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Two excellent health care stories to start the week: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel & Philadelphia Inquirer

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John Fauber and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel continue their long-running “Side Effects” series – the longest-running journalism series on health care/medical research conflicts of interest. In the latest story, Fauber reports on a University of Wisconsin pain research group that he says has “cozy personal financial relationships with drug makers,” receiving millions, while helping to “liberalize use of opioids.”

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, medical reporter Stacey Burling tells the story of “The last month: A husband’s final days. ” It’s about her husband’s death from brain cancer.

She concludes:

“Like many of us, I had been lucky enough to have encountered very little death in my life. I knew people whose parents had died, but people don’t talk about the nitty-gritty of death, like how it feels to give raspberry-flavored morphine when you know you’re choosing between pain control and length of life. I didn’t want to hurt Jeff’s feelings by reading books on caregiving when he didn’t need it; when he did, I didn’t have time to read.

I came to wish that I had asked more questions, more insistently, and that the doctors and nurses who worked so hard to keep my husband alive had talked openly – before there was a crisis – about what my role as a caregiver would be like when their work was done.”

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