Sam Ogozalek - Health Reporter

Health Reporter

I’m here to help you navigate the confounding, complex U.S. health care system — especially as it relates to mental and behavioral health — and to hold institutions accountable for your quality of care. Do you have a story to tell? Let’s talk. I’m from a rural town in upstate New York and attended Syracuse University, where I edited The Daily Orange, the school’s independent student newspaper. When I’m not working, I love to hike, especially in the Big Cypress. If you have trail recommendations, reach out any time.

  1. Sam Caudle, 33, of New Port Richey, attempts to dry the floor of the home he owns in Tarpon Springs after it flooded due to Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.
  2. University of South Florida police said a man was found dead in a campus parking lot early Saturday.
  3. The shootout happened at the Hidden River Parkway-East Fletcher Avenue intersection after the man crashed his car into a retention pond, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
  4. Three parents who sought an injunction against Florida's rules barring treatment for children with gender dysphoria were granted it by a judge on Tuesday.
  5. A digital illustration in bright Copic marker and pencil shows a cluster of realistically drawn Amanita muscaria mushrooms in different phases of growth, from the button stage to fully mature. These mushrooms have a distinct red cap covered in small, white nubs, which give it a spotted appearance. The gills and stem are a cream white color.
  6. A Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital psychologist offers tips for parents struggling with the teen mental health crisis. This is the St. Petersburg hospital pictured in 2020.
  7. A worker registers patients to be tested for COVID-19 at a site on Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon campus in 2022.
  8. A new sexual assault crisis facility at 201 14th Ave. SE in Ruskin will administer rape exams for victims in southern Hillsborough County. The nonprofit Crisis Center of Tampa Bay plans to open the facility Monday.
  9. A view of the staff work areas at Metro Inclusive Health’s new clinic, at 2235 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, on April 20. The nonprofit is expanding around Tampa Bay this year.
  10. Workers register and test patients for COVID-19 at a site on Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon campus on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week that its virus risk levels for Florida counties “may be underestimated and should be interpreted with caution.”
  11. The Bonati Spine institute, seen here March 17, 2023 in Hudson, appears unlikely to reopen its surgical center any time soon after a Florida appellate court recently denied a request from the facility’s lawyers. Health care regulators shut it down in mid-March.
  12. Protesters hold cardboard signs shaped like tombstones in front of the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport in early August 2022 as the Florida Board of Medicine meets inside. A group of parents and transgender children filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the medical board, among others, for its ban on gender-affirming care for youth.
  13. David Shern, who was chairperson of Florida’s 1999 Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, displays the group’s 2001 report at his home office in Hillsborough County on Feb. 2.
  14. The exterior of the the Bonati Spine Institute is seen Friday, March 17, 2023 in Hudson. The surgical center at the institute has been shut down after Florida health care regulators suspended the center’s license.
  15. A Sunstar Ambulance leaves Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor. A person in southwest Florida recently died from a brain-eating amoeba infection.
  16. The transgender pride flag.
  17. Lorraine Langlois, CEO of Metro Inclusive Health, will retire in December, according to the nonprofit’s board of directors.
  18. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, center, flanked by Jim Millican, division chief with the Lealman Fire District, left, and Ulyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, speaks to reporters on Jan. 30, 2023, at the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County in Clearwater.
  19. New rules from the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine will bar doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgeries to treat new patients younger than 18 for gender dysphoria. Kaleb Hobson-Garcia, a transgender man, drove from Tallahassee to speak during a press conference in front of the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport as the Board of Medicine met in August 2022.
  20. Transgender youth in Florida seeking to start puberty blockers and hormone therapy will have no access to treatment in the state once a pending ban takes effect — not even in clinical trials. A St. Petersburg man carries a transgender flag at an event at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square hosted by PFLAG Tampa on Nov. 20.
  21. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s community chart on Feb. 3 shows Florida counties at different COVID-19 risk levels. Green is “low” risk, yellow is “medium” risk and orange is “high” risk.
  22. Protesters held cardboard signs shaped like tombstones in front of the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport in early August 2022 as the Florida Board of Medicine met to discuss a proposed rule to ban transition-related medical treatment for transgender minors. A public hearing on the pending restrictions is set for Feb. 10.
  23. The bodies of a 70-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman were found inside a home in the 1800 block of Stancel Drive in unincorporated Clearwater on Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. The two died  “from apparent gunshot wounds,” Sgt. Amanda Sinni, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, told the Times. The man and woman were identified Saturday morning.