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Jeremy Olson

Reporter | Newsroom
Jeremy Olson's coverage has taken him from a medical helicopter as it lifted a sick baby out of Sleepy Eye, to an operating room in St. Paul where doctors raced to treat a heart attack, to a living room in Minneapolis where an old man died on his own terms. He seeks to demystify the delivery, politics and business of health care in an era in which consumers are expected to make more of their own medical decisions. The University of St. Thomas graduate has been a reporter since 1995 and earned the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting (2013), the Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award (2009), and the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism (2005).
Recent content from Jeremy Olson
Entrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota.

U doctors create algorithm to predict grave illness to boost care

In a study published late last month, the doctors found they could predict within 10 percentage points a person's one-year death risk.
A trial involving paramedics administering the anesthetic ketamine to extremely agitated patients to subdue them before they hurt themselves or others

Little-known exception for studies gains attention in ketamine debate

While little known, the federal rule has been commonly used in the Twin Cities.
Deaths linked to legal opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, and illicit forms such as heroin, increased in Minnesota from 54 in 2000 to 401 in 2017.

Minnesota sues OxyContin maker, alleging sales tactics fueled overdoses

Minnesota is suing Purdue Pharma in hopes of recouping money spent by Minnesota taxpayers in paying for opioid painkillers for unproven and harmful purposes.
A cyclist on the Greenway bike path alongside a train on the approach to the Short Line bridge Wednesday afternoon. Bicycle-related injuries and hospi

Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota's safety training seeks to build on progress

The effort comes amid some safety advances.
Leland Flanders waited for his cue to play harmonica at an informal concert Thursday as part of an innovative therapy for breathing-related disorders.

'Whole lot more fun': St. Louis Park hospital uses harmonicas for breathing rehab

At Methodist Hospital, harmonica therapy helps patients with breathing disorders.

Uptick in Minnesota abortions for second year despite downward trend

Economic reasons continue to be a motivating factor in the elective termination of pregnancies, new state data shows.

New tool helps identify patients' suicide risk

HealthPartners helped develop tool to assess risk of self-harm.

Children's genomics partnership to boost treatment

A superteam of seven pediatric hospitals with advanced genetic and genomic testing capabilities is reporting progress in their efforts to improve the diagnosis of rare…
Fairview Health Services and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota reached agreement on a contract for 2017, keeping Fairview hospitals and clinics

Fairview, University of Minnesota plan eight-year partnership

The two sides agree to share and develop more medical resources in their new deal.

New heart procedure protects preemies

Preemies born with a common but dangerous heart defect are gaining better chances at survival and good health.
Dr. Maja Zioncheck listened to a patient’s heartbeat at HCMC on Tuesday. Hospital officials say that after adjustments to some long-standing practic

Minnesota's hospital germ fighters report making progress

Threat of penalties, concern for patients prompt changes in care.
"Pretty in Pink," from 1986, stars Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer.

How watching "Pretty in Pink" with your teen could spur healthy talks

Many parents already know the screen time warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics, or if they don't, they know the general formula — too…
FILE - This Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 file photo shows newborn babies in the nursery of a postpartum recovery center in upstate New York.

Minnesota teen pregnancy declines; U study finds troubling data on partner violence

But historic lows are masking a problem with violence, the study finds.

Minnesota crisis hotline is hanging it up after losing funding

Calls to the national suicide prevention hotline will be routed after June to counselors in other states.
A new study shows mild traumatic brain injuries can have serious consequences for military veterans by raising their risk of dementia.

Everyday activities could yield subtle dementia warning signs

A researcher at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center is studying driving habits, computer usage and medication routines.
What is E. coli? Learn about the causes and how it spreads. A5

Two Minnesotans die from E. coli linked to romaine lettuce; another critically ill

A third case involves a woman who is fighting for her life in a Minneapolis hospital.
HCMC unveiled a new self-teaching CPR console at its new outpatient facility -- hoping to arm more people with the skills that can save someone in car

Minnesota's first self-training CPR kiosk unveiled

Nurse who suffered a heart attack last summer gave first demonstration.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson

Minnesota AG sues drugmaker over 'brazen,' 'crass' opioid marketing tactics

The cancer pain drug was broadly marketed for other purposes and at higher doses than recommended, and the company targeted doctors susceptible to influence, the lawsuit alleges.
A look at conditions as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Heat, dry air trigger unusual spring streak of air quality alerts

Such a run of four days hasn't occurred in the Twin Cities since the hot summer of 2012 and could be a sign of more to come.

