Review Category : Health

Poor, Chronically Sick Most Likely to Lose Coverage If ACA Repealed: Study

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With Republican lawmakers promising to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act under the new administration, researchers have been working to understand how people who gained coverage after the ACA’s passage will be affected.

Those most at risk for losing coverage are more likely to be poor, have a chronic illness or be unemployed, according to a study published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The groups more likely to lose coverage also visited their doctors more often, according to the study, which examined demographic data of people who had coverage or tax credits thanks to ACA provisions.

Dr. Pinar Karaca-Mandic, lead author of the study, told ABC News that the goal was to get hard data on the people who would be affected by a repeal of the ACA.

“This is not a simulation exercise,” Karaca-Mandic said. “We used data from the National Health Interview Survey.”

Approximately 20 million people have gained health care coverage after the ACA was passed in 2010, according to the study.

Currently, 10.4 million individuals have private insurance policies acquired through an exchange. Of these individuals, 84 percent had incomes that were 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Individuals who make less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for tax credits to help pay for health insurance. The federal poverty level income is $11,880 for an individual and $24,300 for a family of four.

It remains unclear if repealing the ACA and replacing it with an alternate plan will imperil these individuals’ coverage in the future, the study authors said.

The researchers from multiple institutions, including the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, examined federal data to understand who would be affected if the tax credits provided by the ACA were stopped and Medicaid expansion was repealed.

To understand the demographics of the people who would be affected by a repeal of the ACA, researchers looked at three cohorts of financial status. These cohorts were adults who get tax credits because they made less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, childless adults who became eligible for Medicaid coverage after the ACA’s passage, and parents or caretakers enrolled in Medicaid whose income was between 50 to 139 percent of the federal poverty level.

The people most likely to be affected by an ACA repeal were minorities, the poor, unemployed people and people with chronic medical conditions, researchers found. They also found that these people were more likely to have been to an emergency room at least once or have seen a doctor 10 or more times in the previous year.

Christine Eibner, an economist and professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, California, who has conducted other research on the ACA, said the new JAMA study echoes past predictions on who would be affected by a repeal of the ACA.

“It substantiates the model estimates,” Eibner told ABC News. “This takes actual data and looks at who was enrolled.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Vaginal Seeding

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

When a baby is delivered through natural childbirth, the process transfers special micro-organisms to the newborn. The effect is a reduced risk of autoimmune disease, asthma and allergies.

But when a baby is delivered via C-section, those same organisms don’t get transferred. That’s why some doctors are using a practice known as “vaginal seeding,” which involves using gauze or a swab to “transfer” maternal fluids to the infant’s face, mouth and body.

At this time, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend routine seeding practices due to insufficient research to support its benefit over its risks.

If you’re expecting and you have questions about this practice, talk to your obstetrician or midwife.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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New York Police Officers Use Eyedropper to Save Unconscious Newborn

WABC(NEW YORK) — Two police officers on Long Island, New York, used an eyedropper to save the life of a newborn baby who was not breathing, police said.

Officers Steven Golub and Devin Humphreys of the Northport Village Police Department responded to a call on Jan. 14 at 5:05 p.m. of a woman in labor at a home in Northport, located within the town of Huntington on Long Island, New York, police said in a statement.

While the officers were dispatched, 911 operator Dana Gunther remained on the line with the male caller, who said the baby girl was born on the bathroom floor. Gunther gave the caller instructions on how to care for the newborn. But it soon became clear the baby was not breathing, police said.

As Gunther provided the caller with instructions on how to revive the baby, the police officers arrived at the home and found the mother on the bathroom floor with the newborn in her arms and the umbilical cord still attached, police said. The baby girl had turned dark blue and was unconscious, police said.

“I saw the mom sitting on the floor of the bathroom and she was holding the baby,” Golub told ABC’s New York station WABC. “I immediately knew the baby was turning blue, and I knew the baby needed to start breathing.”

The other officer, Humphreys, took the newborn in her arms and discovered she was suffering from a “complete airway obstruction,” police said, but the officer was unable to clear the baby’s airway with her finger.

“I called over my shoulder,” Humphreys told WABC. “I was like, ‘Get me a turkey baster, anything with suction.’”

The officers were able to find an eyedropper inside the home and used it to remove fluid from the baby’s nose, mouth and throat. The newborn eventually began to breathe, cough and cry, police said.

“When I was clearing out her mouth, she bit me on the finger,” Humphreys said of the baby girl. “She started to make little cries as I was going, so I knew it was working. So, I kept going until EMS got there.”

The Northport Village Fire Department rescue squad arrived on scene and administered medical care to the newborn, police said. The mother and her newborn daughter were transported to Huntington Hospital, where police say both are expected to make a full recovery.

“When you’re dealing with children, especially a newborn infant, the emotions can get the best of you,” Northport Village Police Department Chief Bill Ricca told ABC News. “Even though the most seasoned officer can turn around and hesitate, these two officers just jumped right in and did what they had to do.”

