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Wednesday
Oct042017

LSU fraternity pledge may have been 'forced to drink in excess' before death

ABCNews.com(BATON ROUGE) -- A Louisiana State University fraternity pledge may have been forced to consume alcohol "in excess" as a part of a drinking game before he died last month, according to search warrants filed this week.

Police said 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver, and other Phi Delta Theta pledges, received a group text message on Sept. 13, telling them that “Bible Study” would take place at the chapter house later that night, LSU police said in affidavits filed in court Monday.

Investigators later learned from witnesses that the meeting was actually a ritual where pledges were asked questions about the fraternity and ordered to drink alcohol if they answered incorrectly, the affidavit said.

Gruver was "highly intoxicated" when fraternity members left him on a couch inside the frat house early on Sept. 14, according to one witness. A group of members found him in the same spot that morning with a faint pulse, police said, adding that it was unclear if he was breathing.

Gruver, a freshman from Roswell, Georgia, was pronounced dead later that day. His death is being investigated as a potential hazing incident.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office said Gruver's preliminary autopsy found no internal or external trauma but noted that he had excessive fluid in the lungs and brain and that he had "a highly elevated blood alcohol level plus the presence of THC."

A police search of the fraternity house yielded video recording equipment and "multiple bottles of hard liquor," according to the search warrant. Police seized the recording equipment because it “may have video footage of inside the house during the times of the events,” the warrant said.

LSU officials ordered a complete shutdown of all Greek activity -- although some restrictions have since been lifted -- in the wake of Gruver’s death.

The university also assembled an 11-person task force to address concerns about student safety.

"Many of our Greek organizations represent all that is good about our university. They volunteer, fundraise for charities and provide opportunities for students to make lifelong connections that extend far beyond their time at LSU," President F. King Alexander said in a statement Friday.

"However, a small minority of these groups engage in behavior that undermines all these benefits, and that will be identified and discontinued," he added.

The university said it would not provide further updates on the case pending the completion of the death investigation.

"The case is still an active investigation by LSU Police at this time,” an LSU spokesperson told ABC affiliate WBRZ on Tuesday. “In order to allow the investigation to proceed as effectively as possible, LSU will not be providing further updates until completion."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct042017

Pence donates blood 'to raise awareness for those in need in Las Vegas'

@VP/Twitter(WASHINGTON) -- Mike Pence is a roll-his-sleeves-up kind of guy.

The Vice President visited a United Blood Services blood donation center in Phoenix Tuesday "to raise awareness for those in need in Las Vegas," he tweeted, referring to Sunday night's shooting massacre by suspected gunman Stephen Paddock which left 58 people dead, plus Paddock.


"Inspiring to see others donating blood in Arizona to help those hurt in the Las Vegas shooting," Pence wrote in another tweet. "We are one nation and one people united."

Pence is no stranger to donating blood. In June he was among several lawmakers on Capitol Hill who donated blood in honor of the victims of the shooting at a congressional baseball practice at an Alexandria, Virginia, park.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct032017

Bride's proud display of her 4-inch birthmark at wedding goes viral

Credit: Damian Jones (NEW YORK) -- Every bride wants to look her best at her wedding day.

For Ferrin Roy, that meant proudly displaying the birthmark on her face.

"It was never a thought to cover it," she told ABC News.

Roy, 30, was born with a congenital nevus, or large birthmark, that covers four inches of her right cheek.

"Growing up was a breeze for me," the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, woman said, noting that her mother, Connie Price Fontenot, instilled in her a sense of confidence that would prove invaluable against bullies.

"My mother was actually my voice," Roy said. "She'd notice the stares. She basically defended me. It wasn't until 4th grade until I began to notice the stares."

But by high school, the bride said she was more concerned "about pimples than my birthmark."

Fontenot, 48, said she knew when she laid eyes on her daughter in the hospital that she would teach Roy to embrace the mark.

"We weren't going to be ashamed of it," she told ABC News. "I knew at that moment that I would teach her not to be ashamed of it. If she was accepting of it then others would have to be accepting as well."

Roy's now-husband, Shavayne, whom she met on Instagram, proposed after just four months. The two wed in front of 120 guests on Aug. 13, 2016 in Lafayette, Louisiana.

