They each weigh about 2.5 milligrams and fly about 1.5 mph. You might think of them more as annoying pests than anything else. They are, however, far more than annoying - they're the most dangerous creatures on Earth. Mosquitoes.
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So often Dr. Heather Allen sees it - a patient arrives, most often a woman, with anxiety buzzing inside her head like a power drill. Fear is a natural response to a threat, the physician knows, and the threat her patient has received - a diagnosis of breast cancer - can leave her patient too shell shocked to focus on survival, particularly if she does not believe a legitimate counterattack is at hand.
It should have been a wonderful time for Dr. Dale Carrison. But as he received an award for contributions to the community, he knew that the business of medicine too often had gotten in the way of keeping in close touch with friends and family.
At three in the morning Dr. Florence Jameson helped bring a new baby into this world. Five hours later, she stood in the lobby of the Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada clinic and excitedly talked about giving birth to a facility to help the uninsured.
Wendy Simons, the chief of the state agency that investigates consumer complaints about hospitals, knows firsthand that they sometimes come up short on cleanliness. Not long ago, when her daughter was entering a hospital for a procedure, Simons...
Given his background and what he says happened during a recent four-day stay at Summerlin Hospital, it should come as no surprise that Marine Corps veteran and retired entrepreneur Ivan Fankuchen let administrators know he was unhappy both in person and by letter.
One of the first visitors Maria Del Carmen Gomez had after her recent cancer operation at Valley Hospital was the surgeon who saved her hands. Though she was so weak, she was barely able to raise her left arm, she waved at Dr. Carl Williams, who she calls an angel.
We all begin to die the moment we're born, but most of us don't have a good sense of how it will end. At age 28, Jennifer Hill already has a good idea. Actually, she's pretty much known for four years.
It's painful to think about: There are doctors and scientists and businessmen and government officials who lie to people about the safety of work they're asked to do. As I talked with 70-year-old Oscar Foger, such behavior was front and center.
It may seem strange: Medical practitioners could learn a lot from Col. Rodolfo Meana. Yes, from him they could learn to really care about people. In Las Vegas, Meana will undoubtedly be remembered as the first to die from the 2007 hepatitis C outbreak.
When Las Vegan Rick Tope showed me a bottle of Canker Cure pills he advertises as preventing and healing painful canker sores in the mouth - I noted some ingredients had been crossed out with a black pen. "I have better ingredients now," he said. "I don't want to tell you for proprietary reasons there's amino acids, too."
I watched as a transplant surgeon sewed a new kidney into George McLaurin Jr. Almost immediately after McLaurin received the kidney in 2009, it produced urine and Dr. John Sorensen matter of factly delivered the good news to the operating team: "The kidney is working."
A couple of years ago, I sat in the office of Lynn Leany and heard him talk about the opportunity to receive Provenge, then a new drug therapy for men with advanced prostate cancer. His battle with cancer continues today as he seeks out new drugs to keep him alive.
At first blush, it doesn't make sense. We live in Southern Nevada, where the sun shines about 320 days a year, yet it isn't difficult to find doctors who say many of us are deficient in vitamin D, which is often called the sunshine vitamin.
My 88-year-old mother's last days in the hospital were pure hell. There is no doubt that she thought the members of the hospital staff were trying to kill her. A recent study found that for people with Alzheimer's disease, a stay in the hospital accelerated mental decline and increased the risk of going into a nursing home or dying.
The more you learn about Anna Wroble as a mother and as a registered nurse, the more it seems natural that she be the one to change how thousands of expectant and new parents gain information about childbirth and caring for newborns.
The Wesley Warren of today does not act like the somber Wesley Warren of last fall. Rather than on the edge of tears, the Las Vegas man suffering from a disease that has left him with a 100-pound scrotum is seemingly enjoying his celebrity.
Somehow it always comes as a surprise - a doctor or his loved ones getting sick. Oh, sure, when I think about it rationally, I know physicians and their families are prone to the same illnesses and bad luck as the rest of us mortals. But I'm not always rational when it comes to my health or that of my family.
When Tom Thomason took the fifth, he was in a Sunrise Hospital operating room, not a courtroom. Still, there was a question he couldn't answer as he went under the knife. Could Dr. Troy Watson pull off a successful ankle replacement surgery on his fifth try?
Even after 30 years as a physician - Dr. Marietta Nelson now runs The Eye Clinic of Las Vegas - she finds the doctor-patient relationship awe-inspiring. Never, she says, can she take lightly that someone entrusts his own or his child's well-being to her.
Las Vegas police officer Tony McCleery hurts. You would, too, if a pickup plowed into you as you stood on Las Vegas Boulevard.
If you're looking for a sign of the UC San Diego Health System Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas, you'll have about as much luck as you would have looking for a sign of Bigfoot. And that's just the way new CEO Mickey Goldman wants it - for now.
This will be the first Mother's Day without my first health care provider. Alzheimer's took her out in January. The patient-provider relationship was always excellent: Mom always found a way to give her patients, or rather her children, the attention they deserved.
Every time I hear sports talk show host Paul Howard selling LASIK eye surgery - it only took him a few painless minutes to acquire 20-15 vision - I think of a woman I wrote about in Texas who lost her sight from a laser procedure. Her emotional appeal to me to let people know that such surgery is not without risk has stayed with me.
Outside Henry Chanin's office at The Meadows School is the golf cart he must use to move around campus. It is a reminder of one way the hepatitis C he acquired in 2006 during a colonoscopy at Dr. Dipak Desai's Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center has changed his life.