Review Category : Health

Virus Delays Homecoming for Toddler Who Received Liver From Dad

Liver Transplants for our Vietnamese Twin Girls/Facebook(TORONTO) — A long-awaited homecoming was delayed for a toddler who received a liver transplant, with her father as the donor, after she contracted a virus.

Phuoc Wagner made headlines along with her twin sister Binh when both girls needed a liver transplant to survive and their father, Michael Wagner, could only donate to one. Phuoc underwent the surgery last month after doctors determined she needed the operation sooner than her sister.

While both the 3-year-old girl and her father are recovering, Phuoc’s return home was delayed this week after she contracted the norovirus, or stomach flu, according to the family’s Facebook page.

“No homecoming yet: norovirus is keeping Phuoc in hospital,” Johanne Wagner, the twin’s mother, wrote on Facebook. “And norovirus in my house as well. Homefront needs to be clear before they can come home.”

Johanne Wagner also confirmed they still are waiting to hear about the possibility of a living donor for Binh Wagner. Both Binh and Phuoc needed liver transplants after suffering liver damage because of a genetic condition called Alagille syndrome.

In an earlier post this week Johanne Wagner said she worried about having Phuoc back after her transplant.

“It is scary though to welcome her back so soon after transplant,” Wagner wrote on Facebook. “A lot of new stuff to assimilate. Daily nursing visits for weeks to come to administer IV meds and perform bloodwork. But most of all, the fear of something going wrong, and quickly.”

However, Wagner said she is eager for Phuoc to reunite with her twin sister Binh. She posted a few pictures of Binh this week playing and even dancing with her older brother.

According to an earlier report from the Canadian Broadcasting Company, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has received 400 submissions from people offering to be a living donor for Binh.

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Most Surprising Allegations in Ebola Nurse Nina Pham’s Lawsuit

Alex Wong/Getty Images)(DALLAS) — The Dallas nurse who survived Ebola after catching it from her patient last fall may have smiled for the cameras during the harrowing ordeal, but now she’s saying the hospital put its reputation above her needs.

Nina Pham, a 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, caught Ebola from her patient, Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died from the disease. Although Pham became the face of the hospital’s public relations campaign after the hospital turned into “a ghost town,” she sued its parent company, Texas Health Resources, Monday in Dallas. She did not specify the damages she’s seeking.

Here are four of the most surprising allegations made in Pham’s legal petition against the hospital network:

The hospital lied when it upgraded Pham’s condition to “good,” according to the suit.

On Oct. 14, Texas Health Resources announced that Pham was “in good condition.” Meanwhile, health workers at the hospital were holding end-of-life discussions with Pham while at the same time they noted she was so impaired, she couldn’t make these decisions on her own, according to the legal document.

Pham’s mother heard the positive condition report on the news and called the hospital, only to find out that Pham was not in good condition, the lawsuit says.

Pham didn’t know about the isolation room video.

The hospital released a video of Pham in its care before she was transported to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for further treatment, but Pham didn’t give permission for the video to be shot or distributed, according to the lawsuit.

“Come to Maryland, everybody,” Pham says in the video. She soon begins to wipe away tears and says, “I love you guys.”

The video was shot on a GoPro camera tucked under a physician’s hood, according to the document. The physician didn’t get the soundbites the hospital was looking for, but the video was edited and released to the media for a “rah rah” response, according to the suit.

“Never once did THR get Nina’s permission to be used as a PR pawn like this. Never once did THR discuss its purposes or motivations or tell Nina what it was going to do with the information it sought from her,” the suit reads.

When she got sick, Pham didn’t want the public to know her name.

On her way to her hospital’s emergency room with possible Ebola symptoms, Pham called the hospital and asked for her privacy, according to the suit. She didn’t want anyone to know she might have Ebola.

“Shortly before midnight, the chief nursing officer for Presbyterian came into Nina’s room wearing a full hazmat suit. Nina could tell from his red eyes that it was bad news,” the suit reads. “That’s when she was told she had tested positive for Ebola.”

Then, despite her life-threatening illness and medications, the public relations department of the hospital’s parent company called Pham repeatedly, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement to employees, the hospital said Monday night that it “was sensitive to Nina’s privacy, and we adhered to HIPAA rules in determining what information to share publicly. We had Nina’s consent to share the information about her that was released.”

