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Kathleen McGrory, Times Staff Writer

Kathleen McGrory

Kathleen McGrory is a health and medicine reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. Before joining the newspaper in 2015, she spent seven years as a metro reporter for the Miami Herald and two years as a government reporter in the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau. She speaks Spanish and holds degrees from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Phone: (727) 893-8330


Twitter: @kmcgrory


  1. Judge blocks new trauma center at St. Petersburg's Northside Hospital


    ST. PETERSBURG — Northside Hospital can't immediately move forward with plans to open a trauma center, a circuit court judge ruled late Friday.

    The hospital, located at 6000 49th St. N, intended to open a specialized center for critically injured patients on May 1. But it met a legal challenge from Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, which operates its own trauma center downtown and said having a competitor just a few miles away would siphon off patients and erode quality....

    Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg from immediately opening a new Level 2 trauma center. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Will Zika return to Florida this summer? Yes, and it could be worse


    Wondering what's ahead for Zika?

    This coming summer will likely look like last summer, when 1,100 travel-related cases were reported statewide, and the virus spread in small pockets of South Florida.

    But there's a chance it could be worse.

    "We are preparing for local transmission, and we are preparing for the worst-case scenario," said Dr. Beata Casanas, an infectious disease expert and associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine....

    A Miami-Dade County mosquito control worker sprays around a home in the Wynwood area of Miami in August. This summer could look a lot like last as far as the Zika virus is concerned.
  3. USF played a key role in approval of new MS drug


    The first drug to treat an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis has won approval from the Food and Drug Administration, a significant medical development with ties to the Tampa Bay area.

    Local patients helped test the safety and effectiveness of the drug in clinical trials at the University of South Florida's Multiple Sclerosis Center, said Dr. Derrick Robertson, the center's director.

    "We were one of the top enrolling sites in the country for this medication," Robertson said. "We have lots of patients who have been part of the science that led to this drug getting approved."...

    Jeffrey Frank, 39, of Tampa participated in the trial of the MS drug.
  4. Senate panel barely advances bill on gun violence awareness


    The bill wasn’t supposed to be controversial, Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon said. Its aim: to raise awareness about firearm violence.

    But even that had a hard time winning support in the Florida Senate on Monday.

    The proposal, urging Congress to designate September 2017 as firearm violence awareness month, earned barely enough votes to advance out of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee (SM 1322)....

  5. Floridians debate Medicaid block grants before AHCA vote


    As lawmakers on a Capitol Hill consider overhauling the federal health instance program for the poor, a debate has bubbled up over what the changes would mean for Floridians.

    Earlier this month, the Florida House passed a resolution urging Congress to establish a so-called block grant program, which would give states a set amount of money to spend for Medicaid and the flexibility to spend it as they see fit. The resolution passed along party lines....

  6. State Rep. Chris Sprowls seeks to save children's insurance plan


    State Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, wants to bring back a popular health insurance plan for Florida kids.

    The plan, known as Sunshine Health Stars Plus, covered nearly 10,000 children across the state, some of whom had special needs and were unable to get coverage elsewhere. Their families made too much money to qualify for government-subsidized health insurance, and so agreed to pay the full premiums....

  7. AARP report: Obamacare replacement would hurt older Floridians


    How many older Floridians with Affordable Care Act coverage would see their premiums rise under the Republican replacement plan?

    About 454,000, according to a new analysis by AARP.

    Low-income people in their 60s would be hardest hit, the analysis found. For some, the proposal under consideration in Congress could mean an annual tax credit reduction of nearly $6,000.

    The cut in government aid would put thousands in an "untenable situation," forcing many people in their 50s and 60s to go without health insurance, AARP Florida state director Jeff Johnson said Friday....

    House Speaker Paul Ryan says the GOP proposal takes into account that health insurance plans cost more for older individuals.
  8. Rule change will lead to longer shifts for rookie doctors


    The notoriously long shifts worked by freshly minted doctors are about to get even longer.

    The organization that oversees physician training in the United States approved new rules last week that will let first-year doctors work 24-hour shifts in hospitals starting July 1.

    They had been limited to 16 consecutive hours since 2011.

    Critics have been quick to raise concerns about safety — both for the rookie doctors, known as residents, and their patients. But some physicians see the benefits of longer shifts....

