Medicine and Health

City of Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville's mayor has released an emergency cold weather plan for sheltering the city's homeless community, weeks after reversing a decision to close the winter overflow facilities.

In a plan obtained by news outlets Thursday, Mayor John Cooper announced the overflow shelter will be located in a vacant Davidson County Sheriff's dormitory that accommodates 150 people. The plan will be initiated when the National Weather Service records temperatures below 29 degrees and when other shelters hit capacity.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- TennCare Director Gabe Roberts is reassuring Tennesseans that no one will lose benefits as a result of plans to fundamentally change the way safety-net health services are paid for.

Gov. Bill Lee hopes to convince federal authorities to send annual Medicaid funding to Tennessee as a lump sum or block grant. Federal dollars are currently awarded as a percentage of total state expenditures no matter how high they rise.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Health officials in Tennessee say a second person in the state has died from a vaping-related respiratory illness.

News outlets report the death in West Tennessee was confirmed Thursday by the state Department of Health. No other details about the victim were immediately available. Tennessee's first confirmed vaping-related death was reported last week. The victim was a 26-year-old Nashville man.

NASHIVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- If you’re working your way out of debt resulting from medical bills, you’re not alone. The Nashville based Sycamore Institute says almost one Tennessean in four has medical debt on their credit history.

Institute Policey Director Mandy Pellegrin says medical debt is different.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Health officials have reported Tennessee's first death from a vaping-related respiratory illness.

Nashville health officials on Thursday confirmed the adult male's death amid a national outbreak of vaping-related illnesses, including 53 cases reported in Tennessee.

State Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey recommended that Tennesseans consider stopping e-cigarette use and vaping while Tennessee's vaping-related illnesses are investigated.

U.S. health officials have reported about 1,300 vaping-related illnesses and at least 26 deaths nationwide.

NASVHILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State health officials say Tennessee could be headed into a difficult flu season.


The State Department of Health says it's already getting reports of flu cases across the Southeast, unusual for the month of September. Another troubling indicator: It’s been a bad flu season in the Southern Hemisphere where winter is just drawing to a close.


Jackson County Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State lawmakers heard Thursday from rural county mayors struggling to pay for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Many rural Tennessee counties no longer have hospitals. EMS first responders are frequently the only emergency medical care available.

Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady gave lawmakers on the House TennCare Subcommittee just one example of what that can cost. Heady described a chronically ill county resident that has to be transported to Nashville for emergency care about once a month.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Data provided by the state Department of Health suggests Middle Tennessee isn't immune to the state's ongoing epedemic of drug overdose deaths.

Davidson, Cheatham, and Robertson counties all report per capita drug overdose death rates well above the state average of 2.6 deaths per 10,000 residents.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS) -- In 2017 alone, 1776 Tennesseans died following a drug overdose. In reaction, state officials have launched a new campaign to raise awareness of how the opioid epidemic is impacting individuals, families and communities.

The "Tennessee Faces of the Opioid Crisis" campaign shares the stories of residents from counties across the state whose lives have been affected by opioid misuse.

Le Bonheur

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- A first of its kind surgery has given a Tennessee boy the ability to breath and speak.


Doctors discovered by accident that Cooper Kilburn was developing in his mother’s womb without a larynx or voice box. Without an airway, the boy would have died at birth.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The Nashville VA will this fall offer a combat trauma recovery program for veterans, active duty personnel, and their families. 

The VA began offering Reboot Combat Recovery in 2011 and holds the course twice each year. 

Topics include avoiding harmful coping mechanisms, dealing with guilt, finding forgiveness, dealing with the loss of comrades, depression, suicide and a plan for recovery.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man died this week after being infected with a flesh-eating bacteria during a trip to a Florida beach.

According to news reports, the man became ill shortly after returning from vacation in Destin Beach where he was visiting family for the 4th of July.

Cheryl Wiygul, the man's daughter, says the family discovered that a large sore had developed on her dad's back once they had returned home, as well as red bumps on his arms and legs. The man died on July 7, just 48 hours after his last swim in Florida.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Osborne)  -- Remember a few common sense tips and regulations to keep your family Fourth from going up in smoke.

Tennessee officials note that between 2014 and 2018 fireworks caused 419 unintended fires statewide, resulting in more than a million dollars in damages.

