Review Category : Health

7-Year-Old Gets Dream Wheelchair-Accessible Tree House

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Hayden Trigg’s reliance on a wheelchair and diagnoses of both spina bifida and cerebral palsy meant the 7-year-old had trouble playing alongside his classmates and two siblings.

But that changed earlier this month when Hayden, of Austin, Texas, cut the ribbon on the wheelchair-accessible tree house of his dreams. The tree house was constructed in his family’s backyard thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the generosity of a local contractor, Austin Tree Houses, etc.

“It’s leveled the playing field for him,” Hayden’s mom, Adrienne Trigg, told ABC News of the tree house that was built between 200-year-old oak trees on the family’s one-acre property. “He goes outside but cannot play, but that will change this summer.”

Hayden, who has been in a wheelchair his entire life, watched dutifully as the tree house was built in his backyard, with contractors working through the rainy Texas weather to finish it on time.

When the final nail was nailed, Hayden’s entire first-grade class rode the school bus to his home to join him in playing for the first time in the tree house.

“It was the best day of his life,” Trigg said. “His wish was to share it with his friends. He’s got to be the most popular kid in school right now.”

Hayden has since been completing his physical therapy treatments in his new tree house instead of the family’s home, according to Trigg. He is also using the tree house’s 65-foot-long wheelchair ramp to break new barriers for himself.

“He has very low muscle tone, so it’s hard for him to go long distances in his manual chair,” Trigg said. “For the very first time, he took the manual chair up and down the ramp because he was so excited.”

She added, “That’s really thrilling to us. We’ve already done a slumber party in the tree house and have scheduled parties this summer.”

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Toddler Breaks Down After Learning Dad Shaved Off Beard

iStock/Thinkstock(KATHLEEN, Ga.) — An adorable little boy got emotional this month after finding out that his dad shaved off his beard.

Greg Hogan of Kathleen, Georgia told ABC News that he began growing the beard for the fundraiser, Beards For Bleeders, after his son Patrick, 3, was born with hemophilia.

“It’s where dads of kids with hemophilia will try and grow a beard to raise awareness,” Hogan said.

Patrick has never seen his dad without a beard and the toddler’s reaction was unlike anything Hogan ever expected, he said.

“I almost kind of panicked a little bit because I didn’t want him to get upset,” Hogan said. Thankfully I’ll have the beard back very soon.”

Hogan captured his son’s reaction in a YouTube video posted June 1. “You shaved it,” the boy said in the video.

“Are you sad?” Hogan asked his son. “Do you still love me?”

“No, I want your beard,” the boy responded, crying.

Hogan then promised Patrick that he would grow his beard back. “Listen, next week I’ll have my beard back and I’ll have a full beard again, OK?” he said.

The toddler flashed a smile after hearing his dad would grow back his facial hair just for him.

The pair ended the video with a father-son selfie shot.

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Mom Shares Emotional Surrogacy Story After Tragedy

Ashley Marston Photography (VANCOUVER, Canada) — After a long journey of heartbreak, a Vancouver woman proudly became a second-time mom to a daughter named Scarlett.

Now, she’s sharing her story of tragedy and new-found happiness with the world.

“I was anxious, I was excited, I was terrified and then I was a complete puddle of tears when I saw her come out,” Kate Austin-Rivas told ABC News. “She was crying and seemed strong and it’s one of those moments that I needed and I will never forget.”

After suffering multiple miscarriages, Austin-Rivas and her husband Didier welcomed their daughter Elle in 2009.

“It wasn’t easy to conceive our first daughter,” Austin-Rivas told ABC News. “After her, I became pregnant easily with our Katelyn who was a stillborn. We took a little time to heal and process it, and again, we became easily pregnant with Ireland who I carried to term.”

In 2012, Austin-Rivas gave birth to Ireland.

Ireland was born with severe oxygen deprivation, which resulted in cerebral palsy, Austin-Rivas said.

“It was a catastrophic delivery with her and my life on brink,” she said. “I ended up surviving and she passed away at a hospice at one month of age.”