Minneapolis VA hospital studies how to treat moral wounds

War can cause a collision of spiritual beliefs with military duties.
Physicians who treat patients with high blood pressure received some assurance Wednesday that their efforts to apply new national diagnosis guidelines

New blood pressure guidelines are saving lives, helping physicians

Minnesota doctors say a new study in JAMA Cardiology will help them apply 2017 guidelines and advise patients.
The fellowship would have allowed a doctor to train at Planned Parenthood to perform reproductive health services and advocate for reproductive rights

Planned Parenthood consolidates to cover Minnesota, Dakotas, Nebraska and Iowa

The move gives the new St. Paul-based group stronger financial backing and regional political influence, but also the challenge of working in two conservative states.
The joint legislature stood and applauded after selecting the latest member of the Board of Regents.

About-face on abortion fellowship leaves U with whiplash

Fierce reactions follow the decision to back out of a grant-funded fellowship to expand the practice and training of reproductive health and abortion services.

Kidney stone pain overtreated in ER but lighter approach just as effective, data say

At three HealthEast east metro ERs over three years, patients who were given Toradol anti-inflammatory drugs generally had better results.
This undated photo made available by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration shows heroin fentanyl pills.

Fentanyl drives rise in Minnesota opioid deaths

Synthetic drug linked to increase in opioid deaths.
“You’re price-gouging people who need this one product to live, to survive,” said Nicole Smith-Holt, shown with her son’s watch.

Son's death pushes Minn. mom into fight over rising drug prices

Mother of young Minneapolis man who died because he couldn't afford insulin leads fight.
OxyContin, in 80 mg pills, in a 2013 file image. Dentists prescribe roughly 12 percent of all opioids for immediate pain relief.

Eagan oral surgeon's grief turns to opioid advocacy

She urged that dentists, too, watch their prescriptions of painkillers.
Federal health officials are advising consumers to throw away and avoid eating Romaine lettuce, especially if its origin is from Yuma, Ariz., as inves

Lettuce E. coli outbreak reaches Minnesota, with 10 cases reported

Officials continue to warn consumers to avoid romaine lettuce grown near Yuma, Ariz.
University of Minnesota researcher Leigh Turner said crowdsourcing campaigns don't often include treatment risks.

Unproven stem cell therapies get crowdsourcing boost from desperate patients

University of Minnesota researcher found crowd­funding promises repeat unproven stem cell claims.

New therapy fast-tracks treatment for PTSD

Accelerated resolution therapy is growing in Minnesota, though it remains controversial and based on limited clinical research.
Minnesota public health officials have issued millions of dollars in grants so low-income communities can gain better access to fresh food and fitness

Obesity disparity between Minnesota's richest and poorest is growing

Minnesota ranked 42nd among states for its disparity, according to new rankings.
With 26,886 confirmed cases of tick-borne infections between 2004 and 2016, Minnesota had the seventh-highest tally in the U.S., according to the U.S.

CDC shows Minnesota as hot spot for tick-related illnesses

Now that summer is almost here, public health officials urge people to plan ahead to limit threats from ticks and mosquitoes.
Nurse practitioner Hannah Balfanz went over the results of Sam Talbot's physical exam at the University of Minnesota Nurse Practitioners Clinic. Talbo

Growth of nurse practitioner field changing patient care in Minn.

Since the Legislature enacted state licensing standards for advanced practice registered nurses in 2014, the number of licensed NPs has increased by more than a third.

University of Minnesota study finds liver donors live happily

The results should give people confidence in the safety of donation, Dr. Srinath Chinnakotla said.
In a bipartisan press conference, Governor Mark Dayton announced the final new state guidelines and grants to fight opioid abuse. The announcement was

Gov. Dayton unveils new guidelines, grants to cut opioid use

State research shows a decline in Minnesotans receiving opioids, but an increase in the amount prescribed per patient.

