Review Category : Health

Valentine’s Day Tales From the Emergency Room

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Unlike New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day is not known for being one of the most dangerous days of the year. Overdosing on chocolate, it turns out, is less likely to kill you than drunk driving or fireworks gone awry.

But on any day when emotions are running high, emergency room doctors are destined to bear witness to insane — and sometimes intimate — episodes in their ERs.

Chocolate Mousse Surprise

Sometimes, for example, the excitement of a Valentine’s Day proposal ends in tears — and not just the happy kind.

“I had a woman who swallowed her engagement ring in chocolate mousse and then was so excited, she passed out and broke her nose at a restaurant,” recalls Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

A trip to the ER might have dampened the mood for some couples, but not this one, he said.

“She was so happy to be engaged, all of the drama really didn’t upset her,” Glatter said. “She passed the ring a few days later in her stool, and then sent us a box of chocolates as appreciation.”

Risky Business

Based on Glatter’s tales, it seems as though Valentine’s Day marriage proposals are an under-publicized public health risk.

Glatter remembers treating another woman who suffered a cervical spine fracture when she hit the headboard during a passionate night in the bedroom on Valentine’s Day. One might think that an emergency room visit would have put an end to further romantic gestures for the night, but “her boyfriend still proposed to her on a gurney” in the hospital, Glatter said. Fortunately, she recovered fully and the couple went home engaged.

Glatter said that people tend to get overly enthusiastic on holidays, taking risks and possibly endangering themselves or others.

“People are excited, they want to do novel things,” he said. “The problem is when they overdo it.”

For some novelty-seekers, risks result in a “Casanova Fracture.”

Dr. Alexander Kleinmann, an emergency physician at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, explained that a Casanova Fracture is a heel fracture associated with lumbar spine fracture that ensues after jumping out a window — “historically when the husband comes home to find his wife in bed with another man,” explained Kleinmann. He has seen numerous such cases, particularly around Valentine’s Day.

Glatter also noted that Valentine’s Day can be a time when lonely hearts get lonelier, putting those who are prone to depression at risk.

“Be mindful of that. Support your friends,” Glatter advised. And for goodness sake, be careful with drinking and engage in safe sex, he cautioned.

A Valentine’s Day Miracle

While ingesting a wedding ring or jumping out a window may not make for the perfect holiday, not all Valentine’s Day surprises are unwanted.

Dr. Eric Lavonas, an emergency room physician at Denver Health Medical Center and ACEP spokesman, recalled treating a couple who came in to the emergency room after a Valentine’s Day car crash. They were moderately banged up, he said, nothing too serious. But in an instant, their routine exam turned into something life-changing.

“In the course of taking their medical histories, it came out that they had been struggling with infertility,” he said. Before taking an X-ray, he did a routine pregnancy test. “Surprise! The routine test confirmed she was pregnant.”

Lavonas said he got the couple in a room together — the mother-to-be in a neck brace and the father with his leg suspended in traction — and broke the happy news.

While most people who come in to the ER don’t leave with unanticipated positive news, Lavonas said the “privilege of being participants in important moments in people’s lives” is a “tremendous pleasure” of his job.

“I remember the two of them hugging and crying in the emergency department,” he said. “It was the thing they most wanted in the world — and I got to tell them they had it all along.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Two US Women Miscarry After Zika Infection, CDC Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two U.S. women suffered miscarriages after being infected with the Zika virus, according to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The virus, which usually causes mild symptoms including fever, rash and fatigue, has already been associated with a rare birth defect in Brazil called microcephaly. The defect is characterized by an abnormally small head and brain.

Officials have also been concerned that the virus could cross the placenta, an organ that develops in a woman’s uterus during pregnancy and provides oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. This development could potentially lead to miscarriages.

CDC officials confirmed to ABC News that the women who miscarried were being monitored by their doctors after they were diagnosed with the Zika virus. In total, at least three women in the U.S. have been infected with Zika after returning from abroad with the virus.

One woman in Hawaii gave birth to a child with microcephaly in January. That woman is believed to have been exposed to the Zika virus in Brazil last year. In all three cases the Zika virus was found in the placenta.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical School, said the possibility of the virus being associated with miscarriages has been an ongoing concern for health officials.

“There has been a concern that it is possible that this virus…could also create sufficient inflammation in the placenta such that miscarriages can occur,” said Schaffner, explaining that the link was not yet definitive. “Two cases don’t make the whole story but it certainly would be biologically consistent with the [fact.]”

