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Tuesday
Oct172017

Woman writes touching tribute to nurses caring for 2-year-old daughter with cancer 

Shelby Skiles(DALLAS) -- Shelby Skiles was unable to sleep one recent night while staying with her 2-year-old daughter at Children’s Medical Center Dallas when she just began to write.

Skiles, 28, has spent nearly every night since May at the hospital after her only child, Sophie, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of T-cell lymphoma.

Skiles estimates she and her husband, Jonathan, have met hundreds of nurses throughout the course of Sophie’s treatment. The toddler is awaiting a stem cell transplant, after undergoing 15 rounds of chemotherapy that helped stop the progression of the cancer.

But, the intense chemotherapy left Sophie unable to walk, talk and eat on her own.

"It was like 3 a.m. and I was sitting on that uncomfortable couch in the hospital room and I couldn’t go to sleep," Skiles said about the night this month she began to write. "I just started writing down what the nurses do and it just kept going."

The list included more than just routine checkups.

"All the things I see them do for us and for other people," Skiles wrote, "like the nurse who sat on the floor with me when I had a panic attack when we got the diagnosis."

Skiles posted her letter of gratitude to nurses on a Facebook page she and her family created for Sophie called "Sophie the Brave."

"I see you carrying arm loads of medicine and supplies into one child's room all while your phone is ringing in your pocket from the room of another," she wrote. "I see you put on gloves and a mask and try not to make too much noise at night ... I see you stroke her little bald head and tuck her covers around her tightly."

The post has now been shared more than 25,000 times.

“I thought, ‘Sophie’s page has a lot of followers so I’ll post this and bring awareness to what goes on in a children’s hospital and what nurses do especially when caring for sick kids,” Skiles said. “But I’ve been 150 percent shocked by how much attention it’s gotten.”

The post also caught the eye of the nurses caring for Sophie at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

“I just am so grateful that she did that,” said Susan McCollom, clinical manager of the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, who has helped treat Sophie. “Our job is very difficult, emotionally, physically and mentally and it kind of captured why we do our job and that what we do is not just a job.”

She added, “I’m very proud of my team, but not surprised because I know that’s what they do every day.”

Skiles said she expects Sophie to remain at the Dallas hospital until at least the end of January and then transfer to nearby housing. Once the stem cell transplant is complete, Sophie will need to continue undergoing therapy and live close to the hospital for checkups.

“It’s incredible to watch people put their lives on hold and completely care for kids that really, really need it,” Skiles said of the nurses she’s encountered so far. “And they care for the parents too.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct172017

Children who play football may take more hits to the head than originally thought, study finds

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- A new study has found that children who play youth football may take more high-magnitude hits to the head than originally thought.

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) mounted censors on young football players' helmets during 25 to 30 practices and seven games, and found that many players experienced high-magnitude head impacts, defined as impacts greater than 40 times the force of gravity.

Researchers found that of the 7,590 head impacts that were recorded, 8 percent were considered high-magnitude head impacts.

The study, which looked at 45 football players ages 9 through 12, found that high-magnitude head impacts were also most likely experienced in those playing the positions of quarterback, running back and linebacker.

While researchers looked closely at head impact force, they did not assess clinical outcomes of the head impact.

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, comes at a time when parental concerns over the safety of youth football have mounted.

Since 2009, the number of children ages 6 through 12 who play tackle football has gone down by nearly 20 percent, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

The researchers at Virginia Tech found that youth players also experienced a higher rate of high-magnitude head impacts while playing in an actual game, versus at practice.

Researchers said they hope the study brings a better understanding of what causes concussions in children, in order to help prevent injury and to eliminate certain drills and plays that are high risks to young players.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct172017

Unwanted sexual advances not just a Hollywood, Weinstein story (POLL)

(NEW YORK) -- More than half of U.S. women have experienced unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances from men, three in 10 have put up with unwanted advances from male co-workers and a quarter have endured them from men who had influence over their work situation.


Those results in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll show the vast extent to which women encounter inappropriate sexual conduct from men across U.S. society, marking the allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as merely the latest public eruption of a far broader and deeper problem.

See PDF with full results here.