Record numbers of sexually transmitted diseases reported in Minn., again

State health officials hope that aggressive testing and treatment efforts will eventually result in a sustained decline in sexually transmitted diseases.
Tributes from Prince fans adorned the memorial fence outside Paisley Park in Chanhassen on Thursday.

Prince family sues Illinois hospital, Walgreens chain

Suit claims Illinois medical staff could have done more to prevent later overdose.
FILE - This Aug. 15, 2017, file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, also known as Percocet, in New York.

Health systems trim opioid prescriptions

The findings this week by two influential health care providers in Minnesota offer further evidence of the overprescribing over the past two decades.
This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. A vaccine to confront addiction mig

U researchers 'getting closer' to trials of vaccine for opioid addiction

Three studies published in the past six months show incremental success.
The Mayo Clinic

Rare partnership to make cancer research, treatment accessible in rural Minnesota

Led by the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, the consortium is a rare, high-profile partnership between two competing medical research giants.
Jonathan Pitre celebrated his 17th birthday on June 2, 2017, at the University of Minnesota with mother, Tina Boileau.

'Butterfly boy' transplant recipient dies in Minneapolis

A transplant at the University of Minnesota offered hope, but Jonathan Pitre died after a series of complications.
Supporters of the $15 minimum wage increase showed their support before it was passed by City Council in 2017 in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis' minimum wage increase offers rare research opportunity

A team at the University of Minnesota is recruiting 450 low-wage workers in Minneapolis to monitor their health — and hopefully see progress — as their wages increase over the next five years.

Allina hospitals, clinics weather overnight computer network failure

Hospital system relied on backup equipment and rehearsed emergency procedures to maintain patient care.

Losing your midlife nest egg is linked to risk of earlier death

Study is first to connect "wealth shock," death rate.

Minnesota families creating new family legacy of organ donation

More than 32,000 have volunteered while applying online for hunting and fishing licenses.
A national survey last year found that 12 percent of physicians believed that syringes had been reused in their facilities.

Syringe reuse incident in St. Paul rare but concerning

Misconceptions and cost savings still drive some providers to reuse.
Mayo doctors go viral with stirring 'Alright' video

Mayo doctors go viral with stirring 'Alright' video

Orthopedic surgery residents take patient care up a few octaves.

Mom says common virus cytomegalovirus is too little known despite causing birth defects

Abby Stahowiak wants legislation to compel the Minnesota Department of Health and physicians to take CMV more seriously.

Children's in Minneapolis finds a better test for appendicitis

The test could help sort out the many patients with bad stomachaches from the few who need surgery.
Olivia Curtis, 13, watched a calming scene using a virtual reality headset as she was prepped for an infusion by nurse Niki Feran, left, at Gillette C

Gillette tries VR to short-circuit anxiety in young patients

Keeping patients relaxed and amused with virtual reality headsets is part of a new offering at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
In unveiling results of its State of Science survey, 3M invited astronaut Scott Kelly to speak about the breadth of people needed to achieve breakthro

3M survey shows public has hope for science, if others do it

Too many people think they need to be a rocket scientist in order to become a rocket scientist, said a new survey on global attitudes toward science.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Gov. Dayton proposes 'public option' expansion for MinnesotaCare

Gov. Mark Dayton said that the buy-in option -- allowing people who are otherwise ineligible to buy into the program -- would improve access to health insurance for 100,000 Minnesotans.
High school students walked out of their schools Wednesday and marched to the State Capitol to protest gun violence and pressure lawmakers to enact st

Minnesota doctors push for gun control as public health issue

The Minnesota Medical Association is asking for a ban on assault weapons and more research into gun violence.

After syringe reuse, Allina asks 161 patients to come in for blood tests

Reuse of syringes by a nurse practitioner at an Allina Health dermatology clinic in St. Paul exposed patients to infection risks.
In this file photo, a pharmacy technician poses for a picture with hydrocodone and acetaminophen tablets, also known as Vicodin, at the Oklahoma Hospi

Opioids no better than other painkillers for long-term pain, Minnesota study finds

Minneapolis VA study on chronic pain likely to influence policy across U.S.

