Thursday, May 24, 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.

At Tampa General Hospital, USF Health physician Dr. Thomas Rutherford, right, is using a procedure on patients with ovarian cancer that involves flushing the abdominal area with a concentrated, heated chemotherapy solution. Out of the 22 ovarian cancer patients he previously treated with the method in Connecticut, only one developed cancer again. [Photo courtesy of Tampa General Hospital]

Heated chemo is the key as Tampa General doctor tackles ovarian cancer

Over the span of three weeks, Brenda Gotlen watched as her abdomen got bigger. Her lower stomach felt bloated."It got to the point that I looked nine months pregnant," said Gotlen, a 62-year-old Seffner resident. She made an appointment...
Published: 05/15/18
A new study by a team of researchers at the University of South Florida has found that inducing labor at 39 weeks of pregnancy can result in fewer complications than if induction occurs at the more traditional 41 weeks. [Associated Press (2005)]

USF study: Inducing labor at 39 weeks may be better for mother and baby

TAMPA — A new study suggests that many first-time mothers might want to consider an alternative to the traditional "watch and wait" approach of allowing a pregnancy to run up to 41 weeks.For those who are healthy, inducing labor at 39 weeks...
Published: 05/09/18

Police investigating if St. Pete man died after vaping pen exploded in his face

ST. PETERSBURG — A man died in a Historic Old Northeast house fire that may have been caused by a vape pen explosion, authorities said Saturday. Fire Rescue was called to a home early Saturday on the 300 block of 19th Avenue North after they...
Published: 05/05/18
Updated: 05/15/18
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a complaint against a Miami restaurant, Icebox Cafe, for misleading patrons that it sold locally-sourced food. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

Miami restaurant faces charges for farm-to-table scam

A local restaurant in Miami faces charges for allegedly claiming ingredients on their menu were locally sourced, when they were not. Attorney Genera Pam Bondi filed a complaint Friday against Icebox Cafe and Icebox Cafe at MIA, LLC, for...
Updated one month ago
Elisha Creighton, of Dade City, kisses her daughter, Matayah, in the Jennifer Leigh Muma Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tampa General Hospital. A new camera system in the unit allows relatives and friends to keep track of the newborns from afar. Matayah was born on March 16 at 24 weeks. Creighton says the human contact made possible by the livestream has helped with her breast milk production. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

Cameras offer peace of mind to parents of babies in intensive care

TAMPA — When Matayah Creighton was born, she weighed just 1 pound, 7 ounces.Elisha Creighton feared the worst for her small, but big-eyed daughter when physicians at Tampa General Hospital told her the baby was coming nearly...
Updated one month ago
Deanna Recktenwald's Apple Watch told her to

‘Seek medical attention,’ her Apple Watch said. Good thing she did.

Deanna Recktenwald remembers feeling slightly out of breath. But she chalked it up to being out of shape."I used to play volleyball at school. I was on the cheerleading squad and I was a gymnast for 13 years, but I hadn’t been active in a...
Updated one month ago
Medical marijuana comes in many forms, including this oil pill. More and more patients are seeking access to the substance for their health problems. Florida now count more than 100,000 registered medical marijuana patients, the state health department reported this week. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida...
Updated one month ago
CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
Ronald Sanders, 49, said he was paying $750 a month to sleep in this bedroom at the assisted living facility at 3418 2nd Ave S, St. Petersburg, Fla. shut down by St. Petersburg Police Department Thursday, April 19, 2018. The police closed two assisted living facilities located at 3434 2nd Ave S and 3418 2nd Ave S, St. Petersburg, Fla.. Both homes are run by Tampa Bay Behavioral Health. Officers discovered deplorable conditions in the homes, including no running water, no power, and broken windows. Drug paraphernalia was also found. At this time, nine disabled adults have been confirmed displaced. However, there could be more. A number of agencies are at the scene to help find new homes for the residents.

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts...
Updated one month ago
Teressa Russell, a professional medical simulation patient from USF's medical school, plays the part of difficult patient and is restrained by pediatric residents at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. The hospital's simulation center is moving into new, larger quarters this year. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]

Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

When the patient got violent, Dr. Michelle Hidalgo didn’t have time to think. She had to react. The woman was moving strangely and seemed erratic. Hidalgo had to make a tough call — it was time to physically restrain her for everyone’s...
Updated one month ago
A judge in Tallahassee has ruled in favor of Joe Redner, the Tampa strip club owner who is challenging the state in court, saying he has the right to grow marijuana for medical purposes in his back yard. [Times (2007)]

Judge: Joe Redner can legally grow his own marijuana

A court ruled Wednesday that Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner can grow his own marijuana for medical purposes, a decision that lawyers say could lead to a wave of similar cases.The ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers applies only...
Updated one month ago