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Teen Who Woke Up Paralyzed Now Walking and Running Again

Ivanko_Brnjakovic/iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A Nashville, Tennessee, teen is celebrating that she's regained the ability to walk after suffering sudden paralysis.

Just six weeks ago, Jessica Shainberg, 15, woke up with no feeling below her waist.

"She was very calm," her father, Jeff Shainberg, told ABC News. "I didn’t believe her at first, [I said] 'You gotta wake your legs up and we got to go to school.'"

Days earlier, Jessica had felt tingling in her legs, but after a trip to the emergency room, doctors found no signs of anything serious and sent her home, Jeff Shainberg said. But now the family was headed back to the hospital.

Doctors at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital diagnosed Jessica with transverse myelitis, or inflammation of the spinal cord. Doctors then told the teen and her family there was only a one-third chance she would be able to walk normally again, according to Jeff Shainberg.

"They don’t know where or when it occurs," Jeff Shainberg said of the inflammation's cause. "They didn’t have any way to trace it....They didn’t find any infections in the spinal fluid."

The teen's father said doctors told the family that if Jessica wasn't able to walk within about six weeks then she was unlikely ever to be able to walk again.

For a week, Jeff Shainberg said that his daughter showed no improvement. Then, he said, she was suddenly able to feel a tingling sensation in her toes again. While just a small improvement, the teen was sure that she could recover.

"I was like, 'There we go, there we go,'" Jessica Shainberg told ABC News affiliate WKRN-TV in Nashville. "That’s the building block to everything else I’ll be doing."

To help the teen rehabilitate her legs in the short time frame, the family traveled to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. During the weeks of rehabilitation, the teen surpassed all of her doctor's expectations, according to her father.

"Every day she’s getting better and stronger. It’s a miracle," said Jeff Shainberg. "She just always had a great attitude and was willing to do the work with the therapist. They loved her attitude and they wanted to work with her continuously."

Now the teen, an honor roll student and tennis player, is not only walking, she's been able to do some light running.

In Atlanta, doctors also realized that Jessica had signs of a rare inflammation of the brain, called Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), in addition to her inflamed spinal column, according to Jeff Shainberg. The second diagnosis could explain why she was able to recover relatively quickly, because patients with ADEM tend to have better recovery rates.

"The doctors didn’t expect her to recover like that," said Shainberg. "They were so impressed with her rehab. They hadn’t seen a patient like this in a while."

For now, the high school freshman remains out of school while she gets her strength back. Her father said she has a walker and wheelchair -- but never uses either unless she's standing for a long period of time and needs to sit.

"I’m so blessed and lucky to be able to be walking again," Jessica Shainberg told WKRN-TV.

While the teen is likely to start school in a few weeks, her father said doctors are keeping a close eye on her as she recovers. If the rare symptoms reappear again, there's a chance it could be a sign of multiple sclerosis.


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Chloe Rutzerveld's 3-D Printed 'Snack of the Future' Is Natural and Delicious

Chloe Rutzerveld(NEW YORK) -- Most people don’t associate high-tech, 3-D printed food with health or taste. Dutch food designer Chloé Rutzerveld hopes to change that perception.

Rutzerveld said her new Edible Growth project, which imagines 3-D printing an elegant yet healthy and natural hors d'oeuvre, is truly “food for thought.”

“[It’s] an example of high-tech but fully natural, healthy, and sustainable food made possible by combining aspects of nature, science, technology and design,” she explained.

The basket shapes will be printed using a gelatin-like, vegan-friendly protein known as agar. As it comes out of the printer, the center will be stuffed with seeds, spores and yeast. After a few days the baskets will sprout a tasty crop of seedlings and mushrooms. It is the consumer’s choice at which stage they choose to eat them, Rutzerveld said.

As the appetizers roll out the printer, Rutzerveld said, it is easy to see the straight lines of technology.

