As health care breaks down in Massachusetts, patients die waiting for care

A photo of Tony Tsantinis hangs in a collage of other photos set up for a celebration of his life on the final day Athens Pizza in Brimfield was opened for business.

Fans of Athens Pizza in Brimfield, Mass., learned the restaurant’s beloved owner was sick via Facebook. “The pizza will be closed for the rest of the week,” reads the post from Nov. 30, 2021. “Unfortunately we have been exposed to Covid.” Get well wishes poured in, but Athens Pizza will not reopen. Tony Tsantinis, 68,…

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After fatal shooting by Springfield police, calls for outside probe, more mental health training

After a 23-year-old was killed Sunday by a police officer in Springfield, Massachusetts, family members and activists are demanding better training for how officers deal with people with mental health crises. Earlene Victoria Taylor said her grandson, Orlando Taylor, had been struggling with paranoia and other mental health problems for years. She said he’d been…

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Forced to improvise COVID policies, school nurses are reaching a ‘breaking point’

A portrait of Brighton High School nurse Lauren O'Malley-Singh, standing outside on her front lawn.

Every morning before school, Lauren O’Malley-Singh’s heart races as she straps on an N95 mask. “I feel like I’m drowning,” said O’Malley-Singh, a nurse at Brighton High School in Boston. She’s drowning in coronavirus tests. She gives upwards of 40 rapid tests a day, isolating the students who test positive, calling their parents and finding…

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Mass. is monitoring white-tailed deer for COVID. Here’s why

Mass Wildlife Deer & Moose Biologist Martin Feehan prepares to insert a cotton swab into the nose of a dead 140-pound deer buck, found in Needham, to test it for the presence of the COVID-19 virus. Deer across the country have been found to carry COVID-19.

On a recent evening at the MassWildlife field headquarters in Westborough, Mass., Martin Feehan stood face-to-face with a 160-pound dead buck, splayed out on the loading dock. The deer died of a broken leg, after it was apparently hit by a car in Needham. Feehan, a deer and moose biologist, had brought it to headquarters to…

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Some mental health advocates in Massachusetts want a new name for schizophrenia

Linda Larson, 74, of Cambridge, Mass., sits at a kitchen table. She is advocating for a new name for schizophrenia

When someone is diagnosed with schizophrenia — a psychotic disorder marked by delusional thinking — they often experience fear and anxiety. A group of Massachusetts-based researchers and advocates say changing the name of the mental illness could go a long way to reducing its stigma. But others say the term itself is not the problem.…

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Inside an emergency room in Everett, Mass., fears mount as COVID cases climb

Dr. Melisa Lai-Becker, chief of the emergency department at Cambridge Health Alliance Hospital in Everett, stands in one of the resuscitation rooms in the emergency ward of the hospital.

When patients or nurses need help in an emergency room, an alarm normally sounds. At Cambridge Health Alliance hospital in Everett, the beeps from the alarms never seem to stop these days. The CHA Everett ER had near record levels of patients last week, even though the holiday week is normally quiet. On a recent afternoon, there…

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Inside a New Hampshire hospital overwhelmed by COVID

COVID infections are surging in much of the country, especially in parts of New England. And New Hampshire is at the epicenter. More than half of patients who show up in the emergency room at Monadnock Community Hospital in southwest New Hampshire are testing positive. And doctors are having a tough time finding beds for all the…

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In western Massachusetts, farmworkers face barriers to COVID-19 vaccination

Claudia Rosales pointing to the field in western Massachusetts she worked on as an agricultural farmer.

Undocumented farmworkers face many barriers when seeking health care. The pandemic has widened this disparity and now many workers are hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including in western Massachusetts. The air is cold and farmworkers in the region have to work through it. One undocumented worker, known as Flori, has dried leaves crunched beneath…

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