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Entries in Arizona (16)

Wednesday
May292013

Arizona Twins Suffer Strokes at 26, Just Months Apart

Courtesy Barrow Neurological Institute(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- Kathryn Tucker, a senior care coordinator for an Arizona insurance company, had just gone to bed when she felt a sharp pain the back of her head on the right side before her vision went out and she went numb.

Her brother was at her Tempe, Ariz., apartment and got her to the hospital where doctors at first dismissed her symptoms as a migraine with aura. But Tucker, only 26, was having a stroke.

"I was absolutely terrified," said Tucker, who was sent home from the emergency room that day in July 2012 without medical intervention.

"I slept for three days straight," she said. "Then, when I woke up, my vision was horrible. Everything was distorted and one-dimensional. I could barely get around."

Her health deteriorated so she ended up going to an urgent care facility, where tests showed she had, indeed, had a stroke.

Nine months later to the day, her twin sister, Kimberly Tucker, suffered a stroke in exactly the same way, except on the left side. Kimberly Tucker had left school in Tucson to take care of her sister after her stroke. Then in April, their roles reversed.

The Tucker girls are fraternal twins and do not share the same DNA, and there is no family history of stroke, so doctors said there is no genetic cause. Both suffered a stroke on opposite sides of the occipital lobe, which sends visual input from the brain to the retinas.

"Honestly, it's rare for us to actually evaluate two sisters who've had strokes within months of each other," said Dr. Joni Clark, a vascular neurologist at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. "If they had a family history, it would not be a surprise. It's quite uncommon."

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which observes National Stroke Month in May.

About one-third of strokes are believed to occur in people younger than 65. For those younger than 45, the stroke risk has jumped 14 to 20 percent, according to Clark.

"We see this mainly among young people who have risk factors that you should see in elderly patients.

"Here at Barrow, we see a huge population of stroke patients -- and, in my own experience, which is anecdotal, I see a fair number of young people with stroke," said Clark. "The majority are spontaneous."

Obesity, which leads to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, is a risk.

"You'd also be surprised how many young adults don't exercise," said Clark. "It's sad, because the rise is due to good, old stroke risk factors that shouldn't happen when they are young."

The twins also shared lifestyle traits that doctors said are linked to an increase in the incidence of strokes among young people. Both girls were smokers. They were also migraine sufferers and had been taking birth control pills.

It was discovered later that Kathryn Tucker had a PFO, or patent foramen ovale, a small hole in the heart that may have contributed to her stroke.

"There were several things that probably all together put Kathryn at risk," said Clark, who treated Kathryn Tucker, but not her sister.

Kathryn Tucker said her prognosis is "really good" now that she has stopped smoking and taking the pill.

The twins said they were also worried about their overuse of caffeinated energy drinks -- three to four a day, although there is no medical evidence linking those drinks to stroke.

"Don't think you are impervious to stroke," said Kimberly Tucker, who is still undergoing therapy. "We think we are invincible until we are not. This taught us a huge lesson that we are not guaranteed great health and we need to take care of our bodies."

Kimberly Tucker, unlike her sister, did not have a PFO and was an avid runner.

"On the day of my stroke I did a 5K run," she said. "I was feeling extra thirsty the whole time and went home to take a nap."

When she woke up, Kimberly Tucker felt a sharp pain on the left side of the back of her head.

"My vision closed in almost completely," she said. "I wasn't making a lot of sense and was not able to form complete thoughts. But I knew I was having a stroke."

Remembering what her twin sister had gone though, she immediately called 911, then her sister, who told her to take her blood thinners, a move that might have saved her life.

"I instantly knew I had a stroke because I was suffering from many of the same symptoms as my sister," says Kimberly Tucker. "The EMTs told me that the chance of both me and my sister having a stroke this young was that of being struck by lightning twice. They thought I was suffering from dehydration or heat stroke."

Later, doctors discovered Kimberly Tucker had arrhythmia, which may have been a contributing factor to her stroke.