Indeed, among women who’ve been subjected to unwanted work-related sexual advances, eight in 10 say it rose to the level of sexual harassment, and one-third say it went a step further, to sexual abuse. This translates to about 33 million U.S. women being sexually harassed, and 14 million sexually abused, in work-related incidents.

Yet among women who’ve personally experienced unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, nearly all, 95 percent, say male harassers usually go unpunished. Seventy-seven percent of women overall say the same, as do 56 percent of men in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Female victims, meanwhile, suffer an emotional toll: Among those who’ve experienced unwanted workplace-related sexual advances, 83 percent say they’re angry about it, 64 percent felt intimidated by the experience and 52 percent say they were humiliated by it. Fewer, about three in 10, felt ashamed.

Most Americans recognize the problem: Seventy-five percent overall call sexual harassment in the workplace a problem in U.S. society, and 64 percent call it a serious problem – up 11 and 17 percentage points, respectively, since last asked in an ABC-Post poll in 2011, at the time of a scandal involving then-presidential candidate Herman Cain.

A peak of 85 percent called workplace sexual harassment a problem in an ABC-Post poll in December 1992, at the time of reports of sexual misconduct by then-Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., and about a year after then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was accused of misconduct by Anita Hill in his Senate confirmation hearings.

Yet 25 years later, this survey indicates, broad levels of harassment continue. Among other challenges, there are shortfalls in reporting such behavior. Among women who’ve experienced unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, fewer than half, 42 percent, say they reported it to someone in a supervisory position.

Groups

Women who’ve experienced unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances are especially apt to see the issue as a problem for the country – 90 percent do, vs. 69 percent of women who’ve not had these experiences. And women who’ve experienced inappropriate advances also are much more likely to think men usually get away with them, 92 vs. 58 percent.

People who think men get away with harassment are similarly more apt to see it as a problem, compared with those who think men usually get punished for it, 87 vs. 53 percent.

As noted, women are much more likely than men to think men usually get away with harassment, 77 vs. 56 percent. In addition, older, more educated and wealthier Americans are more apt to think harassers evade punishment.

Partisanship and political ideology are related to views on the subject. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats see sexual harassment in the workplace as a problem, as do 76 percent of independents, compared with 58 percent of Republicans.

Methodology

This ABC News-Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 12-15, 2017, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,260 adults. Questions 1 and 6 were asked of 1,010 adults; question 2 was asked of 740 women; questions 3-5 were asked of the 242 women who’ve experienced unwanted workplace-related sexual advances. Results have a margins of sampling error of 3.5, 4 and 7 points, respectively, including design effects.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pa. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct162017

Artist's dolls give women with skin-pigment loss 'confidence' and 'a voice'

Crystal Kaye(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Crystal Kaye's work designing dolls to represent women with skin-pigment loss is drawing grateful responses from women across the country who are thrilled to have a doll that looks like them.

“I get messages from women saying that they’re in tears. Women in their 40s and 50s, crying because they’re so grateful to have something that mirrors them,” said Kaye of Kansas City, Missouri.

It all began about nine months ago when Kaye took a porcelain doll that her daughter was about to throw away.

Kaye, who already had an online store she calls Kays Customz for selling her handmade jewelry, stripped the doll down to make it her next canvas.

She started by designing a doll representing black women with albinism. Then she moved on to painting women with vitiligo.

Albinism is a condition in which people are born with little to no melanin. Vitiligo characteristically causes milky-white patches across the skin from a loss of melanin. Vitiligo affects an estimated 65 to 95 million people worldwide, although because of underreporting the actual number may be even higher, according to the Vitiligo Research Foundation.

Photos of Kaye's first dolls got thousands of likes and shares on Facebook, but the response to images of her creations with vitiligo was overwhelming, she said.

She has now had orders for over 150 of the dolls.

“It started as a hobby and spun into this,” she said.

Kaye designed a doll with a skin patch on her face in the shape of the African continent, an example of her positive portrayal of the skin condition.

Some women with vitiligo have asked Kaye for custom dolls that look like them.