"But as it develops, you can see organic shapes. You can see the stages of growth and the development of taste and flavor," she said.

Right now Edible Growth is just a concept. Rutzerveld said 3-D printing is not sophisticated enough yet to produce something quite so complex. She said it will be some time before printed food moves beyond using anything more complicated than sugar, dough or chocolate.

“It seems as if it's easy,” she told ABC News, “but it's not, actually.”

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Scopes that Spread UCLA 'Superbug' Were Awaiting FDA Clearance

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(LOS ANGELES) -- The manufacturer of the scopes that spread a drug-resistant "superbug" to seven California patients had tweaked the scopes' design and was selling them without federal permission to do so, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Seven people have become infected with the drug-resistant "superbug" known as CRE at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after undergoing endoscopy procedures, and CRE may have played a role in two of those patients' deaths, hospital officials said in February, adding that 179 people were exposed to the germ at UCLA.

The scopes -- called duodenoscopes, which are inserted by mouth to access patients' small intestine, the pancreas and the liver -- were new and had only been in use since June, health officials said last month. Officials added that the scopes were cleaned in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. The hospital said it traced the bacteria back to two endoscopes manufactured by Olympus Corporation of the Americas.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Olympus had tweaked the design of its duodenoscopes and sold them without seeking clearance from the FDA to do so. Manufacturers are supposed to notify the FDA of design changes 90 days before marketing an altered device, according to the FDA website.

It was not immediately clear what Olympus changed about the scopes' design or whether that change could have made the scopes more likely to harbor bacteria or more difficult to clean and sanitize -- and the FDA was not immediately able to clarify.

In March 2014, the FDA notified Olympus that it needed the additional clearance before selling the altered devices, but the manufacturer did not submit the request for clearance until October, the FDA told ABC News. The submission is still "pending" because the FDA asked for more data.

The FDA noted two other companies make duodenoscopes, and FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley told ABC News, "It's important to understand that we have received reports of infections associated with the duodenoscopes manufactured by all three device companies."

The Food and Drug Administration told ABC News last month that it has been aware of cleaning issues and bacterial transmissions associated with duodenoscopes for more than a year.

"The CDC first alerted the FDA to a potential association of multi-drug resistant bacteria and duodenoscopes in fall 2013," an agency spokesperson told ABC News. "The FDA has been actively working with federal partners, manufacturers and other stakeholders to better understand the issues that contribute to the infections and what can be done to mitigate them."

The FDA issued a safety communication about the duodenoscopes following the UCLA CRE cases, explaining that duodenoscopes are used in about 500,000 procedures a year, but meticulous cleaning and disinfecting "may not entirely eliminate" the risk of transmitting infection. From January 2012 through December 2014, the FDA received reports of 135 patients suspected of contracting germs from reprocessed duodenoscopes, the agency said.

According to the CDC, almost every state has had a confirmed case of CRE, but state health departments are not required to notify the CDC about CRE infections. Duodenoscope-related CRE outbreaks similar to the one at UCLA have occurred recently in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Seattle.

Olympus did not respond to repeated requests for comments about the FDA's assertion that the scopes lacked FDA clearance, but the company said in a statement to ABC News last month that it was aware of reports involving its duodenoscopes, and was working with the FDA, medical organizations and customers to address concerns. It was also making supplemental educational materials available to customers.

"While all endoscopes, including duodenoscopes, require thorough reprocessing after patient use in order to be safe, the Olympus TJF-Q180V requires careful attention to cleaning and reprocessing steps, including meticulous manual cleaning, to ensure effective reprocessing," the company said.

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Family of Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Now Fighting to Change State Law

iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A family that had to go to court to get a brain-dead woman taken off life support is now fighting to change Texas law so other families won’t have to go through the same ordeal.

The family of Marlise Munoz is working with Texas lawmakers to craft a new bill that could make it easier for families to have end-of-life decisions in regards to a pregnant woman, according to a new documentary in production currently titled, The Pregnancy Exclusion.

