Review Category : National News

Iowa Police Pull over Couple in Labor

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When police in Iowa saw a car barreling down a highway early Tuesday morning, they pursued it with sirens blaring and had to go so far as to throw spikes on the road to halt the car.

The couple inside the car, driving 30 mph above the speed limit, called 911 themselves to report the police officers pursuing them.

The man behind the wheel, Ben Kohnen, told the 911 operator he was racing his wife, Rachel, to the hospital to deliver the couple’s fourth child.

“I did not want him to stop,” said Rachel, who was the first to call 911. “I did not want to have a baby in the car.”

Ben Kohnen took over the 911 call for his wife after the operator failed to understand Rachel’s frantic call.

“Okay, I can’t…you need to calm down because I can’t understand what you’re saying,” the 911 operator said to Rachel.

“Ma’am, we are heading to the hospital,” Ben said after taking the phone from his wife. “My wife is having a baby and it’s coming out.”

Moments later, police laid the tire spikes on the road ahead of the Kohnens’ car, causing the car’s tires to pop.

Police ordered the couple to the ground, and then changed their course of action once they realized the situation.

“Once they figured out I was pregnant and very much in labor, they all responded in kind and really appropriately,” Rachel said of police.

Police escorted the couple to the hospital where Rachel gave birth to a healthy baby girl, named Hazel.

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Polo Mogul John Goodman’s Girlfriend Confronted with Hospital Records

iStock/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) — The girlfriend of polo mogul John Goodman was recalled to the stand in a Florida courtroom and forced to answer questions about newly-revealed medical documents that contradicted her previous testimony.

Goodman crashed his Bentley into a Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson, 23, sending the Hyundai into a canal in Wellington, Florida, in 2010. Wilson, a recent college grad, died in the accident.

Three hours after the crash, Goodman’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.177, or more than twice the legal limit, according to prosecutors.

Goodman’s girlfriend Heather Hutchins — whom Goodman unsuccessfully tried to adopt in 2011 to purportedly protect his wealth — previously stated in court that she drove Goodman to the emergency room the night after the crash because he was dazed and disoriented.

The state refuted that testimony with a medical document stating that Goodman’s complaint was chest pain, not head pain. Also, according to the medical records, she took Goodman to the hospital three days after the crash, not one after as she had previously stated. Hutchins was dismissive when presented with the new information.

“I may not remember the day, but I definitely remember taking him to the ER,” she said in court.

The nurse who drew Goodman’s blood also faced cross-examination, defending herself amid charges from Goodman’s lawyers that she may have mishandled his blood sample. The defense grilled Cecelia Betts after she admitted that she didn’t use the needle provided with the testing kit.

Betts said she followed proper procedures and that no one has questioned her choice of needles during her two-plus decades as a nurse.

Sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo Safford took the stand to discuss taking Goodman back to the crash site.

“The odor of an alcoholic beverage was coming out of his pores, like he was sweating it out,” Safford said.

Goodman has pleaded not guilty. He was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in 2012 and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but the conviction was thrown out because of juror misconduct.

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Second Ebola Nurse to Be Moved Out of Dallas Hospital

The Pham Family(DALLAS) — Nina Pham, the first nurse to contract Ebola in the United States, will be transferred from Dallas to the National Institutes for Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, Thursday night, federal officials told ABC News.

Pham, 26, was one of the nurses treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Duncan, a Liberian national, was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. He died on Oct. 8.

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Second Ebola Nurse to Be Moved Out of Dallas Hospital

The Pham Family(DALLAS) — Nina Pham, the first nurse to contract Ebola in the United States, will be transferred from Dallas to the National Institutes for Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, Thursday night, federal officials told ABC News.

Pham, 26, was one of the nurses treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Duncan, a Liberian national, was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. He died on Oct. 8.

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Officials Retrace Steps of Nurse Who Contracted Ebola

Akron Public Schools(DALLAS) — Public health officials in Ohio have retraced the steps of the second nurse to contract Ebola while working in Dallas.

Amber Vinson spent most of her time with her family near Akron, Ohio, after flying there from Texas, officials said.

Vinson’s temperature was 99.5 degrees — below the 100.4 reading for a fever, according to a federal official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — before boarding a passenger flight on Monday.

A fever is one of the symptoms of Ebola. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Vinson was not asked to avoid boarding the flight.

The officials said that Vinson did not visit restaurants, grocery stores or attend football games while in Ohio.

