Entries in Grandma (4)


Baby's Hands Reattached After Grandma Cut Them Off

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An 8-month-old Chinese baby is recovering after a 12-hour operation to reattach her hands, which were reportedly cut off by her grandmother.

The injured baby was discovered by her mother, who arrived home from work to find the gory scene.

"Only 10 minutes later she dashed down holding her baby, who was covered with blood," a neighbor in the Shandong Province of China told the Daily Mail. "The baby's hands were gone."

The grandmother, who had been caring for the baby, also cut herself in an apparent suicide attempt, the Daily Mail reported.  She is currently in a coma.

The baby and her hands were rushed to a hospital, where a team of surgeons meticulously mended the severed bones, blood vessels, nerves and skin.

"Although prosthetics are pretty good, nothing can replace the human hand as far as function," said Dr. Brian Labow, a plastic surgeon specializing in hand reconstruction at Boston Children's Hospital.  "But time is of the essence, because as soon as a hand is removed, it's not getting any blood supply."

Keeping the hands on ice until they're ready to be replanted can help buy time, Labow said.  But "until you have arteries and veins attached, the hands are essentially starving."

The replant procedure can take as many as six surgeons, three nurses and three anesthesiologists, Labow said. "You can probably double that for two hands," he said.

Once the blood vessels are connected, the surgeons can take their time carefully connecting the nerves under an operating microscope to restore hand function.

"You essentially stitch the two ends together, but it takes a while for the nerve to regenerate," Labow said, describing how the severed nerve slowly grows out to muscles in the hand.  "And a child is absolutely perfect in terms of healing potential."

Unlike hand transplant recipients, hand replant patients do not need to take immunosuppressant drugs because the tissue is their own.  And as long as the surgery is successful, the prognosis is good.

"Often there is some loss of fine motor function," Labow said.  "But if it's a wrist-level injury, and a clean cut, we would expect extremely good hand function."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Grandmother, 55, to Audition for Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

Hemera/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Sharon Simmons, a 55-year-old grandmother, is as slim and toned as a woman half her age, and she's preparing to go head-to-head with women even younger when she auditions to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader in May.

"I don't see a number," she said, regarding her age.  "If I do, it's just a number.  It's not that I can't keep up with [younger women] in the physical part of the training."

Simmons, who has two grandchildren, is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist who began entering fitness competitions at the age of 50.  In the last five years, she's participated in more than 20 competitions, and has even won a few first-place titles, according to her website.

"To me, this is just like any other competition," she said.  "There are steps to take to prepare, which is exactly what I'm doing."

Simmons, who works in commercial real estate, first began dreaming of becoming a Cowboys cheerleader when she was a cash-strapped single mother in her 20s.  She had planned to try out, and even had her mother take some photos of her to submit with the application, but she lacked dance training.  And, ultimately, Simmons didn't have the courage to apply.

"Now," she said, "I'm not afraid.  I'm more mature.  I know what to do."

Simmons also has no qualms about donning the required attire for tryouts: hot pants and an athletic bra top.  Simmons is used to wearing even skimpier outfits in fitness competitions.

"If you're not comfortable wearing stuff like that, you should not be trying out for the [squad]," she said.

The oldest woman ever to dance with the Cowboys cheerleaders was Linda Badami, a 37-year-old mother of four from Kansas, according to Kelli Finglass, who directs the squad.  Grandmothers and women in their 50s have auditioned in the past, but none have been chosen for the squad.  The oldest woman on the 2011 squad was 31, and the youngest was 18 years old, Finglass said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Undercover Grandma Catches Medicare Fraud on Tape

ABC News(MCALLEN, Texas) -- In the wake of an ABC News undercover investigation, federal authorities in Texas are investigating how an active 82-year-old grandmother was diagnosed as homebound, with a range of ailments that she did not have, including Type 2 diabetes, opening the door to potentially tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare payments for home health care, supplies and equipment she did not need.

A hidden camera recorded the undercover grandmother's visit to a doctor in McAllen, Texas, where she told the doctor and nurses she exercised regularly and, other than some hypertension and arthritis, was in excellent health.

