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.
 

Vital Signs newsletter: Are you being ‘observed’ in the hospital?

on May 21, 2015, at 11:57 a.m.
If you’re a Medicare enrollee who has been hit by an unexpected medical bill, you might be familiar with the term “observation status.” Hospitals increasingly are placing seniors under “observation” instead of admitting them as inpatients, and a Senate panel led by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins wants them to hit …
Tori Gaetani (left), director of care coordination for EMHS Beacon Health, testified before the U.S. Senate Aging Committee on May 20, 2015, about observation status for Medicare patients. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins chairs the committee.

Are you being ‘observed’ in the hospital? Seniors, you might get a hefty bill

By Jackie Farwell on May 21, 2015, at 5:44 a.m.
If you’re a Medicare enrollee who has been hit by an unexpected medical bill, you might be familiar with the term “observation status.” Hospitals increasingly are placing seniors under “observation” instead of admitting them as inpatients, and a Senate panel led by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins wants them to hit …

How many Maine ticks carry Powassan? We’re one step closer to finding out

on May 20, 2015, at 11:13 a.m.
Many Mainers first learned of the Powassan virus in 2013, when the illness claimed the life of a Rockland-area watercolor artist named Lyn Snow. Her death, which followed a rapid decline in her health after a tick bite, has since fueled many questions about the virus. With a new grant, Maine researchers will attempt to answer …
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

Maine attorney general joins suit against phony cancer charities

By Jackie Farwell on May 19, 2015, at 2:51 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has joined law enforcement officials from across the country to sue four phony cancer charities that allegedly scammed consumers out of more than $187 million. Mills, along with officials in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Trade Commission, …
Powdered heroin is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

2014 deadliest on record for Mainers abusing drugs

By Jackie Farwell on May 15, 2015, at 4:38 p.m.
AUGUSTA | More Maine residents fatally overdosed on drugs in 2014 than in any previous year on record, driven by a “shocking increase” in heroin deaths, according to an analysis released Friday by the state attorney general’s office. Last year, 208 people in Maine died from drug overdoses, jumping …

Bangor psychiatrist ordered to stop treating women

By Jackie Farwell on May 15, 2015, at 10:40 a.m.
A Bangor psychiatrist must stop treating women after allegedly developing an unprofessional relationship with a female patient, according to a state medical licensing board. Dr. Fred Risser may treat only men and must submit to independent monitoring of his practice to ensure he meets prescribing and recordkeeping …
Assistant Professor Kenneth McCall prepares a measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination March 9 at the Portland Community Health Center.

Can Maine vaccinate a child in its custody against a parent’s wishes?

By Jackie Farwell on May 15, 2015, at 6:57 a.m.
PORTLAND | Justices with the state’s highest court grappled Thursday with whether the state was justified in ordering vaccination for a child in its custody against a parent’s wishes. The hearing comes just days after a parade of speakers packed a legislative committee hearing in Augusta to debate Maine’s …

Vital Signs newsletter: Vaccine debate draws crowd to Augusta

on May 14, 2015, at 10:47 a.m.
A parade of speakers packed a legislative committee room on Monday, drawn to Augusta to debate Maine’s vaccination program. Among them was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who’s been making the rounds in other states weighing vaccine legislation, hawking his book about the supposed dangers of immunization. Lawmakers are considering three bills on …
Dr. Jonathan Shay, a psychiatrist and author of two books on combat trauma and the trials of homecoming for veterans and their families.

Combat trauma expert visiting Maine details ‘moral injuries’ of war

By Jackie Farwell on May 13, 2015, at 5:27 a.m.
PORTLAND | Post-traumatic stress disorder has become so familiar among the many difficulties veterans face after returning from war that most know it by its acronym — PTSD. But the diagnosis reflects only part of the broader psychological harm soldiers bring home from the battlefield, according to Dr. Jonathan …
The book jacket for "Bunny Roo, I Love You," by Melissa Marr

Author pens children’s book about adopting drug-exposed baby born at EMMC

By Jackie Farwell on May 11, 2015, at 2:01 p.m.
Melissa Marr met her adopted son Kaden just hours after his birth on Dec. 14, 2012, at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. He trembled and cried restlessly, already withdrawing from addictive narcotic drugs he was exposed to in the womb. Doctors began treating Kaden with methadone on his second …

