Review Category : Health

Texas 911 Operator Answers Call from Her Own Daughter About Fire at Her Home

iStock/Thinkstock(MADISONVILLE, Texas) — A 911 dispatcher in Madisonville, Texas, is being praised for staying calm when her own teenage daughter called to report their house was on fire.

“911. What’s your emergency?” dispatcher Layla Wray can be heard answering at around 12:20 a.m. on Jan 7 in audio of the call.

“Mommy. Mommy. It’s Cassidy. The house is on fire,” her 14-year-old daughter replies.

Wray, who has been working as a dispatcher for about a year and a half, was the sole dispatcher the night of her daughter’s call.

“Mommy. It’s going to burn us all,” Cassidy continues in the audio, fighting back tears.

“All right. All right. Calm down. Calm down. I’ve already got somebody en route. OK? It’s OK,” a composed Wray responds.

Wray’s husband, son and dogs were also at home when the fire started on the back porch.

“This 911 call comes in and it was her own daughter,” Madison County Sheriff Travis Neeley told ABC News. “She gives her instructions and stays cool, calm and collected to get everybody out and told her everybody was on the way. She handled it very well. Most people in this situation would probably be — once they realized it was their house and their daughter — normal people would lose their mind.”

Neeley said it was very cold that night, “down to 17 or 18 degrees,” adding that “the wind was pretty strong, so it didn’t take long for the whole house to get engulfed.”

The house was completely destroyed but Wray never panicked. She just told her daughter to make sure the rest of the family was safe, and at one point, to stop bickering with her brother.

“You would not believe the outpouring of donations and contributions coming in,” Neeley said of his community rallying behind the Wray family. “Clothes, shoes and money contributions pouring in. They pretty much have to start over with everything.”

The family is now staying in a hotel for the time being.

“We have a local citizen that paid for the hotel through the 15th of January while they get organized and try to make some long-term living arrangements,” said Neeley. “The poor thing works two jobs trying make ends meet. They pretty much got stripped of everything but their life. But they’re the kind of people with good spirits and good faith. They may not have anything, but they have their life.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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FDA Issues Safety Advice for Cardiac Device Over Hacking Threat

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued new advice about how to safeguard implantable cardiac devices against hackers.

A wireless transmitter used to transmit data from cardiac devices to medical providers, the Merlin@home Transmitter made by St. Jude Medical was found to be vulnerable to online hacking, the FDA said.

While no hacking event has been reported, the possibility of tampering was so concerning St. Jude Medical worked with the FDA and the Department of Homeland Security to develop a software patch, which was released yesterday, to help protect the device and patients using it from hacking.

“Many medical devices —- including St. Jude Medical’s implantable cardiac devices —- contain configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity intrusions and exploits,” FDA officials said in a statement yesterday.

The transmitter is placed in the home and can be used to monitor a variety of implantable cardiac devices including pacemakers, defibrillators or resynchronization devices and send health data back to a medical provider or the patient. The transmitter also allows doctors to change the device settings remotely.

“As medical technology advances, it’s increasingly important to understand how innovation and cyber security impact physicians and the patients we treat,” Dr. Leslie Saxon, chair of St. Jude Medical’s Cyber Security Medical Advisory Board, said in a statement. “We are committed to working to proactively address cyber security risks in medical devices while preserving the proven benefits of remote monitoring to assess patient status and device function.”

With the new software patch, the FDA “determined that the health benefits to patients from continued use of the device outweigh the cybersecurity risks.”

The FDA advisory comes as concern has been growing about how hacking could affect the medical field. In recent years multiple hospitals have paid ransom after ‘ransomware’ hacking left their medical files encrypted.

Thomas Lewis, a practice leader of LBMC Information Security, said the benefits of being able to monitor implanted medical devices wirelessly has helped patients tremendously. But it has also increased the risk that devices could be hacked.

“It allows providers to have a 24/7 look at how a patient is doing and that’s invaluable when you talk about treatment,” said Lewis. However, the continued challenge will be for providers to constantly stay ahead of any malicious actors looking for vulnerabilities on the devices.

“We typically see in emerging technology they aren’t as tested and vetted quite as much from a security perspective,” said Lewis. He pointed out that protecting these devices from hackers will require providers to constantly test the devices for weaknesses.