She received only “Googled” Ebola information from her bosses before meeting Duncan.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, had been at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas for a day and a half when Pham’s boss told her that he would become her patient in the intensive care unit.

“The sum total of the information Nina was provided to protect herself before taking on her patient was what her manager ‘Googled’ and printed out from the Internet,” the suit alleges.

The nurses made up their own personal protective gear protocols because they had no other instructions. And they disposed of hazardous waste by tying the material in knotted sheets and putting it in a nearby room, because proper hazmat teams were not called in.

“Nina Pham would have been better off treating Mr. Duncan in a Liberian Ebola center than in THR’s signature hospital,” the lawsuit states.

Texas Health Resources spokesperson Wendell Watson released the following statement Monday: “Nina Pham served very bravely during a most difficult time as we all struggled to deal with the first case of Ebola to arrive in a U.S. hospital’s emergency room. Texas Health Resources has a strong culture of caring and compassion, and we view all our employees as part of our family. That’s why we have continued to support Nina both during and after her illness, and it’s why she is still a member of our team. As distressing as the lawsuit is to us, we remain optimistic that we can resolve this matter with Nina.”

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Pregnant Women Turn to Alternative, ‘Personalized’ Birthing Options

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Giving birth is the most primal act in a woman’s life. And yet, modern medicine has turned birthing into a sterile, medical procedure, often performed in a hospital operating room.

But more and more women are rejecting the traditional hospital approach to delivery in favor of a more “personalized” birthing experience, with some literally going back to their primal roots by trekking into the wilderness to give birth.

Born in the Wild is a new reality TV show, which debuts on Lifetime on Tuesday at 10 p.m. It features expectant mothers who chose to give birth outside in the woods. Peter and Audrey Bird, who live in Alaska and have three children, are featured on the show. They said they had a negative experience in the hospital with the birth of their 6-year-old son.

“My labor was full of fear,” Audrey, 25, says on the show. “That’s not something that I ever wanted to do again.”

So to welcome their daughter Piper, they decided to go into the great outdoors to give birth in a makeshift tent, with no medical professionals.

“I’m excited to have my baby outside in Alaska,” Audrey said. “We’re surrounded by the lake, the trees, and the clouds, and the mountains. It’s absolutely breathtaking. We are about a hundred miles from the nearest road. No power lines run to the property, no phone lines, we don’t have a sewer system. On this side of the lake, it’s just us. There’s no neighbors. There’s no other families nearby. So we are very isolated.”

Practicing OBGYN and ABC News contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said, while extreme, more women are taking control of their labor and delivery.

“I think there’s no question we’re certainly hearing a lot more about alternative births,” Ashton said. “I think in large measure that comes because women are growing more and more dissatisfied with what’s being offered by their doctor, by their board certified OB or even in some cases by a certified nurse midwife, and it’s pushing them to seek out these more extreme birthing experiences.”

In suburban New Jersey, Cheryl and Terrance Suydam decided to have all three of their children born at home.

With their third child, Cheryl planned to give birth in a tub set up in the family’s living room, with two midwives and her husband on hand. In the final stages of labor, she decided instead to move to the family sofa, which had been covered in plastic. After 21 hours of labor, Cheryl delivered a healthy baby girl.

Throughout Suydam’s delivery, the couple’s two other kids, Livvy and Alex, who were ages 3 and 6 at the time, and even the family dog, freely walked in and out of the birthing room.

Out-of-hospital births are far from the norm. Only around 1 percent of births in the United States are done outside of a hospital, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The fact of the matter remains, that in obstetrics, there can be life and death, last minute emergencies that are unexpected, unanticipated, and if they occur outside of a safe hospital or birthing center setting can be disastrous for the mother or the baby,” Ashton said.

But more U.S. hospitals are seeing the trend of mothers wanting options and now offer a variety of birthing experiences, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jennifer Horn had her son Seth at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and although it was her third time giving birth, it was the first time she was able to watch her baby being born.

Horn had previously given birth to two children via C-section, but for her third child, she decided to try Vanderbilt’s “family-friendly” C-section option.

With a traditional C-section, the surgical drape stays up for the entire surgery and the mother is cut off from the birthing process. Afterwards, the baby is usually whisked away to be cleaned up. But with the “family-friendly” option at Vanderbilt, the baby is given to the mother immediately after birth, so she can cradle her newborn, skin-to-skin.

