Review Category : Health

Study: Nearly 1 in 5 Trauma Patients in Chicago Area Are Treated in Ill-Equipped Hospitals

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — With dramatic increases in shootings and homicides in Chicago in recent years, more and more patients are being taken to hospitals with traumatic injuries. However, a new study finds that many patients with traumatic injuries are being taken to hospitals not designated to handle these type of wounds.

Nearly one in five patients who should be taken to a designated level 1 trauma center from 2009 to 2013 were instead taken to local community hospitals in the Chicago area that are not fully equipped to deal with these traumatic cases, according to a new study published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.

The city has long struggled with a lack of hospitals that are level 1 trauma centers, meaning they are designated specifically for the most serious types of traumatic injuries. If a hospital is a level 1 trauma center, it must meet a variety of requirements so that it can be “capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury — from prevention through rehabilitation,” according to the American Trauma Society.

Patients with life-threatening injuries, such as a penetrating injury in the torso or any injury that impairs breathing, are supposed to be taken to a level 1 trauma center immediately or stabilized at a local community hospital before being quickly moved to a level 1 trauma center for further care.

Chicago has four level 1 trauma centers in the city limits and 19 in Cook County, which encompasses the city. However, in the southern parts of the county, there are few level 1 trauma centers, despite increasing rates of violence in the area, the study noted.

“The lower third of county, which holds 700,000 people, has no trauma unit,” Lee Friedman, a co-author of the study and associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, told ABC News.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health examined hospital databases to understand how 9,886 patients with gunshot wounds were treated at various hospitals from 2009 to 2013. They found 4,934 patients with injuries severe enough that they should have been taken to a level 1 trauma center.

However, of these patients, 884, or 17.9 percent, were “undertriaged” or initially taken to a hospital not designated to handle these types of injuries, the study found. Once those patients were at the community hospitals, the researchers found 90 percent were not transferred to a level 1 trauma center designated to care for severe injuries.

While the study was not designed to discover how these patients got to the hospital, Friedman said during their research they heard from many physicians that the injured were being driven in by family or friends in search of care.

“People are being self-transported to these community hospitals. … It’s not a failure of EMS,” Friedman said. “It’s people saying, ‘Let’s get this person to [any hospital].'”

Friedman and his co-authors concluded that there should be better coordination among hospitals and support for these hospitals in areas with high levels of violence. Hospitals not designated as trauma centers are facing additional burdens for caring for these patients without the financial support they would get if they were designated as a lower-tier trauma center, Friedman noted.

“They’re unrecognized as level 3, level 4 trauma units,” said Friedman, explaining these hospitals were not getting recognition for treating these traumatic injuries. “What this study is showing is that even in a really efficient system, there is room for improvement.”

Dr. Marie Crandall, of the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Florida, wrote in an accompanying commentary in JAMA Surgery that more research needs to be done to understand how these findings could be applied.

It’s possible that the “undertriaged” patients may have been shot in the hand or food, in which case it could be appropriate to have them treated at a local hospital that is not designated for traumatic injuries, Crandall noted.

“This article provides an important first look at whether patients with firearm-related injuries in Chicago have appropriate access to trauma care,” Crandall said in the commentary. “However, more work needs to be done before conclusions can be drawn or action plans can be discussed about undertriage.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Beer Yoga Is Now a Thing

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A growing number of people are putting the “AH” in “namaste,” thanks to a new workout: Beer Yoga.

Apparently having got its start at Burning Man in the States, Mashable reports the idea quickly spread back to the spiritual birthplace of beer, Germany, where hipsters in Berlin quickly began organizing classes. From there, it spread to Australia.

According to Berlin-based BierYoga’s website, the class is the, “marriage of two great loves—beer and yoga,” and, “Both are centuries-old therapies for mind, body and soul.”

“BeerYoga is fun but it’s no joke,” founder and yogi Jhula writes. “We take the philosophies of yoga and pair it with the pleasure of beer-drinking to reach your highest level of consciousness.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: MRIs During Pregnancy May Help Spot Brain Defects

Ingram Publishing/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

It’s common for mothers to undergo ultrasounds during pregnancy. They’re used to look inside the uterus and check development of the baby. But a new study out of the U.K. shows that complementing those ultrasounds with an MRI is even more effective at spotting abnormalities in the baby’s brain.

