Review Category : Health

2016 Election Brings Public Dialogue on Sexual Violence into Prime Time

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The topic of sexual assault has become prominent in the 2016 presidential race to the dismay of many Americans. But advocates for victims of sexual violence see a silver lining: An issue often kept in the shadows is now in the spotlight.

Laura Palumbo, a spokesperson from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, told ABC News that the prominent media coverage of women’s accusations of sexual assault by Republican nominee Donald Trump has helped bring the topic of sexual violence into the public dialogue.

“Sometimes there have to be moments that help change perception of things like this,” Palumbo said.

Trump has vehemently denied the claims of sexual assault and blames the media for giving his accusers a platform.

His campaign has also sought to highlight claims of sexual assault against former President Bill Clinton, the husband of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton has strongly denied the accusations against him.

Aside from any question about the veracity of the allegations, the attention given to the issue is sparking everyday conversations on questions such as: What is sexual assault? Does unwanted kissing amount to sexual violence? Why would a woman wait years before coming forward with an accusation?

Sexual violence is defined as any unwanted sexual contact, according to the national resource center’s website.

Palumbo said that people’s understanding of what constitutes sexual violence has evolved over the years, and that the public seems to be growing more sympathetic toward victims.

“Increasingly, we’ve seen the public respond in a positive way” to the issue, she said. “High-profile moments like these are critical for survivors” of sexual violence.

Nearly one in two women and one in five men have been victims of sexual violence other than rape, according to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost one in five women and one in 71 men have been raped, the CDC found.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Teen’s Epic Haunted House Gives Back to Cancer Patients

George Farrow III/Darkhill Cemetery Haunted House(ROCHESTER, N.H.) — One teen is giving back to individuals living with cancer with his annual Halloween haunt.

For the eighth consecutive year, George Farrow III, 16, of Rochester, New Hampshire, will be hosting the “Darkhill Cemetery Haunted House,” and this time, he’s scaring the locals with a creepy hospital theme.

“It’s all computer-controlled,” George told ABC News. “It’s run off a custom program I wrote. I’m kind of a nerd, so there’s a lot of technology that you don’t see in other haunted houses. There’s a big video screen so people can watch video while they wait. I love set dressing. I love the building, painting and the detailing.”

In 2007, George got the idea to operate his own haunted house during a family vacation to Disney World, where he first experienced the attraction, “The Haunted Mansion.”

“It’s not super scary, but it’s beautifully detailed, so I fell in love with the ride and I decided that I wanted to make that,” he said.

In Halloween 2008, George launched the first Darkhill Cemetery Haunted House. It began as a small, front yard display and later evolved into a full, garage walk-through with dozens of props, audio and lights.

George’s haunted house is open to all but recommended to visitors ages 13 and up on Oct. 29 and 30.

Six to 10 volunteer actors provide the scares during the 10-minute tour through several rooms, including a kitchen/laboratory area, a morgue, spooky hallway and hospital bedroom.

Thirty animatronic props are original monsters created by George himself.

Admission is free, but George accepts optional donations. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit Amy’s Treat in Dover, New Hampshire. This is the second year George is donating to Amy’s Treat — an organization that benefits the patients of the Seacoast Cancer Center of New Hampshire.

“It became a no-brainer that we had to do something [for charity],” George said. “Any money we put into them, it’s going right back to the patients.”

Rachel O’Neill, executive director at Amy’s Treat, told ABC News that the organization is fortunate for the teen’s second-year donation.

“Georges efforts have allowed up to give over $1,000 in gift cards to patients,” she said. “Gas cards are especially important because they help patients get to and from treatments. From a lot of the local charitable fundraising events, we use proceeds for what we like to call treats to renew the soul — even just a dinner out so people can forget the daily struggle of dealing with cancer.”

Last year, George’s haunted attraction raised $1,400 for Amy’s Treat. He’s previously given to The Children’s Home and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he said.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.


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How ABC News Colleagues Found Strength in Each Other During Difficult Times

Danielle Genet/ABC News(NEW YORK) — On Robin Roberts’ latest podcast episode, Robin Roberts: Everybody’s Got Something, ABC News’ Amy Robach and Dan Harris join the Good Morning America anchor to discuss overcoming major life trials in front of the camera.

The friends and colleagues discuss what they learned from sharing their “something” with the public as well as the importance of colleagues helping one another through challenges faced in life.

Robach credits Roberts for saving her life.

