Lorna Benson, MPR.org/100.5 FM
October marks the official start of flu season, and already sporadic cases are appearing in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health's first weekly influenza report for the season, released Thursday, confirmed three flu hospitalizations and one outbreak of influenza-like illness in a school. Light flu activity is typical in October and does not necessarily signal an early start to the season. But health officials say flu cases can surge at any point, so people shouldn't delay getting vaccinated.
Ashlea Burns' baby could easily have become another tragic statistic illustrating Minnesota's infant mortality disparities. Two months ago, Burns had just finished dinner when she started experiencing labor contractions. It was way too early in her pregnancy for her to have a healthy baby. "I was like 25 weeks," said Burns, who is African-American. "Scary. Very scary." Burns, of St. Paul, was admitted to the hospital, where doctors gave her medication to stop her labor.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota hospitals are in a heightened state of readiness following confirmation this week of the first U.S. case of Ebola in Texas. Hennepin County Medical Center already had a four-hour Ebola preparedness drill in the works before the Dallas case surfaced. HCMC says the drill showed its staff is ready to properly handle any Ebola patients they might receive, though doctors and nurses did find a few things they want to tweak. Most of the lessons learned during HCMC’s preparedness drill were minor.
Chaz Saxon knew he was gambling with his health when he repeatedly engaged in unprotected sex with multiple male partners throughout the past 20 years. Saxon of Minneapolis worked as a prostitute with a male clientele in his early 20s and has lost close friends to AIDS-related complications. That scared him. But it didn’t make him any more willing to use condoms. “I had the mentality thinking of you know, ‘If I get it, I get it.
Aurora Adams came out as a woman last year. But her path to such a pivotal moment has been a complicated, lonely journey — marked by years of depression and anxiety that continue to take a toll on her mental health. Born male, Adams can hardly remember a time when she didn’t feel ostracized for expressing interests that others viewed as feminine. School was a source of constant stress. “I’d get locked out of classroom doors. I’d be shoved into the girls’ locker room. I’d be told by people that I should kill myself,” recalled Adams, 27.
MINNEAPOLIS — Inside the cavernous Base Camp facility at Fort Snelling, a long line of cancer survivors made a slow procession around the perimeter of the former cavalry drill hall where a century ago Army troops trained their horses. Their presence at a gathering of American Indians is solemn, supportive and startling. “A lot of survivors,” the master of ceremonies announced over a drumbeat.