Christopher O'Donnell - Health and Medicine Reporter

Health and Medicine Reporter

I’m a political junkie and I love literature so this job fits like a glove. But journalism wasn’t my first career. I was born and grew up in England and programmed computers for a living. I switched to reporting when I moved to Florida in 2001. I got my first break at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune after earning a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. I joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2016 after a three-year stint at the Tampa Tribune, where I covered city halls on both sides of Tampa Bay. When I’m not shouting at cable news, I love watching real football from England (alright, soccer) and riding my road bike on trails.

  1. Derek Sanz, liver transplant donor, on left, looks on as his mom Patricia Sanz, liver transplant recipient, smiles while answering questions during a press conference at Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday, The procedure was a first for Tampa General's Transplant Institute, which the hospital hopes will expand access to lifesaving liver transplantation for patients with end-stage liver disease and liver cancer.
  2. Judy Karpinski, 59, was told she had skin cancer in 2021. She later learned that was not the case but she didn't have many options. Here, Karpinski and her husband John Karpinski, 73, are pictured in St. Pete Beach on March 3, 2023.
  3. Nearly 250,000 Medicaid recipients have lost coverage in Florida since the state began reviewing the eligibility of close to 5 million people in April.
  4. Nearly 250,000 Medicaid recipients have lost coverage in Florida since the state began reviewing the eligibility of close to 5 million people in April.
  5. Ángel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza, 17, of Honduras, died May 10 at the Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Children Services shelter for migrant children in Safety Harbor.
  6. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, left, and Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, center, speak to reporters following a tour of a shelter for migrant children in downtown Safety Harbor run by Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services.
  7. Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services operates a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children at 101 Main St. in downtown Safety Harbor.
  8. Kanika Tomalin, who served as deputy mayor for St. Petersburg during the Rick Kriseman administration, will take over as leader of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg in June.
  9. Tampa General Hospital's safety rating from independent nonprofit The Leapfrog Group slipped from a B to a C. Across the nation, hospital acquired infections like MRSA rose during the pandemic, the group's latest analysis found.
  10. Florida, once a destination for women seeking an abortion, now has one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation. And many women don't know they're pregnant before 6 weeks. Jazmyn Williams, 22, of St. Petersburg raises a fist and marches during an abortion protest on Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Tampa, Florida.
  11. HCA Florida Bayonet Point Hospital in Hudson is seen Feb. 7. A study from a union that represents health care workers is accusing HCA of putting patient safety at risk by deliberately understaffing its hospitals to maximize profits.
  12. Shannon Watkins, 42, of Gibsonton, center, uses BIONIK Lab’s InMotion ARM as part of her recovery regimen at Tampa General Hospital's rehabilitation facility on W. Kennedy Boulevard. The device uses artificial intelligence to detect gaps in a patient's motor skills. Watkins suffered a stroke earlier this month that limited movement in the left side of her body.
  13. A photo released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office shows the field behind a neighborhood near the 1100 block of Will Scarlett Avenue in Ruskin, where a burning body was found on Saturday. Detectives have launched a homicide investigation and were working to identify the person.
  14. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, left, speaks at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. State officials removed data from a state analysis of cardiac-related deaths that Ladapo used in October to justify his recommendation that young men should not get the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The missing data showed that catching the virus created a far higher risk of a heart-related death.
  15. BayCare Health System has named Philip Minden as the new president of St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.
  16. Health care advocates are warning that close to a million Floridians could lose health insurance when the state in April begins a review of the eligibility of almost 5 million Medicaid recipients.
  17. Florida lawmakers are expanding eligibility for KidCare, a health insurance program, but there is no move to follow North Carolina, where lawmakers recently voted to expand Medicaid to an estimated 600,000 residents. The Florida Capitol in Tallahassee is pictured above.
  18. Freah Lewis, 10, plays EndeavorRx at her home in Port Richey. The game is the first video-game therapy to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
  19. BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel opened its doors to patients today. The $246 million hospital broke ground in December 2020.
  20. A rendering of a ProteusONE proton therapy system. The device shoots protons at tumors and cancer cells and can be used at higher doses than traditional radiation therapy. Both Tampa General Hospital's Cancer Institute and Moffitt Cancer Center are planning to offer the treatment.
  21. Rodney Boblitt stands on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. After patrolling the beaches following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Boblitt suffered memory problems and other health issues. Like thousands of other cleanup workers, he is suing BP, which denies any link between the spill and their illnesses.
  22. The Florida High School Athletic Association is expected to bring to an end the controversy over a proposal that would have required female student athletes to disclose their menstruation history.
  23. The exterior of HCA Florida Bayonet Point Hospital in Hudson. The hospital threatened employees who were discussing unionization with termination or other reprisals, according to the National Labor Relations Board.