Austin-Rivas said she was “devastated” by the loss and felt guilty. “It was very conflicting because I was very sick myself and it always has been conflicting knowing that she didn’t survive and I did.”

The couple has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and physicians. The case is ongoing.

Wanting another child, Austin-Rivas and her husband of 12 years, Didier Rivas, decided they would consider the option of surrogacy.

Austin-Rivas put her family’s story on social media. Three women came forward who were serious about serving as a surrogate for the couple. But it was a Vancouver Island mom, Christine Hale, who Austin-Rivas decided was right for her and her husband.

“Because of everything I’ve gone through, I realized how valuable it is to listen to your gut,” Austin-Rivas said. “She’s very responsible. She’s a single mom of three kids. Our values are very similar. Shes a very giving person, besides the connection we have.”

In June 2015, Christine became pregnant via IVF. Austin-Rivas accompanied her to doctor and sonogram appointments and the two women remained close throughout the pregnancy.

While the Austin-Rivas’ were excited about the pregnancy, the couple chose to keep it from their loved ones.

“We were cautious because of what happened with Ireland,” Austin-Rivas said.

On the afternoon of January 22, surrogate mom Christine delivered baby Scarlett.

In an effort to capture the unforgettable day, Austin-Rivas hired photographer Ashley Marston for the job.

“Because we have so many traumatic memories from Ireland’s birth, I wanted to make sure that we had some positive memories that would be stuck in our minds,” Austin-Rivas said. “That was my reasoning for doing it because sometimes you forget. I am so happy we got them done.”

Ashley Marston of Vancouver Island told ABC News that baby Scarlett’s birthday was emotional for all.

“There were a lot of tears,” Marston said. “I feel really honored being able to document it for them. They really needed a happy ending after so much loss and I’m happy they got it.”

Austin-Rivas said she hopes her family’s story inspires others.

“Our situation is so unique in a tragic way,” she said. “I’m not a big pusher of anything. Surrogacy is not for everyone. But for us, it was our option. Every situation is unique and I think its important people do what they need to do for themselves.”

As for her daughter, Austin-Rivas said Scarlett is a “little ball of love” who adores her older sister.

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Zika Virus Test Took Weeks for Results, Infected Washington Teen Says

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATAC, Wash.) — A Washington teen diagnosed with the Zika virus has highlighted how those who want to get tested may face long waits to get results.

Olivia Evans, 17, of SeaTac, had to wait four weeks to get her blood tested for the virus, her mother, Marla Evans, told ABC News Friday. The teen and her parents traveled to Haiti and started to exhibit symptoms associated with the Zika virus a week later.

“Broke out into a rash over her whole body,” Marla Evans said of her daughter’s illness. “We went right to the doctor.”

Olivia also had a headache and “flu-like symptoms,” her mother said.

After Olivia became ill, Marla Evans also developed flu-like symptoms, she said. They went to their family doctor and had blood drawn to be tested for the virus by the county health department.

However, the family had to wait weeks to get results, Marla Evans said. The results were further delayed because Olivia’s first blood sample was discarded by the King County Health Department because they said Olivia did not exhibit enough symptoms, her mother said.

After a second blood sample was taken, the teen had to wait a month to get the results of a positive Zika test, Marla Evans said, noting she is still waiting for her test results.

“Looking back now, I’m glad that we went back, saying, ‘I did get more symptoms. I need to be tested again,'” Evans told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV. “If I wasn’t tested I would not have known I had the Zika virus.”

Marla Evans said she hopes their case will make the public more aware of Zika virus symptoms and encourage people who may be exposed to get tested. The Zika virus often causes mild symptoms, including fever, rash and conjunctivitis. Symptoms usually resolve in about a week.

“I think it’s nice to make the public aware of the what the symptoms are,” she told ABC News. “I think it’s important to not panic.”

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, explained to ABC News that testing for people who are pregnant is the priority for health officials due to concerns about birth defects.

“Given the fact that we have limited reagents and limited personnel at laboratories … [local health departments] have issued guidelines to physicians about which types of patients and what sorts of specimens will be tested,” Schaffner said. “The priority list is focused of course on the management of pregnancy.”