On Oct. 1, 2013, Good Morning America hosted a “mammovan” in Times Square to raise awareness for early breast cancer detection. Hesitant at first, Robach explained during the podcast that it was Roberts who ultimately persuaded her to get the mammogram that crucial day.

“You said to me, ‘I guarantee you, if you walk into that mammovan — and I know it’s going to be uncomfortable physically and emotionally and mentally and all of the above, but if you walk into that mammovan, you will save a life,’” Robach recalled.

Just a few weeks later, Robach revealed on Good Morning America that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Now, I felt really emotional at that moment, and I didn’t even know why,” Robach recounted to Roberts. “Because, when you were saying this to me and I was telling you I had no connection to the disease, I was standing there in your dressing room with stage 2 invasive breast cancer that had already spread to my lymph node. And had no idea, [I] felt perfectly healthy.”

The shock of the diagnosis and the circumstance propelled Robach to become an advocate for early detection and awareness.

“Because you gave me that nudge and you absolutely saved my life, I will always believe that, I feel like it’s on me,” she said to Roberts. “The onus is on me now to give back and to pay it forward and to let other women know that they have to take their health seriously — that they have to make those appointments. They have to keep those appointments and they have to stay on top of their health.”

Robach now speaks out across the country and continues to spread her message. She has written a book titled Better: How I Let Go of Control, Held On to Hope and Found Joy in My Darkest Hour.

“I am better in every way,” she explained. “I am a better mother. I am a better wife. I’m a better friend, I’m a better daughter, I’m a better sister. And it’s all about, you know, this notion we’ve heard about. But it just hits you like a ton of bricks when you suddenly feel like you’re fighting for your life. When you know what fear can do to you, you realize the only thing we are guaranteed is right now.”

As in his memoir, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works, Harris said he does lead a happier life, thanks to his meditation practice. But it was his nationally televised panic attack that ultimately forced Harris to make some lifestyle changes.

Harris explained to Roberts the origins of his panic attack, which stemmed from years of covering war-torn regions that eventually took a toll on him emotionally.

“When I got home from spending a lot of time overseas, I got depressed,” he explained. “My way of coping with it was very stupid, which is that I started to self-medicate with recreational drugs.”

Harris had a panic attack on-air while filling in (coincidentally, for Roberts) as the news reader on Good Morning America in June 2004.

“I’d done it before,” Harris told Roberts and Robach of that day. “I didn’t have any reason to be nervous and I start reading the stories off of the teleprompter. And all of a sudden, this just wave of fear rolls over me, and my heart starts racing. My palms are sweating. My mouth dries up. My lungs seize up. I just can’t breathe.”

Harris sought medical help, and his doctor connected the dots.

“Even though I hadn’t been doing drugs that often it wasn’t like I was doing it every day, and I wasn’t doing it on the air or at work or anything like that,” Harris emphasized. “He was like, ‘It’s enough to artificially raise the level of adrenaline in your brain,’ and it primed me to have this freak-out.”

Harris revealed the reason why he went public with his story.

“I decided to do it because I, as a result of having this panic attack, ultimately found meditation, which really was useful to me,” he said. “And I felt that too was a public health message. A little less obvious thing to do, though.”

Harris elaborated, “I could’ve written about meditation without talking about my own personal stupidity but I thought, if I was really going to do this, I should keep it real. I didn’t want to write a book about meditation and have somebody leak later that I had my own personal peccadilloes that I wasn’t honest about.”

He added, “So I really felt if I was gonna go there, I needed to go there. But I was really, really worried. And I have to tell you, it’s humbling, truly humbling.”

These days, Harris continues his individual meditation practice and stays involved with the growing meditation community with his podcast 10% Happier With Dan Harris and his meditation app.

Elizabeth Vargas was supposed to join her ABC News colleagues on Roberts’ podcast but was called onto an assignment for 20/20. She appeared live on GMA Monday alongside Robach, Harris and Roberts to share her struggle with disease in the public eye and how opening up in her new book, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, has helped not only herself but so many others.

“Obviously I’m more in the vein of Dan. I’ve been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks my entire life and chose to self-medicate with alcohol,” said Vargas. “It turned into an addiction for me in the last eight years of my life. I found out in the course of writing my book about this that 60 percent of women who are alcoholics also suffer from anxiety. There’s an enormous link there and I’ve been absolutely amazed.”

“I get messages every day, many people stopping me on the street to say, ‘Thank you for talking about this. I suffer from anxiety too. I drink too. I self-medicate,’ or ‘There’s somebody I love who’s going through this, and your book has helped open up the discussion,’” she added. “Especially with anxiety and addiction, there’s an enormous stigma around it. Anything to reduce that stigma is phenomenal.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Dealing with Fears over Traumatic Events

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

There have been many recent terror events around the world that have not only led to loss of life and injuries, but a growing sense of uncertainty and fear.