Today, both girls are doing well after occupational and speech therapy, though they still have some visual deficits and are not allowed to drive.

"I still notice some weakness when I am tired," Kathryn Tucker said. "Otherwise, I am fine, physically back to normal."

"We are super close," said Kimberly Tucker of her twin. "I think we always have been close, but this definitely brought us closer. Honestly, she is the only person who understands because we are going through it together."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr102013

Arizona Baby Who Got Melanoma in Womb Still Thriving

KNXV/ABC NewsPHOENIX) -- Addison Cox, the Phoenix girl who mysteriously contracted her mother's deadly melanoma while still in the womb, has surprised doctors and will soon celebrate her second birthday.

Her mother, Phoenix police detective Briana Cox, died last year of cancer that had metastasized during her pregnancy. She was only 33 years old.

In a rare and unexplained medical mystery, Briana's cancer cells had crossed the placenta to her developing fetus.

Addison was just 6 weeks old when doctors found tumors had spread throughout her body. Her family was told she would likely not survive much beyond a year.

"Her original diagnosis was 12 to 18 months," her father, James Cox, told ABC News. "She turns 2 in May."

"We sure are pleased," he said. "Basically our family has gotten so much support from each other and friends. ...The local church took us under their wing and my co-workers have been so kind to all of us."

Addison has a 4-year-old biological brother who has been in counseling since his mother died.

"He still thinks about his mother and misses her," said James, 37. "But talking to a 4-year-old kid about anything can be difficult."

Addison also has two teenage stepbrothers. James' mother, who is from Texas, has been living with the family to help out for the last nearly two years.

The cancer has affected the child's brain, shoulder, lungs, kidney, liver, leg, and even the back of her tongue. Addison has had chemotherapy, radiation and brain surgeries at Phoenix Children's Hospital, which is hosting a telethon to benefit the family.

"One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will have a direct impact on care, along with critical programs services provided to patients and families," said hospital spokeswoman Stacy Dillier.

The toddler has been on chemotherapy for 20 months and has undergone radiation. A month ago, she had two brain surgeries four days apart.

A fundraiser by the police department where Briana Cox worked has helped the family deal with their financial needs. "Most has been covered by medical insurance, but it's the cost of day-to-day life that really hammers us," said James Cox.

So far, Addison has progressed well, understanding speech and saying a few words, like any child her age, according to her father.

"That gives you a lot to look forward to and know she's still doing this well, it just kind of keeps you going," said James.

Addison's mother had a malignant skin melanoma removed in 2006 and was assured by her doctors that the cancer had not spread and all her margins were clear.

Briana Cox went on to have a son David, now 4, and again became pregnant with her daughter Addison.

But just two months after the baby was born, in June 2011, Briana had a seizure and collapsed during a run. Scans revealed her brain and other parts of her body were riddled with advanced cancer.

And when four dark bumps appeared on baby Addison's forehead in September, she too was diagnosed with the same stage-four melanoma.

Briana Cox died in February of 2012, but her last wish was to tell her family's private, but painful story to help others better understand the dangers of the disease.

James Cox was in the Azores, serving in the U.S. Air Force, when his wife was diagnosed. Today, James works in emergency management.

"It was like running into a brick wall," he said in local press at the time. "It knocks the wind out of you. It was like being punched in the chest. And when Addison was [diagnosed], it was like being ejected from a car. You wonder, what's next?"

The phenomenon has only been recorded "a handful of times" in medical literature, according to Dr. Pooja Hingorani, a pediatric oncologist who treats Addison at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

"All cancer can happen in pregnancy," Hingorani told ABC News last year. "But melanoma is the most common cancer to pass through the placenta from the mother."

About 30 percent of all mother-to-fetus cancers are melanoma, according to Hingorani, who said she has only seen four to five cases ever.

"When it is in the blood stream, it can go everywhere," she said.

