Charlotte Sutton, Senior Editor/Health and Politics

Charlotte Sutton

Charlotte Sutton is senior editor/health and politics, at the Tampa Bay Times. Since moving to Florida in 1986 she has covered news all over the state, including hurricanes, politics, arts and entertainment. She and her husband, a writer and teacher, live in St. Petersburg.

Phone: (727) 893-8425


Twitter: @SuttonTimes

  1. Storybook charm and scars of war line bike path from Berlin to Prague


    BAD SCHANDAU, Germany

    Clustered about as closely as 19 adults and bicycles could, we gathered alongside a steep, two-lane road in a part of eastern Germany nicknamed the "Saxon Switzerland'' for its rugged beauty.

    Our mission: Join the uphill parade of cars, trucks, buses and RVs, without benefit of a bike lane or even a ditch to plunge into if all else failed.

    Our goal: A lovely old spa town nestled along the Elbe River near the Czech border....

    Kate Kaufman snaps a photo of the Albrechtsburg castle and Meissen Cathedral from the path leading to Meissen, Germany, northwest of Dresden.
  2. Mindful eating could be the healthy dietary change you need


    What if it turns out that how we eat is just as essential to our health as what we eat?

    Our cover story today focuses on the importance to children of the family meal. Gathering at the table at least a few times a week, numerous studies indicate, is essential to healthy emotional and physical development.

    But this isn't just kids' stuff.

    Mindful eating — the exact opposite of what our dashboard dining culture promotes with every drive-through window — is a hot topic in nutrition research....

  3. Nifty items can help bicyclists beat the heat


    One of the interesting features of living in Florida is that Labor Day doesn't really mark the end of summer. The calendar says September, but we can fully expect to keep on sweating for weeks and even months.

    On Oct. 5, my husband, some friends and I will be getting on our bikes and — we intend — riding farther than we ever have before. Some time ago, we signed up for the Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life event, and decided to go for the 62-mile course starting at Fort De Soto and winding through St. Petersburg. This is also known as a "metric century,'' as it's equal to 100 kilometers....

    A Tampa couple designed the Relaj Shape water bottle especially for cyclists after their son made a comment while watching the Tour de France.
  4. Avoiding the HPV vaccine for your kids? Maybe it's time to reconsider


    If you have an adolescent son or daughter, you might be wrestling with a big question: Whether to get your child the HPV vaccine.

    Unlike other vaccines, this one isn't a requirement to go to school, and a lot of Florida parents are declining it. In fact, we have the second-worst HPV vaccination rate in the nation. Just a quarter of girls ages 13 to 17 (and even fewer boys) have received all three doses of the vaccination needed to protect against the human papillomavirus. ...

  5. Tanning is popular — especially with teens — but unhealthy


    Do you think you look better with a tan?

    A lot of us naturally pale people do. Fashion historians date the advent of the stylish suntan to 1923, when Coco Chanel came back from a Riviera cruise on the Duke of Westminster's yacht sporting a bronze tint. Not long after, Vogue started using tanned models, and that was that.

    About 50 years later, I was a child with my nose perpetually in a book. I remember my mother insisting I read in the back yard so that I could "get some color.''...

    Experts say the average adult needs 1 ounce, or “one shot glass,” of sunscreen for full coverage. 
  6. Crist touts 'fairness' plan


     Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist today in St. Petersburg announced what he's calling his "First Day of Fairness'' plan,  listing what he would do on his very first day in office if elected governor. In addition to longer-term issues such as Medicaid expansion -- which would require the Legislature's approval, no sure thing in Florida as Gov. Rick Scott knows well -- Crist highlighted these points in an appearance at the Enoch Davis Center:...

  7. Physician groups slam "Docs vs. Glocks'' ruling


    Friday's decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Florida's law against physicians asking patients about guns prompted sharply worded statements Monday from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

    An earlier injunction blocking enforcement of the "physician gag law,'' also known as "docs vs. Glocks'' remains in effect while the full court considers an appeal by the plaintiffs to rehear the case. The pediatrician's group said Monday it is urging its members to keep asking parents whether they have guns at home, and if so whether they are stored safely....

