an evening shift earlier this month at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. When celebrities commit suicide, she says, the number of crisis calls goes up.

When suicide threats come calling: ‘I try to make a connection.’

TAMPA — At first glance, it’s a typical office with more than a dozen cubicles under florescent lights. The operators wear headsets and stare into computer screens, some tinkering with handheld toys, others browsing Facebook or chatting with...
Updated one month ago
Staffing levels at Florida nursing homes exceeded the national average and met or exceeded industry expectations, according to data released earlier this month. Meanwhile, the state is also seeing reported shortages in doctors and some hospital nursing staffs. [Times (1999)]

Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

In most places across America, nursing homes are facing an acute shortage of workers to take care of the country’s growing population of aging and disabled patients. But not in Florida. A Kaiser Family Foundation report published this month...
Updated one month ago
Dr. Murray Shames, right, is the division chief and program director of vascular surgery at Tampa General Hospital and USF Health. He's also a lead researcher in early clinical testing of a new device used to treat often-fatal abdominal aortic aneurysms. [Courtesy of Tampa General Hospital]

So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

TAMPA — Dr. Murray Shames holds a flexible, lightweight tube as wide as two garden hoses pushed together in his office at Tampa General Hospital. The polyester tube, and its thinner fastening branches with metal wiring, will be attached inside...
Updated one month ago
The Health Department in Pinellas, under director Dr. Ulyee Choe, has identified several priorities for 2018, including access to care, mental health and substance abuse, access to transportation, socioeconomic factors and collaborative partnerships.

How can City Hall improve our health? A new push in Pinellas hopes to show the way.

The charitable organization that owns a 20 percent stake in St. Petersburg’s Bayfront Health hospital is working with local governments to improve the public’s health, part of a strategy to make a difference in new and often subtle ways. The...
Updated one month ago