Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press chronicling the fight against —and sometimes the triumph over— our most horrific diseases. Her award-winning stories chronicled the battle over the Affordable Care Act, state expansion of Medicaid, cutting-edge research led by Michigan’s hospitals and universities, deadly mistakes and extraordinary care in Michigan’s nursing homes, and a nearly forgotten mix-up of chemicals in cattle feed in the 1970s and its lingering effects today. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Ohio). You can contact Robin at rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Articles

As floodwaters bear down on Dow Chemical, worries about water toxins

As floodwaters bear down on Dow Chemical, worries about water toxins

May 20, 2020 | Robin Erb, Kelly House

Dow Chemical evacuates its Midland headquarters as dam breaches bring flooding to the complex’s containment ponds.

Health board accuses Michigan State Police of being lax on Capitol protesters

Health board accuses Michigan State Police of being lax on Capitol protesters

May 12, 2020 | Robin Erb, Jonathan Oosting, Riley Beggin

An Ingham County community health board said state and Lansing officials endanger public safety by not cracking down on anti-Whitmer protesters who do not follow restrictions intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Police say they will take enforcement action when necessary.

In Michigan, 23K are ‘recovered’ from COVID. Many still feel like hell.

In Michigan, 23K are ‘recovered’ from COVID. Many still feel like hell.

May 10, 2020 | Robin Erb

Destroyed kidneys, ravaged lungs and liver — the coronavirus that nearly killed some patients leaves them struggling to do everyday tasks long after Michigan considers them ‘recovered.’

Michigan’s definition of coronavirus ‘recovery’ looser than other states

Michigan’s definition of coronavirus ‘recovery’ looser than other states

May 10, 2020 | Robin Erb

Michigan counts those “who are 30 days out from their onset of illness” as recovered. The definition reflects the disconnect between data and real life underscores both the shortcomings in reporting.

Treatment and trials go on, but Michigan doctors split on coronavirus drug

Treatment and trials go on, but Michigan doctors split on coronavirus drug

May 8, 2020 | Kate Wells, Michigan Radio, Robin Erb, Kelly House

Hydroxychloroquine was touted early on as possible treatment for COVID-19 patients, but a growing body of research points to possibly deadly side effects

Plasma may hold promise for Michigan coronavirus patients, but where is it?

Plasma may hold promise for Michigan coronavirus patients, but where is it?

May 7, 2020 | Robin Erb

Some families turn to social media as doctors work the phones trying to find plasma donors among those who beat the virus, a treatment with early promise but for which proven benefits are not yet known.

Detroit children’s hospital ousts 25 pediatricians in war with Wayne State

Detroit children’s hospital ousts 25 pediatricians in war with Wayne State

May 5, 2020 | Robin Erb

Wayne State University School of Medicine’s new dean calls the action an “egregious” violation of the Detroit Medical Center’s mission. It’s the latest turn in a years’ long legal drama.

As coronavirus eases, Michigan hospitals ramp up more lucrative procedures

As coronavirus eases, Michigan hospitals ramp up more lucrative procedures

May 4, 2020 | Robin Erb

Michigan hospitals were forced to halt non-emergency surgeries and procedures as COVID-19 surged. The state is now blessing their decision to take patients with less urgent but “time-sensitive” cases. 

Remembering 11 Felician Sisters in Livonia who died in April

Remembering 11 Felician Sisters in Livonia who died in April

May 3, 2020 | Robin Erb

At least five of the deaths were linked to the coronavirus, which tore through the convent. There were 60 to 70 sisters, many of them elderly, living at the convent prior to the pandemic.

Coronavirus tears through a beloved Michigan convent devoted to service

Coronavirus tears through a beloved Michigan convent devoted to service

May 2, 2020 | Robin Erb

The Felician Sisters, who founded Madonna University, schools, a hospice and hospital in Livonia, were hit by 22 cases of COVID-19. The order lost 11 sisters in 16 days, with at least five deaths tied to the virus.

Oakland County to test 15K residents of senior facilities for coronavirus

Oakland County to test 15K residents of senior facilities for coronavirus

April 30, 2020 | Robin Erb

Following trends nationwide, nearly half of all deaths from COVID-19 are in nursing homes in Oakland County. Now, first responders are going into senior centers to test residents and staff in an effort to get ahead of the pandemic.

Michigan doctor near death among first to get coronavirus plasma treatment

Michigan doctor near death among first to get coronavirus plasma treatment

April 28, 2020 | Robin Erb

He received convalescent plasma at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, one of 14 patients there receiving the experimental treatment. Early returns are promising but it’s far too early to know if it actually works.

Coronavirus empties pediatrician offices in Michigan, decreases vaccinations

Coronavirus empties pediatrician offices in Michigan, decreases vaccinations

April 26, 2020 | Robin Erb

Parents are avoiding health care settings for fear of coronavirus. But doing so, doctors say, puts a child’s health at risk with missed vaccinations, untended anxiety problems or life-threatening diseases that can develop undetected.

Coronavirus cases rising again in Michigan. That may not be bad news.

Coronavirus cases rising again in Michigan. That may not be bad news.

April 24, 2020 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson, Brie Zeltner

For much of April, coronavirus cases dropped consistently in Michigan. They are jumping upward again in the past few days as cases spread outstate. But experts also attribute the rise to more testing.

A doctor, a miracle baby, and the fight to save dying coronavirus patients

A doctor, a miracle baby, and the fight to save dying coronavirus patients

April 23, 2020 | Robin Erb

More than 40 years ago, a dying newborn and a doctor who ended up at the University of Michigan helped set the course for technology that today may be the last chance at survival for some COVID-19 patients.

Detroit’s Henry Ford joins coronavirus red ink, furloughs 2,800 workers

Detroit’s Henry Ford joins coronavirus red ink, furloughs 2,800 workers

April 22, 2020 | Robin Erb, Kelly House

The Detroit-based hospital system is the latest in a string of medical providers to announce deep staff cuts as the coronavirus pandemic dries up revenue streams.

Beaumont to lay off 2,475, eliminate 450 Michigan jobs due to coronavirus

Beaumont to lay off 2,475, eliminate 450 Michigan jobs due to coronavirus

April 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

Beaumont Health, the state’s largest health system, blamed the dramatic cuts on losses incurred during the pandemic, which forced it to cut revenue-generating procedures to handle the surge. CEO temporarily cuts his own pay 70 percent.

Michigan needs big boost in coronavirus testing to reopen economy

Michigan needs big boost in coronavirus testing to reopen economy

April 21, 2020 | Brie Zeltner , Robin Erb

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is under enormous pressure to loosen an economic lockdown by May 1. But by any national standard, the state must significantly improve COVID-19 testing to safely reopen for business.

Wary of hospitals during coronavirus, some Michigan moms turn to midwives

Wary of hospitals during coronavirus, some Michigan moms turn to midwives

April 17, 2020 | Robin Erb

Midwives, mostly paid out of pocket, say they could serve more women and better respond to a long-term pandemic if insurance companies would cover home deliveries.

As Michigan fights coronavirus, hospitals gush money and workers lose jobs

As Michigan fights coronavirus, hospitals gush money and workers lose jobs

April 16, 2020 | Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, Robin Erb, Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

From metropolitan health systems to independent rural hospitals, hospital budgets are taking big financial hits as surgeries and other money making medical procedures are put on hold.

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