Melanoma is a virulent form of skin cancer that begins in the cells that make the pigment melanin, but it can also begin in the eyes or intestines. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 76,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and 9,100 die of the disease.

Sun exposure is thought to be one of the causes of melanoma. Hingorani said cancer among women of childbearing age is on the rise, and those who are pregnant, should tell their doctors if they've had melanoma.

"After the birth, the placenta needs to be examined carefully," she said. "It's hard to say if we would have picked it up at birth, if Addison would have had a less extent of disease."

Meanwhile, James Cox said he has been overjoyed with the medical care that Addison has received.

James said Addison's doctors hope to get her into clinical trials, if treatments start to fail.

"They got her in immediately when it was discovered, coordinated her care and are constantly looking forward to the next step."

"If Phoenix Children's had not been there," he said. "Addison would have already passed away."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan072013

Arizona Mom Stuns Doctors, Beats Deadliest Brain Cancer

Courtesy Barrow Neurological Institute(NEW YORK) -- Heather Knies was given a death sentence at the age of 24.  She battled not one, but two brain tumors -- one of them a grade 4 glioblastoma, the same kind of cancer that killed Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2010.

But today, six years later, she is cancer-free, and her doctors at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona cannot explain it.  Her latest MRI is clean, and she is neurologically intact.

The now-32-year-old Knies has not only outlived her life expectancy, she has married and become a mother.  Her successful parenthood is remarkable, as intense radiation and chemotherapy can render cancer patients infertile.

Knies' daughter, Zoe, who is 7 months old, celebrated her first Christmas in December.

Knies' doctors say that in rare instances, a patient can break the "biological rules."  But most often in those cases, the initial pathology of the tumor was suspect.

In her case, the pathology was "not controversial," according to her surgeon, Dr. Robert Spetzler, director of the Barrow Neurological Institute at Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

In his 35 years as a neurosurgeon in the United States, Spetzler said he has never seen such a triumph against a stage 4 glioblastoma.

"It's one of the most malignant tumors there is," he said.  "Invariably it will come back and pop up somewhere else in the brain and it's uniformly fatal."

"It's not unheard of that that a few survive -- it's a bell curve and there are outliers," Spetzler said.  "But in her case, not only has she survived, but she is perfectly normal and there is absolutely no evidence of a tumor on her MRI scan."

Knies has a few of her own theories for why she is still alive today.

"One, being God had a plan for me," said Knies.  "I also had a great team of doctors and wonderful family and friends with a positive attitude."

"The mind is so much more powerful than anyone can imagine," she said.  "People believe that when they get cancer, it will kill them.  But I never once thought that."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep062012

Arizona Hospital's $80,000 Bill Stings Worse Than Scorpion Venom

Hemera/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- An Arizona woman was shocked when her brush with a scorpion led to a stinging $83,046 hospital bill.

Marcie Edmonds, 52, called the poison control center an hour after a bark scorpion stung her in the stomach while she was opening a box of air conditioner filters. She experienced mild tingling, throat tightness, darting eyes, muscle spams and difficulty breathing, ABC News confirmed.

As a typical illness from the venom progresses from numbness and tingling to uncontrolled muscle movements, it can resemble a seizure, said Dr. Steven Curry, the director of Medical Toxicology at the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. The muscle spasms spread to the chest and cause respiratory problems, which can be life-threatening -- especially in children, Curry said.

The poison control center advised Edmonds to go to a hospital, so she went to Chandler Regional Medical Center, where doctors administered two vials of a relatively new anti-venom called Anascorp, which was approved by the Federal Drug Administration last August and is distributed to hospitals for about $3,800 per vial, toxicologists say.

Edmonds left the hospital after a three-hour stay, but the bill that arrived several weeks later came out to $83,046, or $39,652 per Anascorp vial, ABC News confirmed. That's about 10 times what the hospital paid for each vial.

"Everyone I talk to says, 'You've got to be kidding,'" Edmonds told the Arizona Republic.

Chandler Regional Medical Center released a statement apologizing for Edmonds' treatment costs, explaining that they are working to adjust the high "out-of-network" bill she received for the anti-venom.

"In addition, we are also currently reviewing our pricing of this expensive specialty medication," the statement said.

Anascorp had been administered for free to about 2,000 scorpion sting patients during a 10-year clinical trial in the United States before last year, said Dr. Keith Boesen, the director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.

The drug is made from horse antibodies and comes from Mexico, where it costs about $100 per dose, according to Kaiser Health News. Boesen explained that this is because about 10,000 people are treated with the drug there each year, bringing down costs.

In the United States, however, there is only one scorpion that has the potential to be lethal in humans: the bark scorpion. And it's mostly found in Arizona and its neighboring states. The number of people treated with Anascorp each year is much smaller in the U.S.

So far this year, the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center, which handles poison control for Phoenix, has had 5,414 calls for scorpion stings. No deaths have been reported in more than three years, according to Good Samaritan spokeswoman Rebecca Armendariz.

Although Edmonds' experience was scary, toxicologists are most worried about children under 6 years old. The smaller or younger a child is, the more likely it is that the venom will have a life-threatening effect on that child because the scorpion releases the same amount of venom regardless of its target's body mass.

"A scorpion sting that would just affect my leg would affect an entire child's body," Boesen said.

It's those children that are most often prescribed the expensive anti-venom because it's often cheaper than spending two days in the intensive care unit on a ventilator, which is often the alternative, said Dr. Richard Clark, who directs the toxicology department at the University of California San Diego.

"The only way to justify spending that on an anti-venom is that 99 percent of the time it costs less than a day in the ICU," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Arizona Pediatrician Cured of Frustrating Facial Twitch

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) -- An Arizona doctor is thrilled to be still after surgery to stop a spasm in the muscles of his face.

Dr. Vic Oyas said the spasm started more than 20 years ago as a tiny twitch in his left eye.

"I didn't pay much attention to it at the time," said Oyas, a pediatrician in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.  "It would come and go, and we all get the odd twitch here and there."  

But Oyas' twitch gradually grew to cover the entire left side of his face and even his shoulder -- a condition called a hemifacial spasm.

"Patients would say, 'Hey doc, you're twitching,'" Oyas said, recalling the bluntness of his young patients.  "It was a little embarrassing."

Muscle relaxants helped, but they made Oyas drowsy.  And Botox injections to calm the contractions wore off every three months.  So Oyas decided to stop the spasm for good with surgery.

"His condition was caused by a normal blood vessel that, by an accident of nature, ended up pressing on a nerve," said Dr. Neil Martin, the University of California, Los Angeles surgeon who performed the July 16 procedure.

Through a small incision behind Oyas' left ear, Martin placed a tiny Teflon pad between the offending artery and the pinched nerve.

"Once the pressure is relieved, the nerve begins to heal itself," said Martin, describing how he glued the pad in place with a protein found in blood clots.  "For most people the twitch is gone, or at least better, right after surgery."

Oyas said he felt "instant relief" after the three-hour operation.

"I haven't felt this good in years," he said.  "I'm so grateful that my misery over."

Although a hemifacial spasm is not a life-threatening condition, the consequences -- both personal and professional -- can be profound.

"To have your face constantly twitching with no way to stop it is very distracting; very socially and emotionally disabling," Martin said.  "Some people don't want to leave home."

Two weeks after the surgery, Oyas is back in Arizona and ready to return to work.

"I'm still taking it easy," he said, describing the two-week-old wound healing behind his ear amid hair re-growing from a pre-op shave.  "I still have a bit of a Mohawk."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun212012

Arizona Woman Delivers Own Baby in Car

David De Lossy/Digital Vision(GILBERT, Ariz.) -- Taylor and Michael Hale were less than a mile from the hospital, but baby Chloe couldn’t wait. The new mom delivered her own baby in the car on the way to the Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Ariz.

