medicine | Nashville Public Radio


Emily Siner / WPLN

For the most fragile babies, there's one thing that's almost guaranteed to boost their chances of survival: breast milk.

So a nonprofit in Nashville is trying to make it easier for infants to obtain it when their mothers can't produce enough. Their goal is to open a breast milk bank, similar to a blood bank, that would store and distribute donations from other moms.

Monik Markus / via Flickr

Tennessee is inching toward making birth control pills available with a single visit to a pharmacy.

State lawmakers voted over a year ago to eliminate the requirement that women first see a doctor before getting oral contraceptives. But even though Tennessee law has changed, pharmacies haven't been given the final go-ahead to put it into action.

Health officials say the task of drafting final rules has been complicated. 

Tennessee Supreme Court building
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Malpractice cases can be costly.

There's the insurance, which can run $100,000 or more. There are the awards when juries find doctors have done wrong.

And then there are all the tests that doctors perform simply to stave off litigation. Opponents of the current malpractice system say these "defensive medicine" practices add 20 percent to the cost of health care.

"So if we could make a dent in that, without impacting the quality of care that people are receiving, we think that's a good thing," says Jeff Segal, a neurosurgeon and the head of a group called Medical Justice.

Monik Markus / via Flickr

State senators have voted to let women purchase birth control pills without a doctor's prescription.

Tennessee would be the third state to sell the Pill over-the-counter, if it's also approved by the state House of Representatives and the governor.

Nate Grigg / via Flickr

A Nashville lawmaker proposes making birth control pills available over the counter, an idea that could make Tennessee the third state to allow women to buy oral contraceptives without a prescription.

Bobby Allyn / WPLN

State lawmakers are preparing for a debate over whether terminally ill Tennesseans should be able to get a doctor's help to end their own lives.

Brett Levin via Flickr

The push to legalize marijuana for medicinal use is getting an unlikely boost from Republican lawmakers, but advocates for medical cannabis aren't satisfied.

A group of Republicans is scheduled to present Wednesday their long-awaited proposal to bring medical marijuana to Tennessee. The plan will call for making small amounts available to people with a handful of illnesses, including Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and cancer, and for delivery to be limited to a few methods, such as patches, gel tablets and atomizers.

Luke Hollins via Flickr

Tennesseans will soon face more restrictions on cold medicines, after lawmakers voted Thursday to ban sales of some cough syrups to minors.

Taki Steve via Flickr

Dr. Matthew Peachey specializes in treating people at the end of their lives.

It's a lot more than giving patients sedatives and painkillers. His focus is on helping the terminally ill figure out how best to use the time they have left.

Danisabella via Flickr

Another cold medication may soon be a little bit harder for Tennesseans to get a hold of, after the state Senate voted unanimously Monday to ban sales of certain kinds of cough syrups to minors.