Entries in Teenager (3)


Texas Teen Loses Over 150 Pounds with Controversial Gastric Bypass

Courtesy of Nick Preto(NEW YORK) -- A year ago, Nick Preto, a 16-year-old from Baytown, Texas, weighed an astounding 403 pounds.  He was about to enter his senior year in high school and was plagued with potentially life-threatening health problems.

ABC's Nightline asked Preto and his mother, Toni Preto, if they could follow him as he underwent a highly controversial surgery for teenagers: gastric bypass.

Over the course of the past year, Preto has gone on a remarkable weight-loss journey, losing 150 pounds and changing the way he lives his life.  But it has not been easy.

Last June, before the surgery, Preto took Nightline on a tour of the fast food joints he regularly visited.  He was routinely consuming 7,000 calories a day -- three times the recommended total for an adult man -- and knew he had to make changes.

"It's senior year, you know, you want to date the homecoming queen.  You want to have the cutest girl," he said at the time.  "I guess just because I've been bigger, nothing has really happened with ... the ladies."

But Preto's doctors told him if he didn't lose the weight, the ladies were going to be the least of his problems.  The teenager was careening towards an early death.  He was already a pre-diabetic and suffering from sleep apnea, liver damage and joint pains.  So he decided to get some radical help through gastric bypass surgery.

Preto's surgeon, Dr. Mary Brandt, was hesitant about doing such a major and irreversible operation on a teenager.

"I really didn't think it was a good idea," she said.  "I mean, metabolically changing someone who's a growing adolescent to me, made no sense.  But this is the first generation that's not going to outlive their parents.  That's the scariest thing to me."

The procedure, which completely rewired Preto's digestive system and reduced his stomach from the size of a small toaster oven to the size of an egg, took about two hours.  The first weeks after surgery were tough for Preto as he adjusted to eating tiny portions.

Seven weeks later, his weight was down from 403 pounds to 315 pounds.  But Preto told Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden that changing his diet was difficult.  Not only was he frequently vomiting, the whole process had been an emotional roller coaster.

But despite the tough road, Preto was determined to keep going, and said he intended to lose 100 pounds in the next six months.

Nightline reconnected with Preto a few weeks ago after the six months was up for the big weigh-in.  When he stepped on the scale, he had dropped another 70 pounds, which was not quite the 100-pound goal he had set for himself, but still an impressive achievement, weighing a total of 247 pounds.  A year ago, his waist was 60 inches.  Today, it's 34.

But more important than the number on the scale was the joy in Preto's eyes as he stepped out to attend his senior prom with his new girlfriend, Jordan.  Not only was he healthier, he was happier too.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teen Blinded by Stargardt's Disease Chases Dreams -- and Guide Dog

Courtesy Sami Stoner(LEXINGTON, Ohio) -- Ohio teen Sami Stoner loves to run.  But when a rare eye disease swiftly stole her vision, the tree-studded trails of cross country running became too dangerous to tackle.

Stoner has Stargardt's disease -- a hereditary form of macular degeneration that causes irreversible blindness.

At first, it seemed running would be yet another sacrifice for the 16-year-old, who will never be able to drive.  But she found her way back into the race with a one-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever called Chloe.

"When one door closes, another one opens," said Stoner, a high school junior in Lexington, Ohio.  "Even if you have a disability or you don't think you can do something, there's almost always a way."

Stoner met Chloe, a specially trained guide dog, in July at the Pilot Dogs facility in Columbus, Ohio.  Tethered by a sturdy harness, the pair endured four weeks of intense training -- first walking and then running under close supervision.

"I've never bonded with even a person like that," said Stoner.  "She knows she has to watch out for me.  I can't imagine being without her now."

Stoner returned to Lexington with Chloe on Aug. 17.  Although Chloe could safely guide Stoner through three miles of uneven terrain, one obstacle required outside help: Ohio High School Athletic Association rules barred Stoner from participating in cross country runs with a dog.

"There's never been a blind athlete with a dog sanctioned to compete," said John Harris, director of athletics for Lexington Local Schools.

Harris urged the association to allow Stoner and Chloe to run.  Eventually, they said yes -- with some stipulations.  Stoner has to start 20 seconds after the other runners.  And while she's allowed to pass them, and she does, she can't impede them.

With the Association's OK, Stoner and Chloe raced the following day on Sept. 17.  In three meets since, the pair has bettered their time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Israeli Court Allows Family to Harvest Dead Daughter's Eggs

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- An Israeli family has received permission to extract and freeze the eggs of its 17-year-old daughter who died earlier this month in a car accident, according to the Israeli English-language website Haaretz.

Chen Aida Ayash died on Aug. 3, 10 days after she'd been struck by a car, at Kfar Sava's Meir Hospital.  Her parents donated her organs and obtained a court order to remove and freeze Chen's eggs.  They'd initially requested that the eggs be fertilized with donated sperm, but judges declined the petition until the family could prove that Chen had wanted to have children.

"Ethically, the important issue is not whether the woman would have wanted children," said Rosamond Rhodes, director of bioethics education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "Regardless of the reproductive possibilities, she will not be around to have the child [or] children."

Instead, Rhodes said the critical issue is whether Chen would have wanted her biological children to come to life after she was dead.

"This question is rarely considered by anyone," said Rhodes. "People can have strong negative feelings about this possibility -- it can sound really yucky.  And many people would not want others, including their own parents, to raise their biological child."

The court decision is the first of its kind in Israel, and possibly the world, to allow a family to extract a woman's ova after her death, but there are several known cases of families harvesting the sperm of dead male family members.

Despite the growing number of cases, medical ethicists remain unsettled with the idea of extracting eggs and semen after death.

"While organs of the dead can be used to save the life of another, using the gametes of a dead child to create another child creates a troubling precedent," said Laurie Zoloth, director of the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at Northwestern University.  "In a world in which thousands of children are lost and starving, the use of medical technology for this end raises other questions about the just use of shared resources."

"The fact that sperm has been used this way, for the same tragic reasons, is not an ethical justification," she said.

When doctors and families do decide to follow through with such decisions, several other weighty problems arise.

"Here, since the patient cannot give consent, doctors would need to be assured that a suitable substitute decision-maker is in place and can provide consent," said Judith F. Daar, professor of law at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California.  "Families must try to set aside their understandable desire to keep a part of their child and focus on what their child would have actually wanted.

"It strikes me as unlikely a minor child would have had the capacity and maturity to meaningfully assert an interest in motherhood, let alone motherhood after her death," said Daar.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio