Mystery of the 13-year-old girl who kept falling down

Mystery of the 13-year-old girl who kept falling down

Hope Horncastle’s debilitating episodes might once have been dismissed as ‘hysteria’, but doctors are taking her and other young sufferers seriously

For four years, Hope Horncastle, now 16, suffered a mystery condition that confounded her doctors. Her legs would buckle beneath her, her torso would go rigid and she would fall to the ground.

These distressing episodes, called “drop attacks” by doctors, resembled epileptic seizures – except that, unlike epilepsy, in Hope’s case there was no evidence of electrical disturbance in the brain. Despite extensive neurological and other tests, no explanation could be found.

Hope is not alone. More than 5 per cent of children and adolescents referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital’s neurological centre suffer what are officially termed medically unexplained neurological symptoms (MUNS), although the incidence is thought to be far higher in the general population. Most of these patients are girls, with an average age of 13. According to Dr Prab Prabhakar, consultant paediatric neurologist at Great Ormond Street, they tend to experience three different types of symptoms: drop attacks such as Hope’s; loss of movement, vision or hearing; or debilitating but inexplicable pain that sometimes stops them from getting out of bed.

In the past, such episodes might have been labelled as “hysteria” by doctors. Today, they are sometimes referred to as “psychogenic paralysis” or “conversion disorders” (in which a psychological crisis is converted into physical symptoms). Dr Prabhakar argues that “emotive terms” are unhelpful, and that this complex condition should not be dismissed as being “all in the mind”. A study of MUNS patients published in 2012 showed that psychological factors are indeed linked with neurological symptoms in ways that are still not completely understood.

“The symptoms are real in these cases, even though we can’t explain them, and in most cases like Hope’s, persist for at least two years,” he says. “Once we have ruled out any organic cause, we need to look at their impact on the children’s lives.” The symptoms of MUNS, he says, can lead to social isolation and depression.

Source: healcon

Man dies after 8 hours in ER waiting room

Reports have emerged that a man died in a hospital waiting room in New York City more than eight hours after he sought emergency care.

According to multiple reports, 30-year-old John Verrier entered the emergency room of St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx at around 10 p.m. on Jan. 12 complaining about a rash. He was found dead in the waiting room about 6:40 a.m. the next day when a guard failed to wake him up.

St. Barnabas Hospital spokesperson Steve Clark confirmed the timeline around Verrier’s death.

“Probably this scenario in this shape and form has happened in any big hospital in New York City,” he said.

When Verrier arrived at St. Barnabas, he had his vitals taken in the triage area and was told to wait in the waiting room until his name was called to see a doctor, according to Clark. At 12:35 p.m., his name was called for the first time, but Verrier did not respond. That night, his name was called two more times to see the doctor, but the patient did not acknowledge his name was being called.

“People have personal responsibility when your name is called, you have to get up and see the doctor,” Clark said.

It was determined through employee accounts and security footage that Verrier was alive at least until 3:45 a.m. A security guard woke him up after he had fallen asleep, and he had been recorded walking around the waiting room.

The cause of death for Verrier has yet to be determined, pending a medical examiners report.

The case has been investigated internally, and the hospital said it was determined that officials had done everything according to protocol.

“This could have happened anywhere outside in the cold,” said Clark.

He couldn’t confirm the reason Verrier was asking to see a doctor, citing patient confidentiality laws. He did say that Verrier was called for as soon possible, after more pressing cases were attended to.

“It was a busy night, waiting 2 hours and 30 minutes is not that long a time considering what his complaint was,” Clark said.

He added that on many cold nights in New York City, many people use the hospital as shelter and stay in the waiting room to keep warm. People aren’t allowed to loiter or sleep in the facilities, however. In order to stay inside the hospital, the patients have to come in with a medical complaint. Many of the times, the issue they present with is just a ruse in order not to be kicked out, he said.

He emphasized that this scenario may or may not relate to Verrier’s case, but could explain why some people spend time sitting in a waiting room without entering the hospital, even if their name was called multiple times.

“People come in with no desire to see the doctor,” he said.

An anonymous St. Barnabas Hospital emergency room employee told WABC that despite Verrier’s name being called three times, he had not been checked on personally. The employee added he or she believed Verrier died because there was “not enough staff to take care of the number of patients we see each day.”

Clark dismissed the comments, saying that the hospital did not think staff numbers played a role in this scenario.

“It is a tragedy that a young man died, yet following an internal review, it was concluded that all hospital guidelines were met,” the hospital said.

According to a ProPublica report, the average person in New York spends 2 hours and 35 minutes waiting in the emergency room to see a doctor, and about 1 percent leave without being seen. The report determined that St. Barnabas patients waited 5 hours and 6 minutes on average before seeing a doctor, and 18 percent left without being seen.

Source: fox news

Doctors remove large cockroach from man’s ear

A man in Australia had to be rushed to hospital in terrible pain after a large cockroach crawled into his ear as he slept, and an attempt to suck it out with a vacuum cleaner failed.

Medical treatment initially only caused the inch-long insect to burrow further into the head of Hendrik Helmer.