In the time it took her husband to call 911 from the car, Taylor Hale had delivered the baby.

“The baby’s out!” she exclaimed as her husband spoke to the 911 operator.

She estimated less than five minutes had passed between the time she left her house and when she gave birth.

“I said to the dispatch, ‘The head’s out,’ and he said, ‘Pull over,’” Michael Hale told ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV.  “In the time it took for me to stop and pull over, I look over and my wife is holding our baby.”

“I was in the front seat and I just put my legs up and I pushed her out while we were driving,” Taylor Hale said.

After a few long seconds of silence, the parents were relieved to hear their baby crying.

“Congratulations, dad,” the operator said.

Susan Gordon, public relations director at Banner Gateway Medical Center, said that both mother and daughter are healthy and doing fine.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec222011

Poised to Donate Organs, 21-Year-Old Emerges From Coma

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Sam Schmid, an Arizona college student believed to be brain dead and poised to be an organ donor, miraculously recovered just hours before doctors were considering taking him off life support.

Schmid, a junior and business major at the University of Arizona, was critically wounded in an Oct. 19 five-car accident in Tucson.

The 21-year-old's brain injuries were so severe that the local hospital could not treat him. He was airlifted to the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix, where specialists performed surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm.

As hospital officials began palliative care and broached the subject of organ donation with his family, Schmid began to respond, holding up two fingers on command. Today, he is walking with the aid of a walker, and his speech, although slow, has improved.

Doctors say he will likely have a complete recovery. He even hopes to get a day pass from the hospital to celebrate the holidays with his large extended family.

"Nobody could ever give me a better Christmas present than this -- ever, ever, ever," said his mother, Susan Regan, who is vice-president of the insurance company Lovitt-Touche.

"I tell everyone, if they want to call it a modern-day miracle, this is a miracle," said Regan, 59, and a Catholic. "I have friends who are atheists who have called me and said, 'I am going back to church.'"

Schmid's doctor, renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Spetzler, agreed that his recovery was miraculous.

"I am dumbfounded with his incredible recovery in such a short time," said Spetzler. "His recovery was really remarkable considering the extent of his lethal injuries."

Hospital officials are crediting Spetzler with having a "hunch" that despite an initially dire prognosis, the young man would make it. But he said it was "reasonable" for others to consider withdrawing the patient from life support.

"It looked like all the odds were stacked against him," said Spetzler, who has performed more than 6,000 such surgeries and trained the doctor who operated on Congressman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot at the beginning of this year.

During surgery, Spetzler clipped the balloonlike aneurysm in the blood vessel -- "as if I were patching a tire," a procedure that eventually worked.

For days Schmid didn't seem to be responding, but what puzzled his doctor was that he did not see fatal injuries on the MRI scan. So he decided to keep Schmid on life support longer.

"There was plenty wrong -- he had a hemorrhage, an aneurysm and a stroke from the part of the aneurysm," Spetzler said. "But he didn't have a blood clot in the most vital part of his brain, which we know he can't recover from. And he didn't have a massive stroke that would predict no chance of a useful existence."

So while the family was given a realistic picture of Schmid's poor chances for survival, Spetzler ordered one more MRI to see if the critical areas of the brain had turned dark, indicating brain death.

"If not, we would hang on and keep him on support," he said. "But I didn't want to give the family false hope."

Schmid's mother said no one "specifically" asked if her son would be a donor, but they "subtly talk to you about quality of life."

"At some point, I knew we had to make some sort of decision, and I kept praying," said Regan.

The MRI came back with encouraging news during the day and by evening Schmid "inexplicably" followed the doctors' commands, holding up two fingers.

"It was like fireworks all going off at the same time," said Spetzler.

Today, Schmid -- his speech clear and sounding upbeat -- told ABCNews.com, "I feel fine. I'm in a wheelchair, but I am getting lots of help."

He said he remembers nothing of the accident nor coming around after being in an induced coma. "It wasn't until I woke up in rehab," he said. "But they told me about afterwards."

