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Entries in Colorado (14)

Thursday
Sep012011

Colorado Logger Pinned by Trailer Amputates Own Toes

BananaStock/Thinkstock(MONTROSE, Colo.) -- A 61-year-old Colorado logger who found himself trapped beneath a trailer that pinned his right foot, did the unthinkable: he amputated three of his toes to free himself.

Jon Hutt had driven his logging truck into a remote part of western Colorado near the town of Montrose on Aug. 19.  He was attempting to retrieve a pile of fallen Aspen trees to cut up for winter firewood when something went terribly wrong.  Six tons of machinery fell off of the truck and pinned him.

"The trailer started to slide.  It pinned my right foot right in there," Hutt told ABC News as he pointed to his foot with a crutch.  "When I tried to move it, the pain would get worse."

Hutt was trapped, completely alone, and in unimaginable pain.  With no cellphone service nor help, and after 30 minutes with no other choice, Hutt took out his three-inch pocketknife and began amputating his toes.

Hutt later drove to a parking lot by the nearby Ridgway Dam, where an ambulance arrived to take him to Montrose Memorial Hospital, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.

Hutt is hardly the first person to resort to self-amputation when facing their own mortality.  Last summer Jonathan Metz was in his Connecticut basement when his left arm became stuck behind a furnace he was repairing.

After being trapped for 12 hours, Metz, 31, said that it became clear what he needed to do once he could smell the flesh of his crushed arm beginning to rot: he amputated his arm with the blade of a power saw.

Doctors said that the decisions that Metz made, particularly to cut away at the dead tissue which released toxins that were circulating through his body, are what ultimately saved his life.

And who could forget Aron Ralston?  His amputation of his own arm inside a desolate Utah canyon was the inspiration for Danny Boyle's 2010 Oscar-nominated film 127 Hours starring James Franco. While mountaineering in Blue John Canyon, Utah, Ralston became trapped when a boulder dislodged and pinned him next to a canyon wall.  After being trapped for six days, Ralston finally cut off his right arm to free himself -- an ordeal that took an hour and was performed with his two-inch knife.

As for Hutt, it has now been two weeks since he amputated his own toes, and he says he is still in pain.  But he does offer advice for those who find themselves in similarly horrific situations.

"I think it's real important to keep your head and not just panic and start screaming," he said.  "That ain't going to do you any good, you need to start figuring the way to get out of the situation like that.  And do whatever it takes to do it."

The police retrieved his severed toes but unfortunately doctors were not able to save them, as they were far too mangled to be reattached.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul122011

Colo. Proposed Child Care Regs Include Race of Dolls and Staff Clothing

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Colorado child care workers might soon face a few more tasks on their daily to-do lists. The state's Department of Human Services is proposing new child care center regulations that would limit kids' TV time to 20 minutes per day and regulate items including the race of the dolls kids play with and what kind of clothes staff members wear.

The rule changes, which the state has outlined in an exhaustive 98-page document, have been in the works since 2006. Rules include guidelines on time spent outdoors, sunscreen policies and field trip mandates.

"The proposed rules are just astronomically overbearing. There's too many of them and they're too specific for a center to be able to remember and follow," preschool director Ida Mae-Custer told 7NEWS in Denver.

The state has been gathering public feedback at information sessions that will run through September.

Deb Hartman, the program director at an early learning center in Trinidad, Colo., hosted an information session for the proposed rule changes. Hartman largely supports the state's proposal, but said that certain things, such as increasing the number of emergency drills from 14 per year to 20, weren't practical.

"That's a lot of drills to be running," she said, adding that the process was already stressful for young children. "Between the noise and the exit procedure, it's pretty traumatic."

Hartman said her facility already complies with most of the proposed changes, but not all. Adding additional restrooms and improving the playground may be required if the proposal gets approved, and costs for that would run about $10,000.

Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Human Services, stressed that the rules are not set in stone and are a long way from final approval. Mid-2012 is the earliest the rules would go into effect.

"These are quality standards that were taken directly from a national standard," she said. "We were lagging, we're attempting to improve that."

Charlotte Brantley, president and CEO of Clayton Early Learning in Denver, said she welcomed the conversation and thought parents would find assurance in knowing what's required of child care providers.

"You may think it's overkill, but at least you know," she said. "I think what we're having to deal with here is finding the right balance."

Colorado ranks 43rd nationwide for child care center regulations and oversight, according to the National Center of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Linda Smith, the center's executive director, pointed out that doggie day cares in Colorado are inspected twice a year while child care centers are only inspected once every other year.