“I just don’t think the government can make this decision for anybody,” Munoz’s husband, Eric Munoz, says in a clip from the upcoming film.

Eric Munoz did not immediately respond to a request for further comment made through the film producers.

The case of Marlise Munoz made international headlines after the 33-year-old pregnant paramedic was declared brain dead. While Munoz’s family wanted her taken off life support, a Fort Worth, Texas, hospital refused after citing a little-known state law that prohibited removing “life-sustaining” treatment for a pregnant patient.

The family eventually won the case in January 2014 after a judge ruled the law did not apply to Munoz because she was already deceased.

The Pregnancy Exclusion, follows the family as they figure out how to navigate the state legislature system in the hopes they can change the law itself.

Eric Munoz talks in the film about what it was like to see his wife put on life support after being declared brain dead.

“You have a body there and you try to respect it and talk to it, but then at the same time you’re like she’s passed away, she’s dead,” he says in a clip that has been made available in advance. “So you talk in your head like she can listen to you in Heaven.”

Munoz said at some point he could tell his wife was deteriorating under life support.

“Her hands went from being pliable to being very rigid, very stiff," he said. "You’re seeing a body slowly deteriorate.”

Munoz, along with his parents-in-law, faced international scrutiny as both pro- and anti-abortion advocates took on the case.

“You hear people say, ‘You’re a monster to you’re going to hell,’” Eric Munoz says in a film clip. “'Why isn’t he thinking about the baby?’ ...[People] literally accused me of murder.”

The fight over how the law perceives the rights of incapacitated pregnant women is likely to continue for some time. Last month, a Republican state lawmaker introduced a bill that would make it illegal to stop life-sustaining treatment for a pregnant woman even if there is “irreversible cessation of all spontaneous brain function.”

Rebecca Haimowitz, director of The Pregnancy Exclusion, said the family is preparing to testify against that bill once it is brought up in a hearing.

“The family has gone on this journey from their own personal tragedy and to activism,” said Haimowitz. “They certainly didn’t ask for it.”

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Your Gluten-Free Diet May Be a Tax Write-Off

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cutting bread from your diet could potentially save you some bread on your taxes, financial experts say.

While diet gurus debate the health merits for the average person of avoiding the gluten protein found in wheat, rye and barley grains, no one disputes the extra cost. On average, the gluten-free versions of many foods were 242 percent pricier than the regular products in one National Institutes of Health study.

But Mark Luscombe, a principal federal tax analyst for the tax publisher CCH, said some of the additional expense of going gluten-free may be a legitimate tax write-off.

“If you have a recognized disease where gluten-free foods help manage the condition and you have a certification from your doctor, you may be able to take a deduction," Luscombe said.

This could be good news for the 1 percent of the population with celiac disease, a diagnosed intolerance to gluten that causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms and increases the risk of some cancers. They should be able to write off the extra cost of buying gluten-free items plus the cost of shipping if they buy them online. Foods that contain xanthan gum and sorghum flour can be fully deducted because they have no gluten-filled alternative.

As for the other 30 percent of Americans who, according to the consumer research group NDP, avoid gluten because they believe they have some sort of insensitivity to it? Luscombe said he doubted such a write-off would fly.

Even someone with celiac will have to work hard for the tax break, Luscombe said. They will need a note from their doctor and they will have to keep meticulous track of how much more they spend on gluten-free products than on other similar products, he added.

That means saving all receipts and making notes of price differences. In addition, to get any deduction, all medical expenses must exceed 10 percent of gross adjusted income or 7.5 percent for people older than 65, Luscombe said.

For those who can clear all those hurdles, using medically sanctioned dietary restrictions as a tax write off does have the support of the Internal Revenue Service, Luscombe said. IRS Information Letter 2011-0035 states: "The excess cost of specially prepared foods designed to treat a medical condition over the cost of ordinary foods which would have been consumed but for the condition is an expense for medical care."