Patients with the transmitter are advised to continue a normal routine of check-ups with their doctor and to keep their transmitter connected to WiFi so that it can automatically upgrade with the new software patches. Patients with questions can contact St. Jude Medical’s Merlin@home customer service at 1-877-My-Merlin.

“The safety and security of patients is always our primary focus,” Phil Ebeling, vice president and chief technology officer at St. Jude Medical said in a statement. “We’ll continue to work with agencies, security researchers, physicians and others in the industry in a coordinated way to develop best practices and standards that further enhance the security of devices across the medical industry.”

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Mom’s Rescue of Choking Toddler Daughter Caught on Video

WFAA-TV(PROSPER, Texas) — A stay-at-home mother in Texas said she was able to save her daughter from a choking episode that could have been deadly.

Jennifer Hull, 34, from the town of Prosper, was fidgeting with the TV in her children’s playroom when she heard a startling noise. It was the sound of her 1-year-old daughter, Hollis, gasping for air.

“I immediately jumped into mommy mode when it happened,” Hull told ABC News. “It was very scary.”

Earlier this week, Hollis and her older sister Hatilynn, 3, had been playing with their dollhouse and nibbling veggie chips when, suddenly, Hollis started to choke.

The harrowing scene, which was captured on the family’s nanny cam, unfolded quickly. The footage shows Hollis coughing and running frantically toward her mother. Hull said she instantly responded when she heard the sound of her daughter choking.

First, Hull said she told Hatilynn to grab some water and then she began to hit Hollis on her back. Nothing happened, so she started to perform the Heimlich maneuver, a technique she learned in infant safety classes. It wasn’t long before the food came flying from Hollis’ throat and onto the floor.

Hull said she was petrified for the rest of the day, but the severity of the moment didn’t really set in until she told her husband, Tyler, when he came home from work later that night.

“We were both so shocked at how scary it really was,” Hull said. “It’s even scarier when we think of what the outcome could have been.”

She said her husband, a real estate professional, spent the remainder of the night crying. “He felt helpless as he watched the video,” Jennifer Hull said, noting that she still has a hard time watching the video, or talking about the event.

The story gained national attention after Jennifer Hull posted about her experience on her Facebook page.

“At first I was reluctant to share the actual footage of her choking because it’s so personal,” Jennifer Hull said. However, she decided to share it after her family and friends encouraged her to, saying that it could help other parents.

She said she was grateful that she and her husband were proactive about child safety during both her pregnancies.

“We sat through every class that our hospital gave,” Hull said. “It’s the least that you can do if you’re going to bring a baby into the world.”

Hull, a former teacher, also took child safety classes as a part of her professional training, but she said there’s no amount of training that could have prepared her, emotionally, for what she went through with Hollis.

“It’s different when it’s your child who’s helpless and gasping for air,” she said. Still, she urges parents get as prepared as they can.

People from all over the country have commended the young mother on Facebook for what they see as an amazing act of courage, but Hull says she still beats herself up over her handling of the situation.

“I just wished I could have noticed her when she first started to have trouble breathing,” the she said. “I wish I could have gotten to her sooner.”

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Norovirus Suspected After More Than 800 Illinois High School Students Stay Home Sick on Same Day

iStock/Thinkstock(ST. CHARLES, Ill.) — After hundreds of students missed school on the same day at an Illinois high school, the county health department is investigating whether the mass illness is an outbreak of norovirus.

At least 800 of the 2,500 students at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles, Illinois, were absent on Monday after students reported symptoms consistent with norovirus, spokesman for St. Charles Community Unit School District Jim Blaney said at a press conference Monday. Student athletes first reported symptoms over the weekend.

“It’s pretty apparent that this is out of the ordinary,” Blaney said during the news conference.

A special bleach-based solution that can kill norovirus is being used to clean the high school, which was closed on Tuesday, Blaney said.

A spokesman for the Kane County Health Department said they are investigating the outbreak and working with the school district to confirm the cause of the outbreak. He said the students will need to be tested.

“It has all the earmarks of norovirus, but the only way to confirm, in fact, that it is norovirus is for someone to go to the doctor,” Tom Schlueter, communications coordinator for the Kane County Health Department told ABC News.

Norovirus is often referred to as the “stomach flu” and is highly contagious. Symptoms of infection include frequent vomiting, diarrhea and nausea, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most norovirus outbreaks occur between November and April, often in locations where groups of people are in close proximity to each other such as “daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships,” according to the CDC. It is also the leading cause of illness from food contamination in the United State. Symptoms generally last between one and three days.

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Your Body: Should High School Football Be Banned?

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

Experts in the journal Pediatrics are debating whether to ban the sport of football completely, finding concussion rates 60 percent higher in high school football players compared to those playing lacrosse.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 1 in 14 high school football players will suffer at least one concussion. And while the number of boys playing football has dropped in recent years, more than a million boys still play football in the United States.

Here’s my take on this complicated issue:

Football isn’t the only sport with a high concussion risk. And while it may be the highest, brain injury can and does occur in almost every sport that involves speed — including ice hockey, soccer, basketball and cheerleading.

Parents, players, coaches and athletic trainers must all do their part in prevention, awareness, recognition and management.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Three Resolutions for Happier Parenting in 2017

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parenting is one of the toughest jobs out there, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. If one of your top priorities in 2017 is to be a happier parent, here are the parenting resolutions that can help you do just that.

Genevieve Shaw Brown, ABC News’ lifestyle editor and author of the brand-new book The Happiest Mommy You Know: Why Putting Your Kids First Is the Last Thing You Should Do, shared her top three tips for happier parenting in 2017 with Good Morning America.

“If moms are constantly putting their kids first and neglecting themselves as a result, they can’t be happy parents,” she said. “And happy parents translate to happy kids, which, for most of us, is the ultimate goal.”

Resolution 1: Treat your spouse as well as you treat your barista.

Brown said she noticed she was more polite to the people at Starbucks than to her own husband on some days. A study from the University of Georgia found feeling appreciated directly influences marital quality, so something as simple as just noticing all the work your spouse is doing and saying “thank you” can have a huge impact and increase happiness in the home for the whole family, she said.

Resolution 2: Get sleep at any cost.

“This is my favorite resolution and it will literally change your life overnight,” she said. Brown said she was focused on her kids’ sleep, even going as far as to make their bedroom resemble a spa, but in her own room was a TV, iPad and phone. Brown said that once she set bedtime for herself and banned devices from the bedroom, her mood, productivity and happiness improved dramatically.

Resolution 3: Ditch the playdates.

“If your toddler has a more robust social calendar than you, that’s a problem,” she told “GMA.” Brown said she cut back on her kids’ social calendar, giving herself more time to spend on her own and reconnecting with her closest friends in the process.

(Note: Genevieve Shaw Brown is the Travel & Lifestyle Editor at ABC News. You can read her work here. “The Happiest Mommy You Know: Why Putting Your Kids First Is the Last Thing You Should Do” is on sale Jan. 10, 2017.)


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What to Know About Influenza Before Peak Flu Season

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Influenza activity is on the rise across the U.S., with 10 states already reporting high levels of flu activity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While getting the flu doesn’t usually inspire dread among the otherwise healthy, the virus can have serious consequences for the frail. Every year, millions of people will be sickened by the seasonal flu and thousands in the U.S. will die from it.

As flu season reaches its peak in the next few weeks to months, here are a few things to keep in mind about the virus.

When Does Flu Season Peak?

While the spread of influenza can be unpredictable, generally season flu season peaks sometime between December and February, though it has been reported as late as May, according to the CDC.

“Flu varies, it’s fickle sometimes it starts earlier sometimes it’s later,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

During a 34-year study period, the CDC found that in flu activity generally peaked more often in February than other months. This year, public health experts believe the worst of the flu season has yet to arrive, Schaffner said.

“It should peak sometime in February and then it [will likely] abate through March,” he said.

Is It Too Late to Get a Flu Shot?

If you’ve been putting off getting a flu shot, Schaffner said “run don’t walk” to get the shot.

“It is not too late to get the flu shot. There is an excellent match between what is in the vaccine this year and the virus” circulating through the country, Schaffner said. The most prevalent strain currently circulating in the U.S. is influenza A (H3), according to the CDC.