Schmid was returning from coaching basketball at his former Catholic school when a van swerved into his lane. The Jeep in which he was riding went airborne, hit a light pole and landed on its side.

Schmid's left hand and both of his femurs broke and required surgery. But the worst were the traumatic head injuries, which were complex and nearly always fatal.

All those involved say the support that Schmid got from family and friends -- and especially the care at Barrow -- may have made the difference. His brother John, a 24-year-old IT specialist, took a leave of absence from his job in Chicago to be at his brother's bedside.

Family flew in from around the country, and Delta Chi fraternity brothers made regular visits, even creating a mural for their friend.

"It seems like we were being led down a path to plan for the worst and that things were not going to work out," said John Schmid. "The miracle, to put it bluntly, was that in a matter of seven days, we went from organ donation to rehab. What a roller coaster it was."

He said his brother's speech is slow, but he understands what others are saying. Sam Schmid's athleticism -- as a basketball coach and snowboard instructor -- probably helped, he said.

"Honestly, I am at a loss for words," said John Schmid. "I am just so proud of Sam. He's got a strong constitution and he's very determined. But it's been quite an eye-opener for me -- a real learning curve. You can't take anything for granted."

Sam Schmid's surgeon agrees.

"You get incredible highs when you save someone facing neurological devastation or death," said Spetzler. "That is counter-pointed by the incredible lows when you fail to help someone."

"In a way, his recovery was truly miraculous," he said. "It's a great Christmas story."

Ever the scientist, Spetzler wasn't willing to speculate what a comatose patient hears. But he admits, "There are so many things we don't understand about the brain and what happens at the time someone is near death."

"The whole family was at his side during the day and at night hovering over him, then to see there was a chance after being ready to let go," he said. "But I am very much a big believer that positive thoughts and positive energy in a room can only help."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec052011

Ariz. Boy Makes ‘Miraculous’ Recovery After Heart Stops

Hemera/Thinkstock(GLENDALE, Ariz.) -- An Arizona 2-year-old boy has made a full recovery after his heart stopped for almost 40 minutes.  Released from the hospital after a week, Caleb Teodorescu now runs circles around his family’s living room, acting like any other toddler. Doctors say he has no long-term medical or brain injuries.

Caleb was considered technically dead when his mother found his lifeless body lying face-down in the family’s outdoor swimming pool. His heart had stopped, and he was unable to breathe when he arrived at the hospital.

“He quite literally died outside the hospital,” Dr. Corey Philpot, a pediatric critical care physician at the Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Ariz., told ABC News.

Caleb’s mother, Mihaela Teodorescu, became hysterical when she realized her son wasn’t breathing.

“I was crying out to God,” Teodorescu told ABC 15 in Phoenix. “I was saying, ‘God you cannot take him from me!’”

Teodorescu screamed for help and a neighbor began CPR.

When Philpot began treatment, Caleb was in a comatose state and on a breathing machine. He had been given blood pressure medication. But doctors believe their decision to use therapeutic hypothermia, a cutting-edge technique, was what saved Caleb’s life and reduced the risk of brain damage.

“Therapeutic hypothermia slows down the metabolic rate of the body and, in this case, of the brain,” Philpot told ABC News. “We cooled him down to 32 degrees and put him in cold hybernatory state to prevent ongoing brain injury.”

It took 24 hours to cool down Caleb’s body to this point of hypothermia. Then doctors slowly warmed his body for four days. During this time, Caleb’s heart started to function better, and he required less blood pressure medication. But doctors still wondered whether he would ever function normally again.

Caleb’s father, Ovy Teodorescu, told ABC 15 in Phoenix that doctors told the family that Caleb would never be the same.

“[Our doctor] told us in his 23 years of being with the hospital in the pediatric intensive care unit, they did not have a case like this,” Teodorescu said. “Not even close. He said out of the good outcomes, Caleb is the best of the best  of the best.”