Bailey Scott with the State Fire Marshal’s Office strongly recommends you leave the fireworks displays to the professionals. But she says if you do buy and use fireworks, keep a few safety tips in mind.

JAMESTOWN, Tenn. (Osborne)    -- Tennessee will likely see another of its rural hospitals close this coming week.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The number of Tennesseans receiving opioid prescriptions is getting a closer look following last months federal illicit drug sting that saw dozens of Tennessee doctors, nurses and pharmacists arrested.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that Middle Tennessee’s Clay County has the state’s highest opioid prescription rate. In 2017 there were 191 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 county residents, enough to provide two opioid scrips to every man woman and child in the county.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  State officials say the lives of at least 2,000 Tennesseans have been saved thanks to free distribution of the overdose medication Naloxone.

The state says it’s now distributed more than 70,000 doses of Naloxone through its Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists (ROPS). The specialists also conduct training on how to recognize the signs of overdose and administer the medication.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The number of Tennessee farmers seeking a license to grow hemp is exploding.

The state Department of Agriculture reports it’s  ssued nearly 2800 hemp production permits this year, with still more applications in the pipeline. That’s ten times the number of licenses issued in 2018.

Hemp’s introduction hasn’t been without complications. There have been persistent reports of police mistaking hemp products for marijuana. There have also been reports of hemp supplement users failing workplace drug tests.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  An abortion bill that sailed through the Tennessee House in less than three weeks appears stalled in the State Senate.

House bill 77 would outlaw all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That’s typically at about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many woman even know they're expecting.

During House committee debate Memphis Democrat Barbara Cooper questioned Republican bill sponsor Micah Van Huss about the measure.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS)  --  A state lawmaker says the number of Tennesseans suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease will jump 16 percent in the next five years.

Franklin Rep. Sam Whitson is asking fellow lawmakers to get the state prepared by forming an Azheimer’s Advisory Council.

Testifying before the House Public Health Committee this past week Whitson noted there are currently 120,000 Tennesseans suffering from Alzheimer’s. He says that number will increase to 140,000 by 2024.

Whitson noted that his mother recently died of Alzheimers, making it a personal issue.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The Tennessee House today passed a measure that would prohibit all abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat ca be detected. That point can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Memphis Democrat London Lamar spoke in opposition to the bill. She found it especially troubling the measure offered no exemptions for rape or incest.

“No woman, including myself, should have to carry a rapist’s baby.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Several controversial bills are moving steadily through the Tennessee General Assembly.


On Tuesday Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss presented a bill to the House Health Committee that would ban all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.


Amid gasps, jeers and applause Van Huss defended the measure during questioning by Democratic lawmakers, including Memphis Rep. Barbara Cooper. 


Cooper asked "Are you stating that even in the case of rape, (or) incest, that you are banning or prohibiting an abortion?” 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee lawmaker says his bill to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected does not include exceptions for situations involving incest or rape because he does not believe it's appropriate.

Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss told a House subcommittee on Wednesday he considers killing any child, including a fetus, as "evil." The panel — made up of all men — agreed to advance the bill to be heard by the full House Health Committee.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Nashville Mayor David Briley is asking Metro residents to take seriously the threat of flooding this week ahead of expected heavy rains.

In a press statement released over the weekend, Briley says residents should stay updated and take precautions in light of weather service forecasts calling for up to 8 inches of additional rain this week.

Nashville Weather Service Office Meteorologist Sam Shamberger notes that the mid-state typically gets three to four inches of rain during the entire month of February.


  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Doctors performing abortions on girls younger than 18 years old would be required to preserve a sample of the fetal tissue for law enforcement under a bill making its way through the Tennessee Statehouse.

Currently the threshold is 13.

The proposal is the latest abortion related legislation Republican state lawmakers have introduced following newly elected Gov. Bill Lee's promise to support any bill that would reduce the number of abortions throughout the state.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Nashville’s new mental health Crisis Treatment Center is open and accepting patients.

The facility is located in Metro Center and accepts patients on an emergency basis 24/7 year round.

The facility offers Nashville residents an alternative to calling police when a loved one is in crisis. It also provides police an alternative to jailing individuals in mental distress.

The Center held its grand opening this past week. Mayor David Briley was the keynote speaker.