Schaffner said researchers would need more evidence going forward and would likely look to see if there is more physical evidence of the virus being linked to miscarriages in countries where virus transmission is active.

At least 72 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the Zika virus. In all cases except one, the virus was contracted while outside the U.S. One case was transmitted through sexual contact.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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8-Year-Old Who Found True Love Dies of Cancer

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — David Spisak Jr., the 8-year-old with cancer who found the love of his life, has died.

“There’s never been a morning with such sadness as today and no words will do it justice but I’ll try,” David’s mother Amber Spisak wrote on Facebook Thursday. “Our little man’s last moments were laying with his mommy and daddy in the middle of the night, with a house full of family, friends and loved ones after days of being surrounded by love. This day was supposed to come about 9-10 months ago but David just wasn’t done living yet so he made his own timeline and defied the rules.”

She continued: “I’m not ready to say things happen for a reason or a message of rainbows and sunshine just yet, but our baby boy was a fighter, a beautiful soul, a force to be reckoned with and of all the things, he is most definitely a hero. Rest easy sweet boy, you fought an unfair fight with the strength of a thousand soldiers that I could’ve never done…but you did it with grace; no more struggling. Just rest.”

Spisak told ABC News in November that David was first diagnosed with leukemia when he was 2 and beat cancer three times before his diagnosis in March. He underwent extensive chemotherapy treatment.

With a fourth cancer diagnosis, David would have to spend more time in the hospital, unable to play with other children.

“We just decided it was time to give him a childhood,” Spisak said. “If the outcome was going to be the same, if he was going to continue to get cancer, we decided that if he wasn’t going to win, that we would give him everything right now.”

In March, doctors told the Spisaks David would live four to six weeks without treatment.

But months passed and David looked well. He was well enough to start second grade in September.

It was there in school where David met Ayla, a girl in his class, who his mother said he had a crush on.

After David’s disease pulled him from school, not only did his classmates write letters about how much Ayla, 7, missed him, but Ayla herself sent multiple letters with her phone number “all over,” according to Spisak.

“He said, ‘Actually, she’s kind of like the real Snow White because she’s so kind, especially to me because she loves me,’” Spisak said.

David and Ayla’s bond proved even more special when he asked her out on a date, planned by both their mothers, to a bowling alley with a teddy bear and flowers.

By the end of the date, David had lived more than many 8-year-olds: he had his first date and his first kiss (on the cheek). At one point, he even stood up from his chair, walked and bowled standing up, his mother said.

“He was just so determined for her, he really pushed himself for her,” Spisak said. “Once we realized that this wasn’t the typical elementary school crush, once we saw this heartfelt connection that they have, we were so happy that she came into his life and that he came to her life for some reason.”

“We never thought he was going to ever experience this because his time is so limited, but we saw it and it’s real,” she added.

Sadly, David died in the early hours of Thursday morning at home, according to Christy McCloud, founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Adipsy, which has provided meals for the Spisaks during this difficult time.

“We’re deeply saddened and doing everything we can in assisting to make this as easy as possible,” McCloud told ABC News Friday. “[David’s mom] feels pretty numb right now, so a lot of her friends are rallying around her to help get her through things.”

McCloud said the family pulled David from the hospital Sunday so he could die comfortably in his own home.

Adipsy will also be assisting the Spisaks with funeral arrangements for their son.

“One of the things [David] said was that he wanted to be a hero, so his mom wants to give him a hero funeral,” McCloud said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Therapy Kangaroo Brings Hope at Utah Veterans Home

Courtesy of Richard Woodruff(SALT LAKE CITY) — A therapy kangaroo is bringing hope to retired servicemen while hopping around a home for veterans in Salt Lake City.

Charlie the kangaroo has been working at the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home since March 2015, Noralyn Kahn, an administrator at the home, told ABC News.

“His job is just to love them,” Kahn, who also owns Charlie, said. “They can hold him and give him a bottle, or he will go and jump around and make everybody smile.”

“It’s been proven that therapy animals lower blood pressure, and they lessen the need for a lot of anti-depressants because they just uplift everybody. For those residents who sometimes seem like they are not there with us, we can put an animal in their arms and it is just the most amazing thing,” Kahn said. “They just love Charlie.”

Charlie will be recognized for his achievements next month when he is honored as the American Red Cross’ “Animal Hero of the Year,” Rich Woodruff, communications director for the Utah region of the American Red Cross, told ABC News.

“The Red Cross has an annual event called Everyday Heroes, and we have all kinds of categories that people are nominated for, and a few years ago we started a category called Animal Heroes,” Woodruff said. In the past they have honored canines, but this year Charlie the kangaroo was nominated.