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Flat Shoes Linked to Women's Foot Problems

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For many women, sensible, comfortable flats are a wardrobe staple.

Despite the shoes’ popularity, however, some experts have a warning. They say some types of flats can lead to a host of potential health problems, including toe infection, that could even require surgery.

The damage is caused when tight, pointy-toed flats put pressure on toenails, causing them to bend and become ingrown. In some cases, if the situation is left untreated it could lead to bone infection.

It happened to 17-year-old Hannah Butler. The Illinois teen had to resort to surgery to remove an ingrown toenail caused by repeated use of the wrong flats.

“I brought my shoes in to my doctor…he figured that that was causing the multiple ingrown toenails,” she said.

Experts say the problem happens because most women are unaware of what some flats are really doing to their feet.

“It's funny because so many women think they're better off wearing flats than heels but in reality…flats can be worse than heels 100 times over,” Dr. Marlene Reid, a podiatrist and spokeswoman for the American Podiatric Medical Association, said.

But you don’t have to get rid of flats altogether from your wardrobe. Experts say you should wear flats with rounded or squared-shapes toes. It gives toes wiggle room and alleviates pressure on the big toe.

Reid said there are many different styles of flat shoes available.

“Flats come in all different styles, all different types, all different construction,” Reid said. “There are flats that are more flimsy than what we consider regular flats.”

“You have to look at the shoe itself to determine if it's the right shoe for you,” she said.

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Everybody's Gone Biking USA

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Believe it or not, pretty soon it’ll be nice enough in most areas of the country to get outside and do things that don’t involve shivering and shoveling.

One of America’s favorite outdoor pastimes, according to a study commissioned for the nonprofit PeopleForBikes, happens to be bicycling.

Contrary to other reports that indicated participation is far lower, PeopleForBikes says that just over a third of Americans ages three and up rode a bike at least once last year.

PeopleForBikes’ President Tim Blumenthal says its U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Report is comprehensive whereas other studies seem to focus on single aspects of bicycling. Blumenthal says his study covers recreational biking, transportation riding and other uses for bikes.

But even though 57 percent of people who biked in 2014 did so for recreation, the study found that 48 percent of Americans don’t have access to bikes and 52 percent are concerned about the danger of getting into an accident with a vehicle.

However, Blumenthal says he sees plenty of potential in reaching millions of people who otherwise might not think biking is in their spring and summer plans.

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Doctors Delivering Bad News Seen as Lacking Compassion

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — A sign that reads “Don’t shoot the messenger” should be hung on the wall of your doctor’s office along with his or her diplomas.

After all, delivering a particularly upsetting diagnosis shouldn’t be blamed on your physician although some patients seem to think otherwise.

In a study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Dr. Eduardo Bruera says that the bearer of bad news, in this case a doctor, is often viewed as less compassionate than one who has a more positive diagnosis.

Bruera had 100 cancer patients view a video in which a doctor told someone that he had run out of options to treat the disease and another in which some treatment options were available. Overall, the doctor with the better news was viewed as more compassionate than the other doctor.

Meanwhile, 57 patients said they’d personally rather hear their doctor present more optimistic news compared to 22 patients who felt it was better to get the worst case scenario.

Bruera said his findings might explain why physicians tend to be hesitant about delivering bad news even when they try to do so in an empathic way.

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Even a Good Dog Doesn't Have Much of a Good Memory

iStock/Thinkstock(STOCKHOLM) — Your dog might be a good boy but boy, don’t count on him to remember too much.

That’s the advice from Stockholm University and Brooklyn College researchers who conducted memory experiments on various animals as well as birds and insects and yes, people too.

Overall, the average memory for all animals is around 27 seconds. Surprisingly, the memory of chimps only lasted 20 seconds, worse than that of rats. Humans were the best, thankfully, remembering stimulus from two days earlier.