“Studies have shown that babies who have that contact with mom, that skin-to-skin in the first hour, have higher rates of breastfeeding, longitudinally, over time when you look at that three months, six months,” said anesthesiologist Dr. Sarah Starr, who helped develop the policy at Vanderbilt.

With this option, the surgical drape still goes up on the mother’s midsection during the surgery, but when it’s time for the baby to come out, the doctor opens a window in the drape so that the mother can have the same view of her baby being born as a mom giving birth vaginally would.

“It’s just like vaginal birth. You don’t see anything down there, but you get to see the baby come out,” Horn said.

In the same hospital, another mom-to-be named Glenna Kramer opted for a completely different type of delivery for her first child. She wanted to have natural childbirth, without an epidural or an obstetrician present. Instead she had a midwife and a nurse help her through the delivery.

To ease the pain, Glenna used a tub of hot water, an option not available to women attached to IVs, and she had nitrous oxide, more commonly known as “laughing gas,” to help take the edge off.

“[The nitrous oxide] more or less served the purpose of calming me down and helping me relax and helping me cope with the pain rather than taking the pain away,” she said.

In the end, Glenna was snuggling happy, healthy baby boy she had brought into the world by doing it her way.

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Gender Identity is Biological, Study Says

ABC/Lou Rocco(BOSTON) — There is a growing body of evidence that gender identity is hard wired into the brain and not simply a matter of psychology, according to a new Boston University School of Medicine study.

Writing in the journal Endocrine Practice, the researchers said that as many as one in 100 people could be living with some form of gender identity disorder — meaning they may identify their gender differently than the one they were born with.

For example, actress Laverne Cox was born a man but identifies as a woman.

This makes the case for doctors to use surgery and hormone treatment rather than psychotherapy alone to help their patients come to terms with their gender identity, Dr. Joshua Safer, the lead researcher and a professor at BUSM, said.

“The paper was a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence that gender identity is a biological phenomenon,” Safer explained. “As such it provides one of the most convincing arguments to date for all medical providers to gain the transgender medicine skills necessary to provide good care for these individuals,” he added.

Nearly 40 percent of medical students they surveyed said they were uncomfortable caring for transgendered patients, and 5 percent of medical students said that the treatment was not part of conventional medicine. After teaching a course that raised the medical students’ awareness about transgender medical need, the students’ discomfort dropped by 67 percent.

Safer and the other authors of the study said they hope to change the perception of transgendered people within the healthcare system so that they get better treatment. But because the study was small, it does have limitations, the researchers said, and there should be additional investigation to focus on the specific biologic mechanisms for gender identity.

The ABC News National health team would also like to raise awareness about gender identity and what it means to be transgendered. We’re holding a tweet chat on the topic Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical correspondent, will moderate. We’ll be joined by experts, patients and loved ones to talk about the challenges of being transgendered and what that means for overall health and wellbeing.

Joining the chat is easy. Click here to learn more.

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High Numbers of Teens Are Victims of Dating Violence — A new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that just over 20 percent of all teenage girls and one in 10 teen boys have experienced at least one instance of violence while dating over the past 12 months.

Although the CDC has been taking this survey since 1999, the criteria has been revamped to list far more serious forms of teen dating violence (TDV).

Polling 9,000 teens who’ve dated over the past year, the CDC says that 20.9 percent of teenage girls reported TDV, with 6.6 percent saying it was physical, eight percent claiming the violence was sexual and 6.4 percent acknowledging it was both physical and sexual.

Meanwhile, 10.4 percent of teen boys reported TDV, with the numbers about half of those for girls when it came to physical, sexual or both physical and sexual violence.

Nonetheless, the CDC researchers say “prevention efforts may be more effective if they include content for both sexes.”

Certain at-risk behaviors associated with TDV include smoking, drinking, using drugs, depression, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide.

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Certain British Workers Have More than Sex Education

iStock/Thinkstock(LEEDS, England) — Turns out that many of Britain’s streetwalkers have more than just street smarts.

Research by Leeds University reveals that 38 percent of people in the sex trade have at least an undergraduate degree and among that group, 17 percent have finished a level of post-grad study.

Leeds researchers qualified their findings by acknowledging that none of the 240 sex workers they polled, which included 28 men and 12 transgender people, were forced into their current profession.