The study of nearly 600 pregnant women showed ultrasounds accurately detected problems 68 percent of the time. But when combined with an MRI, that accuracy jumped to 93 percent.

Here’s my take: There are many types of tests that pregnant women undergo but it’s important to remember that imaging tests like sonograms or MRIs are not perfect. And while they can describe the structure of fetal organs, they can’t tell us how those fetal parts will function.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Tom Price’s Last Known Plan to Replace Obamacare

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — With President-elect Donald Trump pledging to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many have been looking for signs of what a replacement plan might look like. One clue may be a plan proposed in 2015 by Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, who faces his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Price, who has been a longtime critic of the ACA, is a member of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, which is made up of congressional members who are doctors and focuses on developing “patient-centered” health care policy. He also served for several years as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a large and influential conservative House caucus.

A year after the ACA passed, Price released a statement calling the law “a costly and misguided encroachment of government that will destroy jobs and drive our nation further toward a fiscal crisis.”

He characterized the law as “failing” and argued that it should be replaced.

“The purpose of health reform should be to advance accessibility, affordability, quality, responsiveness, and innovation,” Price said at the time. “None of these are improved by Obamacare. They are threatened by Obamacare because the goal of this law is to expand authority for the government, not opportunity and choices for the American people.”

Price’s Proposal to Repeal the ACA

In 2015, Price introduced a bill called the Empowering Patients First Act of 2015 in the House.

In the legislation, he proposed an increase in the amount people could contribute to their health savings accounts, expanding tax-deductible contributions and allowing the accounts to pay some primary care fees.

The proposal also included a requirement that HHS would “provide a grant to each state for high-risk pools or reinsurance pools to subsidize health insurance for high-risk populations and individuals.”

High-risk health pools could be used to give people who are often challenged in finding affordable insurance, due to pre-existing conditions, age or other factors, another outlet to find insurance outside their employer-based coverage.

Prior to the ACA, many states had high-risk pools to cover residents who otherwise would not be insured because of pre-existing conditions. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that state high-risk pools often had significantly higher premiums and likely included just a fraction of people who needed coverage.

Under the ACA, insurance companies are mandated to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and prohibited from charging them higher premiums. Insurers also cannot charge women more than men.

Price’s proposed legislation calls for individuals to receive tax credits to help pay for medical coverage. The plan increases the tax credits as a person ages, with a top level of $3,000. Tax credits, tax deductions and authorized funds in this plan could not be used to fund most abortions.

Under the ACA, federal tax subsidies are given based on income up to a certain level based on the state.

Federal protections for pre-existing conditions would be weakened, but not entirely eliminated under Price’s 2015 proposal. Insurance companies could potentially charge up to 150 percent of standard premiums for two years, if the individual has not had continuous health insurance for the last 18 months.

His plan also proposed allowing individuals to opt out of government health care programs like Medicare or Medicaid and receive a tax credit instead. Medicare patients would be able to pick doctors outside the Medicare system without penalty.

Additionally, the bill proposed a transfer of power to states to govern health insurance laws, which could possibly eliminate current federal pre-existing condition rules in favor of giving states incentives to pass their own laws governing the protection.

The ‘Better Way’ Proposal

Price has also publicly supported Representative Paul Ryan’s call for repealing and replacing the ACA, using his “Better Way” plan.

In an op-ed published by the Journal for the American Medical Association (JAMA) Forum, Price and members of the House GOP Doctors Caucus wrote that they supported aspects of Ryan’s plan “such as expanding health savings accounts, providing portable financial assistance for health insurance, and making it easier for individuals and small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance.”

Ryan’s plan also cites Price’s 2015 proposed legislation.

Among the changes proposed in Ryan’s plan, individuals could create group-plan coverage outside of their workplace, get tax credits to offset the cost of health care and buy health insurance across state lines.