As for dogs, the best they could do was remember an event from two minutes earlier, which was at the high end. Dogs actually are very good when it comes to specialized memories, such as where you hid a treat or toy.

However, don’t expect them to remember a visit to the park. They just don’t have the capacity to recall events, which may be a blessing in disguise if you got chased out of the park for not keeping your mutt on a leash.

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Sad Movies Can Compel Mindless Snacking

iStock/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) — If you enjoy movies that bring a tear to your eye, you also enjoy eating. Or perhaps, you don’t realize you’re stuffing your face more while watching sad films as opposed to comedies.

In a Cornell Food and Brand Lab study of movies watched over last Thanksgiving, people consumed 28 percent more popcorn while watching the old tearjerker Love Story than the comedy Sweet Home Alabama.

That particular study was conducted in a lab. Researchers also went dumpster diving outside movie theaters in seven cities where they gathered both emptied popcorn boxes and discarded popcorn and again discovered that 55 percent more popcorn was eaten during a sad movie as opposed to the comedy, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

How does lead researcher Brian Wansink explain this phenomenon? His theory is that eating can be triggered by emotion and people will eat more to compensate for sadness. It doesn’t necessarily have to be junk food either. People will also chow down on veggies and fruits if they’re around.

Therefore, if you are worried about mindless eating, Wansink recommends, “Keep snacks out of arms reach, ideally leave them in the kitchen and only bring to the couch what you intend to eat.”

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Mom With Terminal Cancer Blogs Fight for Her Life

WCIV-TV(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- New mom Whitney Cox's doctors may have put an expiration date on her life, but she's determined to beat their expectations and inspire others with her new, and popular, blog.

The 27-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with stage IV cancer shortly after the holidays. At first, doctors thought it was lymphoma, which would have been curable. But they soon learned they didn't know where the cancer originated, and it was aggressive, she wrote.

They gave her six months to live without treatment, she wrote on her blog. If she underwent chemotherapy, she could have five years.

"I was doing the math in my head about how old they [her children] would be when I was supposed to die and I just -- it broke my heart," she told ABC News Charleston, South Carolina, affiliate WCIV-TV.

Her daughter is 6 and her son is 6 months old. WCIV-TV was there when photographers snapped their first official family portrait as a family of four. Cox said she was hoping to do it before her hair fell out, but she was bald and beautiful for the cameras.

Since Cox started her blog a week ago, more than 12,000 people have viewed the posts about her journey with stage IV cancer. She writes that she hopes to renew others' faith in God through her experience and that she's praying for a miracle.

"I want people to realize how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away from us," she wrote in a post. "I want them to value their time on this earth with their families. I want them to hug their children a little tighter. I want them to believe in miracles, because I will get my miracle."


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Kelly Gissendaner: Explaining the 'Cloudy' Drug That Stopped Georgia Execution

Georgia Department of Corrections(ATLANTA) -- The execution of a Georgia woman was halted Monday mere hours before she was scheduled to be put to death, after officials said they found the lethal injection drug was “cloudy.”

The delayed execution comes as prisons have faced increased scrutiny over lethal injection procedures. Some drugs traditionally used in lethal injections have become scarce as suppliers have refused to allow the drugs to be used in executions.

Dr. Howard Nearman, an anesthesiologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told ABC News on Tuesday that if the drug was "cloudy," it could indicate that it was contaminated or a particulate ingredient did not fully disintegrate.

“Those [compounding pharmacies] are notoriously unreliable,” he said before explaining the only supplier currently available is a Danish company, which has tried to restrict the drug so it cannot be used for lethal injections, leaving some prisons to rely on compounding pharmacies.

Pentobarbital is a sedative that causes brain sedation and can lead to coma and, in cases of overdose, respiratory arrest.

Nearman, who had no involvement in this case, said he was also concerned that the people administering the drugs could lack necessary medical expertise, noting the correct dose of a sedative can be difficult to administer correctly.

