Entries in Teen (4)


Soy Sauce Overdose Sends Teen into Coma

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- A 19-year-old survived a dangerous sodium overdose after drinking more than a quart of soy sauce on a dare, according to a case study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

After drinking a quart of the sodium-heavy condiment, the teenager slipped into coma with seizure-like activity. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors determined he was suffering from hyponatremia, a metabolic condition in which there is a salt imbalance in the bodily fluids.

Eventually doctors determined that he had ingested 160 to 170 grams of sodium from the soy sauce, a potentially lethal dose for his weight and build. He had effectively overdosed on sodium.

“He didn’t respond to any of the stimuli that we gave him,” Dr. David J. Carlberg, who treated the patient as an emergency room physician at University of Virginia Medical Center, told LiveScience. “He had some clonus, which is just elevated reflexes. It’s a sign that basically the nervous system wasn’t working very well.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, severe hyponatremia can result in excessive sodium in bodily fluid, which causes excess water to flow into cells to balance sodium levels. While some cells can handle the swelling, in brain cells, the excess swelling can lead to neurological damage or death. Other symptoms include mental confusion, convulsions, fatigue, and nausea.

While in the past, doctors slowly lowered sodium levels in patients suffering from hyponatremia in order to protect the body from further shock, in this case doctors worked quickly to lower the patient’s sodium level as soon as possible to protect his brain. They quickly tried to flush the salt from his system with a water-and-sugar-based solution in an effort to protect his brain from lasting damage.

Eventually the doctors were able to stabilize the patient, even though he remained in a coma. After three days he woke up from the coma without suffering any lasting neurological damage.

While death from sodium is incredibly rare, it is not unheard of. According to the case study’s authors, in ancient China, salt overdoses were one traditional way to commit suicide.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Awaiting Heart Transplant, Fla. Teen Celebrates Graduation from Hospital

Kelly Haberman(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- Taylor Haberman may not have gotten to dance at her high school prom or walk down the stage to accept her diploma at graduation, but thanks to the help of an adolescent palliative care organization, she was still able to celebrate those milestones from the Gainesville, Fla., hospital where she is awaiting a heart transplant.

Through a five-camera stream, the 18-year-old from St. Johns, Fla., accepted her diploma from the principal of Bartram Trail High School in real time and saw her peers graduate on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a live video feed that broadcast the graduation to the hospital's conference room.

Taylor's peers also got a glimpse of their fellow graduate thanks to one of her sisters, who used video calling on her iPad to "walk" Taylor across the stage and once she had graduated, held up the device with Taylor on the other end so the senior class could see her face.

The entire graduating class even wore hearts on their gowns to honor their classmate.

"She was ecstatic. Just like any other senior, she did it," Taylor's mother, Kelly Haberman told ABC News. "While it was nothing like being with your own graduating class, it was the next best thing."

Taylor has been waiting to receive a heart transplant for six months at University of Florida Health Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville. She was born with congenital heart disease, her mother said. While Taylor had several corrective surgeries as a toddler, her condition worsened around the end of her junior year in high school.

"It was coming down to the last straw of what we could actually do for her," Haberman said. "[Being admitted] into the hospital was the last alternative."

Haberman said after months of treatments at home at the start of her senior year, Taylor was admitted to the hospital in January in hopes of getting a heart transplant.

"In order for [Taylor] to be pretty high on the transplant list, she needed to be in-patient," she said. "As far as organ donors, she could wait for years and years if she sat at home."

Haberman said adjusting to hospital life was a difficult transition for her daughter, especially because she realized she would have to miss out on the pivotal events that often characterize a teenager's high school experience.

"You look forward to your senior year, that's when all the fun is," Haberman said. "It was a huge transition for her. She's leaving all her friends, she's missing everything."

But thanks to Streetlight, a non-profit peer support group organization that partners pre-med students with young adults in the hospital, Taylor was able to still enjoy those events, albeit from within the hospital.

"When she couldn't go to the prom, they threw a prom there for her and brought the prom to her," Haberman said. "We were hoping that [her doctors] were going to let her out of the hospital for the day to attend graduation."

But when clearances fell through, Streetlight director Rebecca Brown told ABC News that the organization began to think of ways to help make Taylor's graduation just as meaningful as her prom had been.

"She really wanted the heart before her graduation. We were hopeful it would come in, but it didn't," Brown said. "So we started thinking about how we could do this."

