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

Email: sutton@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SuttonTimes

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  1. Soul Injury Ceremony aims to ease the pains of veterans, others

    Health

    Deborah Grassman has made it her life's work to ease veterans' last days on earth. So she immediately knew what might help a man she met two years ago in an Ohio veterans home.

    As a soldier in the Vietnam War, he couldn't get leave for the funeral of his brother, who was killed in combat. By the time he did go home, his brother was long buried, and no one wanted to talk about it.

    For decades, the surviving soldier kept his grief buried, too. But as his own death neared, he needed resolution....

    Deborah Grassman
  2. Baby boomers have changed Road Scholar, CEO says

    Health

    Back in January, I wrote about our plan to bicycle from Berlin to Prague, using it as motivation to keep our 2014 fitness resolutions.

    The trip (which you can read about at tbtim.es/biketour), did indeed serve that purpose. But it turned out to be good for us in other ways, too.

    On the physical side, it's the only time in my life I have ever eaten absolutely everything I wanted, and still dropped 5 pounds. ...

    Though most of the 12-day Berlin-to-Prague journey in late May was warm and dry, the intrepid cyclists were glad to see downtown Dresden (and a two-night hotel stay) just ahead as they prepared to cross the Elbe River after a rainy day of riding.
  3. Storybook charm and scars of war line bike path from Berlin to Prague

    Travel

    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....

    After a rainy day on the bikes, downtown Dresden was a welcome sight for the cyclists as they stopped for a photo before crossing the Elbe River and wheeling into town.
  4. Mindful eating could be the healthy dietary change you need

    Health

    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....

  5. Nifty items can help bicyclists beat the heat

    Health

    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....

    The Relaj Shape water bottle developed by a Tampa couple lets riders stay hydrated without blocking their vision.
  6. Avoiding the HPV vaccine for your kids? Maybe it's time to reconsider

    Health

    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. ...

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

    Health

    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. 
JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times
  8. Crist touts 'fairness' plan

    Blog

     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:...

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

    Blog

    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....

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

    Medicine

    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:...

  11. Cyclists and motorists are both responsible for road safety

    Health

    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. ...

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

    Health

    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. ...

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

    Health

    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.
  14. Shingles vaccine is pricey, but could be a wise investment

    Health

    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....

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

    Health

    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....