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.
James, Smith, 18, works with music therapist Kate Beever on his speech and motor movements through creative improvisation and songwriting.

Maine music therapist promotes healing effects of the creative arts

By Jackie Farwell on May 29, 2014, at 10:25 a.m.
Music therapist Kate Beever met with a client once who refused to take his medications. The man, in his late 60s, was hospitalized with prostate cancer and reluctant to interact with the medical providers trying to help him. Beever, a percussionist and keyboardist, played him a couple of songs. The …

Maine doctors help kids get fit, stressing healthy choices over dropping pounds

on May 28, 2014, at 3:04 p.m.
Shane Mayo of Orrington felt a tad nervous when his mom suggested last year that he get active and start eating healthier. The 17-year-old was about 30 pounds overweight and pre-diabetic and with high cholesterol. But today, Mayo’s 20 pounds lighter and has a healthy body mass index. He runs, …

VA pilot program brings health specialists closer to home for veterans in northern Maine

By Jackie Farwell on May 23, 2014, at 4:04 p.m.
After Peter Miesburger broke his hip in January, the retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant underwent an operation to have it replaced with an artificial joint at his local hospital in Caribou. His family visited every day while he was recovering, and he drove just a few miles home after …

Vital Signs newsletter: Lewiston insurer attracts rural Mainers under ACA

on May 22, 2014, at 11:23 a.m.
More than 40,000 Mainers have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Most of them chose a plan through Maine Community Health Options, a new member-run insurer that captured 80 percent of the market here despite competition from the much larger and well-established Anthem. New figures released by …

Bangor hospital drops remote ICU program

on May 20, 2014, at 4:43 p.m.
Eastern Maine Medical Center plans to discontinue a program that connects nurses treating intensive care patients throughout the region to specialists in Bangor. The Critical Care Connection service, established in 2008, will cease effective June 20, the hospital announced in a Tuesday news release. Insurers don’t reimburse hospitals for the service, limiting the …
Susie Beal, an outreach coordinator at Harrington Family Health Center, with Kyle Stanley of Cherryfield, a lead singer and guitarist for a local band and welder whom Beal helped enroll in a new health plan under the Affordable Care Act .

Affordable Care Act prompts rural Mainers to sign up for health care through Lewiston startup

By Jackie Farwell on May 20, 2014, at 3:57 p.m.
Hildegard Tenney has lived nearly all her life without health insurance. A meat cutter at a supermarket in Washington County, 51-year-old Tenney could never afford coverage, so she visited the doctor only as a last resort, when she could scrape up enough cash to pay out of pocket for the …

Mass. doctor accused of sexually molesting patients surrenders Maine medical license

By Jackie Farwell on May 16, 2014, at 12:34 p.m.
A Massachusetts physician accused of sexually molesting patients has surrendered his license to practice in Maine in the wake of an investigation by a Massachusetts medical board. Dr. Roger Ian Hardy, the medical director of a popular Reading-based fertility clinic, first resigned his license to practice medicine in Massachusetts in …

Vital Signs newsletter: Farmer Brown goes to court

on May 15, 2014, at 11:36 a.m.
A farmer’s decision to sell raw milk to customers in Blue Hill landed him before the state’s highest court this week. Dan Brown faced the justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, arguing that a local ordinance allowing farmers to sell products directly to consumers exempts him from state licensing requirements. The case raises questions about …

Vital Signs newsletter: Glenburn teacher supports student through cancer fight

on May 08, 2014, at 11:04 a.m.
Victoria Grotton, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Glenburn, has gone out of her way to support her student, Ellie LaBree, following the child’s diagnosis with a rare eye tumor. When Ellie had to miss school, Grotton brought out a toy stuffed monkey that she put in Ellie’s place, taking pictures of the monkey …

Maine agency drops plan requiring disclosure of formaldehyde in children’s products

By Jackie Farwell on May 06, 2014, at 3:47 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Manufacturers can continue selling children’s products in Maine without disclosing which items contain the cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde under a new Maine Department of Environmental Protection decision. The department formally withdrew a proposed rule that would have named formaldehyde a priority chemical under the Kid-Safe Products Act, a …

What the enrollment numbers don’t tell us

By Jackie Farwell on May 01, 2014, at 2:27 p.m.
The final Obamacare enrollment figures have arrived, fodder for parsing and politics in the coming days. Much of the health insurance marketplaces’ fate lies in those eagerly awaited tallies, but why? The more enrollees, the better the chances that the overall pool of insured people will include a stable mix …
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this Oct. 2, 2013 photo illustration.