Vinson did visit “a retail establishment” on one occasion during her stay, the officials said, but did not offer any specifics.

Authorities have identified five people that she may have had contact with during that outing. Those five people have agreed to voluntarily enter a 21-day quarantine period, officials said.

In addition to those, two other contacts have been identified and are also under quarantine — making it a total of seven people in Ohio under voluntary quarantine, officials said.

Officials said those people — none of whom were named — have not shown any symptoms of the deadly virus.

Authorities also said they will be in contact with them and will monitor them, including daily on-site visits to take their temperature.

Vinson’s mother, who traveled from Cleveland to Dallas, does not have any symptoms, and is also under voluntary quarantine, officials said.

CDC officials believe that Vinson was not exhibiting further symptoms on the Oct. 13 flight.

“The patient was not showing any other symptoms while on board the plane — no vomiting or diarrhea. The only symptom Amber was showing was the fever,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told ABC News.

Airline officials concurred, stating that Vinson’s only symptom at the time was the slightly elevated temperature.

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Officials Retrace Steps of Nurse Who Contracted Ebola

Akron Public Schools(DALLAS) — Public health officials in Ohio have retraced the steps of the second nurse to contract Ebola while working in Dallas.

Amber Vinson spent most of her time with her family near Akron, Ohio, after flying there from Texas, officials said.

Vinson’s temperature was 99.5 degrees — below the 100.4 reading for a fever, according to a federal official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — before boarding a passenger flight on Monday.

A fever is one of the symptoms of Ebola. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Vinson was not asked to avoid boarding the flight.

The officials said that Vinson did not visit restaurants, grocery stores or attend football games while in Ohio.

Vinson did visit “a retail establishment” on one occasion during her stay, the officials said, but did not offer any specifics.

Authorities have identified five people that she may have had contact with during that outing. Those five people have agreed to voluntarily enter a 21-day quarantine period, officials said.

In addition to those, two other contacts have been identified and are also under quarantine — making it a total of seven people in Ohio under voluntary quarantine, officials said.

Officials said those people — none of whom were named — have not shown any symptoms of the deadly virus.

Authorities also said they will be in contact with them and will monitor them, including daily on-site visits to take their temperature.

Vinson’s mother, who traveled from Cleveland to Dallas, does not have any symptoms, and is also under voluntary quarantine, officials said.

CDC officials believe that Vinson was not exhibiting further symptoms on the Oct. 13 flight.

“The patient was not showing any other symptoms while on board the plane — no vomiting or diarrhea. The only symptom Amber was showing was the fever,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told ABC News.

Airline officials concurred, stating that Vinson’s only symptom at the time was the slightly elevated temperature.

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Mystery Surrounds Deaths of NJ Hospital Executive, Wife in Arson Fire

iStock/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP, N.J.) — Investigators in New Jersey still haven’t identified the cause of death for a hospital executive and his wife who died Sept. 28 after a fire was intentionally set inside their home, authorities said.

Audio from a neighbor’s 911 call released this week reflects the confusion surrounding the deaths of John Sheridan Jr., 72, and his wife Joyce, 69.

A neighbor in Montgomery Township, Somerset County, reported noises, “like somebody tapped on the window.” Investigators believe that those sounds were not someone trying to escape but were caused by the fire.

The husband and wife, who were married for 47 years, were found unconscious by firefighters in the home’s second-floor master bedroom.

Joyce was a retired schoolteacher, while John was the president and CEO of Camden-based Cooper University Health Care, one of the state’s large hospitals.

While the fire was ruled intentional, authorities told ABC News they’re still waiting for lab results, hoping to understand how the Sheridans died.

The investigation is “very complex,” an investigator said.

More than 800 mourners — including Gov. Chris Christie, a family friend — attended an Oct. 7 memorial service for the couple.

Camden County Assemblyman Lou Greenwald has expressed surprise and sadness about their deaths. “We don’t know what happened. All I knew is we lost a wonderful public servant,” he said.

The couple’s four sons and three grandchildren remain devastated by the situation.

“The death of our parents has left a hole in our hearts and our family that can never be filled,” the statement reads. “We cannot fathom, much less explain, the circumstances of their passing.”

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Threatened Feminist Cancels College Appearance, Citing Concealed Weapons Allowance

Image Source Pink/Thinkstock(LOGAN, Utah) — An avowed feminist blogger openly critical of the portrayal of women in video games cancelled a speaking engagement at Utah State University Tuesday night because of the school’s policy that allows people with the proper permits to carry concealed firearms.