Meanwhile, most working in the sex trade have done other things for money. Over seven in 10 say they worked at healthcare, education or charity jobs while a third admitted working in retail.

Yet, while the money is good, the risks are also great. Almost half of those surveyed claim to have been victims of violent crimes such as rape and robbery and 36 percent say they received threats via emails, calls or texts.

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Report: Elderly Dentist Drugged, Drooled, Pulled Wrong Teeth

iStock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) — While drooling is sometimes expected at the dentist’s office, it’s usually not the dentist doing so — though that’s just what authorities say was going on with 75-year-old Dr. Gary Dean Burnidge, who is accused of repeatedly operating on patients while under the influence of drugs.

Tulsa World reports Burnidge surrendered his license in January and subsequently sold his practice. He is accused of pulling the wrong teeth, operating on the wrong side of patients’ mouths, and instructing his staff to inject him with medications that at times left him slurring and drooling while on the job.

The dentist is also alleged to have over-anesthetized patients, and improperly stored controlled drugs around the office.

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Pain Causing Sleep Problems for Many Americans

OcusFocus/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that pain may be the problem keeping many Americans from getting sufficient sleep.

Respondents said that having pain was associated with feeling unhealthy and more stressed, and with problems sleeping. Included in the pain-related sleep issues was lower-quality sleep, as the actual difference in duration between those with chronic pain and those without was only about 20 to 30 minutes per night.

Even environmental factors, such as temperature, light and noise, were more problematic for those respondents with pain.

People with chronic pain, the survey showed, were more worried about their sleep, saying that it was impacting their daily life.

The study found that 21 percent of Americans suffer chronic pain, and 36 percent said they had suffered acute pain within the last week.

Sixty-five percent of those without pain reported good to very good sleep quality, compared to just 45 percent with acute pain and 37 percent with chronic pain.

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Dangerous Bacteria Mysteriously Escapes from Louisiana Monkey Lab

ABC News(COVINGTON, La.) — How a potentially deadly strain of bacteria escaped from a primate research lab infecting four monkeys is a mystery, government officials said, but they added the incident poses no threat to the public.

The bacterium in question, burkholderia pseudomallei, is widespread throughout Southeast Asia and northern Australia, infecting humans and animals via contaminated soil and water entering the blood stream through cuts in the skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana, which is studying the bacteria, reported that at least four rhesus macaques not used in studies were infected with the bug, possibly as early as November of last year.

How the bacteria made its way from the lab to animals not used in experiments is still an open question despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, including the CDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“The only connection among these four animals was their presence in the veterinary hospital during the same period of time,” said Dr. Andrew A. Lackner, the director of the center in a statement last week, adding that more than 50 soil and water samples from the 500-acre compound have tested negative for the bacteria.

A federal investigator was also diagnosed with melioidosis, a disease caused by burkholderia, after visiting the center, Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesman, told ABC News. It isn’t clear whether he was exposed to the bacteria at the primate center or during travel to an infected region, McDonald said.

“You must do tests over several weeks to see whether the antibodies ramp up to indicate a recent exposure or hold steady to suggest the exposure wasn’t recent,” McDonald said. “We’ve done two tests already and the third test is due some time this week.”

Although they stressed that there is no risk to the general public, the agency directed Tulane to suspend all research until the investigation is complete, a CDC statement said. The infected animals were euthanized, according to the Tulane statement.

“The veterinary hospital has been thoroughly disinfected, and additional animal testing is ongoing,” Lackner’s statement read. “Tulane continues to work with the CDC, USDA and the EPA, as well as state and local officials on this matter.”

Melioidosis causes fever, headache, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain. Although full-blown illness from the bacteria is rare, the fatality rate is up to 50 percent in some countries for those who do get sick, studies show.

Also of concern: The bacterium has been studied for use as a potential bioweapon, according to the UPMC Center for Health Security, an independent biosecurity think tank.

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CDC: 170 Measles Cases Identified Around Country

CDC(NEW YORK) — More cases of the measles continue to pop up around the nation, with the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing 170 cases in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the CDC, 16 new cases were identified between Feb. 20 and Feb. 27. Most of the measles cases — 125 of them — seen across America have been linked to a single outbreak centered around Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Of the 16 newest cases, seven were linked to that outbreak.

California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Nevada and Washington state were the sites of the latest confirmed cases of measles. The CDC notes that its reports may not include all reported cases.

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