Finally, a face like her own


“I always wanted a doll that looked like me,” said Que Chunn, a 38-year-old mother and nurse from Nashville who was one the first to order a custom doll from Kaye.

Chunn said she was diagnosed with vitiligo when she was 14. Because of what the condition did to her appearance, she said she was bullied and called names.

She learned of Kaye's work after family and friends saw the dolls on social media and tagged Chunn in the posts.

Kaye used a photo of Chunn to design a doll for her, then shipped it off.

The doll was sent to Chunn’s home in Nashville instead of the P.O. box she uses when traveling to different areas of the U.S. to serve as a nurse.

But Chunn couldn't wait.

She drove to Nashville and raced to her mailbox. “I couldn’t do anything but cry. It was beautiful. Every expectation and beyond,” Chunn said of the moment she unwrapped the doll to see a face like her own.

She keeps her doll in a glass case in her bedroom in Atlanta, where she is currently positioned as a travel nurse.

“It’s a good thing that she’s doing for this community,” Chunn says of Kaye's work for women with vitiligo, “We are never recognized.”

People with vitiligo now 'have a voice'

Tiffanie Wiley, 29, was diagnosed with vitiligo when she was 7 and the condition was only on her fingertips.

After it spread to other parts of her body, she started to get bullied at school.

Wiley said began wearing makeup when she was only 10 “as a favor to others.” But after her high school graduation, she said she started to embrace self-love.

She has since become a motivational speaker aiming to reduce bullying and increase tolerance through what she calls her #IAmGreat movement.

Stumbling upon Kaye’s doll art on Facebook, Wiley reached out for a custom order of a doll sporting an “I am great” slogan.

Kaye had the order done in a day.

“It was the first time I saw something that looked like Tiffanie,” Wiley says, referring to herself. She said the intricate details of the doll amaze her, the spots around her nose, the markings on her ears. “The things that most people don’t notice,” she said.

She now takes the doll on her motivational speaking engagements around her home in the Louisville, Kentucky, area.

The doll "gives you confidence ... because you see it and it’s beautiful,” says Wiley. “I am proud to have vitiligo.”

Tiffanie Wiley echoed the same sentiment saying, “I hope people understand that Kaye has opened a window for people with vitiligo to have a voice.”

Now many different people are ordering the dolls

Kaye says that she is now getting many different kinds of requests, including for dolls for burn victims from around the world.

“I want to do everybody. I want to do a doll with psoriasis, with eczema, anything that people haven’t seen before on a doll,” says Kaye, “I really want people, no matter what they look like or are going through, to know they are great and beautiful."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct162017

What to know about hepatitis A, as California outbreak triggers state of emergency

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- As California finds itself in the grips of the largest person-to-person hepatitis A outbreak in more than two decades, health officials are taking emergency measures to curb the spread of the deadly disease.

On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency in light of the outbreak that has killed at least 18 people, hospitalized 386 and infected at least 578 in the state as of this past weekend, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

"This outbreak is different than any other we have seen in the United States in the past decade," said Dr. Matt Zahn, medical director of epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency. "Previously, we have seen outbreaks that are food-borne, with a direct exposure to that food source. Ongoing person-to person spread is really not something we have seen in recent years."

Also unique about this outbreak is that the homeless population and illicit drug users are the hardest hit.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease, and the Governor’s state of emergency proclamation has given the CDPH the authority to directly purchase vaccines from manufacturers in order to quickly distribute them to the community.

“The key is to bring the vaccination directly to the communities at risk,” Zahn said. “This population is not easy to reach, so we make interventions to bring it to them. San Diego has done a marvelous job to have their staff go out to the homeless community, individual by individual, and offer the vaccine then and there.”

The outbreaks are affecting multiple counties in California, with the San Diego Jurisdiction bearing 490 infected cases. Since early spring, more than 80,000 vaccine doses have been distributed to the public and some municipalities have purchased their own supplies. San Diego County said it has administered more than 68,500 vaccines since the outbreak began.

Sanitation and hygiene are other important aspects of controlling the spread of hepatitis A, which is spread through fecal matter. Since the outbreak began in the spring, more than 100 hand washing stations have been have been installed in the area, most of which are in the city of San Diego. The city is also power-washing areas affected public areas with bleach solutions and making public bathrooms more available in areas most frequented by the homeless.