"That doesn't make sense on anybody's radar," she said. "Colorado's got a lot of room for improvement."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

New Report Shows America is Getting Fatter

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The 8th annual report, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011" -- which assesses obesity rates in individual states -- does not contain surprising findings:  America is getting fatter. 

Adult obesity rates have increased in 16 states over the past year, with not a single state reporting a decrease. 

Here are some additional obesity-related findings:

- 20 years ago, no state had an obesity level above 15%; now, only 1 state has an obesity rate below 20% (Colorado).

- Today, the state with the lowest obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995.

- 12 states have obesity rates above 30%:  Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

- Highest rate of obesity:  Mississippi with 34.4%; lowest rate of obesity: Colorado with 19.8%.

Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes and high blood pressure; rates of these two conditions have risen in parallel with obesity:

- Diabetes rates have increased in 11 states and Washington DC over the last year.

- In 1995, 4 states had diabetes rates over 6%.  Now, 43 states have diabetes rates over 7%, and 8 states have more than 10% of their population diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

- In 1995, 37 states had hypertension rates over 20%; now all do and 9 are over 30%.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the president of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the foundations publishing this report, says that “the information in this report should spur us all -- individuals and policymakers alike -- to redouble our efforts to reverse this debilitating and costly epidemic.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May312011

Woman with Bed Bug Bites Denied Medical Treatment

Pixland/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- Christine Lewis said she was just being honest with the nurse at Colorado's Aurora Medical Center when she showed her the festering bites on her arms just before she was to have a spinal injection for her back pain.

But when the doctor arrived, instead of showing compassion, Lewis alleges he refused to do the procedure, telling her, "It could be in your hair, it could be in your clothes and we can't have you bring that into our operating room," and then just "ran out the door."

"I was flabbergasted and mortified," Lewis told ABCNews.com. "He totally disregarded me. I told the hospital, now I know how AIDS patients felt 20 years ago. Everything he said implied I was a dirty person, not up to standard and that's not right."

Lewis, 43, has had three back surgeries since she was in a car accident in her teens and was all set to get a nerve-blocking procedure for her dislocated tail bone. A former pharmacy technician, she has been disabled for the last 10 years because of her condition.

Lewis said she had assumed the bites were bed bugs, but "the fact is, [the doctor] couldn't determine if they were bed bugs or bug bites."

"I had been bitten a lot and they were red and inflamed and weepy," said Lewis. "The doctor gave me a perfectly good medical explanation why he didn't want to do the procedure. But then he went on to show ignorance, telling me I could bring the bugs into the hospital on my hair and clothes. They could come in on a delivery truck or anyone who walks in to the hospital. I am not a dirty person. He went too far."

Aurora Medical Center South spokesman Joanna King said that when Lewis disclosed the bed bugs, "standard protocols" were put in place.

"The treatment team consulted our infection prevention nurse, who advised them on cleaning and containment procedures, and advised that from an infection control standpoint they may continue with the spinal injection," said King, who is vice president of human resources and strategic development.

But the doctor, assessing the patient just before the procedure, determined that the bites posed "an increased risk for infection" and decided to reschedule the elective procedure.

As for his behavior, said King, "The medical center and all staff are committed to treating all patients with compassion and dignity and I am confident we did so."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bed bugs are "experts at hiding." They can fit into small spaces and stay for long periods of time without eating. They are usually transported from place to place as people travel in luggage, folded clothes, bedding and furniture. Unlike other parasites such as ticks or lice, they do not travel on a person's body.

Lewis, who is married and lives with her husband, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and two of her children, said she doesn't intend to sue and isn't even demanding an apology, but just wanted to create public awareness over the way she had been treated. Lewis also refused to reveal the name of the doctor because he will continue to treat her.

Hospitals are not immune to bed bug infestations, which have plagued hotels, apartments and movie theaters throughout the country. And a recent study from Canada has suggested that despite previous studies, bed bugs can carry the dangerous staph infection MRSA, which is methicillin-resistant.

Just 10 days ago, the District of Columbia Department of Health confirmed the second case of bed bug infestation at United Medical Center. As a precaution, officials moved patients out of that area and treated at least six rooms with chemicals. Just two months earlier at the same hospital, a patient was discovered with bed bugs in the psychiatric area.

And last fall bed bugs were found at Central Maine Medical Center in New England. According to the Sun Journal newspaper, infestations were also reported at least three other facilities, including a nursing home.

In March, at least five cases of bed bugs were reported at hospitals in Milwaukee, even in examining rooms. "We're seeing cases of bedbugs on a weekly basis. In reality, the bed bugs are coming in on patients," Aurora Health Systems spokesman Adam Beeson told ABC's affiliate WISN-12.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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