If these events have left you feeling a bit on edge, here are some things you can do to tame the anxiety:

  • When talking to your kids, it’s important to share age-appropriate details about what happened.
  • Start a conversation so that kids don’t feel they must avoid the topic, and if you don’t know an answer, an “I don’t know” is an appropriate response.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak with a mental health professional about your stress or anxiety.
  • Try unplugging from your mobile devices for just an hour a day — the peace and quiet might actually help.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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New Fertility Procedure Could Mean an End to Expensive IVF Treatments

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — A new study could mean more affordable fertility treatments.

Researchers at the University of California looked at women 35 years of age and younger with a good prognosis for fertility treatments and treated them with what’s called modified natural cycle IVF.

Dr. Jen Ashton appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America to provide more details:

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Doctor Removes Kidney from Wrong Patient

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WORCESTER, Mass.) — The Boston Globe reports that a surgeon at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, removed a kidney from the wrong man due to a mix-up between two patients with the same name.

An investigation by public health inspectors revealed multiple safety lapses at the hospital, but the most jarring involved the kidney removal.

Neither the doctor nor the patient is identified, but the incident took place in July when the doctor read a CT scan before surgery, which revealed a tumor on the kidney.

Yet the doctor apparently did not use a second piece of identifying information to match the scan with the correct patient and removed a tumor-free kidney from another patient with the same name.

The investigation found the hospital previously misidentified patients in three other instances.

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A Woman Who Was Called ‘Just a Nurse’ Sparks Online Conversation Around the World

Courtesy Caitlin Brassington(NEW YORK) — A woman who was called ‘just a nurse’ has sparked a conversation around the world about the value of nursing.

Caitlin Brassington, of Toowoomba, Australia, posted on Facebook that one day last week after work she was in a grocery store, wearing her scrubs, when she ran into an old friend who said she hadn’t realized that Brassington was “just a nurse.”

“Wow! Over my 18 year career I have heard this phrase many, many time[s], but today it got to me,” wrote Brassington, 38, in a now-viral Facebook post that’s received more than 19,000 likes.

Brassington went on to gives example of how important nurses are to their patients and communities.

“I have helped babies into the world, many of whom needed assistance to take their first breath, and yet I am just a nurse,” she wrote. “I have held patients hands and ensured their dignity while they take their last breath, and yet I am just a nurse. I have counselled grieving parents after the loss of a child, and yet I am just a nurse.”

A pediatric nurse who has been in the profession more than nine years, Brassington told ABC News she’s “heard this phrase said many times before,” but for some reason was moved in this instance to speak out.

The a mother of three added that many don’t realize how the role of nurses has evolved over the last 50 years, “particularly with advances in technology and advanced training.”

“I think more than ever nurses now have a partnership with doctors and are a vital component of the health care teams,” she said.

In the U.S. alone, there are more than 2.7 million nurses, according to 2014 statistics from the United States Department of Labor.

Brassington said her post was on behalf of nurses around the globe.

“It has started a worldwide conversation about how we value and respect certain service industries within communities,” she told ABC News. “I think this conversation is long overdue.”

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Mom Teaches Son Chores So He Learns They Are Not ‘Just for Women’

Nikkole Paulun(MONROE, Mich.) — One single mother posted photos of her 6-year-old son doing household chores like cooking, doing the laundry and cleaning to remind him — and the internet — that chores aren’t “just for women.”

Nikkole Paulun, of Monroe, Michigan, told ABC News she often shares parenting tips and advice on her Facebook profile. But when she shared photos of her son Lyle doing his chores, she didn’t expect it to go viral with more than 113,000 “likes.”

Paulun’s caption read in part, “I teach my son to cook & do household chores. Why? Because household work isn’t just for women. Because one day he might be a single man, living on his own, who will actually know how to do laundry & not eat take out every night.”

The mother of two ended her lengthy post: “Remember parents, a man who believes he shouldn’t have to cook or do chores was once a boy who was never taught any better.”

“I really just want to make sure that he grows up to be somebody who is self-sufficient and that he’s not considered lazy,” Paulun told ABC News. “He’s going to be a good hardworking man. You can’t have that if you don’t start teaching them when they’re young.”

Paulun, 23, who also has a 1-year-old daughter, Ellie, said she also posted the message to counter what she believes is a commonly-held view of her generation as lazy.