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Newborn Dying of Stroke Survives After Doctors Perform Surgery

iStock/Thinkstock(FARGO, N.D.) — When he was just 9 days old, Phoenix Saulter suffered a stroke so damaging that his doctors told his parents that the newborn wouldn’t survive.

“There was so much clotting and no blood leaving his brain,” Phoenix’s father, Robert Saulter, told ABC News. “The only thing to do was to give him some pain medications and to try to stay with him till he passed.”

Saulter and his wife, Genevieve Saulter, were inconsolable until neurosurgeon Dr. Alexander Drofa of Sanford Brain and Spine Center in Fargo, North Dakota, spoke up. He would do a surgery to remove the clot and give the infant a slim chance for survival.

“He said he couldn’t live with that. … He couldn’t deal with not doing anything,” Robert Saulter recalled Drofa saying.

Today, just over a year after the surgery, Saulter and his wife are speaking about the incredible survival of their only child in the hopes of helping other parents or doctors facing a similar situation.

“Anything we can do to drive attention to that,” Robert Saulter said. “Because his exact procedure [may] help another kid.”

At the time Phoenix was born, Robert Saulter, 32, was stationed at an Air Force base in Minton, North Dakota. After showing signs of distress and dehydration, Phoenix was taken to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota, at 9 days old. It was there that Drofa discovered that the newborn had suffered a stroke.

After physicians discovered the potentially deadly condition, the Saulters planned to say goodbye to their son. However, Drofa proposed an alternate plan. He offered to perform a procedure to remove the clot from the blood vessel to the brain and put in a stent, giving Phoenix a slim chance at survival.

“He regularly performs that procedure on adults [but it had] never been done on a newborn,” Saulter said. “He was willing to try it.”

To perform the surgery, Drofa and his team also had to find a way to quickly operate with medical supplies designed for adult stroke patients.

“One of the things that made the procedure possible … we had lots of experience here and were able to MacGyver” a solution, Drofa told ABC News. He explained the team searched for “the smallest device” they used in adults so that they could use it on Phoenix.

At the time, Drofa didn’t want Phoenix’s parents to hope for too much and told them the chances of Phoenix surviving and recovering fully remained small. As Phoenix was wheeled into surgery, both Robert and Genevieve Saulter, 34, thought they may never see their son alive again.

“They let me pick him up with all the tubes,” Robert Saulter said. “He wasn’t really breathing without the bag and [they] let me hold him in my arms and let me tell him goodbye.”

For hours, the Saulters waited for word of whether their son had survived the surgery.

“It was the worst part — just waiting and waiting,” Genevieve Saulter said. “They had us in a room and we just waited for the phone call and the doctor said he would let us know either way.”

Drofa and the other doctors were able to remove the clot and put in the stent, but they also had to figure out how much medication to give the infant to keep the clots from reforming. The anticoagulant commonly used in adult stroke patients had not been tested in newborns.

“We had to custom make the dose,” Drofa said.

After the surgery, Phoenix was taken back to the intensive care unit as both his parents and doctors anxiously waited to see how he would do. A day after the operation, Drofa said the tests showed blood pumping normally in his brain and no new clots.

“I was surprised because we didn’t know what was going to happen. … He didn’t show any deficit,” Drofa said.

Phoenix’s parents had been bracing for the worst. But 24 hours after the surgery, with promising test results, they said they started to hope for the best.

“That’s when we did feel hopeful again,” Genevieve Saulter said.

For the next few months, doctors kept a close eye on Phoenix to check for any sign of re-occurrence. While Phoenix was at risk for a host of developmental delays or other issues caused by the stroke, his parents say 12 months later, he’s doing great.

“He’s ahead, if anything,” Robert Saulter said. “He walked early, he talked early, he has the biggest personality.”

The outcome was so unexpected that Drofa published a case study of Phoenix’s case in the medical journal Pediatric Neurosurgery last September.

On New Year’s Day, Pheonix celebrated his first birthday as a seemingly healthy and happy baby. Robert Saulter now has a tattoo of a phoenix feather on his arm in the same area where he cradled his son just before he was taken to surgery.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Newlywed Parents Carry Cancer-Stricken Toddler After Hospital Wedding

Megan Dempsey(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The image of a couple as they carry their 2-year-old child through a hospital hallway is capturing hearts across the nation.

Celia and Geff Kinzel wed this month in the chapel of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where their son Logan is a patient. After the Jan. 7 ceremony, Logan’s grandmother took a photo of him going back to his room with his mother and father.

“Everyone was really touched by it,” Celia Kinzel told ABC News of the photo. “I really hope from all of this, that it does bring awareness to pediatric cancer. Before this happened to Logan, I thought it was rare. I hope this sheds some light on it and people see that it’s common.”

Logan Kinzel was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer a second time in November and has done five rounds of chemotherapy.

“He is a charmer, he will just look at you and you fall in love with him,” Kinzel said. “He is still smiling and playing. He had his days where he wants to lay down and be cozy all day but, for the most part, he’s just a happy 2-year-old.”

