Entries in Survival (7)


Tips for Surviving Broken Ice

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A crack in the ice can lead to a fight for survival.

Just this month, two Arizona teens found themselves standing on a dead tree to escape broken ice surrounding them, and a man in northern California was taped flailing in icy waters, scrambling for a rescue. Two New Jersey teenagers died earlier this week after falling through ice on Budd Lake in Mount Olive Township in Morris County.

Here are some survival tips for when you get caught in an icy situation.

1. Swim towards the direction from which you came, because it’s likely the strongest ice, and try to hoist yourself up, kicking as though you’re swimming.

2. Carry simple ice picks. They could be a vital lifeline as you wait for the Coast Guard or fire department.

3. Don’t remove your clothing, including your boots. It actually will help you to stay afloat and keep you warm against freezing temperatures.

4. Normalize your breathing. Gasping and hyperventilating will set in immediately, so start controlling your breathing so you don’t go into cardiac arrest.

5. Know the weather and ice conditions. You should also know where you’re going and how to call for help.

6. Have proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.

7. Have proper equipment, including marine radio, life jackets, screw drivers, ice picks, etc.

8. Know that new ice is usually stronger ice.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


How to Survive If Your Car Gets Stuck in Snow

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- David Higgins, his wife, Yvonne, and their 5-year-old daughter, Hannah, are recovering at Miners Colfax Medical Center in Raton, N.M., after they were trapped in their GMC Yukon beneath four feet of snow for nearly two days.

Rescuers found the family lethargic and holding on to one another early Wednesday. Fortunately, the Higginses, who were heading to northern New Mexico for a ski trip, had plenty of food and water, and could use their cellphone to call for help.

Would you know what to do if your car became stranded in snow? ABC News spoke with outdoor survival expert Brian Brawdy; here is his advice:

How to Be Prepared:

1. Always drive with at least three-fourths of a tank of gas during the winter months. In an emergency, you will need as much gas as possible.

2. Pack a fleece blanket, emergency food and a first aid kit in the interior of your car. In an emergency the trunk might not be accessible, and fleece is one of the few pieces of material that retains its ability to provide warmth if it gets wet.

3. Have a container in the car that is capable of holding snow. In an emergency it may be necessary to collect snow in order to hydrate.

4. Replace all the interior light bulbs with LED bulbs. LED bulbs use about one-twelfth of the energy of an incandescent bulb and cost less than a tank of gas. In an emergency, conserving the car battery is extremely important, and the LED bulbs make a big difference.

What to Do If You’re Stranded:

1. Don’t panic and don’t rely on your technology. Survival is never about technology and always about temperament. In many cases cellphones and GPS devices may have been disabled by the accident or will not have service. However, if they are functional, they should be used immediately.

2. Always stay in your vehicle. If people are coming to look for you there is a better chance they will see a car than a person. You will also be able to survive for longer in your vehicle than in the elements. There are only two circumstances in which you should leave the vehicle. The first is if you are familiar with the surroundings and are certain it would be easy to walk to safety. The second is an option of last resort in which you believe you have absolutely no chance of surviving unless you try to walk to safety.

3. Keep your seat belt on. In winter conditions it is likely that other drivers may slide into your vehicle after it has become stuck.

4. Crack the back window slightly. Oftentimes the tail pipe is obstructed by snow, which can cause deadly carbon monoxide fumes to get into the vehicle when the engine is running.

5. Run the engine for 10 to 15 minutes every hour. This will allow you to heat the car, melt snow into water and even warm a meal if you have packs of survival food. It will also conserve gas and prolong the life of both the engine and the battery. In an emergency, the vehicle is your lifeboat, and you want it to be functional for as long as possible.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Trials Show Improved Outcome in Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- Two trials presented Wednesday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium may offer some relief for breast cancer patients undergoing treatments and surgeries.  Both were shown to improve "progression-free survival," a term experts use to measure the length of time during and after medication that the cancer does not get worse.

In the BOLERO-2 trial (Breast Cancer Trials of Oral Everolimus), lead study author Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi, professor and chairman of MD Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology, said the findings demonstrated for the first time that the combination therapies are more effective than a single hormonal treatment in patients who have already tried hormonal therapy.

"Over the years, our treatment approach for such women with metastatic breast cancer has been sequential use of as many hormone therapies as possible, keeping metastatic disease under control for as long as possible," Hortobagyi said. "These findings may allow us to change our approach.  In this group of heavily pre-treated patients, all of whom progressed on prior endocrine therapy, the addition of this mTOR inhibitor resulted in significant prolongation of progression-free survival and an improved response rate, with only a modest addition of toxicity."

Researchers enrolled 724 metastatic breast cancer patients into the international phase 3 trial. Study participants were post-menopausal and most had been treated with extensive hormone therapy treatments.  Patients were randomized, then 485 received a combination of everolimus (a medication that stops cancer cells from reproducing by decreasing blood supply to the cancer cells) and exemestane (a medication that decreases estrogen in the body).  Those patients were then compared to the 239 participants who received exemestane and a placebo.

