Jackie Farwell

Jackie Farwell

Health Editor

Jackie Farwell of Gorham is the health care editor for the Bangor Daily News. Farwell began her career with the newspaper after graduating from the University of Maine's journalism program in 2004. She left in 2006 for a job with The Associated Press in New York, later returning to Maine to become a senior writer at business magazine Mainebiz. Farwell rejoined the Bangor Daily News in 2011 and works from the Portland area. She covers health issues that directly affect Maine residents.

Did legalizing medical pot save some Mainers from prescription painkiller deaths?

on Sept. 04, 2015, at 5 a.m.
Maine knows all too well the potential dangers of narcotic painkillers. Many a journey down the dark path of addiction begins with a prescription for Vicodin, oxycodone or similar medications, though heroin has taken center stage in Maine’s battle against drug abuse. But could another drug hold answers to preventing overdose …

Did legalizing medical pot save some Mainers from prescription painkiller deaths?

on Sept. 04, 2015, at 5 a.m.
Maine knows all too well the potential dangers of narcotic painkillers. Many a journey down the dark path of addiction begins with a prescription for Vicodin, oxycodone or similar medications, though heroin has taken center stage in Maine’s battle against drug abuse. But could another drug hold answers to preventing overdose …
Portland Community Health Center medical assistant Shelby Heggeman (right) prepares a vaccination on March 9, 2015.

CDC: Fewer Maine parents rejecting vaccines

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 28, 2015, at 11:42 a.m.
Fewer Maine parents are refusing immunizations for their kindergartners, according to new federal data indicating a reversal in a growing trend toward skipping children’s shots. During the 2014-2015 school year, parents opted out of vaccines for 4.4 percent of Maine’s kindergarten students, ranking Maine 10th in the nation for vaccine …
Maine Coast Memorial Hospital

EMHS wins state approval to acquire Ellsworth hospital

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 26, 2015, at 1:26 p.m.
Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems has won state approval to acquire Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, moving one step closer to the end of the Ellsworth facility’s nearly 60 years as an independent organization. In an Aug. 21 letter, Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew …
Dr. Kevin Flanigan

MaineCare’s top doctor resigns

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 24, 2015, at 3:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Dr. Kevin Flanigan, the physician who oversaw Maine’s Medicaid program through significant policy changes enacted by Gov. Paul LePage, has resigned. Flanigan, who served as medical director for the MaineCare program since July 2011, accepted a position as chief medical, operations and information officer for the 25-bed …
Spectrum Health Systems announced Monday that it plans to close its addiction treatment center in Sanford.

Sanford methadone clinic to close, citing LePage policies

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 24, 2015, at 2:19 p.m.
A nonprofit addiction treatment agency will close its outpatient center in Sanford, blaming Gov. Paul LePage’s approach to combatting Maine’s drug abuse crisis. Spectrum Health Systems announced on Monday the planned closure of the methadone clinic, the Massachusetts-based agency’s only facility in Maine. Opened on Eagle Drive …
Chemist Jamie Foss demonstrates mass spectral analysis instruments at the state drug testing lab in Augusta recently.

Lab’s chemists on front lines of Maine’s war on deadly drugs

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 22, 2015, at 6:07 a.m.
AUGUSTA | In the basement of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, chemist John Bangeman inspects a roll of white powder compressed inside a small sheet of paper. It resembles an innocuous chunk of sidewalk chalk, but according to the Auburn Police Department, it’s a finger of …

Parents, beware: Head lice in Maine grow resistant to common treatments

on Aug. 19, 2015, at 10:32 a.m.
With fall fast approaching, it’s time for kids to head back to school. As students congregate in classrooms, stories of summer adventures aren’t the only thing they’ll be sharing. Head lice will make their dreaded, itchy appearance again this year. But now, the annoying little pests are harder to kill. A new analysis …
A measles vaccine is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California, in this February 2015 file photo.