Logan has been staying at the hospital since his second diagnosis. Because of this, his parents, who were engaged in 2015, decided to move up their wedding, which was originally scheduled for June 2, 2018.

Celia, 26, and Geff Kinzel, 32, were married in the hospital chapel among family members, including sons Logan and Rowan, 4.

On the way out, Kinzel’s mother, Megan Dempsey, 49, snapped a photo of her daughter, son-in-law and grandson. Both Dempsey and the hospital later shared it on their Facebook pages.

“I was chasing them down the hallway … they were going back up to Logan’s hospital room and it was just a lucky snap of a picture,” Dempsey of Columbus told ABC News. “We were so happy that Logan was able to come down. It was just a nice day for Celia and Geff and a nice break from what’s really been such a difficult time.”

Nationwide Children’s Hospital said it does its best to accommodate special occasions “in the best interest of the patient.”

“We are happy for the Kinzel family and glad they had such a lovely ceremony,” a hospital representative wrote to ABC News.

Kinzel hopes she and her family can make up lost time with Logan after he completes his treatments, she said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Processed Meats Especially Bad for Asthma Sufferers

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

Who doesn’t love some crispy bacon with breakfast?

Well, a recent study out of France suggests all that processed meat could be bad for pulmonary health, especially in asthma sufferers. The reason? A preservative used in meats called Nitrite, which could aggravate the airway.

More study is definitely needed, but here’s my prescription when it comes to eating a balanced diet:

Medical and nutritional science has clearly shown that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, and low in sugar, tends to be the healthiest.

Some people crave red meat and others do just fine with just chicken, turkey and fish. So if you’re looking to tweak the way you eat in 2017, try to eat less processed meats and more fruits and vegetables.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Girl with Terminal Cancer Asks People to Do Acts of Kindness

Courtesy Anne Schofield(NEW YORK) — When Becca Schofield, was told last November the brain cancer she had fought for nearly two years was terminal, the 17-year-old said she decided to create a bucket list.

When an overwhelming number of family and friends wanted to help with her bucket list, Becca, of Riverview, New Brunswick, thought of a way to help other people.

Becca brainstormed with her dad, Darren Schofield, and came up with a hashtag, #BecccaToldMeTo, to give people a way to help others, and inadvertently help Becca, too.

“Everyone wants to help, everyone wants to do things and a lot of [my bucket list] is I want to revisit places I’ve been, eat my favorite foods, watch my parents’ favorite movies with them,” Becca told ABC News. “It’s not stuff people can help with.”

“This is something other people can do and feel like they’re doing stuff for me,” she said. “I love that it’s not just for the recipient and not just for the person who’s giving. It’s also for me.”

Becca, who underwent a seven-hour surgery after her first brain tumor was discovered in February 2015, took to Facebook last month to tell friends and family about the hashtag. Doctors said Becca has three months to a year to live, the family said.

The hashtag was first created as simply a way to celebrate Becca’s last day of radiation, on Dec. 16. Now, more than one month later, Becca receives notifications from people around the world.

“Every morning I wake up and I’m delighted that it’s still happening,” she said. “I feel like a kid on Christmas every single day. … Every day is a gift to know that it’s happening.”

Becca’s parents said they consider themselves as inadvertent beneficiaries of the random acts of kindness.

“It makes more than three people feel good because me and my husband watch Becca’s face and see the smile on her face,” Anne Schofield told ABC News. “In the evening, she’ll sit and look on her iPad and see what people have posted.”

Schofield recalled a moment with her husband recently when they told Becca that they could have never imagined how quickly her acts of kindness hashtag would spread.

Schofield said her daughter’s response to them was, “You just don’t dream big enough.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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11-Year-Old Boy Becomes One of the Youngest to Get Artificial Heart

WLS(CHICAGO) — An Illinois boy has become one of the youngest people to receive an artificial heart after recently getting the life-saving device implanted at age 11, doctors said.

Jaheim Whigham is the youngest person to be given a new kind of artificial heart originally designed for women, according to the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

Jaheim underwent a heart transplant at age 7 after being diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that affects blood flow through the heart, the hospital said.

During a routine check-up in October, doctors found that his transplanted heart was failing after his immune system started to attack the donated organ.

“We had no other options but to implant Jaheim with the artificial heart,” Dr. Carl Backer, division head of cardiovascular surgery at Lurie Children’s Hospital and professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said Tuesday in a statement.

Doctors performed the operation to implant the artificial heart in December, after his other organ systems started to fail.

“Since the artificial heart implant on December 1, 2016, Jaheim’s other organs have recovered nicely,” Backer added. “He keeps getting stronger and has now been listed for a heart transplant.”

He is the youngest person to get the 50 cubic-centimeter SynCardia artificial heart, which was designed for women and men of smaller stature. The artificial heart is not a cure but used to help patients survive until they can get a transplant.

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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.”

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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.”

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