Minnesota adds genetic spinal ailment to its newborn health screening system

Approval of the first drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy spurred change.
Justin Siltala of Cokato worked with HCMC physical therapist Kristy Ton Thursday, March 1, 2018, at HCMC in Minneapolis. Sultana sustained a gruesome

HCMC prints 3-D implant to repair fractured skull bone

3-D printing can create replacements for some.

Minnesota researchers seek to use American Indian imagery to cut tobacco use

Tribal leaders seek to increase awareness about growing tobacco and using it for spiritual and ceremonial purposes only.
The medicinal chemicals are concentrated in the flowering buds of a cannabis plants. In Minnesota’s first report card on cannabis and chronic pain,

Minn. patients say medical pot helps with chronic pain

Sixty percent surveyed in Minnesota cited good results and said opioid use fell.
Hospitals have switched from handwritten prescriptions to computerized order entry, but one thing hasn’t changed over the past two decades: the smal

See which Minnesota hospitals had medical mistakes last year

Minnesota's hospitals have publicly reported preventable errors since 2005. Look up how many have happened by hospital, year or the type of error.
Results of depression questionnaires can shock parents, said Connie Blackwell, a nurse practitioner who founded North Metro Pediatrics, a Coon Rapids

Minnesota primary care clinics make big gains in screening teen depression

Rarely has so much progress been made in one area of primary care in so little time.
State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Minnesota's increase in "never events" at the state's hospitals suggests a need for “renewed focus.”

Minnesota hospitals report increase in preventable errors

"Never events" such as surgeries on wrong body part occurred despite prevention efforts.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar addressed the flu season last week during a news conference at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina.

Chasing a better flu vaccine, with science and guesswork

In their first assessment of this season's influenza vaccine, federal health officials said last week that the current vaccine is 36 percent effective overall.

An Olympic athlete — in your dreams? Startup says it may be key to boosting skills

  Executives at Aladdin Dreamer didn’t win a Super Bowl-weekend entrepreneurs’ contest in Minneapolis with their idea for a headband that improves athletic performance by…
lighting up
In the latest state survey, about 19 percent of high school students reported recent use of e-cigarettes, and more than 26 percent reporte

Teen vaping fuels rise in Minnesota youth tobacco use

After falling for years, overall tobacco use by Minnesota teens turned up again.

Dog food recalled after Minnesota siblings are sickened by salmonella

Recall was issued after salmonella was found in Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets.
FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The U.S. government's Friday, Feb. 9,

Minnesota's flu season is worse than expected, and it's not done yet

However, the flu seems to be taking an even harder toll on other parts of the U.S.
Dr. Andrew Olson, a U internal medicine and pediatric specialist, co-authored a paper on the topic of misdiagnoses in the Journal of General Internal

When doctors get it wrong, there are clues, U study says

University of Minnesota is at the forefront in national efforts to track and prevent misdiagnoses.
Gabriel Cooper

First days in child care are riskiest for babies, Minn. records show

Transition is when babies are most vulnerable.
A severe measles outbreak sickened dozens of Minnesotans last year and threw a harsh light on activists with vaccination concerns, but now they are ba

Minnesota vaccination activists now are seeking political allies

Leaders of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota hope to persuade lawmakers to support a bill to require doctors to discuss risks with parents before vaccinating babies.
At the Buck Hill children’s ski day on Jan. 27, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare patients got a chance to try sports. If they get hooked,

With adaptive sports, Gillette helps kids buck disabilities

Gillette is taking on the high cost of equipment, which can make it prohibitive for kids and families.
Judges this year included Minnesota Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman.

Bright ideas surprise, impress judges at small-business bowl

The Super Bowl of small-business competitions took place in Minneapolis Saturday as nine companies were each given five minutes to convince an NFL panel of judges that they had the best ideas to make football players play better, heal faster or stay safer.
One Twin Cities researcher believes the time has come instead for businesses to provide the company chiropractor, or the company massage therapist.

Workplace clinics could be making a comeback

One Twin Cities researcher believes the time has come for businesses to provide the company chiropractor or the company massage therapist.

Brainerd project finds the power in 'three good things'

Listing positive moments might seem too simple to work, but it is supported by a growing body of research.

Minnesota hospitals' spending on community health at risk

A drop in bad debt following the ACA leaves more money for local services, though it's at risk.
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