The unwelcome invader was eventually extracted by a doctor with forceps, but only after Helmer had endured the unpleasant sensation of it being in the “throes of death-twitching.”

His ordeal began in the early hours of Wednesday morning when he was woken by a sharp pain in his right ear, according to Australian TV.

He said: “I was hoping it was not a poisonous spider … I was hoping it didn’t bite me.”

Source: Fox news

Jahi McMath family, hospital to meet for settlement talks

A federal magistrate has ordered settlement talks between attorneys for Children’s Hospital Oakland and the family of a 13-year-old girl who has been declared brain dead.

U.S. Magistrate Donna Ryu will meet in her Oakland courtroom Friday with both sides in hopes of brokering a deal in the ongoing legal fight over Jahi McMath. A separate hearing has been scheduled Friday before Judge Evelio Grillo of Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland.

Jahi’s family has accused the hospital of denying the girl a tracheostomy tube that is required to transfer her to another site, as well as withholding the insertion of a feeding tube that will provide her nutrition. They maintain that she is not dead because her heart is still beating and she is hooked up to a ventilator.

Hospital representatives have said that they’ve never objected to the girl receiving a tracheostomy but would not allow the procedure done in its hospital or performed by its staff because of the ethical and legal issues related to operating on a deceased person.

The hospital’s doctors declared Jahi dead on Dec. 12, three days after she underwent a tonsillectomy that resulted in complications.

The hospital would arrange for Jahi to be moved to another site for the procedure, or for long-term care, but has not heard from any facility, doctor or medical transport service regarding her case, hospital spokesman Sam Singer said.

Christopher Dolan, attorney for Jahi’s family, has filed requests in three separate courts seeking orders to force the hospital to insert tracheostomy and feeding tubes, but judges have declined to do so.

In court papers filed in federal court Thursday, Dolan again asked for an order for the tubes to be inserted.

“At this point, Jahi has not had nutrition for nearly three weeks,” he wrote. “She is in desperate need of a tracheostomy tube and a gastric tube.. This court should grant plaintiff the relief to allow for Jahi’s transport.”

Grillo has issued a restraining order that prevents the hospital from disconnecting Jahi from a ventilator until at least 5 p.m. Tuesday.

At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong in Oakland is expected to hear arguments about possible violations of Jahi’s civil rights, and the rights of families – not doctors, lawyers or politicians – to determine a loved one’s death, based on their religious or personal beliefs.

Source: SF gate

60-year-old woman in China gives birth to twin girls

A woman in China who gave birth to twin girls after an IVF treatment at the age of 60 in 2010 following the death of her only child has commented to the media on the birth. She may be the oldest person in the country to give birth.

Fox News reported that because of China’s the birth is extremely unusual in the country because of the country’s one child policy. She gave birth after the death of her only child.

Clinics and countries throughout the world impose limits on IVF treatment. The treatment is less effective with age. Such treatments also cause concerns for the welfare of children who are born after the treatment.

Sheng Hailin, is now 63. She lost her first daughter after an accidental gas poisoning case in 2009, according to the China Herald.

“To survive and free myself of the loneliness, I decided to have another child in my old age,” the newspaper quoted Hailin as saying.

The Daily Mail reported she and her husband gave birth to survive and be “free from loneliness.” Because of the births, Mrs. Hailin has not been able to retire and instead has had to increase her work schedule.  She said she is sorry she is not able to spend as much time with her children as she would like.

“‘For the baby girls, I have given out all I have,” she explained to the China Daily.
The Chinese government in November granted couples the right to have children if one parent is an only child.

According to an estimate, one million families in the country have lost their sole descendant after the beginning of the one child policy in the late 1970s. Another estimate calculates that four to seven million more are expected to do so in the next thirty years.

A portion of the couple’s earnings and pension is used to pay two babysitters, the Christian Post

Mrs. Hailin works as a health lecturer said some of her “lectures may only last one day, but sometimes I
have to stay three or four days in one place.”

Source: Digital Journal

Young girl saves her 3 brothers with bone marrow donations

At 13, Julia Jenkins doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with her three little brothers. They can be rowdy and more than a little competitive. But the Jenkins kids share a connection that runs deep.

Julia Jenkins watched one brother get sick and then another and then another. Then she learned that she was the one person who might be able to help save them.

It started in 2008 when Will, then 2, developed a swollen lymph node in his neck. The diagnosis: Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare cancer of the lymphatic system.

Will started chemotherapy, but then John, who was 6, began having severe stomach problems. “They diagnosed John with Burkitt’s lymphoma two years to the exact day later,” said (mother) Christy  Jenkins.

Doctors at the Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta started looking for answers. Burkitt’s doesn’t usually run in families, but a specialist remembered hearing about a rare, genetic immune disorder called XLP carried by boys that could cause very similar symptoms. Blood tests showed both Will and John had XLP, as did 2-year-old Matthew.

“Here I was approached with the plate of, ‘All three boys need a bone marrow transplant to possibly survive,'” said Christy Jenkins.

That’s where Julia comes in.