Brown said Taylor told her she wanted her graduation live-streamed into the hospital so she could watch it, as well as accept her diploma virtually.

"Streetlight and Bartram [Trail High School] stepped in and made it all happen yesterday," Haberman said. "I'm blessed that everybody has made it as much of a senior year as possible."

Taylor's family as well as members of the Streetlight team gathered in the hospital's conference room Saturday to watch and participate in her high school graduation, which went off without a hitch.

"We were all there screaming and cheering for her in the room we had set up and decorated for her graduation," Brown said. "We had a really big party after the actual graduation. The room didn't clear out until 7:30 p.m."

As Taylor waits to be taken off the transplant list, her mother said she plans to take online classes to stay busy. She eventually wants to study nursing at the University of Florida in Gainesville, her mother said. For a graduation present, she's asked for a trip to New York City as soon as she's out of the hospital, Haberman said.

"At this point, it's just a waiting game," Haberman said. "We're waiting for that call to come in."

Copyright 2013 ABC NewsRadio


Oregon Teen Discovers Trick to Avoiding Cat Allergies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For anyone who has ever wanted to have a cat for a pet but was prohibited by allergies, one Oregon teen may have found a solution.

Savannah Tobin, 17, is a high school senior in Oregon who volunteers at a local humane society. Savannah's love for cats was never a question, but she could never keep one as a pet because both she and her mother suffer from allergies. Her work at the Willamette Humane Society in Salem, Ore., made her wonder whether there were certain types of cats that would not affect her or her mother.

After doing some research, Savannah found out that it isn't hair or dander that causes allergic reactions, but rather the cat's saliva that prompted her allergy attacks.

"As they groom themselves, they're covering their body in that protein. So we're actually allergic to the saliva and it's not the hair," Tobin says.

Now, Savannah can perform swab tests and analyze a cat's saliva to determine which of her furry friends are hypo-allergenic. Her idea won her the Intel bio-chemistry award this year. This autumn, Tobin will attend the University of California-Davis.

No word yet on whether she will bring along a furry friend.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Texas School Basketball Team Rallies Around Player with Cancer

The Nicholas Family(FRISCO, Texas) -- A high school basketball team in Texas is proving the old adage, “there’s no ‘I’ in team,” true by rallying around a senior player diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Justin Nicholas, 18, a senior at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in late December after discovering lumps on his body.  Doctors found the cancerous tumors had spread to Nicholas’ lymph nodes, stomach and neck, forcing the four-year basketball player, who had been playing basketball up to a week before his Christmas Eve surgery, to cut his senior season short.

Nicholas’ teammates on the Wakeland varsity team responded by rallying to his aid, holding “pass the bucket” fundraising drives at the halftime of their home games and holding a “shoot-a-thon” to raise money to help defray his medical costs.

“The insurance is paying some of the costs but each time he goes into the hospital [for chemotherapy] it’s a five-day stay,” Nicholas’ mother, Gayla, told ABC News.  “He just did a stem cell collection in case he needs a transplant in the future.  We don’t even have any idea what the total is going to be.”

Nicholas will begin his fourth round of chemotherapy treatment next week. In between his treatments he’s been a fixture on the sidelines and last week he got the chance to shoot the last bucket of his high school basketball career.

The team honored Nicholas on its senior night Feb. 12, presenting him with a signed team poster, the game ball and allowing Nicholas to score the first basket of the game against Heritage High School.

“Justin never thought he’d get to play again so that meant a lot, that his coach did that for him,” Gayla Nicholas said, also noting that the opposing team, Heritage High, gave the family a $500 check -- $100 of their own donations along with $400 raised by another local high school.

In all, Gayla Nicholas says, the basketball team and Wakeland High have raised almost $15,000 for Nicholas and his treatment.  Friends of the family -- which also includes Nicholas' dad, Wayne, and brother, Drew -- and the local Frisco community have also made donations and tributes on his Caring Bridge page.

Nicholas is being home-schooled for his final semester of high school and still planning to attend the University of Arkansas in the fall.  After his fourth round of chemotherapy is completed early next month, doctors will do a full-body scan to see if his tumors are continuing to shrink and then decide on the next course of treatment.

“That’ll be a fork in the road where we have to make more decisions,” Gayla Nicholas said.

The generosity from his fellow teammates and the medical team working to get him well have already led Nicholas towards a major decision himself.

The student, once planning to major in sports marketing in college, is now leaning towards a career in nursing, his mother said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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