On her wedding day, just like in all of her life, Roy proudly sported her birthmark.

"I don't like makeup on my birthmark at all. I wipe it off," the bride said. "It's a part of my face and it's not something I should be ashamed of. I'm me and I'm not afraid to be me."

Roy, who shared her story in a new book called The Mark She Kept, said she's happy her story went viral as she hopes it'll inspire others who have face birthmarks or pigmentation.

"People are so eager to look for acceptance from each other. Everyone loves a compliment. But it’s really about how you feel about yourself," she said.

Her mother also had a message for parents who might be dealing with a child with pigmentation.

"I was 17 years old when Ferrin was born and I endured a lot with parents, but again I stood my ground and I trusted God and believed what he allowed to happen was his purpose," she said. "You have to teach others how to treat you."
 
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct032017

Trauma surgeon: Las Vegas shooting aftermath was 'pretty surreal scene'

ABC News(LAS VEGAS) -- Dr. Syed Saquib said he was the lone trauma surgeon on call at University Medical Center Sunday night when the hospital was notified that there was "a mass casualty situation on the Vegas strip."

It was a little after 10 p.m. and, very quickly, it became an all-hands-on-deck situation.

"We were seeing all kinds of injuries. Gun shots to the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis and extremities," Saquib told ABC News' Juju Chang during an interview for "Nightline." "[We had] walking wounded, patients that were brought in by other family, friends ... people coming through ambulance, it was a pretty surreal scene.

"This is something we deal with on a regular basis," he added. "The only difference was the higher volume."

At least 59 people were killed and 527 injured in Las Vegas Sunday night when a gunman opened fire on a music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in what is now the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

A special education teacher, a Navy war veteran, a police records technician and a nurse who shielded his wife during the shooting are among those who were killed.

Saquib said several surgeons volunteered to come in and they quickly went to work. According to their website, UMC Hospital is the only Level-I trauma center in Nevada.

"We had multiple ORs running at one point simultaneously, taking care of patients," Saquib said. "It was a very busy night."

Concertgoers had been enjoying the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, which was taking place across the street from the hotel, when authorities said the suspected gunman -- 64-year-old Mesquite, Nevada resident Stephen Paddock -- sent more than 22,000 country music fans scrambling for their lives.

Jason Aldean was the headliner of Sunday night's concert. Video showed him rushing off the stage amid the gunfire. Other performers from this weekend included country stars Jake Owen, Big & Rich, Luke Combs and Dylan Scott.

As ambulances rushed to the scene, first responders plugged wounds with their bare hands and used their clothing to try to stanch each other's bleeding. At least one man described a stranger who died in his arms.

In addition to gunshot wounds, victims suffered injuries from shrapnel, from climbing fences and from being trampled, said Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell.

An off-duty Las Vegas police officer who was attending the concert is among the dead, police said. No on-duty emergency response personnel were injured, Cassell said.

Saquib said hospitals across the Las Vegas area worked together to take in patients and assess where the most critically wounded would go for surgery.

As it turns out, Saquib said medical personnel who had been involved in treating patients after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting had recently given them a lecture about their experiences.

"I honestly haven’t had a chance to fully process this tragedy," he said. "I’ve been so focused on staying in the moment and on staying focused on trying to provide the best care possible for our patients. Once I’ve had a few more days to reflect on this and look back I think it’ll hit me at that point."

And Saquib was back on duty Monday night.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct022017

After surviving the mass shooting in Las Vegas, stages of grief could follow

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Adam Payne was among the many concertgoers forced to run for their lives late Sunday when a shooter opened fire during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and injuring 515.

"Everything hit the fan," Payne told ABC News.

He said he carried his wounded friend to safety and felt "very lucky" to have escaped alive.

Another survivor, Brian Claypool, said he was able to flee the terrifying scene as shots rung out from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Claypool said he saw two people get shot down and spoke to other witnesses who said they watched their friends die.

He said it was hard to figure out where to run. "It was chaos everywhere."

But for the survivors of the Las Vegas shooting and their loved ones, emotional trauma is likely to follow, experts say, and it can come in several phases.

"In this early time, right after this incredible tragedy has occurred, there are different stages of grief between shock, extreme sadness, perhaps angry that this has occurred," Donna M. Morrissey, spokesperson for the American Red Cross told ABC News. "That's all normal. That's why it's important for us to dig deep and bring in the mental health experts who are trained and licensed to help deal with this."

Morrissey responded to the scenes in Newtown, Connecticut following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and also tended to families in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombing. Morrissey said she and the Red Cross offered mental health counseling and family assistance centers where individuals would wait for news about their loved ones.

Following Sandy Hook alone, 200 trained mental health counselors arrived at the scene, she said.

Morrissey stressed that similar support is needed in the wake of the mass shooting in Vegas.

"These are the initial hours where we are learning about what has occurred, but as the weeks go on it's important for people to have self care," she said, "look at their loved ones around them, their kids, talk about it."

Dr. Gerard Lawson, president of the American Counseling Association, said although not all survivors will suffer from psychological disorders, many will have "challenging reactions."

"The most difficult thing that they will struggle with is, ‘Why did I survive when someone else didn’t? Was there something that I did that someone else didn’t?’: Lawson said. "It sets you up for [the thought] that your life is either more or less important than someone else’s."

Surviving an attack can also shake a person's sense of security in everyday situations.

"Whether you’re going to school in the morning or a concert at night, it shatters the sense of safety in the world," he said. "It breaks the understanding that ‘My life will not be in danger.’"

Lawson practices psychology in Virginia and offered counseling following the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. He said that, like that attack, many people could move into some emotional changes following the shooting in Las Vegas, which can linger over the long term.

Here are some difficulties survivors may experience in the aftermath, according to Lawson.

Heightened sense of arousal

Individuals may be tuned into noises or sudden movements that can trigger them to become startled. Similar smells can also trigger emotional reactions.

Disruption of sleep

Images may come back to them as dreams at night, or during the day, like a sort of déjà vu.

"Not flashbacks, but a feeling that things are happening all over again," Lawson said.

Withdrawal

Survivors of trauma may close up and choose to not talk about their concerns.

"They may become numb to their emotions," Lawson said.

Coping mechanisms and self-care for trauma

Avoid quick fixes such as drugs and or alcohol.

Mindfulness

Lawson suggests managing thoughts through deep breathing and physical exercise and practicing "self-talk."

"Be sure that you can assure [yourself] that, 'I am safe right here in my home. Right here, right now, I am as safe as I can be,'" he said.

Avoid overexposure to media

Limit time spent watching news footage in the aftermath of the shooting. Lawson recommends checking in maybe once a day, "Rather than every 10 minutes." Another option is to ask a friend to share any major developments.

Seeking a counselor

Although the idea of when to actually seek help depends on each individual, Lawson suggests following this rule: "If it's beginning to get in the way of your day-to-day, or keeps you from enjoying your life, it's time to talk to a professional."

If you are a friend or family member of a survivor, Lawson said it's best to "follow their lead."

"It's important to spend time together," he added. "It doesn't mean you have to talk about the trauma. Make yourself available and let them know if they want to talk about it, that you're available to listen. Encourage them to seek help if this is something that starts to linger."

Morrissey echoed this advice.

"If you notice that somebody is really unable to continue with their daily activities or retreating to their own space and they're not able to come to grips with what's going on, then that's the time you reach out and seek help," she said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct022017

How to help after the Las Vegas concert shooting 

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night, which left at least 58 people dead and more than 515 others injured, there was an outpouring of support for the victims of the tragedy and questions about how to help those in need.

One of the clearest immediate needs was for blood donations and the Las Vegas Police put out a call for help.

At least one of the hundreds of people who answered that call was Tyler Anderson, a 25-year-old nursing student who had traveled from California to attend the music festival.

Anderson ran out of the concert area after hearing "what sounded like firecrackers" and entered a nearby casino to hide in a crawl space with some of her friends for several hours before eventually making it back to the hotel where they were staying.

She told ABC News that while she has some scrapes and scratches "just from running through bushes and trying to hide," she hasn't been able to sleep because of "the anxiety of all of it." Instead, she wanted to help.