As a single mother, she said she’s had to teach her son everything “that his dad would teach him and the things that mom would teach him.”

“I was his T-ball coach and then I have to go home and teach him how to cook too,” she added.

Paulun said it’s easy for her to pass these lessons to her son as her mother was also a single parent and worked as an electrician at Ford Motor Company.

“She knew how to do all of the ‘guy stuff.’ She taught me and she’s still teaching me,” Paulun said.

She hopes everything she’s teaching her son will stick with him into adulthood.

“He knows that I take on a huge load by taking care of them, so he tries to help me out a lot,” Paulun added. “He’s really respectable.”

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Daughter Takes to Social Media to Find Kidney Donor for Dad

HYWARDS/iStock/Thinkstock(BAY CITY, MI) — Jeff Charters needed a kidney, so his daughter Kim turned to the internet to find one.

Jeff Charters was on a waiting list for an organ transplant after discovering his kidneys were failing, which can sometimes take up to three to five years to find a match.

“I was just sitting there and in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this wait list thing, that’s not happening.’ I can find something. I can do something,” Kim Charters said.

In April, Kim Charters logged on Facebook and started the “Find Jeff Charters a Kidney” page.

“I probably had 20 or 30 people actually messaging me and asking me how to go about the process and how to get tested,” Kim Charters said.

Four months later, the Charters found a match in Kim’s friend Rachael Milks, who gave Jeff Charters her kidney after being tested.

“It’s a significant change in his life. This donor has helped him tremendously,” said Dr. Jason Denny, transplant surgeon at Henry Ford Hospital.

“I’d give her the whole world if I could. There isn’t enough thank yous and hugs in the world for Rachael,” Jeff Charters said.

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Doctor Accuses Flight Attendant of ‘Blatant Discrimination’ During Emergency

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — Social media users have started the hashtags #WeDoExist and #WhatDoctorsLookLike to support Dr. Tamika Cross, a black doctor from Houston who has accused Delta Air Lines of discrimination.

In a Facebook post that has garnered over 110,000 reactions and more than 40,000 shares in the past week, Cross wrote that a Delta Air Lines flight attendant snubbed her and made “condescending remarks” when she volunteered to help a passenger having a medical emergency.

When Cross raised her hand in response to a call for a physician on board, Cross said that the flight attendant allegedly told her, “oh no sweetie put ur [sic] hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”

Cross claimed that when she tried to explain that she was indeed a physician, the attendant “bombarded” her with questions, including, “What type of Doctor are you? Where do you work? Why were you in Detroit?”

The flight attendant eventually accepted the help of “another ‘seasoned’ white male” who approached and said he was a physician as well, Cross said.

Cross added that the flight attendant later “came and apologized [to] me several times and offering me skymiles,” but “I kindly refused.”

“I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination,” she said. “Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right. She will not get away with this….and I will still get my skymiles.”

Delta told ABC News in a statement Friday that it was has launched an investigation into the alleged incident.

“We are troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously,” Delta said. “The experience Dr. Cross has described is not reflective of Delta’s culture or of the values our employees live out every day.”

The airline continued: “We’ve reached out to Dr. Cross to speak with her directly, talked with our crew members and we’re reaching out to customers who were on board to gather as much information as we can.”

Delta added: “Flight attendants are trained to collect information from medical volunteers offering to assist with an onboard medical emergency. When an individual’s medical identification isn’t available, they’re instructed to ask questions such as where medical training was received or whether an individual has a business card or other documentation and ultimately to use their best judgment.”

The airline also said that three medical professionals identified themselves on the flight in question, but only one was able to produce documentation of medical training — “and that is the doctor who was asked to assist the customer onboard.”

Cross did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional comment.

A spokesman for Harris Health System, which operates Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Texas, told ABC News Friday that Cross was a resident at the hospital and deferred additional questions to the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, which is Cross’ official employer.

“Dr. Tamika Cross is a fine resident and we are proud of her accomplishments, dedication to her patients and her willingness to provide help when needed,” Dr. Barbara Stoll, dean of McGovern Medical School, told ABC News in a statement Friday.

“McGovern Medical School, located in the largest medical center in the world and in one of the most diverse cities in the country, honors diversity in our students, trainees, faculty and staff,” Stoll added. “They represent the face of health care now, as well as in the future.”

Meanwhile, scores of people have taken to social media using the hashtags #WeDoExist and #WhatDoctorsLookLike to support Cross and highlight diversity within the medical industry.

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