  8. How lessons from auto racing are helping with patient safety


    Even if you're not a fan of auto racing, a pit crew at work is a marvelous sight. Moving with practiced precision, the team changes tires, refuels, adjusts, repairs and gets the driver back on the course — in seconds.

    After a 12-hour heart transplant surgery some years ago, two British physicians relaxing in front of a break room TV saw a Formula One crew in action and had a revelation:...

  9. Cyclists and motorists are both responsible for road safety


    Our cover model today, former St. Petersburg City Council member Leslie Curran, is a living billboard for bike helmets. The 2010 cycling accident that put her in a coma for nearly two weeks would have been fatal, her doctor says, if not for her helmet.

    She's in good company. After I shared the story of my own low-speed tumble last month, a number of you wrote to tell me about spills in which you cracked your helmets — but not your skulls. ...

  10. On streets or trails, a bike helmet could save your life


    I am not the most graceful person. Sports that require contact between a ball and a club, racquet or bat are not my thing. I like to dance, but you wouldn't want to see me do it.

    Learning to ride a bike did not come easily, but I've become a pretty good cyclist. City streets, rutted trails — I have navigated all without hospitalization.

    But I always wear a helmet when I ride, well aware that I could fall over at any minute. ...

  11. 'Decoding Annie Parker' could inspire patient participation in health decisions


    In a summer movie blockbuster season filled with dragons, apes and Transformers, it should not be surprising that a film about a patient and a scientist unraveling the mysteries of hereditary breast cancer is not getting a run at your local multiplex.

    But whatever Decoding Annie Parker lacks in box office potential, it could well make up as a conversation starter.

    Parker's true story — she is now a three-time cancer survivor — is undeniably compelling, as is the story of how the "breast cancer gene'' was identified. ...

    Decoding Annie Parker stars Samantha Morton as a patient in search of answers.
  12. Shingles vaccine is pricey, but could be a wise investment


    Much as I enjoy keeping up with friends, cat videos and the wisdom of George Takei, I try not to spend too much time on Facebook. Depending on my mood, it can seem like everybody is having more fun than me, takes better pictures and makes superior restaurant choices.

    But the other day, I saw a post that spoke to me. A high school friend announced that she shelled out $224 to get a shingles vaccination at her local supermarket. She noted that her health insurance would have covered her treatment had she actually come down with this painful adult consequence of childhood chicken pox, but given that she's much closer to age 50 than 60, the vaccine is not covered....

  13. Charlotte Sutton: Health care lessons fit for the season


    This is graduation season, so advice is flying thick and fast.

    I am still benefiting from wisdom dispensed when I finished high school and was preparing for college.

    Dad's was poetic: "To thine own self be true.'' Mom's was reassuring: "You can always come home.'' My brother, then a college senior, kept it basic: "Never drink the punch at frat parties.''

    If an 18-year-old were to ask me for one piece of advice, I would go with my brother's. Terrible things can happen to young women — and men — who don't know exactly what is in their beverages....

  14. 107 miles in 2 days by bike: Could we do it?


    Ever so briefly last Saturday morning, it seemed like riding our bikes 107 miles in two days was going to be a little easier than we'd thought.

    Despite our best efforts and a GPS, we were among the last cyclists to arrive at Bok Tower in Lake Wales, the starting line of Bike MS: The Citrus Tour. This is a wonderful annual event that drew around 1,000 cyclists, and not just because it raises money ($689,311 to be exact) to fight multiple sclerosis. It's great fun and meticulously organized — with a firm rule that latecomers will be driven with their bikes to catch up with other riders at the first rest stop....

    Charlotte Sutton and Logan Mabe learned a lot while digging in and powering through Bike MS.
  15. Best hospital ratings evaluate health care, not amenities


    Not long ago, I went to visit a friend at a hospital in Georgia.

    A valet stood ready to whisk my car away. A stop at the gift shop for flowers nearly turned into a spree, they had so many wonderful tchotchkes on display. The glass atrium was full of light, soft music and chic furnishings, like a fancy spa hotel. Near the elevators stood a life-sized, cut-out image of a chef who promised to delight the palates of the most discerning patients....