17-41 Segment 1: Undocumented Immigrants Skipping Healthcare

 

Do you have a fear of going to the doctor? For some people that fear is actually not of going to doctor, but of being deported because they went. According to Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the crackdown on undocumented immigrants is limiting their health options. Dr. Ashkin talks about specially funded safety net clinics, designed to treat patients without any or adequate insurance with dignity and respect, and how fear within the undocumented community still prevents most patients from venturing out to take advantage of them.

Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, a doctor at Cambridge Health Alliance in Everett, MA, treats many immigrants in her work and says that is is hard to build trust with undocumented immigrants because many of them come from countries where health professionals are a part of the government. Dr. Poorman’s patients are also afraid to apply for insurance because of the immigration check included. This usually leads to people going without medical exams and prompt treatment, which then leads to bigger and more expensive issues. Both doctors say they have multiple stories about people risking their lives and even dying because of the fear of deportation.

With the federal government’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, many of them are skipping going to the doctor or the emergency room for fear of deportation.

Guest:

  • Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, primary care physician, Cambridge Health Alliance, Everett, MA

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17-41 Segment 2: PICA

We usually associate food cravings for things like ice cream and pickles with pregnancy, but pregnant women and young children are among the most likely to suffer from another kind of craving – a disorder called Pica. Pica is characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as ice, clay, chalk, hair, paper, drywall, paint, metal, stones, soil, glass or feces.

Dr. Sera Young, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Health at Northwestern University, explains why clay is the most common pica craving —  clay has been proven to help with nausea and other health issues that pregnant women experience.. She also believes pica is under-reported because doctors don’t ask the right questions and patients are ashamed to admit their odd cravings to doctors. Pica is usually seen as a tropical climate issue, but some studies show that one-third of women in upper New York State have experienced pica at some point in time, as have women in Chicago. Pica actually is not exotic or rare, and can be both helpful or harmful depending on what the individual is eating.

Dr. Richard Kreipe, Director of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program at the University of Rochester, says that a common complication is that a ball of stuff, usually hair, can form in the body of a sufferer, causing many problems. He adds that many aspects of Pica, including its specific causes, are still a mystery due to lack of knowledge on the subject.

Pregnancy and early childhood are the most common time for a strange disorder that prompts people to eat non-food items such as clay or ice. Experts discuss its mysterious history.

Guest:

  • Dr. Sera Young, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Health, Northwestern University
  • Dr. Richard Kreipe, Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program, University of Rochester

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Medical Notes 17-41

 

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