The proposal also allows health insurance companies to open up the age ratio to bring down costs for younger consumers. Currently, the ACA has a 1 to 3 ratio for young to old patients, meaning the cost of a plan for the oldest patients cannot by more than three times as expensive as the plan for the youngest patient. The “Better Plan” proposal seeks to allow a 1 to 5 ratio for insurance payment plans.

The non-partisan RAND Corporation, a public policy think tank, modeled the proposed change in ratio and found “premiums increase even more, and enrollment falls further.”

Similar to Price’s legislation, Ryan’s plan would provide Medicare and Medicaid enrollees a fixed amount of money to apply towards health insurance rather than offering coverage through the government.

Christine Eibner, a senior economist and professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School, who authored the policy paper with the age ratio model, said that giving Medicare and Medicaid enrollees a tax credit instead could ease the cost burden on the government but possibly redirect it to consumers.

“It reduces federal government obligations over time,” Eibner explained, saying it would be simpler because the cost per enrollee would remain the same.

“The drawback with an approach like this is it puts the risk of increased spending on the enrollee,” Eibner said, “if it causes premiums to go up and it’s not taken into account.”

Pre-existing Conditions

Despite his 2015 plan outlined in the JAMA Forum op-ed, Price and his co-authors said they wanted to continue coverage for pre-existing conditions.

“We believe in providing preexisting condition protections and bringing fairness to insurance premiums by addressing the cost drivers in health care, including medical malpractice improvements to address the practice of defensive medicine and changing the age-rating ratio,” the doctors wrote. “Let us be clear: no one is talking about returning to the pre-ACA status quo, but there is a better way to achieve health system reform in this country.”

The Affordable Care Act, aimed at making health insurance available to more people and overhauling the complicated healthcare industry in the U.S., has been the subject of conservative scrutiny and scorn since it passed in 2010.

Congressional Republicans have tried to repeal the law numerous times under President Barack Obama. While the law has drawn scorn from some due to increasing premiums, it has also won praise as the number of uninsured Americans has continued to drop and the growth of health care costs has slowed.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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“GMA” Workout Wednesday: Celebrity Trainer Harley Pasternak Leads ‘Legsanity’ Routine

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak is bringing his exclusive “Legsanity” workout to a special GMA live stream.

“This workout is all about toning, tightening, sculpting an incredible lower body,” he told GMA. “The lower body is the foundation of the whole body. Without strong legs, there is no strong body.”

Pasternak, a best-selling author and Fitbit Ambassador, is leading a workout live-streamed on and on the GMA Facebook page Wednesday. Fitbit is a sponsor of Good Morning America.

Watch the video above to join the live-stream workout. Read below for all you need to know about the routine and more tips from Pasternak.

It’s important to mix up your routine to see results, Pasternak says.

“Doing the same workout every time can be repetitive — and boring. It also might cause you to plateau, or worse, cause injury. So try to keep things fresh by mixing cardio with weight training,” he told GMA.

What You Need

  • Space to move around
  • Mat

‘Legsanity’ Live Stream Overview

The overview and tips below are provided from the trainer and have been edited for clarity.

Start with cardio warm up, alternating between these five movements for 1 minute each:

  • March in Place
  • Jog
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jump Imaginary Rope
  • Shadow Box

Then, it’s onto “Legsanity.” Do 1 minute of each move with a 1-minute cardio burst in between.

  • Body-Weight Squat
  • March/Jump Rope
  • Reverse Lunge
  • March/Jump Rope
  • Skater Lunge
  • March/Jump Rope
  • Jump Squat
  • March/Jump Rope
  • Jump Lunge
  • March/Jump Rope
  • Good Mornings
  • March/Jump Rope
  • Glute/Ham Walk
  • March/Jump Rope

Pasternak’s Tips for the Workout

  • Keep breathing.
  • Focus on your form.
  • Go at your own pace and listen to your body. If your ankles or knees are hurting, try modifying the routine to see if there’s something more comfortable for your joints.