However, since it takes between 10 days to two weeks for antibodies to build up after the flu shot, Schaffner said it’s key to get the vaccination early.

“It’s not too late [but] I wouldn’t linger,” he said.

Are There Other Ways to Avoid Getting Sick?

In addition to getting the flu shot, Schaffner said there are common sense actions people can take to avoid the virus. Simple steps like washing your hands and avoiding other people who are sick can go a long way in protecting you from being infected with the virus.

“Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing and if you get sick, restrict your activities,” Schaffner said. “You don’t want to give it to others.”

Can You Treat the Flu?

Taking an antiviral like TamiFlu can help people get over the infection more quickly and can be especially helpful for those with weakened immune systems.

For the very young, very old or for those with an underlying medical condition, getting on an antiviral quickly can be key in shortening the duration of flu symptoms, Schaffner said.

“For older, the very young or anyone with underlying disease, if you get sick during flu season call your provider,” to get an antiviral, Schaffner said.

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Snow Plow Driver Rescues Stranded Pregnant Woman Just in Time for Delivery

Courtesy of the Dawson Family(CHESAPEAKE, Va.) — It was certainly not smooth sailing as Stephanie and Hugh Dawson rushed to get to the hospital in time for their baby’s delivery on Sunday morning in the Chesapeake, Virginia, area.

“She woke me up of course and told me that she was having contractions and it was time to go,” Hugh Dawson, 32, told ABC News of the frantic situation at 3:45 a.m. “We had a couple false contractions thinking that the baby was coming, but this time it was for sure.”

Many obstacles kept the couple from delivering their newborn, who was originally due on Jan. 1, with ease, but, “It could’ve been a lot worse,” said Stephanie Dawson, 28, keeping a positive outlook on the otherwise treacherous trip.

The Snow Storm

“Knowing we had the snow we had, and that everything was frozen over — it was mostly icy, snowy, blizzard weather — I needed to get the car started and get scraping to get the windshield clear,” Hugh recalled. “I got the truck started and defrosted, but then my sister-in-law who lives next door, who we called to watch our 4-year-old daughter while we went to the hospital, was also bringing me warm water to pour on the windshield to get it going faster. There was no time to waste.”

The couple lives in Moyock, North Carolina, which Hugh said is about seven minutes from their door to the Virginia border.

Stephanie had planned to deliver at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Virginia Beach because she is a nurse for the group’s heart hospital, but those plans were derailed.

“We started going down the highway to get to the hospital,” Hugh said. “We were supposed to be going to in Virginia Beach, which on a normal day would be about 35 minute away, but with the snow and everything, with no real cleared path, it took three times as long. Steph said we weren’t going to make it to the Virginia Beach one, so we were heading to the Chesapeake one.”

The Breakdown

Just as they thought they were in the clear after choosing the nearer hospital, Hugh’s truck broke down.

“I’m pulling off the exit to get on the road to the hospital we’re going to now, and on the off-ramp we’re now coasting because it’s a steep, tight turn,” he said. “As I’m getting into the merge lane, I’m already freaking out and when I go to press the gas, nothing happens. It had stalled out. I didn’t have time to figure out the diagnosis.”

“Stephanie said her contractions were about two minutes apart,” Hugh added. “I jump out of the truck and as she’s hollering at me, I’m going across the road to flag down a plow that was going the other way.”

About a half a mile from Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, Hugh flagged down the snow plow and was “pleading with them” for a ride, he said.

“I almost jumped into the road to make sure this guy stops,” the frenzied father-to-be explained. “I said, ‘My wife is in labor. Please help me get to the hospital.’ They were looking around at each other like, ‘Who is this strange man who just jumped out of his truck?’ Luckily enough they told us they’d give us a ride. They turned around at the next intersection and dropped us off at the hospital.”

The Locked Doors

The parents were finally safe and sound at the hospital — or so they thought.

“We get up to the front door, but the front doors were locked so we trucked it around to the back to the ER and jumped ahead to let them know my wife’s in labor,” Hugh said.

“The doors are locked overnight for security purposes and the Emergency Department is the only way to enter,” Pamela Cox, the hospital’s media relations specialist, told ABC News. “The front doors are locked from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.”