Anita Sarkeesian tweeted she feared for her safety after receiving “multiple specific threats made stating intent to kill me & feminists at USU.”

Although Sarkeesian says she’s received death threats before, she felt compelled to cancel her appearance because “police wouldn’t take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event. Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah’s open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches.”

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that an email sent to the USU threatened “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if Sarkeesian showed up.

On Wednesday, the school said it would have provided extra security personnel and not permitted backpacks inside the auditorium where Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak. However, a spokesperson added that it would not question her decision to back out.

Meanwhile, Sarkeesian said the incident would not discourage her from continuing to speak out. “The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women,” she argued.

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Nurse Who Contracted Ebola Called CDC Before Flight, Official Says

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — A Dallas nurse who treated an Ebola patient contacted federal health officials before boarding a passenger flight Monday due to a slightly elevated temperature, but was allowed to board the flight because she was not exhibiting additional symptoms of Ebola, ABC News has learned.

Amber Vinson’s temperature was 99.5 degrees – below the 100.4 reading for a fever, according to a federal official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A fever is one of the symptoms of Ebola. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. She was not asked to avoid boarding the flight.

CDC officials believe that Vinson was not exhibiting further symptoms on the Oct. 13 flight.

“The patient was not showing any other symptoms while on board the plane – no vomiting or diarrhea. The only symptom Amber was showing was the fever,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told ABC News.

Airline officials concurred, stating that Vinson’s only symptom at the time was the slightly elevated temperature.

Vinson’s temperature continued to rise after the plane landed, authorities said. By late Tuesday, she was placed in isolation, with tests confirming her diagnosis as the second health care worker at a Texas hospital to contract Ebola and CDC workers scrambling to contact passengers who traveled beside Vinson.

The nurse was flown Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the facility that successfully treated two missionaries who were diagnosed with Ebola while performing aid work in Africa, Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol. A third individual, an unidentified World Health Organization worker, was admitted to Emory on Sept. 9.

Following the diagnosis, the airline and other organizations are taking extra precautions. Frontier Airlines placed six crew members – two pilots and four flight attendants – on paid leave for 21 days “out of an abundance of caution,” CEO David Siegel said in a statement.

“This was over and above CDC guidance that stated that our flight crews were safe to fly,” Siegel said.

The jet that carried Vinson and 131 others to Texas is in a hanger in Denver, the airline said, ready for its fourth cleaning. The plane’s seat covers and carpet were removed around the area where Vinson was sitting, and the environmental filters were replaced, the airline said. Cleanings were also scheduled at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Additionally, Ebola screenings begin Thursday at four new airports: Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Extra precautions are also being taken for people who shared flights with Vinson. Three Texas schools – North Belton Middle School, Sparta Elementary and the Belton Early Childhood School – will be closed Thursday after two students were on Flight 1143 Tuesday, school officials announced.

Two Cleveland schools, Solon Middle School and Parkside Elementary School, will also be closed Thursday. A staff member there flew on a Frontier Airline plane that may have carried Vinson to Texas the previous day, school officials said.

Employees from the Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth on an Oct. 10 flight with Vinson were placed on paid leave.

Additionally, the military advised a Texas family to remain in isolation for 21 days – the length of time it could take for symptoms to appear – after a military member stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Ft. Worth, Texas traveled on the same Frontier Airlines flight as Vinson.

“No members of this local family are exhibiting any symptoms and are being isolated purely as a precautionary measure,” authorities with the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District, where one of the family members is a student, said in a statement.

Speculation, frustration and concern follow the diagnoses of Vinson and co-worker Nina Pham, 26, who also contracted Ebola while caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8.

The causes of the latest Ebola cases remain unclear, but they reveal lapses in federal and local Ebola protocols. During a Wednesday news conference, CDC Director Thomas Frieden conceded that Vinson “should not have traveled on a commercial airline.”

When Vinson first traveled to Ohio, there had been no reported cases from health workers in Dallas, Frieden said. However, once Dallas nurse Nina Pharm tested positive, Vinson should not have been using public transportation, he said.

“Because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline,” Frieden said.

“From this moment forward, we will ensure that no individual monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement,” he said, referring to non-public transportation, such as a personal car or chartered flight.

