Jared Valentine used to own a restaurant, and he has marketing experience, but in recent years, he’s been working gigs whenever he can get them. 

After he lost his seasonal job in Zagster’s operations department due to the bike-share company leaving Rochester, he found himself looking for work immediately. 

He recently answered an ad for a per diem position called "COVID relief" with Rochester Regional Health. He said he wanted to pitch in on the front lines of the pandemic. 

His interview started with a phone call.

A local woman says the staff at Highland Hospital saved her life after they recognized she had sepsis. Lynn Lubecki says she was feeling fine after a night out with friends, but then started experiencing symptoms she and her family didn't understand. Doctors at Highland recognized immediately that she had sepsis. Lubecki says without their training and expertise, she would not be alive today.

This hour, she joins us to share her story, and the medical staff who treated her help us understand the characteristics of sepsis. In studio:

  • Lynn Lubecki, early care and education strategies director at the Children’s Institute
  • Dr. Timothy Lum, M.D., chief of the Emergency Department at Highland Hospital
  • Diane Martin, registered nurse and nurse educator at Highland Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit

A new study from researchers at Harvard estimates that nearly 5,000 people may have died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. That's more than 70 times the death toll reported by the government, and more than twice the number of deaths from Hurricane Katrina.

Faculty members and research fellows at the University of Rochester Medical Center were part of the response team in Puerto Rico, helping medical personnel on the island set up mobile medical units. Prior to the hurricane, the URMC team was conducting research projects in Puerto Rico, and came to understand the differences in medical infrastructures between the mainland and the island.

Members of that team join us to discuss cultural competency in medical care, the challenges in bringing aid to devastated areas where caregivers may not speak the patients' language, and how to help resident medical personnel care for their people. Our guests:

  • Dr. Tim Dye, associate chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • José Pérez-Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico and current doctoral student in Translational Biomedical Science at the University of Rochester
  • Hilda Rosario Escher, president of the Ibero American Action League

Kidney donor and Georgetown M.D. candidate Michael Poulson caused a national stir with his piece in the Washington Post titled, "At 18 years old he donated a kidney. Now he regrets it." Poulson says that potential donors are being undersold the risks, and over-promised the safety. He's urging more transparency in the system.

But is he right? Our guests discuss their own experience and understanding of the safety of organ donation.

Can we talk about our collective weight for a second? Donald Trump engaged in a now-famous case of "fat shaming" when he publicly mocked Alicia Machado, the 1996 Miss Universe. Machado went from, in her words, a bony 117 pounds to roughly 160 over the year after her win. Trump blasted her for not being able to control her eating, and asked television cameras to film her working out.

Experts say three things: first, Machado was not nearly as big as Trump claimed. Second, fat shaming does not work, and tends to lead people to become more isolated. Third, we need to collectively lose weight, and it's worth talking about constructive ways to do exactly that. So what DOES work? And what can we learn from this sad episode? Our guests:

This episode of Second Opinion LIVE is all about what we put on our skin: chemicals of various kinds - makeup, cosmetics, sunscreen.

Can these products cause trouble for our skin? And what happens when we wash them down the drain? Our guests:

  • Lindsey Dolohanty, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Tim Wiegand, M.D., associate clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at URMC and a volunteer faculty member of the SUNY Upstate Medical Toxicology Fellowship program

In our second hour, a new study finds that nurse-family partnerships can save lives of both mothers and their first-born children living in the roughest parts of cities. We'll explore how with Dawn Borgeest, Sr. Vice President of United Way of Greater Rochester and Dr. Harriet Kitzman from University of Rochester Medical Center.

Then we ask: is Shakespeare still relevant? Well, of course he is. And that's largely thanks to the passionate work of performers like Bill Alden, an actor who is a veteran of the stage. He brings the power of Shakespeare to our studio (and he might have his own conspiracy theories as to the nature of the bard).

The debate over the legalization of medical marijuana is still a "smoking" issue. In a recent poll by Siena College, voters weighed in and 57 % support the proposal.

According to the poll, 2/3 of New York voters say they're paying close attention to the debate.

Dr. Don Levy is the Director of the Research Institute. He says more than 700 voters were polled.

Rochester health officials have developed a system that is being nationally recognized as a vital tool in improving health care. The Regional Health Information Organization makes the medical records of half a million residents accessible to any medical provider in Monroe County and 12 other surrounding counties. There are 85 similar information exchanges in operation around and 200 more in the process of starting up. But as WXXI’s LeShea Agnew reports, Rochester RHIO is considered one of the most efficiently-run information exchanges in the country.