Vital Signs newsletter: Pingree aims to allow consumers buy Canadian Rx drugs

on May 07, 2015, at 12:03 p.m.
After a judge overturned Maine’s first-in-the-nation law allowing residents to import prescription drugs, calls went out for a federal fix. Prices for both brand name and generic medications continue to rise, leaving many consumers looking north to Canada for relief. In Maine alone, sales of medications at retail pharmacies totaled more than …

‘We can be beautiful': Maine woman with cystic fibrosis poses for viral photo series

on May 06, 2015, at 1:42 p.m.
Ashley Durand has been self-conscious about her body all her life. The 28-year-old Portland woman lives with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening inherited disease characterized by a buildup of thick, sticky mucus that damages the lungs and digestive system. She struggles to gain weight, and a feeding tube juts from her …
Pharmacy technician Lindsey Carrier retrieves drugs from a shelf while filling prescriptions at Apothecary By Design in Portland in this Sept. 23, 2014, file photo.

Pingree makes bid to allow US consumers to buy meds from Canada

By Jackie Farwell on May 05, 2015, at 3:08 p.m.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree has introduced legislation to allow U.S. residents to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, answering calls for a federal fix just weeks after a judge overturned a similar state law in Maine. Lawmakers are zeroing in on high drug prices as patients struggle to afford increasingly …
Dr. Karen Hover is one of the few doctors in the Bangor area who prescribes Suboxone at the Discovery House in Bangor.

‘A system that doesn’t exist’: Without methadone, patients rely on addiction treatment few Maine doctors prescribe

By Jackie Farwell on May 01, 2015, at 11:49 a.m.
A Bangor recovery center contacted more than 100 doctors across the state with what sounds like a tempting offer. Desperate to help patients waiting months for one form of opioid addiction treatment, staff at the Discovery House promised each physician a bonus of $5,000. Contract with the center to prescribe …

UMaine grad students wade into Suboxone debate

By Jackie Farwell on May 01, 2015, at 11:49 a.m.
When three graduate students at the University of Maine began researching Suboxone prescribers last fall, they didn’t yet realize they were stepping into a political ruckus. Social work students Mikala Thompson, Alaina Crowley and Daniel Cohen wanted to know how many doctors in the state prescribed the medication, used to …
Meagan Gallagher, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (left), and Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation (right), talk with the media in Portland on Wednesday before a gala event celebrating the organization's 50th birthday.

Planned Parenthood head says take ‘politics out of women’s health care’

By Jackie Farwell on April 30, 2015, at 6:41 p.m.
PORTLAND | Fifty years ago, when a group of Vermont women and a local minister founded what would become the northern New England chapter of Planned Parenthood, the birth control pill was new. Approved by federal regulators just five years earlier, the pill would soon revolutionize the lives of …

Vital Signs newsletter: Kittery shoppers exposed to measles

on April 30, 2015, at 11:58 a.m.
Measles often dominates conversations about vaccination, singled out as a disease that could resurge 15 years after the U.S. declared it eliminated from this country. Among the reasons — experts say it’s one of the most contagious infectious diseases, the vaccine is very effective, and an outbreak that began at California’s Disnelyland late last year has spread. Yesterday, Maine …
Assistant Professor Kenneth McCall prepares a measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination March 9 at the Portland Community Health Center.

Maine CDC: Infected student exposed Kittery shoppers to measles

By Jackie Farwell on April 29, 2015, at 4:36 p.m.
A Massachusetts student exposed shoppers at the Kittery Outlet Malls to measles last week, prompting the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to urge unvaccinated residents to watch for symptoms of the highly contagious illness. The student, an unvaccinated individual originally from western Europe, visited the shops on April …

Maine doctors again victimized by tax fraud

By Jackie Farwell on April 29, 2015, at 5:56 a.m.
Scammers have filed fraudulent tax returns using the names and Social Security numbers of at least 30 Maine doctors, apparently perpetuating a scheme that victimized nearly 100 physicians last year, according to the Maine Medical Association. Many physicians learned of the identity theft upon attempting to file their taxes, only …

After Maine ski racer’s death, father warns of the dangers of heroin

on April 24, 2015, at 11:05 a.m.
William Gates was a ski racing champion from Skowhegan, trained and educated at Carrabassett Valley Academy. After graduating, he headed to the University of Vermont with a presidential scholarship to study molecular genetics. Then, his life was cut short. At age 21, he died from a heroin overdose. Will had shown no …
 
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