There are two tests being used to test for the Zika virus. One tests for signs of the virus during an active infection, when the patient would more likely be experiencing symptoms, that test has been given to some state health departments so they can more quickly identify those who are sick. A second test can identify if a patient has been infected with Zika in the past by examining certain antibodies. The test is more complex because certain viruses such as dengue virus can lead to the creation of the same antibodies as the ones created by the Zika virus.

An official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News that pregnant patients are getting priority testing.

“Zika virus testing is performed at CDC and some state and territorial health departments,” the CDC spokesman told ABC News. “Timing varies on the number of samples received.”

The Washington Health Department told ABC News that it is sending all potential Zika testing to the CDC and that the department is getting 12 to 20 cases a week to be tested. Only samples that meet the criteria for testing are sent on to the CDC, a department spokeswoman said, noting that it takes about three weeks for test results to come back due in part to the volume of testing.

The World Health Organization has declared Zika a global health emergency due to its impact on fetal development. The WHO and CDC both recommend that couples who want to become pregnant wait eight weeks if either partner has been to an area with active Zika virus transmissions. If either the man or woman are diagnosed with the virus, they are advised to wait six months.

Schaffner emphasized there’s no evidence that the virus can affect fetal development more than six months after infection.

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Your Body: What to Eat While Pregnant

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

While many parents are concerned about what to feed their children, some may not think about what the mother should be eating when she’s pregnant. This is why I wrote my latest book, Eat This, Not That When You’re Expecting.

After delivering more than 1,500 babies, the number one most common question I get pertains to food, diet and weight gain during pregnancy. So, I went back to school to get my master’s in nutrition.

So what are my top tips?

Pregnancy isn’t about eating for two — it’s about eating for you. That’s only approximately an added 300 calories a day depending on your pre-pregnancy weight.

Think of food fixes, like ginger, for fighting many pregnancy ailments like morning sickness. And ice cream, in my book I explain why and how it gets an “A” rating for nutrition. Just watch those toppings!

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Multiple Salmonella Outbreaks Lead to Hundreds Infected in 35 States

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Multiple salmonella outbreaks have sickened at least 324 people in 35 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Salmonella outbreaks involving seven different strains of the bacteria have been identified by CDC officials since January, confirmed via lab testing. Of those sickened, 66 have been hospitalized. One death has been reported, but the CDC clarified that salmonella infection was not considered to be a contributing factor in that case.

Symptoms of salmonella infection can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever and chills.

In multiple cases the outbreaks were linked back to people interacting with live poultry, including ducklings and chicks from various hatcheries, according to the CDC. Those buying the baby birds told the CDC they bought the animals for a variety of reasons including to get fresh eggs, learn about agriculture, keep as pets or give away for Easter.

“Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean,” the CDC said on its website.

People who are around live poultry should wash their hands with soap and water after touching them, not let children younger than 5 handle the animals and not let live poultry in the house, according to the CDC.

The outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since people may be unaware of the link between live poultry and salmonella infection, according to the CDC.

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Virginia School Gets Buzz Cuts in Support of Second Grader with Leukemia

Deb Cross(RICHMOND, Va.) — In an act of kindness, students at a Virginia school received buzz cuts last month in support of a 7-year-old peer battling cancer.

Noah Cross is a second-grader at St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School in Richmond, Virginia. He was diagnosed with leukemia on May 11.

“I think it shows there’s a lot of really good people who care, above and beyond,” mom Deb Cross of Midlothian, Virginia told ABC News. “That school, it’s like his family. They’ve been phenomenal. It just makes him smile to see those kids and to know that he’s still included.”

In less than one month, Noah has had two blood transfusions, three platelet transfusions and multiple rounds of chemotherapy, his mother said.

“He’s doing pretty well,” Cross said. “He’s a kid, so he’s resilient to a lot of things.

“Basically, he has no immune system, so we don’t go anywhere,” she added. “We go to the clinic and then we go home. He just wants to be a kid, but he can’t.”

Abby McDonald, director of development at St. Edward-Epiphany, said Deb Cross dialed the principal immediately after Noah’s cancer diagnosis.

“He’s a kid that’s full of light,” McDonald told ABC News. “He’s kind, he’s always smiling and the family is wonderful. It hit pretty close to home, it was devastating. We are just trying to be as supportive as we possibly can.”

McDonald said that the school set it up so Noah would have a teacher visit his home daily, so long as he felt up to it.

In addition, the school created “Buzz Cuts for Noah” — a fundraiser that had Noah’s teachers and peers gather to shave their heads to raise donations for his medical bills.

The event raised $2,500 for Noah in addition to over $11,000 on the “Noah’s Road to Recovery” GoFundMe page.

A total of 37 students, from second-to-eighth grade, received buzz cuts, McDonald confirmed. Five of them were girls. Three alumni students, two faculty members and some of Noah’s extended family also received the special haircut.

“He thinks it’s really cool,” Cross said of her son. “Noah’s just a really kind child. He doesn’t quite understand what he’s going through, but he just thinks it’s great that everybody loves him so much and we do too.”

Noah is scheduled to have a bone marrow biopsy next week. Cross said she hopes the results show that he’s cancer-free.

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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Maker and Distributor of Edible Marijuana

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new lawsuit alleges that an edible marijuana manufacturer and a Colorado dispensary recklessly failed to warn a Colorado man about the product’s potency and side effects. The lawsuit claims the THC-infused candy the man ate played a key role in the night he allegedly shot and killed his wife.

Kristine Kirk, 44, called 911 on April 14, 2014, worried that her husband, Richard Kirk, had “taken some marijuana.”

She told the dispatcher he was “talking like it was the end of the world and wanted her to shoot him” and that he was “totally hallucinating.”

The 911 operator heard gunshots just minutes later.

“He grabbed the gun and she’s screaming and the line disconnected,” a police officer said in a dispatch recording.

The couple’s three young sons were present in the home at the time of the shooting but were physically unharmed.

“The last sound that they heard of hers, that they’ll ever hear, was her scream,” Kristine’s mother, Marti Kohnke, told local ABC station KMGH-TV in 2014. Kohnke, along with her husband, Wayne, and Kristine’s sister are now the legal guardians of the children.

Richard Kirk, now 50, is in jail awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges for the death of his wife. He has plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

According to police, Kirk had eaten a portion of a 10-pack of pot-laced candy on the night of the shooting.

Kirk’s attorneys are suggesting the pot-laced candy he consumed may have contributed to a psychotic episode. The chewy candy, Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, contains 10 milligrams per serving of THC, the active chemical in marijuana.

The guardians of the Kirks’ three children have filed a first of its kind wrongful-death lawsuit against the maker of the candy, Gaia’s Garden LLC, and its distributor, Nutritional Elements Inc.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in May in Denver, alleges that “the edible producers negligently, recklessly and purposefully concealed vital dosage and labeling information.” It also claims the packaging doesn’t warn buyers that the high from edibles could lead to “paranoia, psychosis and hallucinations.”

ABC News legal analyst Brian Claypool says that in this case, with which he is not involved, “We don’t have a lot of literature on what the side effects could be on someone who has ingested recreational marijuana, so a manufacturer could potentially be held liable for that.”

Gaia’s Garden directed ABC News to a statement an attorney for the company issued to the Los Angeles Times this week. In the statement, the attorney, Sean McAllister, called the lawsuit’s claims “preposterous and baseless” and said the company was, “complying with all state labeling requirements at the time that say marijuana can have adverse health effects.”

Nutritional Elements Inc. did not immediately reply to ABC News.

Addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky told ABC News today that ingesting marijuana’s active ingredient THC can have a more unpredictable effect than smoking.

“With edibles, the effects come much later and whatever you’ve ingested, the amount is going to get into your system so you can’t, there’s no going back. Once you ingested it goes on,” Pinsky said on “Good Morning America.” “You can have adverse reactions to cannabis and unfortunately they’re not common and can be quite severe.”

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Prince’s Autopsy Result Highlights Dangers of Opioid Painkiller Fentanyl

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — News that the death of Prince was found to have been caused by a fentanyl overdose has once again drawn attention to the ongoing opioids epidemic and the powerful painkiller.

