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

Maine woman celebrates Macy’s pledge to stop selling furniture with flame retardants

on Oct. 22, 2015, at 2:55 p.m.
Three years ago, I interviewed a Portland woman who had just learned that potentially toxic chemicals were lurking in her house. Jenny Rottmann, due to give birth to her first child in a matter of days, worried the couch she’d purchased at a local department store could harm both her and her baby. The …
Myles Herschaft, a 17-month old boy from Auburn, was hospitalized at Maine Medical Center in October 2015 with hemolytic uremic syndrome after being exposed to E. coli bacteria.

Auburn boy infected with E. coli returns home

By Jackie Farwell on Oct. 16, 2015, at 5:17 p.m.
A child sickened by E. coli after visiting the Oxford County Fair has been released from the hospital, according to a spokeswoman at Maine Medical Center. Myles Herschaft, a 17-month-old boy from Auburn, developed a dangerous complication from the E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome. He was listed in …
VITAL SIGNS

Mainers, the flu is here. Here’s how to fend off the fever.

on Oct. 16, 2015, at 4:11 p.m.
Wash your hands and shun your feverish co-workers everyone: The flu is here. Maine has confirmed its first case of influenza this season, in an unvaccinated adult from Sagadahoc County, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced today. The case was detected late last week by Mid Coast Hospital, but the individual didn’t …
VITAL SIGNS

State identifies Maine schools hit with chickenpox outbreaks

on Oct. 14, 2015, at 4:27 p.m.
The state has released the names of three schools and a childcare facility where chickenpox broke out during the 2014-15 school year.
Myles Herschaft of Auburn is in the hospital with HUS, or hemolytic uremic syndrome, after being exposed to E. coli bacteria.

Second child sickened by E. coli after Oxford fair visit improves

By Jackie Farwell on Oct. 07, 2015, at 4:18 p.m.
A second child sickened by E. coli after visiting the Oxford County Fair was upgraded to fair condition Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman at Maine Medical Center. Myles Herschaft, a 17-month-old boy from Auburn, developed a dangerous complication from an E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to a …
VITAL SIGNS

What kind of woman uses drugs while pregnant? What Maine’s data tell us

on Oct. 01, 2015, at 11:29 a.m.
Babies with mothers in treatment fare better than those born to moms abusing drugs — the roller coaster of intoxication and withdrawal typical of illicit drug use increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight, experts say.

Follow these steps to reduce the odds of a misdiagnosis

By Jackie Farwell on Sept. 28, 2015, at 1:24 p.m.
The Institute of Medicine offers suggestions for patients to reduce risk of misdiagnosis.
Ronald Scott of Washburn was misdiagnosed twice before learning his headaches were caused by terminal cancer, according to his daughter, Tammi Scott Easler. He died on July 17, 2015.

After father’s misdiagnosis, Maine woman urges patients to speak up

By Jackie Farwell on Sept. 28, 2015, at 1:24 p.m.
A “conservative estimate” found misdiagnosis affects 5 percent of U.S. adults who seek outpatient care each year, and may contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths, according to the Institute of Medicine.
VITAL SIGNS

Is your well water safe to drink? Check your town’s arsenic rates

on Sept. 26, 2015, at 5 a.m.
About half all all Maine households rely on private well water, one of the highest rates in the country. But most wells here haven’t been tested for contaminants. Among those that have, one in 10 has elevated levels of arsenic, state toxicologist Andrew Smith told me last June. How likely is …

Maine man sues makers of Tylenol PM over liver failure

By Jackie Farwell on Sept. 21, 2015, at 12:42 p.m.
A Lincoln County man has sued the makers of Tylenol PM, alleging the medication caused his liver to fail …
VITAL SIGNS

In Maine visit, Temple Grandin’s mother will explain how she raised one of autism’s famous faces

on Sept. 16, 2015, at 4:27 p.m.
When Temple Grandin was growing up in the 1940s, both her doctor and her father pushed for her to be institutionalized. Her mother, Eustacia Cutler, had other plans, teaching her daughter social skills and arranging speech therapy for her by age two. Now 68, Grandin went on to become one of the …
VITAL SIGNS

The innocents in Maine’s drug crisis: Almost 1,000 Maine babies exposed in the womb

on Sept. 11, 2015, at 3:51 p.m.
Eight percent of all babies born in Maine during the last fiscal year entered the world affected by drugs. That’s nearly 1,000 infants exposed to drugs in the womb, the highest number on record and a more than fivefold increase since 2006. This chart reflects instances where health care providers reported to the state that …
VITAL SIGNS

Are parents refusing vaccines at your child’s school? Now you can check.

on Sept. 11, 2015, at 2:54 p.m.
For the first time in Maine, parents can easily look up vaccination rates at their local elementary school. The Maine Center for Disease Control publicly released the data for the 2014-15 school year, revealing how many children were exempted from school-required vaccines — and for what reasons — in kindergarten and first-grade …
POLL QUESTION | CHECK YOUR SCHOOL
Assistant Professor Kenneth McCall prepares a measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination March 9 at the Portland Community Health Center.

Anti-vaccine trends revealed in Maine’s coastal clusters, private schools

By Jackie Farwell on Sept. 11, 2015, at 1:27 p.m.
Maine is one of 18 states that allow parents to exempt their children from vaccination for philosophical reasons, and has one of the 10 highest opt-out rates in the country among kindergartners. Unprecedented Maine data is now offering insight into why.
VITAL SIGNS

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 …
VITAL SIGNS

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 …