    Dr. Sergio Herandez, a USF medical school grad working as a general surgery intern at Tampa General Hospital, says he agrees with the new rule allowing first-year doctors to work up to 24 consecutive hours. The change, effective July 1, will "give some of us in surgery exposure to experiences we wouldn't otherwise have," he said. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  9. Northside Hospital makes bid to open a trauma center, and its rivals are not happy


    ST. PETERSBURG — Northside Hospital has filed the preliminary paperwork to open a trauma center, setting up a potential fight with other Tampa Bay area hospitals already offering the specialized services.

    Northside is "uniquely positioned to respond to the need for additional trauma programs," spokeswoman Carrie Johnson said in a statement.

    "Our Comprehensive Stroke Center is the only nationally recognized program in the county and successfully supports hospitals along Florida's west coast," she said....

    Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg has filed preliminary paperwork to open what would be the area's fourth Level 2 trauma center, and the second one in Pinellas County. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  10. For a Better Florida: Lawmakers tackle medical marijuana, hospital funding


    The Florida Legislature stands poised to address some hot-button issues in health care this session, including hospital deregulation and funding.

    But the issue garnering the most attention so far is medical marijuana.

    In November, more than 70 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing people with "debilitating medical conditions" to use medical marijuana as prescribed by a doctor. Before then, only cancer patients and people with intractable seizures could use the drug legally....

  11. For a Better Florida: Florida lawmakers to tackle medical marijuana, hospital funding



    The Florida Legislature stands poised to address some hot-button issues in health care this session, including hospital deregulation and funding.

    But the issue garnering the most attention so far is medical marijuana.

    In November, more than 70 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing people with "debilitating medical conditions" to use medical marijuana as prescribed by a doctor. Before then, only cancer patients and people with intractable seizures could use the drug legally....

    Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said he plans to “fully follow the voters’ instructions” on a constitutional amendment approved by more than 70 percent of the voters last year that would expand the use of medical marijuana.
  12. Democratic lawmakers move to repeal "Docs vs. Glocks"


    Two Democratic lawmakers are pushing to have Florida's controversial "Docs vs. Glocks" law taken off the books.

    The 2011 law sought to ban physicians from discussing gun ownership with patients unless the information was "relevant to the patient's medical care." Physicians who violated the law would have been subject to disciplinary action.

    The hot-button measure sparked a years-long court battle that has drawn national attention. Most recently, the law was struck down by a federal appeal court, which ruled it violated doctors' constitutional right to free speech. But that decision could still be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court....

    Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith
  13. "We have an epidemic. And nobody is doing anything about it."


    Gun injuries are a growing problem for Florida’s children, rising along with the increasing availability of firearms across the state, the Tampa Bay Times has found.

    To determine how many kids are shot each year — accidentally, intentionally or during the commission of a crime — the Times looked at millions of hospital discharge records for patients across Florida, as well as data collected by the state’s 24 medical examiners....

    Gun shoppers browse the Florida Gun Show’s booths at the Florida State Fairgrounds in December. Legal firearm sales are on the rise. Background checks, which are required to buy firearms from licensed gun dealers, jumped 66 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  14. In Harm's Way: Gun injuries and deaths among Florida kids have spiked. One child is shot every 17 hours.


    TAMPA — Huddled in a backyard shed in Sulphur Springs, the four boys examined their prize: a .380 caliber pistol so smooth it looked like a futuristic toy.

    One of the boys had stolen it from his uncle. They thought it was unloaded, so they passed it around, pointing it at each other like in the movies, until it fired, its bullet tearing a hole in Ikeim Boswell's neck.

    Ikeim died that night, March 14, 2015, at Tampa General Hospital. He was 16....

    Patricia Davis, mother of Ikeim Boswell, holds an urn with her son's ashes in her Tampa home. Ikeim was 16 on March 14, 2015, when he was fatally shot. Read our special report this morning on child gun deaths and injuries in Florida: "In Harm's Way." [JOHN PENDYGRAFT |   Times]
  15. 'Please don't let me die.' Gus Bilirakis hears from district on Obamacare


    Rep. Gus Bilirakis issued the call to residents of his conservative district on Facebook: Come share your thoughts on the future of health care.

    More than 200 people took the Republican congressman up on it, packing a Palm Harbor community center on Saturday morning so tightly that late-comers had to park down the street.

    The twist: Despite the demographics of the district, which includes all of Pasco and parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, nearly all the guests came to support for the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era health law now on the chopping block....

    Hundreds turned out for a town hall meeting Saturday called by Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis. In this largely conservative district, the crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Obamacare. Despite their strong statements, Bilirakis favors repealing the Affordable Care Act to resolve its flaws.