A friend who lives in Las Vegas picked her up and they went to one of the city's several blood donation centers Monday morning.

"There's not much else I can do to help and at least this is something I can do to save a life," Anderson said.

When she spoke to ABC News on Monday afternoon, she said she had been waiting in line for two hours to donate, but someone who worked at the facility told her that she can expect to wait for five hours, given the number of people who have come to donate.

 

Julie Scott, a spokesperson for United Blood Services, told ABC News that the wait is reportedly between five and six hours for people who are currently in line at any of the three donation sites in and around Las Vegas.

Donations are coming in across the country, Scott said, adding that their call center fielded 26,000 calls this morning. She said that's "very high, by about 20,000" more calls than normal.

She said that the victims of the shooting "are likely going to require surgeries in the weeks and months to come" and since blood donations have a 42-day shelf life because of the red blood cell count, United Blood Services is urging people to book appointments to donate blood in the coming days and weeks.

"We could face a shortfall in the weeks and months to come so we are really asking folks to make an appointment so that we can ensure that we are being good stewards of the gift that these donors are giving," she said.

The shooting occurred on the Las Vegas strip near the Mandalay Bay Casino and the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which was taking place nearby.

The number of fatalities make the incident the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and local hospitals are dealing with the influx of people who need to be treated.

Local news channels showing footage of lines at blood donation centers spanning city blocks.

Las Vegas police also provided a number for those concerned about their loved ones to call.

 

 

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct022017

How to talk to kids about the Las Vegas mass shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- When Vickie Nieto digested the news Monday morning that at least 58 people died in a mass shooting in Las Vegas, the first thing she thought about was what she would tell her two daughters, ages 10 and 14.

“My 10 year-old heard about it on the TV before school,” Nieto, of Land O’ Lakes, Florida, told ABC News. “I didn’t want to tell her about it because I didn’t want to scare her.”

Nieto said her fifth grade daughter is "already scared about school shootings because they have to practice for them at school."

But this morning, many people like Nieto woke up to the news of a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire on a music festival crowd, starting just after 10 p.m. local time Sunday. At least 58 people were killed and 515 were injured.

In the wake of the shooting, the Las Vegas Police Department said authorities responded to a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, where police said the suspected gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was dead. Police said they believe Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, killed himself prior to police entry.

Many parents and caregivers were faced with conversations about the mass shooting even before children left for school.

For others, the conversation about the tragedy could begin when kids return from school, after they may have heard about the shooting from classmates or teachers.

"It’s important for parents to start the conversation," said Robin Gurwitch, a psychologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “As much as we would like to wrap our arms around our children and try to keep anything bad from getting through, it’s unrealistic that we have that ability."

Gurwitch, also a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, said that the conversation parents have with children should be age-appropriate.

For children old enough to understand what happened, parents should focus on letting them know that they are not in specific danger.

"Help them understand that there was a shooting in Las Vegas and many families were out listening to music when somebody, for unknown reasons, started shooting people," Gurwitch said. "And tell them that because the police responded so quickly [the suspected gunman] is no longer a threat."

Dr. Lee Beers, a pediatrician at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., said a tragedy does not have to be a trauma for children if it is "buffered by good, strong and caring relationships, by the adults around the child."

She also recommends different responses for different ages, and individualizing the approach for each child.

  • Preschool age: This is a time when parents have a high level of control over what their children see and hear so it does not need to be brought up unless a child hears about it first. In that case, Beers recommends making sure the child knows you are there to answer any questions.
  • Elementary school age: This is an age when parents should preemptively help their child know about the tragedy and share basic details and leave the door open for them to ask questions, according to Beers.
  • Middle and high school age: Beers advises having a more detailed conversation with children. Start by asking questions like, "Have you heard about this?" and "What do you think about this?" to find out what they know and what may be bothering them.

In the Las Vegas shooting, videos taken by onlookers and shared on social media gave a glimpse of the chaos during and after the shooting.

"So hard to raise a child in this country these days," posted one mom on Facebook. "There doesn't appear to be anywhere that's safe."

Gurwitch said the visual aspect of the shooting should give parents even more of a reason to speak with their children openly and candidly, according to their ages.

"Parents should let their kids know that, ‘I’m here to answer any questions you may have, any worries you have we can discuss,’" she said. "Check in at the end of the day to see what their friends were talking about at school and what they saw on social media so they have an idea of where they’re starting from and how to continue the conversation."

Seeing frightening images repeatedly can be traumatic for children, so talking about the images and limiting exposure to them can be important.

"Repeated exposure to viewings really does increase the stress and trauma in your emotions, in the way that you respond to it," Beers said. "It's very tempting to watch the coverage 24-7 so I think really self-limiting that is really important because that repeated exposure escalates the emotions and escalates the feelings."

Nieto said she recognizes how upsetting the images on TV and social media can be.

"It’s terrifying for me and I’m an adult," she said. "It’s very terrifying for kids to see it."

Nieto said she “always has conversations” with her daughters about tragedies like today’s, but is struggling for what to say in the wake of yet another shooting.

"This is very upsetting for them to have to hear about this again, because it happens all the time now," she said.

Older children in particular may have concerns because the Las Vegas concert shooting happened so soon after the May 22 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed 22 and left more than 100 injured.

“Parents who are up front with their kids about these kinds of things, their kids tend to do better than parents who try to hide these things,” she said. “Talk about safety issues and what we do to keep our families safe, what we do to keep each other safe and what communities do to keep us safe.”

Both Gurwitch and Beers advised parents find ways they and their children can help those affected by the shooting, like first responders.

"Little children can draw pictures and older children or teens can write letters," Gurwitch said. "Sending these to Las Vegas Police, EMS, Fire and/or local responders to thank them for what they do every day can help children feel that they have taken a positive action and the boost to responders is priceless."

Nieto described one reaction she had to the shooting as being scared to "go anywhere" out in public.

"It terrifies me to even go to the store, especially with my children," she said. "Because you never know who has a gun these days."

Gurwitch shared language parents like Nieto can use to reassure both themselves and their children that it is safe to continue life as normal, while being alert to safety issues.

She recommends parents say something like: "I also know that there are a lot of people that this is their job to keep us safe, so I’m going to continue to do the things that we like."

If parents and caregivers notice children are overly worried or having trouble focusing at school or at home, Gurwitch said to not delay in reaching out for help, and to have patience.

"Acknowledge that there may be a little bit of extra help that is needed with homework, care and attention around bedtime, and that’s true for younger children as well as teenagers," she said. "If you don’t know what to do or what to say, there are people you can turn to ask what you can do for your child."

Gurwitch and Beers recommend as resources for parents, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, school counselors, family physicians and local mental health counselors.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Oct012017

Program that provides low-cost health care to 9 million children expires

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Amid intense debates about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, the Senate and House missed the deadline to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) -- meaning federal funding for the program expired at the end of September.

Last reauthorized in 2015, CHIP is a partnership between the federal government and states that insures American children from low and moderate-income families.

And though the program's situation isn't yet dire -- and won't be until the states begin to run out of money -- some states are starting to get nervous about paying for the program.

"States are optimistic that Congress will actually act. They're not totally panicked yet," said Diane Rowland, executive vice president of Kaiser Family Foundation. "But, they need to know very soon that addition money will be coming so they'll know how they can continue their programs."

A Little History

CHIP was passed into law with bipartisan support under President Bill Clinton in 1997.

Co-sponsored by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, and championed by then-first lady Hillary Clinton, the program provides low-cost health coverage to children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but still need government support to pay for their kids' healthcare.

In the years following the program's passage, the uninsured rate among children fell significantly, from 13.9 percent in 1997 to 4.5 percent in 2015, according to a Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission report released early this year. An analysis from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that families are more likely to take advantage of preventative and primary care after enrolling their children in the program.

Who and What Does CHIP Cover?

In 2016, more than 8.9 million children were enrolled in CHIP, up from 8.44 million in 2015, Access Commission records show.

Eligibility rules vary by state, but in most states, children age 18 and younger qualify if their family's income falls under 200 percent of the federal poverty line -- just under $50,000 for a family of four. Some states also offer coverage to children in families earning 250 or even 300 percent of the poverty line. Twenty states offer coverage for pregnant women as well.

Benefits also vary by state, but coverage generally includes routine checkups, immunizations, mental health services, prescriptions, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, and x-ray and lab services.

How Much Does CHIP Cost?

According to the Access Commission, CHIP spending reached about $13.6 billion in FY 2016.

The feds foot the bill for the bulk of CHIP expenditures, with most state governments covering less than 15 percent of the program's cost.

The average cost to families is just over $150 per child per year, according the Access Commission estimates. If not for CHIP, those families would have faced bills of more than $850 per year per child in employer-sponsored insurance, the report said.

Most states have enough money put aside to help pay for CHIP if the government grants aren't immediately available.

But ten states are slated to run out of funding by the end of 2017.

Minnesota's state commissioner for the Department of Human Services even wrote a letter to the Minnesota congressional delegation urging them to extend funding now, saying the state will exhaust their $115 million CHIP allotment soon.

What Happens If We Don't Reauthorize CHIP?

While health coverage for kids under CHIP won't suddenly disappear on Oct. 1, there are serious consequences for the program at the state level. If certain needs aren't met, states will have to reshuffle their funds and may have to notify families soon of amended coverage plans.

Some advocates have expressed concern that CHIP could be another battleground for Obamacare, but most evidence points to lawmakers being supportive of the bipartisan program.

"What I don't know is whether there will be an extension for 5 years, 1 year, 2 years. So while I don't think there will be an immediate crisis, I don't know what the long range prospect for CHIP will be," said Rowland.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Oct012017

Cases of sexually transmitted diseases on the rise across the US

Media for Medical/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- More Americans are contracting certain sexually transmitted diseases, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chlamydia is the most common STD, with cases rising 4.7 percent from 2015-16. The increase was attributed in part to more sensitive screening techniques.

Gonorrhea and syphilis saw increases as well.

After decades of decline, the rate of STD cases in the country has seen an uptick in recent years. The report cited spotty access to health care and a "deteriorating public health infrastructure" as causes for the turnaround.

The CDC estimates that there are 20 million new STDs per year in the United States. Approximately half of those cases are young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

It is estimated that there are 110 million STD infections at any given time in the United States.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Sep302017

Kate Walsh has found her very own Dr. Addison Montgomery

Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One of America’s favorite TV doctors may have met her match.

“I ended up finding this amazing doctor here in L.A. who is kind of a total Addison and I say that only because I’m like I can't believe I kind of found an Addison. I love her so much and she's so cool and so knowledgeable and so fierce and amazing,” Kate Walsh said of her doctor on a recent episode of ABC Radio’s "No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis."

The actress, known for playing the fashionable and brilliant Dr. Addison Montgomery on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” recently revealed that she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015.

“I refer to it as ‘before tumor’ [and] ‘after tumor’, BT and AT. … I think most people who go through you know a major health scare or crisis like that, it's very cliche and trite but it forces you to really sort of assess your life if you haven’t already,” Walsh said of the experience.

After having the lemon-sized tumor removed, it was found to be benign but the memory of that uncertainty is something that Walsh will never forget.

“When I was going into surgery and I didn't know what was going to happen, I just had that real, I call it, like, a God moment or a very special moment, like, 'Well this is it, I've had a great run and if not I just want to do stuff that I love.'”

From that moment forward she said she has been focused on doing projects she loves with people she loves and living life to the fullest. Another change for the actress is her approach to health. Walsh admitted that she “never used a regular GP [General Practioner],” but has since changed her ways and stresses the importance of a patient-doctor relationship.

“I think that [what] people don't consider when they go to doctors is you can actually develop a great relationship with your doctor. You can find one that you really love and I think that's important to do,” Walsh said.

So why now, two years post-surgery, has Walsh decided to speak out?

“I didn't want to talk about initially because I wanted to have my own experience of recovery but I really was always intent on wanting to partner with someone just to share and talk about my experience,” she said.

She found that partner in Cigna as part of their TV Doctors campaign. Walsh joins Patrick Dempsey, Neil Patrick Harris, Donald Faison and Jane Seymour to encourage Americans to get the preventative care they need in the form of annual check-ups.

“Find your Addison … I did … she's awesome,” Walsh said.

Hear her full episode on ABC Radio’s “No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis."

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