While the resurgence of heroin has gained attention in recent years, the drug fentanyl is a huge concern to health authorities. The drug, which is generally used in a medical setting as a painkiller, is the most potent opioid available for use in medical treatment, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the DEA. Fentanyl was developed for the pain management treatment of cancer patients. However, its powerful opioid properties have made it an attractive drug for abusers, according to federal drug officials. Sometimes marketed solo and often mixed with other drugs, including heroin — and the consequences can be deadly.

The initial autopsy report for Prince did not specify the manner in which the drug was taken. But in a medical setting, the drug is given in lozenge, patch or injectable form. The drug has also been sold illicitly in powdered or pill form and has been used to supplement heroin.

The drug is part of a complex growing problem with opioid abuse, both from prescription pills and illicit drugs like heroin. Federal law enforcement sources told ABC News they are seeing more and more of the powerful narcotic making its way on to American streets.

In 2014, more than 28,000 people died from an opioid overdose, which is more than any year on record, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men are more likely to die from an opioid overdose, according to the CDC.

The drug is so dangerous that it even poses a threat to first responders who encounter it, officials said.

“Fentanyl will remain a significant threat to law enforcement personnel and first responders as minute amounts — equivalent to a few grains of salt — of fentanyl can be lethal, and visually, can be mistaken for cocaine or white powder heroin,” the DEA explained in its threat assessment of the drug.

Dr. Lolita McDavid, an opioid expert and medical director of Child Advocacy and Protection at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told ABC News that fentanyl-laced heroin has become a big problem for major cities, including Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago.

“What we know is we’re seeing more and more accidental overdose drug deaths,” she said. “People start out on opioids like oxycontin,” then transition to other drugs like heroin.

Fentanyl is used for both short-term and long-term pain relief and works to reduce pain by switching off pain receptors in the brain, which can lead to feelings of euphoria, according to medical literature.

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Grandad and Grandson Have ‘Matching Zippers’ Scars After Heart Surgery

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Though one is nearing the end of his life and one is just beginning, this grandad and grandson share not only a bond, but near-identical zipper scars.

A picture, taken by Sunshine Moody photography, shows 11-month-old Kolbie Gregware and his grandfather, Allan Halstead. Kolbie had open heart surgery when he was four months old, his mother Brandy Gregware told ABC News. Her dad had his first heart procedure 12 years ago.

Gregware wanted the photo of her son, who has a twin brother, Kash, and his granddad because she isn’t sure how much longer her father will live.

“The medication he’s on has his heart functioning at about 10 percent,” she said. “Once it stops working, that’s it.”

In addition to her father’s prognosis, Kolbie hasn’t been out of the hospital much since he was born. “He’s been on ventilators and oxygen,” Gregware said.

She said Kolbie seems to have a special bond with her dad, who she calls “a real character,” already. “It’s amazing to watch Kolbie look at him. It’s like he’s looking at God. Kolbie could stare at him for hours.”

Photographing her dad and son’s “matching zippers,” as she calls them, was something she wanted to do while she still can.

The photographer, Sunshine Moody, had a baby in the same NICU where Kolbie has been recovering. She became aware of Kolbie’s story through a mutual friend and offered to take the photos for free.

“The time came to do their photo, and for me I wanted it to be sweet but also real,” Moody said. “I wanted the rawness of the situation to come out but also the sweet moment they locked faces and he spoke to Kolbie.”

Moody said she began her photography business in 2013 in order to capture her own baby’s moments. She offers affordable photos to everyone, she said, because “everyone deserves” to have memories of their babies — memories she herself missed when her daughter was born weighing less than 2 pounds.

“I’ll admit I was scared to be trusted with such a powerful photo,” Moody said.

After she took the pictures, she looked through the options that night. “I pulled out my computer and scrolled through and it immediately caught my eye. It was the first one I edited. And I spent over an hour on it alone.”

While Kolbie’s twin Kash will go with “whoever will come get him,” according to Gregware, Kolbie reserves his affection for just a few people, including his grandfather. And granddad feels the same.

“That’s his baby,” she said. “He absolutely loves Kolbie to no end.”

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