“The trouble is there’s tremendous variability depending on what drug level is enough,” he said.

Certified anesthesiologists risk losing their certification if they consult or participate in an execution, according to a 2010 notice from the American Board of Anesthesiologists.

Kelly Gissendaner was scheduled to be the first Georgia woman in decades to be executed by lethal injection, in this case with pentobarbital, before the execution was postponed.

Gissendaner was sentenced to death after being convicted of her husband’s murder in 1997.

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Family of California Teen Declared Brain Dead Sues Hospital for Malpractice

Keep Jahi Mcmath on life support/Facebook(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The California family that fought to keep their teenage daughter on life support after she was declared brain dead is suing her doctor and the hospital where she went into cardiac arrest for negligence and wrongful death -- if "it is determined" that the girl indeed succumbed to her injuries.

Jahi McMath was 13 years old when her heart stopped at Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, California, after complications from surgery to cure her sleep apnea in December 2013. Then, doctors declared her brain dead, but her family fought and won a legal battle to move her from California to a long-term care facility in New Jersey, where her mother told ABC News she can respond to basic commands by moving her feet and arms.

With a day to go before the statute of limitations runs out, the family is now suing Benioff Children's Hospital for malpractice and asking for unspecified damages, according to California malpractice attorney Bruce Brusavich. He told ABC News he planned to file the suit Tuesday, and that the family has "mixed emotions" about it.

"The mother never had any explanation as to how this happened," Brusavich said. "But it doesn't really change anything in terms of the profound brain damage to the child."

The suit, an advance copy that Brusavich gave to ABC News, alleges that the doctor was negligent because he did not follow the standard of care for treating Jahi's sleep apnea and instead opted for invasive surgery on Dec. 9, 2013, removing her tonsils, adenoids, soft pallet and uvula as well as doing work on the inside of her nose. The doctor allegedly noted that Jahi might have a malformed carotid artery at the surgical site, which would have put her at risk for life-threatening bleeding, but he didn't inform the medical staff after he noticed it during surgery, according to the suit.

When Jahi's parents were allowed to see her after surgery at 7:30 p.m., they say they were concerned because she was coughing up a lot of blood, according to the suit. After the nurses disagreed over whether to suction the blood or let Jahi's blood clot so she could heal, her mother asked that a doctor be called, according to the suit. They "estimated that Jahi had lost three pints of blood or more," according to the suit.

The suit alleges that the surgeon did not come until after midnight to check on Jahi as she deteriorated and her oxygen and heart rate took a dive. The doctor allegedly wasn't summoned until Jahi's grandmother, a nurse at another hospital, shouted at Jahi's nurses to do so, according to the suit. When a doctor arrived, he said "S***, her heart stopped," according to the suit. They tried to revive the teen for two hours and 33 minutes, but they never performed an emergency tracheotomy, according to the suit. They pumped about two liters of blood out of her lungs, it says.

In the days that followed, the hospital allegedly told Jahi's parents that she had "sustained significant brain damage," and they put her on the organ donor list and were preparing to take her off life support, the suit says. They never got an explanation for how this happened to Jahi, the suit says.

"What is it you don't understand? She is dead, dead, dead, dead!" the hospital's chief of pediatrics told the family, according to the suit.

The family is suing for personal injuries, negligent infliction of personal distress and wrongful death, if it is eventually determined that Jahi died in December 2013, which would go against the family's repeated assertion for more than a year that Jahi is not brain dead.

The family will seek damages, but a dollar figure was not listed on the suit. Brusavich told ABC News that non-economic damages in California cannot exceed $250,000.

The hospital released the following statement to ABC News: "Our hearts go out to the McMath family. It is our policy not to comment on pending litigation."

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Virus Delays Homecoming for Toddler Who Received Liver From Dad

Liver Transplants for our Vietnamese Twin Girls/Facebook(TORONTO) -- A long-awaited homecoming was delayed for a toddler who received a liver transplant, with her father as the donor, after she contracted a virus.