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Illinois Brothers Welcome First-Born Children on Same Day

iStock/Thinkstock(AURORA, Ill.) — Illinois brothers Jose and Ivan Favela are used to sharing the spotlight: They announced their engagements on the same day, they married their wives, side by side, in a joint wedding ceremony, and on Sunday, they both welcomed their first-born children, ABC-owned station WLS reported.

“He said, ‘You’re going to be an uncle.’ I was telling him, ‘You’re going to be an uncle too,'” Jose Favela told WLS.

The baby boys, Rodrigo and Josue, were born just steps away from each other in neighboring hospital rooms at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois. The newborn cousins were not due on the same day, the family said.

The infants’ mothers were thrilled, WLS reported. “I’m happy for them, and us too,” said Sarai Duran. Added Elvia Chaidez, “I guess we just have to enjoy it. A big party all the time.”

This is not the first time that first cousins have been born there on the same day, the hospital said, but given the brothers’ shared history, this situation was especially serendipitous, WLS reported.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Mom’s Plea for Acceptance for Son with Autism

Nicole Duggan(DUBLIN) — One mom’s New Year’s resolution has been far more successful than she planned.

“I never expected it to get around Ireland, let alone get to America,” Nicole Duggan told ABC News.

The Cork, Ireland, mom’s Facebook post is being shared around the world. Her son, Riley, is 3 years old and has autism.

“I have wanted to post it for a long time, and I never did,” Duggan said. “But I just decided that now was the time and 2017 was the year we would make a difference and try to spread awareness.”

The post is intended for parents, not children.

“I always find it is the parents that have a problem,” she said. “We have been in situations where parents have pulled their child away from Riley in playgrounds and it is so hurtful for me. But thankfully, Riley doesn’t notice as such.”

“Kids never treat him any differently. The innocence is lovely. They love to play and so does he, and that is all they see,” Duggan said.

Her post reads in part: “My little boy is just like your child, he loves to dance, he loves to be cuddled, he cries when he falls, and he adores Mickey Mouse. He is however ‘wired differently.'”

“The small things we take for granted every day are the hardest things for him to cope with. Different lights, sounds, smells or even the look of something can cause an overload that is too hard for an adult to deal with, let alone my little boy. ‘Normal things’ such as going shopping, playing in a kids play zone, or even a hair cut can be unbearable for him,” the Facebook post continues.

“To the people that stare at him because he hums, join in with his little singsong, because in his eyes he is singing the best song in the world.”

“To the mothers that pull their children away from him, you are creating the bullys [sic] of the future,” she said in the post.

She told ABC News, “I am only doing what all parents of kids with autism do, and that is ask for acceptance. I’m just crazy enough to put it online.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Asthma Diagnosis Later Reversed in About 1 in 3 Adults, Study Finds

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Although asthma is considered a chronic disease, doctors have been puzzled by its often changing nature that can makes prescribing medicine, or stopping them, tricky.

A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that about one-third of adults tested for the study, who had been diagnosed with asthma in the previous five years, showed no evidence of the condition during later follow-up examinations and testing.

“We see a lot of people who were told they have asthma and we can’t confirm it,” Dr. Richard Lockey, the director of Allergy and Immunology at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, told ABC News.

The reverse can also be true, he said; a person can test negative for asthma after the most sophisticated tests and still exhibit symptoms two years later.

He said the variation in the disease makes him wary to declare someone asthma-free if they have had symptoms in the past and were diagnosed.

“It’s a very, very complicated disease,” Lockey said.

This study in part aimed to limit exposure to asthma medications for adults who many no longer need it. The 613 participants were given multiple tests and examinations to determine if they had signs of asthma. Researchers from multiple institutions, including the University of Manitoba and the University of Ottawa, determined that 203 participants, or approximately 33 percent, did not have baseline symptoms of asthma after the initial examination. During a 15-month follow-up six participants ended up exhibiting signs of asthma and again returned to their asthma medication.

Some limitations of the research included the time interval studied and other medical conditions participants may have had. “Participants in whom current asthma was ruled out were followed for up to 15 months, but it is possible that some patients in remission, such as those with intermittent asthma provoked by specific allergens, could experience subsequent recurrence of asthma beyond a 15-month follow-up period. The sensitivity of bronchial challenge tests to detect asthma is 98% but not 100%,” the study said. The test can also be falsely positive in patients with allergies or smokers.

