Patty Wight

News Producer

Patty is a graduate of the University of Vermont and a multiple award-winning reporter for Maine Public Radio. Her specialty is health coverage: from policy stories to patient stories, physical health to mental health and anything in between. Patty joined Maine Public Radio in 2012 after producing stories as a freelancer for NPR programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She got hooked on radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and hasn’t looked back ever since.

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Across the globe, about one in 10 women have endometriosis. It’s a painful, chronic disease that can be difficult to treat.

Maine writer Abby Norman was first diagnosed with it seven years ago, but she says the disease was never really explained to her, and as it’s progressed she’s struggled to convince doctors that the pain she feels is real. Norman says it’s a problem for women that has a long history in medicine, and she’s written a book about her experience, Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain.

The health of Maine's counties are ranked in a new national report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Cumberland County is the healthiest, while Washington County was found to be the least healthy.

Senior program officer Tara Oakman says the Cumberland County ranks well below the national average in one key health indicator: poverty. She says, though, that there's still room for improvement.

Maine’s public advocate has sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission urging it to order Central Maine Power not to disconnect consumers who have filed complaints over high electricity bills.

PUC spokesman Harry Lanphear says the commission will formally deliberate the request, but in the meantime, customers are protected.

“Our rules prohibit disconnection of any customer that has a pending complaint,” he says. "Therefore, none of the customers that have unresoved complaints will be disconnected."

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Friday the Maine Board of Dental Practice voted unanimously to send the case of a Lewiston dentist who is accused of putting patient health and safety in jeopardy to district court. The Board already cleared Jan Kippax of 64 allegations, but more than 100 remain. The hope is that moving the matter to court will bring closure to the high profile case, which involves more than a dozen patients.

Maine Child Welfare Ombudsman Christine Alberi says for the past several years, she has consistently recommended that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services improve its child safety assessments. The Department’s handling of child protective cases has come into question after the recent abuse death of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy.

The ombudsman says that overall, DHHS follows proper procedures, but cites multiple instances in which it failed to do so.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public

At a candlelight vigil in Stockton Springs Sunday night, hundreds of people came to honor Marissa Kennedy.  The 10-year-old was found dead in her home last week from injuries she sustained from months of abuse.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

A recent report from the Maine Children's Ombudsman found that the Department of Health and Human Services failed to follow proper assessment policy in multiple child welfare cases, including children in their parents' care.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Sharon Carrillo, a woman charged with the death of her 10-year-old daughter is seven months pregnant. Carrillo also has two other young children who are already in state custody.

The attorney representing Sharon Carrillo's husband, Julio Carrillo, says that his client confirmed that Sharon is seven months pregnant.

It's unclear who will take custody when the baby is born. In Waldo County Superior Court Wednesday, a judge granted the state's request that the Carrillos be barred from contact with children under age 15.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The parents of 10-year-old girl in Stockton Springs who died from Battered Child syndrome are each being held on $500,000 bail after appearing in Waldo County Superior Court Wednesday.

Sharon and Julio Carrillo have each been charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of Marissa Kennedy, and, if convicted, could face life in prison. A former neighbor said he and others also witnessed abuse and repeatedly called police.

A state program aimed at expanding access to treatment for opioid addiction came under scrutiny by lawmakers Tuesday. The Opioid Health Home Project was on the agenda before the Health and Human Services Committee, whose members, as well as state officials, expressed frustration that the program has fallen far short of its goals.

Courtesy Univesity of New England

A first-year medical student at the University of New England was stabbed to death Saturday in a reading room at a Massachusetts public library.

Police say 22-year-old Deane "Kenny" Stryker was at a table at the Winchester Public Library in Winchester, Mass., when Jeffrey Yao, 23, came up from behind and stabbed her multiple times with a 10-inch hunting knife. 

Stryker was pronounced dead at a hospital. 

Steven Senne / Associated Press

A member of Portland’s Overdose Prevention Task Force wants the city to establish a safe injection site, where people who use drugs can get clean equipment and be monitored by medical staff.

Jesse Harvey, who runs two recovery houses in Sanford, says at the very least it would prevent overdose deaths.

“But ideally, it’ll provide much more than that, and what a lot of studies are showing is it reduces crime, dropped needles in the neighborhood,” he says. “It also increases the likelihood that people will enter recovery, that they will decide to go into treatment.”

AP Photo

Drug overdose deaths in Maine increased by 11 percent last year, with a total of 418 deaths, according to data released Thursday by the attorney general’s office.

“Forty-two more people died last year than the year before,” says Attorney General Janet Mills. “You know, every death is preventable. Every one of those deaths is more than a statistic.”

Mills says the higher number is driven by an increase in fentanyl-related deaths. Traffickers often lace heroin with the synthetic opioid because it's cheaper, but it’s 50-100 times more potent and far more lethal.

A student who was recently enrolled at York County Community College was arrested in his home state of Vermont last week after threatening a mass shooting at his former high school.

It could soon be easier to get short-term health insurance under proposed rules released by the Trump administration Tuesday.

The administration says short-term plans are an affordable alternative to plans offered on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. But health care advocates say the cheaper options actually come at a cost.

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