President Obama echoed those sentiments in a Wednesday speech, acknowledging shortcomings of the federal response to Dallas and vowing that his administration would respond in a “much more aggressive way” to cases of Ebola.

“We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step through what needs to be done,” he said.

Procedures at the Texas hospital where Duncan was treated – and Pham and Vinson work – will face attention from lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Thursday. Dr. Daniel Varga from Texas Health Resources is scheduled to deliver prepared remarks to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and investigations.

The hospital “made some mistakes,” Varga admits. Duncan was initially incorrectly diagnosed, he says.

“A lot is being said about what may or may not have occurred to cause Ms. Pham to contract Ebola,” Varga says in his remarks. “She is known as an extremely skilled nurse, and she was using full protective measures under the CDC protocols, so we don’t yet know precisely how or when she was infected. But it’s clear there was an exposure somewhere, sometime. We are poring over records and observations, and doing all we can to find the answers.”

The CDC and Texas Health Dallas are doing a thorough analysis of how the exposure occurred, Varga said. Following Duncan’s diagnosis, the hospital system has changed its screening process, with additional focus on travel history, Varga said.

Brantly has not been asked to donate blood to Vinson. The doctor – who contracted Ebola while caring for sick patients in Liberia – donated platelets to patients Ashoka Mukpo, Dr. Richard Sacra and Pham after beating the virus. But he couldn’t donate blood to Duncan because their blood types didn’t match.

Mukpo, a journalist and aid worker who contracted the disease while in Liberia, expressed support for the two nurses.

“Wishing for a speedy recovery for those two Dallas nurses,” he wrote on Twitter. “This thing is not easy but you’re both going to make it. Thanks for your bravery.”

Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to recent figures by the World Health Organization.

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Second Nurse With Ebola Arrives at Emory

Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — A Dallas health care worker found to be infected with Ebola was transferred Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after she became the second person to contract the disease while working in the Dallas facility.

Amber Vinson, 29, was one of the nurses who was very involved with the care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola at the Dallas hospital.

Her transfer came as the ability of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and any local hospital to handle the disease has been called into question. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that some of the makeshift protective measures that health care workers at the Dallas hospital were taking increased “the risk of contamination.”

“By putting on more layers…it becomes much harder to put them on and much harder to take them off,” he said in a Wednesday press conference.

“Some health care workers [were] putting on three or four layers of protective equipment in the belief that this would be more protective,” he said, adding that some were using tape to close parts of their gear.

“We see a lot of variability in the use of protective equipment,” Frieden said.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to exhibit Ebola symptoms in the U.S. and who is now referred to as the “index patient,” was initially turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before returning days later in an ambulance after his symptoms had progressed.

The nurses’ union at the Dallas hospital have detailed what they claim were violations of the CDC’s safety protocols, including a lack of proper protective wear to overall ignorance on how the disease spreads. The union said Duncan’s contaminated and highly contagious blood test was sent through the hospital’s standard testing system, potentially infecting others.

Two new Ebola infections at the Dallas hospital have highlighted concerns over whether hospitals are prepared to handle the lethal virus or if all Ebola patients should be sent to specialized facilities.

“I think it is too much to expect a hospital can become an Ebola treatment unit simply by reading guidelines,” said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s medical correspondent and a former CDC director.

One question that has been raised is why Duncan was not transported from Dallas to one of the two other hospitals with specialized isolation units — one in Omaha, Nebraska, and the other at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia — which have successfully treated Ebola patients.

No health care workers at the Omaha or Atlanta facilities have reported infections after treating three Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital and Ashoka Mukpo, the American reporter currently in treatment at Nebraska Medical Center.

“I feel very strongly that the approach that has been taken is wrong. Patients with Ebola should be treated in special facilities that have been training to take care of patients with deadly contagious diseases,” Besser said.

“Given that patients from Liberia have been safely transported to these units, it should be possible to safely transport patients to these units from any hospital in America,” he said.

Prior to announcing the transfer of one of the health care workers, Frieden said that the CDC’s protocol moving forward would be to dispatch emergency response teams to any hospital where there is an infected patient. From there, they said the team may decide to send the patients to a different facility, but that is not the first step.

Frieden and other officials have warned that there is a real possibility that more health care workers were infected during their treatment of Duncan. On Tuesday, Frieden said that 76 people could have been exposed to Duncan after his second visit to the hospital.

“It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a press conference Wednesday.

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