Asthma can be a tricky disease to diagnose since other conditions, such as acid reflux and vocal cord dysfunction syndrome, can mimic the symptoms of asthma.

Dr. Todd Rambasek, an associate professor at the Ohio College of Osteopathic Medicine and fellow for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, said some people are diagnosed at primary care physician’s office, who may mistake similar conditions for asthma.

“It’s not surprising … people are often over treated with asthma medication,” said Rambasek, explaining taking extra asthma medication will not cause as severe side effects as other common medication such as blood pressure medication or diabetic medication.

Additionally he said a person’s asthma symptoms and severity can change over time. Ramasek said some medical studies have shown people with a childhood diagnosis of asthma usually have diminished symptoms as adults.

“It’s a dynamic thing, it varies and comes and goes,” Rambasek said of asthma.

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Hundreds of Strangers Raise Over $40K to Keep 108-Year-Old Ohio Woman in Her Assisted Living Home

Courtesy Susan Hatfield(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Hundreds of strangers have raised more than $40,000 so that a 108-year-old woman can stay in her assisted living home in Columbus, Ohio.

Carrie Lou Rausch has been living at the home, Sunrise on the Scioto, for the past three years since she was 105, according to her 67-year-old daughter, Susan Hatfield.

“To put it delicately, I didn’t know she would live to be 108, and towards the end of last year, I knew she was getting low on funds,” Hatfield told ABC News Tuesday.

Since Sunrise on the Scioto does not accept Medicaid, Rausch was facing the possibility of having to move from the facility and the community she had grown to love and call home, Hatfield said.

“I was looking into Medicaid-funded facilities that she could move to, but most of what’s out there were not really what she is used to now,” she said. “I visited a couple of nursing homes, and the rooms […] felt a lot more like a hospital than a home. It was a lot more impersonal than the setting she had right now.”

Hatfield did note, though, that she was grateful the state’s Medicaid program “had this last resort option if it came down to it.”

In a last ditch effort to keep her mother at her current assisted living facility, Hatfield said she started a GoFundMe campaign in October 2016.

The crowdfunding campaign received a few donations here and there, mainly from friends and family, but it was not until local news stations covered Rausch’s 108th birthday this past Jan. 3 that hundreds of strangers began to donate to the account.

Last week, more than 800 donors raised the campaign’s goal amount of $40,000 — the cost of living at Sunrise on the Scioto for a year, according to Hatfield.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe has raised over $56,000.

Hatfield told ABC News that she would be keeping campaign open for a little while longer, and any additional funds raised would be used to support her mother into the following year. Funds that go unused will be donated to her mother’s church, she said.

“This whole campaign started small and grew little by little, and then suddenly just exploded,” she said. “It’s just a miracle.”

On an update to the GoFundMe page, Hatfield wrote, “What an amazing testament to the existence of basic human kindness in a time when it sometimes seems in short supply.”

Sunrise Senior Living, which manages Sunrise on the Scioto, told ABC News in a statement today, “We are so pleased that Ms. Rausch will remain at our community and are moved by the outpouring of support for her and the entire team who care for her. It is always our hope and intention that all of our residents remain here for as long as they wish, and we strive to support our families to help make this possible.”

In a video posted to Facebook, Rausch said, “It makes me feel wonderful that I have a lot of people who care. I want to say, ‘Bless you, all, and I appreciate it and I really, really thank you!”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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CBO: 18 Million Could Lose Insurance in a Year Under Obamacare Repeal

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Repealing Obamacare without replacement could leave 18 million Americans without health insurance within a year and 32 million by 2026, according to a new estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The estimate, prepared at the request of Senate Democrats, is based on the partial repeal bill Republicans sent to President Obama’s desk in 2015. Obama vetoed the measure and Congress was not able to override it.

The office also estimated that individual health insurance premiums would increase by 20-25 percent in the first year of a repeal, and would hit 50 percent after the elimination of the Affordable Cart Act’s Medicaid expansion.

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