Participants who received the combination therapy experienced 7.4 months of progression-free survival, compared to the 3.2 months that patients experienced on the placebo.

The trial was partially funded by pharmaceutical giant, Novartis.  Hortobagyi acts as a consultant and receives research fund from the company, as well.

In a similar, second study presented at the symposium, researchers of the CLEOPATRA (CLinical Evaluation Of Pertuzumab And TRAstuzumab) trial found that adding pertuzumab (a medication that is believed to slow tumor growth) and certain chemotherapies lengthened progression-free survival by an average 6.1 months in patients with metastatic breast cancer patients.

"This is huge," Dr. Jose Baselga, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School," said in a statement.  "It is very uncommon to have a clinical trial show this level of improvement in PFS. ...The fact that we now have an agent that can be added to current treatment to delay progression is very exciting."

While Dr. Vered Stearns, co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins, said the results of both trials could be game changers for treatment of metastatic breast cancer patients, progression free survival is a complicated point of treatment.

"The breast cancer community, government agencies and stakeholders should be evaluating what endpoints are most relevant and set proper guidelines," said Stearns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How Did Baby Survive 47 Hours Under Turkey Quake Rubble?

ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images(ERCIS, Turkey) -- Two-week-old baby Azra Karaduman defied the odds by surviving in conditions that most would deem impossible.

On Tuesday, rescue workers in Turkey pulled her from the rubble of a building in the eastern city of Ercis, 47 hours after the 7.2 quake hit the country.  Television footage showed a worker pulling the naked baby from the wreckage before handing her off to a medic.

As of Wednesday morning, officials said the disaster had killed 461 people and injured over 1,300, but Azra, along with her 25-year-old mother and her grandmother, were saved.  Their condition remains uncertain, and it is also uncertain whether Azra's father, who was also believed to be in the rubble, survived.

Born only 14 days before the earthquake, how did Azra survive such a harrowing catastrophe?  Are babies tougher than we think?

"We all can tolerate a lack of food and water for 48 hours," said Dr. Ian Holzman, chief of the division of newborn medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "The concern in a baby is that they can't maintain their blood sugar if they haven't been well-nourished previously, so I would assume this was a healthy, chubby baby."

Full-term babies hold additional fat stores in their bodies, said Dr. William Walsh, a professor of pediatrics and head of neonatology at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

"Babies are born with a little extra fluid and energy stores that they can mobilize because the breast milk from their mothers does not usually start immediately," said Walsh. "So, the ability to fast for a day or two is built-in."

In general, survival from collapses often depends heavily on the number of pockets that exist in the wreckage after the disaster.  Children may have greater luck in fitting into smaller pockets throughout the rubble.  Babies also have softer bones, which may be more likely to bend than break in certain crushes, said Walsh.

Dr. David Markenson, chairman of the American Red Cross Advisory Council on First Aid and Safety, said the factor that likely saved Azra was the temperature outside.

"Extreme heat or cold -- that is what is more limiting in survival of a baby," said Markenson.  "Forty-seven hours is pushing the limits without water and food.  She probably could not have exceeded that time too much more, but the weather conditions were the most helpful to this child.  Children are more susceptible to extreme weather conditions than adults."

According to the weather site, Tuesday's temperature in Ercis reached a high of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cancer Survival: Longer Lives Bring Long-Term Issues

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- When Nicole Malato, a 34-year-old human resources manager from Toms River, N.J., was diagnosed with cancer of both breasts in May, she wondered not just about how quickly her surgeon could remove the tumors, but also what subsequent chemotherapy, radiation and hormone-blocking drugs would do to her heart, her bones and her brain decades from now.

As the mother of a 2-year-old boy, her goal was "to see him graduate," she said.

From the time she learned the lumps she felt were cancerous, Malato opted for a double-mastectomy.  But she also made sure her doctors knew she was thinking about the long-term physical, psychological and social consequences of her cancer and her treatment, and the risk of recurrence.

The so-called survivorship movement, with its focus on long-term treatment effects and helping patients' maintain a good quality of the life by addressing their fatigue, sexuality and stress, is an outgrowth of people living longer with cancer and after cancer treatment.

Malato was fortunate; she found understanding doctors, joined support groups providing camaraderie and some needed perspective and poured her feelings into a blog, which also has kept friends and relatives in the treatment loop.

But for many U.S. cancer patients, survivorship issues have yet to be fully incorporated into their care, according to a report based on 1,043 breast cancer survivors' experiences with the disease.  The survey from the nonprofit Cancer Support Community's Cancer Survivor Registry, while not scientific, offers a window into the unmet needs of the nation's 2.5 million breast cancer survivors, including younger patients such as Malato, who might be facing decades of treatment.