By this time, Stephanie was having contractions every minute and a half.

“Stephanie said, ‘I’m ready to push,’ and they were right on spot,” Hugh said of the hospital staff. “This was at 4:50 or 5 a.m.”

The couple had to complete the hospital’s paperwork after delivery because “the baby was coming,” he said. “It was go time.”

The Happy, Healthy Delivery

Their baby son, Brayden, was born at 5:21 a.m., weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces.

“Within 15 minutes of coming through the door, the baby was out and healthy,” said the proud father. “Without the snow plow, we probably would’ve had the baby in the truck so it was a huge blessing they were coming at just the right time.”

As for the anonymous snow-plowers who saved the day?

“I’ve tried finding out and looking up local snow removal companies around the area,” Hugh said of trying to track the men down. “It was a white truck with a big black casing on the back of it. I don’t remember seeing any actual logos or wording around it. I was hoping maybe if it makes the news we can find out to thank them because without them it would’ve been a lot worse.”

Stephanie said she also hopes to locate the mystery men.

“I want to say thank you. Thank you so much for stopping,” she said. “They were on their way to do something. They definitely could’ve just kept going.”

The happy family hopes to return home Monday with their new bundle of joy. There’s just one last hiccup: Hugh needs to get his truck out of impound first. It had been towed after being left on the side of the road.

Despite all the hurdles along the way, “Everybody’s doing just great,” Stephanie said.

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J.R. Smith, Wife Spotlight Families Grappling with Extremely Preterm Births

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) — Cleveland Cavaliers player J.R. Smith and his wife announced this weekend that their daughter was born five months early, making them part of the thousands of parents grappling with what’s known as an extremely preterm birth.

In a video posted on the platform Uninterrupted on Saturday, Smith and his wife, Jewel Harris, said that their daughter Dakota weighed just 1 pound when she was born earlier this month.

“We know we’re not the only family going through this, who has been through this or will ever go through it,” Harris said in the video. “That’s why we decided to share what we’re going through with you guys. Please keep us in your prayers.”

The announcement spotlights the rare but difficult occurrence of extremely preterm births, or births at less than 28 weeks of completed pregnancy.

The couple’s daughter being born so prematurely is rare in the U.S., with an estimated 1 in 10 infants born prematurely and just a fraction of those births happening “extremely” preterm, according to Dr. Andrea Trembath, neonatologist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

In 2015, just 0.69 percent of births occurred under 28 weeks, according to the National Vital Statistics Reports.

Trembath said that the strain of caring for an extremely preterm infant can be incredibly difficult.

“[We] try to help families prepare not just after the birth of a child born prematurely but before if at all possible,” said Trembath.

As these infants need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit after being born, parents may be torn between staying in the NICU with their child or tending to their jobs or family members outside of the hospital.

“It’s an incredible social, emotional and financial stress on families,” said Trembath. “Even those with very good insurance.”

Trembath said these infants born extremely early are on the edge of viability and often require tremendous medical intervention to help them survive.

“[Families] say, ‘If my baby survives, when are [we] going to go home?'” Trembath said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t expect your baby to come home until your due date.’ If they are born three or four months early, we’re talking about three to four months in the neonatal intensive care unit.”

New medical breakthroughs have helped a small percentage of infants born extremely preterm to survive. Trembath pointed to special ventilators made for premature infants that help them breathe, new medication to help lungs expand, better catheters to deliver intravenous nutrition and other medications. However, even surviving preterm infants are at risk for multiple complications, including lung complications, developmental delays and increased risk of cerebral palsy.

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Your Body: Sperm Quality and Exercise

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

Former couch potatoes who increase their activity level with a regular exercise regimen can actually improve sperm quality in as little as three months, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at different exercising groups and found that they all achieved significant weight loss and had improvement in sperm quality, with the fastest and most intense improvement seen in the moderate intensity exercise group.

So what’s moderate intensity? It could be as little as 45 minutes of walking or jogging just four times a week.

Here’s my prescription if you’re part of a couple trying to conceive:

  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • For guys, avoid warm or hot temperatures like Jacuzzis or tight underwear, which all can lower sperm count.
  • Consider a product containing the ingredient NAC. This has been shown in some studies to improve sperm function.

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