“I remember getting my blood tested, like sticking a needle in my arm,” Julia Jenkins said.

Julia was a perfect bone marrow donor match for both John and Matthew, but she was so young that she
didn’t even know what being a donor meant.

“But, I said yes, because they’re my brothers,” said Julia Jenkins.

Source: USA news

Guinness World Record for heart transplant patient

A British man has entered the record books as the worlds longest-surviving heart transplant patient.

John McCafferty, 71, has surpassed the previous Guinness World Record of 30 years, 11 months and 10 days set by an American man who died in 2009.

Mr McCafferty was told he had five years to live when he underwent the life-saving operation at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex 31 years ago.

He says his record should give hope to others awaiting transplants.

Mr McCafferty, from Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, said: “I want this world record to be an inspiration to anyone awaiting a heart transplant and to those who, like me, have been fortunate enough to have had one.

“My advice is always to be hopeful, to look ahead with a positive mind, and, of course, to follow the expert medical advice.”

Mr McCafferty received his new heart on 20 October 1982 in a procedure carried out by world-renowned surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub.

He had been diagnosed, aged 39, with dilated cardiomyopathy – one of the most common causes of heart failure. It leads to scarring of the heart wall and damage to the muscle, which causes the heart to become weakened and enlarged, preventing it from pumping efficiently.

The first ever successful heart transplant operation was performed in South Africa in 1967 by Prof Christiaan Neethling Barnard and a team of 30 physicians at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. The patient, Louis Washkansky, survived for 18 days with the new heart.

Source: BBC news

Service dog stays with 7-year-old girl through surgery


When 7-year-old Kaelyn Krawczyk went in for surgery at Duke Medical Center on Wednesday, she had a special friend accompany her into the operation room – her service dog, JJ.

According to reports from Cary News, Kaelyn suffers from a rare condition called mastocytosis, which causes her body to have allergic reactions to heat, cold and other unknown triggers. During Wednesday’s surgery, doctors were trying to discover what was causing the recurring kidney infections Kaelyn had been experiencing.

However, the routine procedure presented special risks for Kaelyn because of her extreme susceptibility to allergic reactions.

JJ, a terrier mix, has been trained to detect Kaelyn’s allergic reactions before they become too severe – alerting her parents to treat Kaelyn with an EpiPen. In the 18 months that JJ has been with Kaelyn, she’s experienced only one severe reaction – compared to the three to four reactions a year she had experienced in the past.

Though JJ wouldn’t have been able to accompany Kaelyn into a sterile operating room, he’s allowed to be present in more relaxed medical settings – after receiving a bath, Cary News reported.

During the procedure, JJ stood up and turned in circles as Kaelyn was put under and brought out of sedation – signs of a mild, but not severe reaction. With the help of the dog’s trainer, Deb Cunningham of Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws in Carrboro, NC, anesthesiologists were able to monitor Kaelyn’s reactions throughout the successful procedure.

“It sounds silly, in this age of technology, when we have millions of dollars-worth of equipment beeping around me, that we had a little dog who was more sensitive than all the machines,” Dr. Brad Taicher, Kaelyn’s anesthesiologist, told Cary News.

Source; Fox news

Doctors perform C-section on woman who wasn’t pregnant

Officials in southeastern Brazil say doctors performed a cesarean section on a 37-year-old woman only to discover that she wasn’t pregnant.

Simone Carvalho is a spokeswoman for the Health Department of the coastal city of Cabo Frio. She said Tuesday the woman told doctors at the city’s Woman’s Hospital she was 41 weeks pregnant and in pain.

Carvalho said one reason doctors believed she was pregnant was because “she had the symptoms associated with pregnancy like an enlarged abdomen and nausea.”

Carvalho said “doctors could not hear the baby’s heartbeat and feeling its life was in danger ordered an emergency cesarean after which they discovered it was a false pregnancy.”

The spokeswoman added the woman “was so convinced she was pregnant, that she altered her prenatal tests that showed otherwise because she was convinced the results were wrong.”

Source: fox news


A stone baby found in 82 years old colombian woman

An 82-year-old woman complaining of stomach pain was revealed to have a 40-year-old fetus inside her body.

Multiple news agencies reported that when the Colombian woman when to a doctor in Bogota, they found a lithopedion, or a calcified fetus, inside her stomach.

Also known as a “stone baby,” a lithopedion happens when a mother has a pregnancy that doesn’t develop in the uterus, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Typically the fetuses are more than three months old and found in the abdomen. The fetus lacks circulation, which leads to extra calcium buildup.

Because it is so large, it cannot be absorbed by the body. Instead the fetus becomes calcified until it is removed.

According to the Irish Independent, about one out of every 11,000 pregnancies will turn into a lithopedion. Most women do not know what happened or that they were even pregnant, so it can remain inside them for quite some time.

An article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine explained that the first known case of a lithopedion was found in 1582 in a 68-year-old woman from Sens, France. The fetus was estimated to be about 28 years old.

The Colombian woman was reportedly transferred to a different hospital to have the fetus surgically removed.

Source: Cbs news