Kahn explained that one of Charlie’s greatest contributions to the home is bringing families together. The presence of a kangaroo attracts previously wary or timid visitors.

“Oftentimes the grandkids won’t come in this building because of the way Grandpa acts, or because he has an oxygen machine or there are people they don’t know,” Kahn said, “but they come and see Charlie and they are always so happy.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Barrier-Breaking Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Models Speak Out

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The three models who are breaking barriers in this month’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue say they are doing so because brands are finally looking beyond the conventional size and age for models.

Nicola Griffin is a 56-year-old mom who started modeling at the age of 53 after her children left home for school. Now, Griffin is rocking a gold bikini in a one-page ad for plus-size swimsuit retailer Swimsuits for All in Sports Illustrated’s famous issue.

“It’s amazing,” Griffin said Friday on “Good Morning America.” “I’m very, very proud.”

Like Griffin, plus-size model Precious Lee is featured in an ad in the Swimsuit issue for Lane Bryant. The model said confidence is a strength she works on building every single day.

“Can’t in my household was like saying a curse word so I’ve built on that through the years,” Lee said. “[Confidence] takes practice every single day.”

“It’s something that you have to work on and build on every day,” she said. “There’s no magic pill.”
Ashley Graham, best known for her work as a lingerie model for Lane Bryant, is a member of the SI Swimsuit 2016 Rookie Class. She’ll be one of five rookie Swimsuit issue models featured in the magazine when it hits newsstands next week.

“I’m still so speechless about it all,” she said.

Graham, a Lincoln, Nebraska, native, made history as the first so-called curvy model to have an ad in the SI Swimsuit issue. Last year she generated huge buzz when she walked the New York Fashion Week runway in her own Modern Boudoir lingerie line for Addition Elle.

The model said it is about time brands started paying attention to models who are not stick-thin.
“Nobody’s been listening to us,” Graham said on “GMA.” “I’ve been doing this for 15 years and finally Sports Illustrated has come out, Lane Bryant, ‘Swimsuits for All.’ There’s been so many brands that are finally saying, ‘You know what, we are going to be the pioneers.’”

“We are going to be the ones that say, you know, it doesn’t matter what size you are. It doesn’t matter if you have cellulite. It doesn’t matter if things jiggle where they’re not supposed to. That’s still beautiful,’” she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Getting Your Infant Vaccinated

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

Within in the medical community there really is no debate about the benefits of childhood vaccines. But socially, the topic is a loaded one.

So what should you do if you have questions about getting your baby vaccinated?

  • Talk to your baby’s pediatrician. So much fear, myth and misconception continues to exist.
  • There is a set schedule. Parents should ask their pediatrician what’s due and when.
  • Hold on to copies vaccination records. Many schools and camps will request documentation.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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WHO Says Possible Zika Vaccines Months Away From Broad Trials

luiscar/iStock/ThinkStock(GENEVA) — The World Health Organization (WHO) says that possible Zika vaccines could be months away from broad trials.

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the Assistant Director-General of Health Systems and Innovation at the WHO on Research and Development said at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, “vaccines are at least 18 months away from large-scale trials.”

She also noted that the landscape “is evolving very rapidly and numbers change daily.” Dr. Kieny also said that two vaccine “candidates seem to be more advanced: a DNA vaccine from the US National Institutes for Health, and an inactivated product from Bharat Biotech, in India.”

Ten companies were identified “so far that can provide nucleic acid or serological tests. Nucleic acid tests are based on a molecular technique used to detect a virus in the blood; serological tests measure the levels of antibodies as a result of exposure to a particular virus.”

An additional ten companies are also in the process of various stages of development. Dr. Kieny made a point to mention that the UN health agency’s response to the outbreak was also “proceeding very quickly.”

The biggest task will be however, “to ensure an adequate reference method is used by manufacturers when generating their data so that the performance of the various Zika diagnostic can be tested through an independent assessment.”

This, in turn, “will help prevent the distribution of poor quality or fake Zika tests that are sure to come up rapidly – as was the case with Ebola.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Couple Says Fitbit Data Revealed They Were Expecting

David and Ivonne Trinidad(NEW YORK) — Forget the stork.

A New York City couple said they found out they were expecting their first child with the help of a little technology — Fitbit data.

David Trinidad’s 2016 New Year’s resolution was to get in shape and have a child with his wife of three-and-a-half years, Ivonne Trinidad. When Ivonne fell in love with her husband’s Fitbit, David got her one of her own.