Maine court rules state could order child’s vaccination against mother’s wishes

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 12, 2015, at 5:38 p.m.
PORTLAND | The state acted legally when it ordered immunizations for a child in its custody against the mother’s wishes, Maine’s highest court ruled Tuesday. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services took temporary custody of the 1-year-old after learning that the father was abusive to the boy’s …

How the pros kill ticks: Unwitting mice and deer get a dose of bug spray

on Aug. 11, 2015, at 4:06 p.m.
If anyone knows ticks in Maine, it’s the researchers at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute’s tick lab. They’ve been studying the eight-legged disease carriers for 26 years, learning about the deer tick’s emergence and rise to prevalence in our state. Now they’re sharing their expertise through a new website, TicksInMaine.com. …
The liquid form of methadone sits on a shelf in a locked closet at CAP Quality Care in Westbrook March 17. Addiction treatment advocates question Gov. Paul LePage's choice to not pursue a federal grant that would have provided up to $3 million to fund addiction treatment, including methadone and Suboxone regimens.

Drug treatment advocates question state’s choice to not pursue grant

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 07, 2015, at 5:15 p.m.
Maine substance abuse clinics are questioning why the state forfeited a chance to win potentially millions of federal grant dollars for addiction treatment. The clinics highlighted Gov. Paul LePage’s administration’s decision not to apply for the funds a day after saying they were never informed about other federal grants Maine …

Maine hospitals, like restaurants, get reviewed on Yelp

on Aug. 06, 2015, at 3:39 p.m.
Before today, the consumer review site Yelp was about the last place I’d look to find good medical care. Better known for restaurant and retail store critiques, Yelp’s been among several online repositories of physician and hospital reviews that relied solely on customer feedback — or as it’s known in health care, “patient …
Brent Miller, director of the Discovery House in Bangor

Clinics want addiction treatment funds LePage says are available

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 05, 2015, at 5:41 p.m.
Federal money set aside to help uninsured Mainers recover from substance abuse is sitting unused, with many addiction centers unaware of its existence. Gov. Paul LePage referenced the funding in his July 29 radio address, saying the Maine Department of Health and Human Services “has money available for drug treatment, …

Maine mom targets trampoline park after son’s broken leg

on July 29, 2015, at 4:43 p.m.
When Sarah Leavitt of Ellsworth took her family to an indoor trampoline park in Portland on Saturday, she never expected the trip would end five minutes later with a broken bone. In a Facebook post that has since garnered nearly 800 shares, Leavitt described how her 3-year-old son, Justin, broke …

Should the state disclose which Maine schools face disease outbreaks?

on July 27, 2015, at 4:44 p.m.
A little over a month ago, I asked the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to release the names of schools, camps and other sites where infectious diseases broke out during the last school year. The agency had just announced a record number of chickenpox cases among schoolchildren, but declined to identify …

Think you’re running your generator safely? You might not know these poisoning risks

on July 22, 2015, at 4:22 p.m.
The deaths of four young people in Byron late last week from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning was rare for the state of Maine. We don’t often see such poisonings when homeowners use generators for auxiliary power, as that group did to get a refrigerator running in an off-grid cabin, according to state toxicologist Dr. Andy …
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush smiles and applauds at an event honoring the 5,000th winner of the "Daily Point of Light" award in the East Room of the White House in Washington in this July 15, 2013 file photo.

Neck fracture caused no neurological problems for former president Bush

By Jackie Farwell on July 16, 2015, at 12:41 p.m.
PORTLAND | Former President George H.W. Bush suffered no neurological problems from a neck fracture that resulted from a fall at his home in Kennebunkport on Wednesday, according to statement from his office. The 41st president remained hospitalized in fair condition Thursday at Maine Medical Center. “The president never …

More than half of Maine counties are at high risk for Lyme

on July 16, 2015, at 12:08 p.m.
Lyme disease has tightened its grasp on the Northeast and Midwest, with a dramatic rise in the number of counties considered at high risk, a new government study finds. The number of Northeast counties where the risk of Lyme disease is at least twice the national average skyrocketed from 43 in 1993-1997 …

What you could learn from a Wisconsin city where people aren’t afraid to talk about aging

on July 14, 2015, at 2:06 p.m.
In one city in Wisconsin, everyone talks about the difficult realities of aging. About 96 percent of people who die in La Crosse, a city roughly the size of Bangor situated on the Mississippi River, have completed an advance directive or similar paperwork spelling out their wishes for end-of-life care, NPR recently reported. That’s …

Beware of this grill utensil that sent a Maine woman to the hospital

on July 03, 2015, at 12:10 p.m.
We journalists just can’t let the Fourth of July pass without warning you about the hidden hazards of the holiday. Blowing off a finger or sucking down air pollution from fireworks! Car crashes on busy roads! Bacteria lurking in your hamburger! Here’s another one to add to the list: Wire grill brushes. …