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about this disease.

How is Hepatitis A spread?

Since this virus spreads through the feces, outbreaks are most commonly seen in the presence of unsanitary conditions or behaviors. Food workers can spread the virus if they do not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom and caregivers can transmit the virus after changing the diaper of an infected baby.

Hepatitis A can spread by simply touching objects, or through contaminated food or drinks. People may also be infected by eating uncooked food that has been contaminated, sexual contact with an infected person and travel to a country where Hepatitis A is common. The virus can be spread to others before any symptoms are apparent.

What are symptoms of Hepatitis A?

The hepatitis A virus causes inflammation of the liver. Symptoms of infection include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Yellowing of the skin and eyes, also know has jaundice, is also a possible symptom of this virus.

Hepatitis A is an acute infection, with symptoms persisting for up to two months; rare cases may last longer. The virus does not typically lead to chronic infection or death, but it can prove fatal to those with compromised livers or immune systems.

How to protect against the virus

The best way to prevent getting Hepatitis A is through vaccination, given in a two-dose series, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The vaccine is especially recommended for those at particularly increased risk, such as people with chronic liver disease, blood clotting disorders, men who have sex with men, those traveling to areas known to have the virus, such as parts of Africa and Asia, and those who could be in direct contact with people infected with hepatitis A, like health care workers.

The virus can live for months outside of the body on objects and surfaces, according to the CDC, and it can be difficult to kill.

“Hepatitis A is a hardy virus, and can certainly stay on surfaces and in the environment [for a long time],” Zahn said. Importantly, most waterless hand sanitizers and some household cleaners are not effective in destroying the virus. So when it comes to preventing spread, washing hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water is the best bet. Using bleach-based cleaning products is the most effective to clean surfaces in a way that eliminates the hepatitis A virus.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct162017

Woman gives birth aboard Navy's floating hospital in Puerto Rico

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The sound of two bells rang through the loud speakers of the U.S. Navy’s floating hospital on Saturday to celebrate the arrival of a newborn baby girl.

The Navy’s USNS Comfort was sailing in the vicinity of San Juan, Puerto Rico -- providing medical assistance throughout a region devastated by Hurricane Maria -- when baby Sara Victoria Llull Rodriguiz made her arrival on board.

“I never thought that our special moment would happen here on this ship,” Sara’s father, Francisco Llull Vera, said in a statement Sunday. “Everyone has been so helpful and gentle while caring for our baby. I hope this opens the door for those who still need help to seek out the Comfort.”

Vera said Sara’s 6-year-old brother Alonzo and 4-year-old sister Sofia, currently staying with family ashore in Puerto Rico, are anxiously waiting to meet her.

“They are so excited to meet her,” Sara’s mother, Tania Rodriguiz Ramos said in a statement Sunday. “It’s a huge blessing for Sara to be here. I owe everything to the doctors and nurses and everyone onboard.”

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello went to visit baby Sara on Sunday. He shared pictures of him cradlling the baby in his arms, with her doctor and parents standing nearby. Rossello said Sara was “the first Puerto Rican girl born” on the USNS Comfort.

The USNS Comfort, which currently has 21 people on board, has treated more than 100 patients since Maria made landfall last month, killing at least 48 people and knocking out power for most of the island.

Nearly 4 weeks after the storm hit, about 85 percent of power customers are still without electricity and about 31 of customers lack access to potable water, officials said Sunday. The death toll was raised by three over the weekend and about 111 people missing due to the storm.

Comfort Capt. Kevin Robinson said Sara, who weighed in at 6 pounds and 8 ounces, brought a sense of joy to the crew.

“I think the birth of that little girl has reinvigorated the crew,” Robinson said in a statement.

The last birth aboard Comfort occurred on Jan. 21, 2010, while the ship was providing humanitarian relief in support of Operation Unified Response following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that caused severe damage in Haiti, according to the Navy.

The ship’s crew commemorated the occasion by ceremoniously renaming one of its two small boat tenders the “Sara Victoria.”