“I wanted to get a Fitbit to use the sleep tracker and see if I was hitting my sleep goals,” Ivonne said. But little did she know the gadget was about to tell her something else.

“Weeks later I thought something was wrong with the tracker because [Ivonne’s] heart rate was consistently high,” David said. “I thought something was wrong with the watch and didn’t want to contact customer service and go through all of that so I posted in reddit where I was active.”

One Reddit user suggested that Ivonne’s elevated heart rate may be explained by stress or pregnancy.
“We had begun to try to have our first child, but that was really fast, but could be a possibility,” David said.

Ivonne says she took nearly 10 pregnancy tests which all came back positive.

“I was down $200 bucks before the baby was even born,” David said.

Christine Zirafi, Director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center’s Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute tells ABC News that an elevated heart rate can be a sign of pregnancy, and is not uncommon. But there are many other diseases that can cause a faster heart rate.

“Your heart rate goes up during pregnancy as your heart puts more blood out because of the placenta and the baby,” Dr. Zirafi said. “There are also changes in the mother’s vascular resistance because of the placenta and the baby.”

The couple’s doctor confirmed they are expecting. The due date is October 2016.

After sharing the news with the Reddit community, David has received notifications and messages from people all over the world.

“It’s been insane,” Ivonne said. “All the emotions, I’m super hormonal. People from South Africa to Germany have reached out to say congratulations.”

A Fitbit spokesperson told ABC News it is always exciting to hear from the community of Fitbit users, and they are very happy to learn of this story.

The first time parents say the response has been so positive that they have decided to let people continue to follow their journey via twitter and Instagram @babyfitbit.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Increased Zika Virus Screening Deemed Ineffective for Travelers

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — While outlining its Zika virus response plan, the Department of Homeland Security said today it will not direct U.S. Customs officials to add new screening measures for travelers into the United States.

“Based on our current understanding of the virus, enhanced public health entry screening for Zika would not be effective,” a DHS statement said.

Most people who are infected with Zika are asymptomatic and, therefore, would not be identified during the screening process, according to DHS.

The Zika virus has been spreading throughout the Americas and has been linked to birth defects and other negative health issues. The virus’ spread prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to activate its highest emergency operations level Monday.

The White House also announced earlier this week that it was seeking more than $1.8 billion in supplemental funding from Congress to address the U.S. response to the virus.

“Just like with our response to Ebola, our response to Zika must be an all-hands-on-deck effort,” said Sen. Carper, D-Del., in a statement last month calling on DHS to provide a response.

As part of their day-to-day practices, officials look for overt signs of illness at all U.S. ports of entry and on the border

But CDC officials are not recommending active symptom monitoring and temperature checks like they did for Ebola screening.

Because Department of Homeland Security is responsible for immigration – legal and illegal – homeland security officials are adding “mosquito control measures” at facilities where people are in DHS custody in the areas of the country where mosquitoes have transmitted the virus.

Pregnant women in immigration custody who are from areas with a high incidence of Zika virus will be screened for symptoms, receive blood testing and be provided prenatal care while in custody, DHS said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Nine-Year-Old With Cystic Fibrosis Becomes ‘Iron Boy’ for the Day

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 9-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis saw his wish to be Iron Man come true when the entire city of Sydney, Australia, got behind him and turned him into “Iron Boy” for the day.

Domenic Pace even got a shout-out from Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr., who played the superhero on the big screen.

The actor tweeted about Pace’s “top secret mission” on Wednesday.

Sent a very special boy on a top secret mission today. Go get ‘em, Domenic! #IronBoyAU @MakeAWishAust

— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) February 11, 2016

Domenic’s mom told Make-A-Wish Australia, which coordinated Domenic’s adventure, that he would only answer to “Tony” (Tony Stark, or Iron Man) starting at a young age.

On Wednesday, Domenic was whisked to New South Wales police headquarters via a helicopter and outfitted in an Iron Boy costume.

He was then taken to a nearby island to help rescue a Make-A-Wish news reporter who had “been kidnapped by Ultron’s henchmen,” according to Make-A-Wish Australia.

Domenic, as Iron Boy, then traveled back to Sydney, where he defeated Ultron on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

In an epic conclusion to the day, Downey recorded a special video message for Domenic and made him an honorary member of the Avengers.

News outlets throughout Australia and the world tweeted about Domenic’s day, which was reminiscent of the day in the U.S. nearly two years ago when San Francisco transformed into Gotham City to fulfill a then-5-year-old boy’s wish to be Batman for a day.

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