Doctors began to notice that Caleb was improving once the rewarming began.

“It was about five days after Caleb arrived and three days after we rewarmed his body that Caleb began showing a drastic and quick recovery,” Philpot told ABC News.

“He started to move, and then his movements became purposeful, and then he opened his eyes. We could tell that he was on the quick road to recovery.”

Long-term brain damage is extremely common for patients who stop breathing. The lack of air to the brain and stoppage of blood flow often require machines to keep some patients alive.

“What was shocking was his quick recovery and his going-home state. The average person may not notice anything wrong with him at all. In a couple months you wouldn’t even notice what he went through,” Philpot told ABC News.

The Teodorescus, who never gave up hope during the week their son was in the hospital,  told ABC 15 that having Caleb home,  alive and healthy, was the perfect early Christmas gift.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

Arizona: Comatose Illegal Immigrant’s Wife Fights For Care

Pixland/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- An Arizona woman is fighting for the life of her comatose husband, a Mexican immigrant in the process of becoming a citizen who collapsed playing soccer last week and fell into a coma. Since he is not a citizen, he is facing the prospect of being kicked out of the hospital.

His lack of health insurance and citizenship have put his wife in a difficult position. The hospital has given her one week to decide whether to take him home for hospice care or take him to Mexico for long-term care, according to ABC Phoenix affiliate KNXV.

Jesus Cornelio, 23, was playing soccer on Sept. 19 when he collapsed on the field and was rushed to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. His brain was without oxygen for more than 10 minutes, which doctors say caused severe damage to his brain.

At the hospital on Friday, his wife Evelyn Cornelio, a U.S. citizen, was told that her husband did not qualify for long-term care, KNXV reported. He has been in the United States for most of his life and is in the process of becoming a citizen, but is still an undocumented immigrant and not a permanent resident.

On Tuesday, the hospital gave her a one-week extension until Oct. 4 to decide what she will do with her husband.

“I’m not going to give up on him,” Cornelio told KNXV. “I see how much my husband is trying and not giving up, but all I see now is, who is going to pay for all these expenses?”

In a statement, the hospital said the following: “Banner Health continues to work closely with the Cornelio family as they evaluate the best care options for their loved one, Jesus.  Our focus remains on ensuring that Jesus continues to receive the best care possible. With respect to the family’s privacy we are unable to provide any additional information about this case.”

Even though Cornelio is in a difficult situation and does not yet know what she will do, she said she does know that she is not giving up on her husband.

“All his family is here. All his friends are here. He’s the love of my life. He’s my best friend. He’s my everything,” Cornelio said. “He’s healthy and he’s strong and he’s going to make it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr192011

Nine-Year-Old Boy Saves Baby Sister with CPR

Ableimages/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MESA, Ariz.) -- A nine-year-old boy who saved his baby sister's life after she fell into a swimming pool said he learned CPR from watching television.

Tristin Saghin was visiting his grandmother in Mesa, Arizona, with his family when his 2-year-old sister was found floating in the backyard pool.

"My grandma came in to look for her toothpaste and said, 'Where's the baby?' And my mom went running outside and there she was floating," Tristin told ABC News affiliate ABC15.

While his mother and grandmother called for help, Tristin performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on his sister, who was pulled from the pool unconscious and not breathing.

Tristin said that minutes later, his sister started breathing. She is currently recovering in the hospital and, thanks to Tristin, is expected to be fine.

"I couldn't imagine what was going through his mind," said Mesa Fire Department spokesman Capt. Forrest Smith. "Here he is, in a situation where most of us, if we had a family member in that position, as parents we tend to really panic and be concerned. I tell you, we really give kudos out to him."

Learning CPR has traditionally been an exhaustive half-day ordeal. But new research suggests a short 60-second training video might be just as effective.

For Tristin, imitating what he had seen on TV was enough. The boy, who is being hailed as a hero, said he would do anything for his sister.

"She's really beautiful and I love her really much," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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