44,000 Mainers sign up for health insurance under Affordable Care Act

By Jackie Farwell on May 01, 2014, at 2:22 p.m.
More than 44,000 Mainers signed up for private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to federal data released Thursday that paints the most complete picture yet of Americans’ efforts to gain coverage under President Barack Obama’s health reform law. The data reveals a long-awaited, state-by-state tally of individuals …
Amy Cotton, center, with students at Mangalore College of Nursing in Mangalore, India. Cotton taught about 2,000 health professions students, mostly nursing students, during a recent trip to India.

From Bangor to Bangalore: Maine nurse shares aging expertise in India

By Jackie Farwell on May 01, 2014, at 12:41 p.m.
When Amy Cotton received an email four years ago that would eventually alter the course of her medical career, she thought it was a scam. The emails kept coming, written in broken English by a man in India whom Cotton, a Bangor nurse practitioner specializing in aging, had never met. …

Vital Signs newsletter: Breathe easy in Bangor, but Maine air polluted elsewhere

on May 01, 2014, at 11:49 a.m.
Bangor ranks as one of the cleanest cities for air quality in the country, but southern Maine residents are breathing in unhealthy levels of pollution, according to a new report released Wednesday. Air quality has improved statewide, but unevenly from region to region, the American Lung Association’s 15th annual “State …

Report: Bangor’s air among nation’s cleanest, but unhealthy pollution lingers in Maine

By Jackie Farwell on April 30, 2014, at 4:14 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — Bangor ranks as one of the cleanest cities for air quality in the country, but southern Maine residents are breathing in unhealthy levels of pollution, according to a new report released Wednesday. Air quality has improved statewide, but unevenly from region to region, the American Lung Association’s …
Rep. Jane Pringle

As LePage vetoes family planning bill, cost of teen births in Maine pegged at $18 million

By Jackie Farwell on April 29, 2014, at 1:55 p.m.
Teen births cost Maine taxpayers at least $18 million in 2010, according to new data released Tuesday just hours after Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies among low-income women. Between 1991 and 2010, 25,713 teen births occurred in Maine, costing state taxpayers $600 million over …

Maine hospitals tops again in safety ranking

on April 29, 2014, at 11:28 a.m.
A national hospital safety group is asking Americans to imagine this: The populations of Miami or Atlanta are simply wiped out. That’s how many Americans die every year from preventable hospital errors – up to 440,000 patients, making such errors the third-leading cause of death in the country. The Leapfrog Group, an employer-led hospital watchdog organization, …
Rose Tanguay is a nurse at the Northern New England Poison Center in Portland. She took the call, 11 years ago, in the New Sweden arsenic poisoning case.

‘This light bulb went on’: Nurse recalls identifying arsenic as poison in New Sweden case, 11 years later

By Jackie Farwell on April 25, 2014, at 1:09 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — More than a decade has passed since the April day when 16 churchgoers in the tiny farming community of New Sweden drank poison from their coffee cups. Rose Tanguay was 300 miles away that day, but she remembers it vividly. She was working at the Northern New …

Got drugs? Maine tops nation in Rx Take Back Day

on April 25, 2014, at 12:46 p.m.
This Saturday, April 26, is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an effort led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to collect and safely dispose of unwanted, expired, and unused medications. Tomorrow marks the eighth time in three years the U.S. DEA has organized the event, designed largely to rid Americans’ medicine …

Vital Signs: Top health stories this week

on April 24, 2014, at 11:25 a.m.
When Makenna Ward entered her Houlton classroom in the fall of 2013, her fellow elementary school students learned some very adult words, including neuroblastoma, chemotherapy, and most heartbreakingly, death. Six-year-old Makenna died from cancer on Dec. 29, 2013. Young students and others in her school community rallied to honor her, making …
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