Phuoc Wagner made headlines along with her twin sister Binh when both girls needed a liver transplant to survive and their father, Michael Wagner, could only donate to one. Phuoc underwent the surgery last month after doctors determined she needed the operation sooner than her sister.

While both the 3-year-old girl and her father are recovering, Phuoc’s return home was delayed this week after she contracted the norovirus, or stomach flu, according to the family’s Facebook page.

“No homecoming yet: norovirus is keeping Phuoc in hospital,” Johanne Wagner, the twin’s mother, wrote on Facebook. “And norovirus in my house as well. Homefront needs to be clear before they can come home.”

Johanne Wagner also confirmed they still are waiting to hear about the possibility of a living donor for Binh Wagner. Both Binh and Phuoc needed liver transplants after suffering liver damage because of a genetic condition called Alagille syndrome.

In an earlier post this week Johanne Wagner said she worried about having Phuoc back after her transplant.

“It is scary though to welcome her back so soon after transplant,” Wagner wrote on Facebook. “A lot of new stuff to assimilate. Daily nursing visits for weeks to come to administer IV meds and perform bloodwork. But most of all, the fear of something going wrong, and quickly.”

However, Wagner said she is eager for Phuoc to reunite with her twin sister Binh. She posted a few pictures of Binh this week playing and even dancing with her older brother.

According to an earlier report from the Canadian Broadcasting Company, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has received 400 submissions from people offering to be a living donor for Binh.

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Virginia Girl with Cancer Gets Sweet 16 Surprise Party

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WINCHESTER, Va.) -- Throwing a surprise “Sweet 16” party in the age of cellphones and social media is no easy task. But an entire Virginia community pulled it off for a girl with cancer.

The night of her birthday, Abby Snider thought she was going to give a speech to help raise money for the Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation, a local charity that provides non-medical support for the families of kids with cancer. It was all part of an elaborate ruse to bring the teen to the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia, last Thursday evening, where 100 people (including a team from ABC News affiliate WJLA) were waiting.

Snider, who was diagnosed with leukemia a year ago, spent weeks writing her speech. At the same time, a group of friends, family and complete strangers worked quietly behind her back to plan the big bash. AES, a local car service, provided a stretch limo. SAS salon arranged for makeup. Other vendors donated food, flowers, photography and entertainment.

Snider’s parents had wanted to throw her the fancy sweet 16 she has been dreaming about since she was 2, she said, but with the mounting medical bills it just wasn’t in their budget. Tom Mitchell, who runs StillBrave, stepped in to rally local businesses.

“It was amazing to see how many people in community embraced the idea and helped to pull it all together,” he said.

Snider was expecting a car to pick her up for the fundraiser, so she said she was pleased rather than suspicious when a stretch limo pulled up to her house. She thought the makeup session was simply a nice touch too. None of this tipped her off to the party.

But when she walked into the ballroom and everyone shouted, “Surprise,” Snider told ABC News she was blown away.

“At first I was confused and then I started screaming and then I started crying," she said. “It was awesome. I literally felt like Cinderella for the night.”

Snider said the chemo used to treat her disease has brought her to the brink of death several times. Just recently she spent three weeks in the hospital with acute pancreatitis that resulted from her latest treatment.

“There are times you just want to give up but you have to keep going,” she said. “Even when it’s hard you just have to keep fighting.”

After missing last year’s birthday because she was too ill, Snider said she’d hoped for some kind of party this year, even if it was something small. Mitchell told ABC News he was relieved that all involved managed to keep it a secret.

“I hated lying to her but she definitely bought it hook, line and sinker,” he said.

Mitchell said the only downside to the ruse was that Snider worked so hard on a speech she didn’t get to deliver. But Snider said she’s good with that.

“I was freaking out about it and I was so relieved I didn’t have to give it,” she said. “I’ll save it for another time.”


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