“We wanted to do something special, the crew has taken to the baby as one of our own,” Comfort Ship’s Master Roger Gwinn Gwinn said in a statement. “As she goes forward in life, we hope she carries Comfort with her.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Oct152017

Report: 26 million worldwide dying in pain without painkillers

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. may be suffering from an opioid epidemic, but worldwide nearly 26 million people are dying in pain because they can’t access affordable palliative care.

According to a new report in The Lancet, the solution could be an off-patent three cent morphine tablet – wildly available in the United States, but often difficult to come by and much more expensive overseas.

“The pain gap is a massive global health emergency which has been ignored, except in rich countries,” says Dr. Felicia Knaul, chair of The Lancet Commission and Professor at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

Of the hundreds of tons of opioid painkillers distributed worldwide, only about 4 percent of the painkillers go to low and middle-income countries.

According to Knaul, fixing the problem is straightforward, but requires governments and drug companies to work together to help the most vulnerable.

“We have the right tools and knowledge and the cost of the solution is minimal. Denying this intervention is a moral failing, especially for children and patients at the end of life,” Knaul says.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Oct142017

No criminal charges in Colorado cheerleading forced-splits videos

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Shocking videos showing high school cheerleaders in Colorado being forced into splits sparked outrage this summer, and now officials say no criminal charges will be filed.

The Denver District Attorney's Office announced the decision in a statement on Saturday following a weeks-long investigation by the Denver Police Department, which included dozens of interviews of cheerleaders from East High School, parents, school officials, and more.

One cheerleader was injured in connection with the cheerleading practice, according to the district attorney's office.

"The video of the incident involving the injured student that has been widely disseminated is painful to watch," Denver District Attorney Beth McCain said in a statement. "However, after a very thorough and careful review of all of the evidence gathered in the investigation and the statements of many members of the cheerleading squad, I have concluded that the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges."

The videos show girls being forcibly pushed into splits, with one cheerleader crying in pain and telling the coach to stop.

The former coach, Ozell Williams, was fired after the videos went viral.  Denver Public School Disctrict officials announced the retirement of the high schools principal, Andy Mendelsberg, and the resignation of assistant principal Lisa Porter a month ago, according to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV.


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Saturday
Oct142017

California declares state of emergency over hepatitis A outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- California has declared a state of emergency over a hepatitis A outbreak that health officials say is the largest person-to-person outbreak in the U.S. since a vaccine became available over 20 years ago.

At least 18 people have died in the outbreak that has affected San Diego, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and more, according to the California Department of Public Health.  Gov. Jerry Brown issued the declaration on Friday "to increase its supply of hepatitis A vaccines in order to control the current outbreak," he said in a statement.

Vaccines have already been distributed to at-risk populations in affected areas, according to the governor, but he said "additional supplies are needed."

"Today’s proclamation gives the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) authority to immediately purchase vaccines directly from manufacturers and distribute them to impacted communities," Brown said in the statement on Friday.

San Diego has had the most cases of hepatitis A (490 cases out of at least 576 reported cases), according to the CDPH.

The CDPH said on its website that most of the people infected in the outbreak are homeless, use illicit drugs (injected or non-injected), or both. 

The Hepatitis A virus is spread when the virus is ingested from contact with hands, objects, food, or drinks that have been contaminated by the feces of an infected person, according to the CDPH.  Symptoms of those infected include fever, feeling ill, yellowness of the skin, lack of appetite, and nausea, the CDPH said.

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Saturday
Oct142017

Obesity among children, teenagers growing across the globe

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Obesity among children and teenagers has risen ten-fold across the world in the past four decades, according to a new study in The Lancet.

This means more than 120 million youngsters are not at a healthy weight. The study, which is the largest of its kind, studied obesity trends in more than 200 countries from 1975 to 2016.

The largest jump in obesity levels was seen in Asia, with rates in China and India growing in recent years.

“The rising trends in children’s and adolescents’ BMI (body mass index) have plateaued in many high-income countries, albeit at high levels, but have accelerated in parts of Asia," the study reads.

Polynesia and Micronesia have the highest rate of all; approximately half of the younger population is overweight or obese.

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