Doctors aren't screening cancer patients for signs of emotional and social distress, despite patients' frequent anxiety or depression about their diagnosis, treatments and ability to cope.  Nor are they discussing the long-term effects of treatment, said Joanne S. Buzaglo, senior director of the Cancer Support Community's Research and Training Institute in Philadelphia.

She said the survey also found that despite the Institute of Medicine's recommending in 2005 that all cancer patients receive a survivorship care plan that summarizes their treatment and informs them about needed future screenings, conditions for which they're at risk and recommendations about diet, exercise and finding social and emotional support, only 10 percent of the survey respondents had such a plan, "although practically all of them would have liked one."

Survivorship considerations begin the moment you get diagnosed," said Dr. Mary L. Hardy, medical director of the Simms/Mann UCLA Integrative Oncology Program in Los Angeles.  "From the very minute you hear those three horrible words, 'You have cancer,' you should start being empowered, because an empowered patient is much more likely to be a successful patient."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boy Who Survived Drowning Meets Rescuer, Condition Upgraded

Steve Mason/Photodisc(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- The condition of the 12-year-old boy who spent 25 minutes underwater in the Pacific Ocean and was presumed dead has been upgraded, and he has been moved out of intensive care.

"Dale's condition has been upgraded to "fair" by the hospital and is out of ICU," according to the blog,, set up in his honor. "He's not able to get out of bed yet, but he's been receiving physical therapy. He slept well last night!"

The good night's sleep, and promising medical news, for 12-year-old Charles "Dale" Ostrander came just one day after he was able to thank the young heroine who saved his life in a dramatic rescue Aug. 5 off the shores of Washington.

"Thank you," were the words Ostrander, of Spanaway, Wash., spoke to 12-year-old Nicole Kissel when she came to visit him yesterday in the Oregon hospital where the young boy continues to recover.

Kissel was swimming nearby with her father in the waters off the coast of Washington last Friday when she heard Ostrander, at the beach swimming with members of his church youth group, yelling for help.

"I heard some boy say help, help me," Kissel said. Ignoring the pleas of her father, she used her surfboard to swim into the churning waves and grab Ostrander.

"When someone is about to drown or someone needs help you don't really think about it before you're about to help them," she said of her actions.

"I let him on the board first, and I got on top of him, grabbed the board and he said, 'Keep kicking, keep kicking,'" Kissel said. "When we were on that board I kinda shouted out to myself, we're gonna die, I can't die like this."

Just then, Kissel recounted, another massive wave hit them both and, while Kissel managed to make it back to shore, Ostrander did not. The boy remained at sea, pulled underwater for more than 15 minutes.

Once rescuers from a volunteer surf rescue team finally spotted Ostrander and managed to pull the boy from the sea, he was not conscious and not breathing, and no one expected him to live.

On the shore, Ostrander's family and the other children from his church youth group dropped to their knees to sob and pray. Also waiting on the shore were medics who immediately started CPR on Ostrander and transported him to a nearby hospital where, finally, his pulse returned.

A medical helicopter then flew Ostrander to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, where he was placed in a medically-induced coma.

The prognosis looked grim over the weekend, and the boy's parents feared the worst.

"They never expected him to live," the boy's father, Chad Ostrander, who was at the beach at the time of the incident along with his wife, Kirsten, said. "They expected him to be a vegetable -- never walk, never talk, never say a word."

Doctors in Portland tried one more time to reach Ostrander on Sunday night, easing him off sedatives and calling his name. This time, the young boy opened his eyes and blinked.

"That was when we knew, hey, maybe there is a miracle that's happening here," Chad said.

On Monday, those same doctors who feared Ostrander would not survive, were able to remove the breathing tube that had been keeping the boy alive.

Dr. Benjamin Abella, director of clinical research in the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania, said Ostrander's survival may be due to the fact that the waters in which he was submerged were sufficiently frigid. Abella said Ostrander's age and overall health may have also been factors in his survival.

Doctors continue to caution the Ostranders that their son faces a difficult road ahead of physical therapy, and could have permanent brain damage.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Melanoma Survival Affects Men and Women Differently

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ROTTERDAM, South Holland) -- Researchers say the experience of surviving melanoma may be more significant to the emotional lives of women than men.

Melanoma is the most deadly of all skin cancers, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.  But if caught early enough, before it has spread to the lymph nodes and other tissues and organs, the disease can be cured. 

Authors of a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology say that 80 percent of melanoma patients see a "relatively good" prognosis.  The catch, however, is that melanoma survivors also face the lifetime risk of disease recurrence.

Dr. Cynthia Holterhues and her colleagues at the department of dermatology at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands found that female melanoma survivors exhibited more serious reactions to the diagnosis and survival experience than men.  Compared to men, female survivors of the skin disease were more likely to suffer from worse physical and mental health.

On the other hand, the study authors also found that male survivors of melanoma were less likely than their female counterparts to go on to take cautions to protect themselves and their families from harmful UV radiation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio