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Kathleen McGrory, Times Staff Writer

Kathleen McGrory

Kathleen McGrory is a health and medicine reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. Before joining the newspaper in 2015, she spent seven years as a metro reporter for the Miami Herald and two years as a government reporter in the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau. She speaks Spanish and holds degrees from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Phone: (727) 893-8330

Email: kmcgrory@tampabay.com

Twitter: @kmcgrory

 

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  1. For people with dementia, new devices bring music that awakens the past

    Health

    PALM HARBOR — Pearl Leimbach sometimes struggles to remember the vibrant life she lived in Maryland, and the people who now care for her in Palm Harbor.

    She's 91 and suffers from dementia.

    But when she slipped on a pair of headphones at the St. Mark Village nursing home on a recent afternoon, she instantly recognized the upbeat holiday tunes from her childhood.

    "Oh, Christmas music!" said the woman once known as Toots, a smile spreading across her lips....

    St. Mark Village resident Pearl Leimbach, 91, who has dementia, listens to music on her new MP3 player with the help of Kimberly Glem, Care Center Life Enrichment Director at St. Mark Village, on May 24, 2016. Twenty MP3 players were donated to residents of the Palm Harbor nursing facility as part of the Timeless Tunes program of the Alzheimer's Association Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. Seventy care facilities in Pinellas County are receiving players from the program. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Ranking rates St. Petersburg among the worst cities for skin cancer risk

    Health

    ST. PETERSBURG — Living in a place called the Sunshine City has its benefits.

    This isn't one of them.

    Gloriously sunny St. Petersburg is among the worst cities in the nation for your skin, according to a new analysis by the online finance network WalletHub.

    The study , which ranked 150 U.S. cities from best to worst, examined factors such as climate, melanoma incidence rate, skin-cancer death rate, and number of tanning salons for every 100,000 people....

    Dr. Vernon Sondak is the chair of the Department of Cutaneous Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center. [Courtesy of Moffitt Cancer Center]
  3. For pregnant women in Tampa Bay, a lack of answers heightens worries about Zika

    Health

    TAMPA — Rosa Mayerly Velasquez was overjoyed to learn in January that she was pregnant.

    But her excitement quickly turned into anxiety.

    Weeks earlier, Velasquez, 33, and her husband had visited family in Colombia, a country that has seen an alarming spike in Zika infections and birth defects linked to the mosquito-borne virus.

    She didn't experience the fever, headaches or rashes that typically signal an infection, she said. But then again, most people who have the virus don't realize it....

    Rosa Mayerly Velasquez and her husband, Francisco Acevedo, visited family in Cali, Colombia, in December.
  4. Times outdoors editor Terry Tomalin dies after heart attack

    Obituaries

    ST. PETERSBURG — He once lived with witch doctors in the wilds of Amazonia. He sailed to Cuba and swam around Key West.

    Terry Tomalin, the Tampa Bay Times' larger-than-life outdoors editor, traveled Florida and the world to take readers on extraordinary adventures. He died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 55.

    Mr. Tomalin had been at the North Shore Aquatic Center in St. Petersburg with his 14-year-old son Kai; the two were taking a life guarding test together. He collapsed and never regained consciousness, his family said....

    WaterTribe kayakers Jon Willis, left, and Terry Tomalin utilize a small sail taking advantage of a strong wind  while crossing Tampa Bay during the WaterTribe Cruising Challenge. [DOUGLAS CLIFFORD | Times (2001)]
  5. New Obamacare rule protects the rights of transgender patients

    Health

    Allowing public school students nationwide to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity wasn't the only step the Obama administration took toward promoting transgender equality last week.

    The administration also finalized a rule protecting individuals from discrimination in health care, including discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping.

    The 362-page rule, which executes a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, drew less attention than Obama's directive for public schools. But Hannah Willard, of the advocacy group Equality Florida, called it "especially huge" because transgender people routinely face discrimination in health care....

    A new federal rule will prohibit insurance companies from categorically denying coverage to gay, lesbian and transgender invidiuals. [Getty Images]
  6. Behind the scenes at the doctor's office, a new business model aims to keep you out of the hospital

    Health

    TAMPA — Dr. Christopher Pittman's vein care practice looks like a typical doctor's office. Patients read magazines in a nicely appointed waiting area. Physicians scan medical charts and prepare for procedures.

    Under the hood, however, it is a unique operation.

    The practice, Vein911, is a member of the Tampa Bay Integrated Healthcare Network, a group of 150 local doctors working together to contain costs....

    Dr. Chris Pittman prepares client Jennifer Concepcion for a procedure last week at his offices in Tampa. Dr. Pittman’s practice, Vein911, belongs to the Tampa Bay Integrated Healthcare Network.
  7. Pinellas County has its first Zika case; brings Florida total to 107

    Health

    The first case of Zika has been recorded in Pinellas County, the state Department of Health said Monday. The person who contracted the virus had recently traveled to the Dominican Republic.

    The Pinellas case — along with a case that was reported Monday in Orange County — brings the total number in Florida to 107. All have been related to travel abroad.

    The Zika virus can be troubling for women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. Federal health officials recently concluded it can cause babies to be born with birth defects, including an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain. ...

    State health officials say they have identified the first case of Zika virus in Pinellas County. [Associated Press]
  8. Dental care in the ER is costing us millions — and not helping patients

    Health

    Dental problems are driving a growing number of Floridians to the emergency room — and costing taxpayers millions of dollars, according to a new study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry.

    The study found the number of dental-related visits to Florida emergency departments surged from 104,642 in 2005 to 163,900 in 2014, an increase of about 57 percent.

    The total charges over that period increased more than threefold, reaching $193.4 million in 2014. Roughly half was billed to Medicaid or Medicare....

    Diana Chavez, 30, has her teeth cleaned at Tampa Family Health Center in Tampa. Chavez paid $20 out-of-pocket.
  9. Under congressional pressure, Florida officials elaborate on drop in HIV cases

    State Roundup

    After weeks of not answering questions on controversial revisions to the state HIV count, the Florida Department of Health has released more detailed information on the state's calculations.

    In a list of frequently asked questions posted Friday to the Department of Health's website, officials said they send information about all new HIV cases to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC then identifies cases that may have been counted in more than one state and asks those health departments to decide where the case was first diagnosed....

  10. After a patient dies, guardians say care at Pinellas Park's GraceWood nursing home is lacking

    Nursing Homes

    As investigators probe potential abuse at a Pinellas Park nursing home, some guardians are speaking out about what they say is substandard care at the facility.

    Fernando Gutierrez, the guardian of a 65-year-old man who died Saturday after spending hours in the sun, said Monday he plans to remove his other 10 clients from GraceWood Rehabilitation and Nursing Care.

    "In good conscience, I cannot leave them there," Gutierrez said Monday....

  11. As Bayfront Health St. Petersburg steadies its finances, charity care takes a hit

    Health

    ST. PETERSBURG — Behind the thick wooden doors of the operating suite at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, surgeons use a new $2 million robot to perform precise movements inside a patient.

    Look around and there is more: special lighting, new anesthesia machines, new instruments — just a few of the upgrades totaling $60 million that have been made throughout the hospital over the last three years....

    Since being purchased by Community Health Systems in 2014, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg is undergoing a financial transformation. The once-struggling hospital is now turning double digit profits.
  12. Members of Congress demand answers from Gov. Rick Scott on revised HIV numbers

    Health

    Eleven members of Florida's Congressional Delegation are pressing Gov. Rick Scott to explain how the state changed its count of new HIV cases amid a controversy over the numbers.

    The members, a mix of Democrats and Republicans representing districts from North Florida to the Keys, sent Scott a letter Thursday demanding to know why the state health department revised the number of new infections reported in 2014 from 6,147 to 4,613....

    Tyrone Singletary squeezes Timothy Paul Davis' finger while administering an HIV test on World AIDS day on Dec. 1, 2015 in St. Petersburg. The number of new HIV cases has become an issue in Florida, where members of Congress on Thursday demanded that Gov. Rick Scott explain the sudden and large revisions to the state's HIV statistics earlier this year. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  13. Local experts tout anti­mosquito measures as warmer weather heightens the threat of Zika

    Health

    TAMPA — With the warm and wet summer months fast approaching, officials said Tuesday that Tampa Bay area residents can — and should — take steps to prevent getting Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that has quickly become a major international health concern.

    Their primary focus: women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant this summer. U.S. Health Department officials confirmed this month that Zika can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an unusually small head size....

    Officials met in this Tampa back yard with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor to show how the public can help control the virus. 
  14. Surprise discovery of brain tumor ends in relief, recovery for 15-year-old Valrico girl

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — For Ashlee Gordon, the double vision came and went.

    Her doctors had different theories over the years. One thought it was an eye problem. Another suggested it was allergies. Another still said Ashlee was perfectly fine.

    But when the 15-year-old from Valrico started seeing black spots, her mother decided to get to the bottom of it.

    Last Thursday, mother and daughter went to an optometrist at Brandon Town Center Mall. Dr. Sylvia Bernatsky performed the usual battery of eye exams; everything seemed normal....

    Ashlee Gordon, 15, recovers at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg on Friday, April 22, 2016 following surgery to remove a tumor from her brain. She wore sunglasses to keep light out of her eyes and alternated a patch from eye to eye to prevent her from seeing double. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  15. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor calls for federal review of Florida's shifting HIV statistics

    Health

    U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, is calling for a federal investigation into the "dramatic" changes made to Florida's HIV statistics.

    Earlier this year, the state department of health changed the number of new HIV cases reported in 2014 from 6,147 to 4,613. State health officials said the 25 percent adjustment was routine.

    But the revision was significantly larger than any revision made in recent years, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found. What's more, it was made as state lawmakers grilled Florida's top health official over a reported spike in new HIV infections....

    Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell speak at a 2014 press conference at the University of South Florida. Castor wrote Burwell on Tuesday, asking for a federal investigation into Florida's adjustements to its HIV statistics. [Skip O'Rourke, Tampa Bay Times]