"I've really enjoyed good health all my life, God's been good to me," the doctor was told by Doris Ace, the grandmother of ABC News producer Megan Chuchmach.

Yet the official certification sent to Medicare for home health care services indicates she was homebound and suffered from two internal infections, incontinence and needs "assistance in all activities, unable to safely leave home, severe sob" -- an abbreviation for shortness of breath.

Ace had specifically told the doctor and her nurses she did not suffer from incontinence or shortness of breath.

On a patient referral form for home health care service, signed by the doctor, our undercover grandmother was also wrongly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, even though she was not given a blood test which doctors say is the only way to authoritatively diagnose diabetes.

The overall diagnosis of the undercover grandmother's health could have provided the justification for what could be tens of thousand dollars a year worth of unneeded treatment and medical supplies and equipment, federal investigators said in an interview to be broadcast Thursday night on ABC News' World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline.

"That's fraud," said Tim Menke, senior adviser for investigations in the Inspector General's office at the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Our Medicare system is an honor system," said Menke after viewing the files and the ABC News undercover tape of the doctor's office visit.  "And there's not much honor left in the system when you see things like that."

McAllen is considered a hotbed of Medicare fraud by the Inspector General's office, which has already brought cases against a number of doctors and health care agencies and has many others under investigation.

"The fraud indicators are off the charts," said Menke of McAllen and surrounding towns in the Rio Grande Valley.  "We have ten of the top physicians who have billed nearly $200 million in one specialty last year alone."

Nationwide, the Inspector General's office estimates that $60 billion dollars of taxpayer money is lost to unchecked Medicare fraud every year.

"We've seen it in Miami, Detroit and now in McAllen and it's very, very common," he said.

"They're lying in order to steal from you and me and the taxpayers," he added.

The McAllen doctor, Dr. Padmini Bhadriraju, declined to comment to ABC News, but denied any wrongdoing through her lawyer.

The lawyer, John Rivas, said the doctor acknowledged an "error" in the diabetes diagnosis for ABC News' undercover grandmother on the patient referral form, but said, "this section was filled out by someone other than Dr. Bhadriraju," even though he confirmed the doctor did fill out the majority of the form and signed it in her handwriting.

Her signature served as certification that "my clinical findings support that this patient is homebound."

The doctor's lawyer said neither the doctor nor others in her office knew who filled in the incorrect diabetes diagnosis.

Rivas also said the doctor played no role in the official certification form sent to Medicare, although records show she billed Medicare for the review of the form and its plan of care.

"The records provided by ABC News do not support any allegations of fraud.  It would be irresponsible journalism to air a story on Medicare/Medicaid fraud using this referral as an example when there is clearly no evidence of fraud," he added in a letter to ABC News.

ABC News ended the undercover investigation before any medical supplies or equipment could be billed to Medicare based on the false diagnosis. 

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Labor of Love: Woman Carries Her Daughter's Baby

File Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) - A mother's love takes many forms. For Kristine Casey, 61, it meant giving the gift of motherhood to her infertile daughter by carrying and giving birth to her own grandson.

With the help of hormone supplementation, Casey, who had gone through menopause 10 years earlier, became pregnant during her second round of in vitro fertilization, the Chicago Tribune reported.

She carried full term and gave birth via Cesarean section to Finnean, her first grandchild, last week at Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago. Although Casey's daughter, Sara Connell, 35, had been unable to carry a pregnancy to term, her egg and her husband Bill's sperm were used in the procedure, making the couple Finnean's biological parents.

"The idea of having a family member being open to doing this for us was so extraordinary for us," Sara Connell told the Tribune.

In the world of surrogate parenting, the Connell's scenario is not as uncommon as you might think. The first case of such an arrangement dates back to 1987 when a South African woman gave birth to her triplet grandchildren. More recently, ABC News' Good Morning America spoke with 56-year-old Jaci Dalenberg of Wooster, Ohio, who gave birth to triplet girls that she carried for daughter Kim Coseno in 2008.

Casey, who is retired, told the Tribune that giving birth to her own three daughters were three of the happiest days in her life and she believed that serving as a surrogate to her daughter was a spiritual calling. She had kidney complications after the birth that were quickly resolved.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio