Elderly man kills wife because they couldn't afford her medicine

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William J. Hager of Port St. Lucie, Florida is a 86 year old man who confessed to shooting his 76 year old wife, Carolyn Hager, in her sleep, because the couple could no longer afford her medications, leaving her in pain and wanting to die. Read the rest

Emergency room doctors used a patient's FitBit to determine how to save his life

The same Fitbit model reported to have saved a man's life in the emergency room. [photo: fitbit.com]

Many of us wear fitness trackers to motivate ourselves to be more active. But after a 42-year-old man in New Jersey had a seizure at work, some very smart emergency room doctors used data they saw on his Fitbit Charge HR to decide on the best way to treat him. They decided to reset his heart rate with electrical cardioversion. His Fitbit may have saved his life.

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After six months of sickness, 5-year-old blows safety pin from nose

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For six months, 5-year-old Khloe Russell was battling what seemed to be a nasty sinus infection. Unfortunately, no antibiotics seemed to help. Last weekend, Khloe's uncle said, "Your nose, it's disgusting. Blow your nose, blow your nose.'" She did, and a blackened, disintegrating safety pin emerged. Khloe feels much better now. From UPI:

"She found a safety pin and being a kid wanted to stick it up there to see how far it would go and thought she dropped it not realizing it had lodged itself in her nose. We went to the same doctor and to urgent cares contracted through our doctors when there wasn't an available appointment. All the doctors looked up her nose but didn't see anything. My daughter didn't mention anything because she didn't realize it had gone into her nose," Powell wrote in the comments to this UPI story.

Powell also told UPI that she's getting "some of the most horrendous hate mail in regards to my parenting skills. I hope people can understand that this can happen to their children and that it doesn't make their children stupid for doing it or not saying anything after."

Read the rest

The products most associated with emergency room visits

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Nathan Yau created an interactive visualization of Consumer Product Safety Commission data on emergency room visits spurred by product-related injuries. At the top are floor and stair injuries followed by various sports and bed injuries.

"Why People Visit the Emergency Room" (FlowingData) Read the rest

Man's head audibly ticked like a clock

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If you stood next to Sankey Flynn (1918-2001) of Greensboro, North Carolina, you might have thought he had a wristwatch in his head. An audible tick-tock sound could be heard coming from Flynn's ears about twice a second.

According to physicians, the noise came from the "spasmodic contraction of muscles in the roof of his mouth. This causes the eustachian tube, leading from the throat to the ears, to open and shut making the peculiar noise."

Clipping above from the Waynesville Mountaineer, June 1, 1950; Below, from the Somerset Daily American, Feb 26, 1951.

(via Weird Universe)

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Amazing face transplant gives firefighter new mug

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In 2001, the roof of a flaming building fell on volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison, burning his firefighting mask onto his head. As a result, Hardison, now 41, has spent more than a decade without a face. Now, Hardison has the face of David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old who died in a bicycling accident and donated much of his body for transplant. Surgeon Eduardo Rodriguez and a team at the New York University Langone Medical Center performed the facial transplant, "the most extensive" in history according to the hospital.

Hardison also received a new scalp, ears, ear canals, chin and cheek bones, and Rodebaugh's nose. Previously unable to close his eyes totally, he now has eyelids and also muscles for blinking.

New York University paid for the transplant, totaling $850,000 to one million dollars.

"Biography of a Face" (New York Magazine via CNN) Read the rest

The first drawings of neurons

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In 1837, Italian physician Camilo Golgi devised a reaction to stain the wispy dendrites and axons of neurons, making it possible to see brain cells in situ. In 1875, he published his first scientific drawing made possibly by his chemical reaction, seen here. It's an illustration of the never fibers, gray matter, and other components of a dog's olfactory bulb. "The First Neuron Drawings, 1870s" (The Scientist) Read the rest

Penis-less man tells of his active sex life

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Andrew Wardle suffers from a rare medical condition that prevented him from developing a penis. The 40-year-old man claims that he has been intimate with more than 100 women and most of them never knew he was missing a member.

“I knew my way around a woman’s body, I knew my way around their mind,” Wardle says. “I was very confident in bed of what I could do to them so they wouldn’t come near me and they were finished and I was fine.”

And when that didn't work, he told his partners not to bother because recreational drugs, or kidney disease, made it impossible for him to get an erection at the time.

Wardle is currently undergoing procedures to have a penis constructed from muscle tissue. His story is the subject of a new TV documentary.

(The Independent) Read the rest

Sex probably won't give you a heart attack

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"Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack," said Ulm University medical researcher Dr. Dietrich Rothenbache about a new study. From UPI:
In relation to their heart attacks, only 0.7 percent of participants they'd had sex within an hour before their heart attack and more than 78 percent of participants said they hadn't had sex in at least 24 hours before having the heart attack. Based on this, and a total of 100 adverse cardiovascular events among the participants in 10 years of following up with them, researchers said sexual activity does not appear to be a risk factor for heart attack.

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Startling animated MRIs of fruits and vegetables

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Andy Ellison, an MRI technologist at Boston University Medical School, put fruits and vegetables through the medical scanner and created these remarkable GIFs. Above, tomato. Below, jackfruit, corn, and onion. See many more at Andy's blog: Inside Insides

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Video of man singing opera while undergoing brain surgery

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Professional singer Ambroz Bajec-Lapajne sang opera during neurosurgery for a brain tumor, at his physicians' request so they could monitor his singing ability and "avoid deficits after the procedure," he writes. Read the rest

Brief history of Quaaludes

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Quaaludes, the pills Bill Cosby admitted giving to women so he could have sex with them, are a prescription sedative that took off as a recreational drug during the 1970s disco era. In 1985, commercial production ceased and clandestine synthesis began. Read the rest

Bathe in crude oil at Azerbaijan spa

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You can visit a spa in Naftalan, Azerbaijan and relax in a bath of crude oil, a "medicinal treatment" that apparently goes back to the 6th century. Careful though, the oil contains naphthalene, a possible human carcinogen. Read the rest

Unconscious patient recorded medical team insulting the hell out of him

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A man who was anesthetized for a colonoscopy in Reston, Virginia was surprised to hear a recording on his smartphone of the anesthesiologist and others on the medical team acting like total assholes and mocking him while he was unconscious. According to the Washington Post, he had hit record before going under "to capture the instructions his doctor would give him after the procedure." In the resulting lawsuit, the jury awarded the fellow $100,000 for defamation, $200,000 for medical malpractice, and $200,000 in punitive damages. From the Washington Post:

“After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op,” the anesthesiologist (Tiffany M. Ingham, 42) told the sedated patient, “I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit,” she was recorded saying.

When a medical assistant noted the man had a rash (on his penis, which he previously mentioned to the Ingham), the anesthesiologist warned her not to touch it, saying she might get “some syphilis on your arm or something,” then added, “It’s probably tuberculosis in the penis, so you’ll be all right.”

When the assistant noted that the man reported getting queasy when watching a needle placed in his arm, the anesthesiologist remarked on the recording, “Well, why are you looking then, retard?”

...The discussion soon turned to the rash on the man’s penis, followed by the comments implying that the man had syphilis or tuberculosis. The doctors then discussed “misleading and avoiding” the man after he awoke, and Shah reportedly told an assistant to convince the man that he had spoken with Shah and “you just don’t remember it.” Ingham suggested Shah receive an urgent “fake page” and said, “I’ve done the fake page before,” the complaint states.

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Tech projects vein maps during blood donations

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is testing a technology to project a vein map on the arms of blood donors during the phlebotomy.

"Vein visualisation technology uses near infrared technology to project an image of the vein onto the skin," says Dr. Dan Waller, a senior researcher with the organization. "Veins have a lot of deoxygenated haemoglobin that absorbs near infrared light and the device is able to use this information to project the image. The machines have settings to manage individual differences.

"World-first vein viewing tech trial is... not in vain!" (Australian Red Cross) Read the rest

More in US die from prescription narcotics than car crashes, guns, suicide

More than 100 Americans die each day from prescription drug overdoses, mostly painkillers. That's more daily deaths than from car accidents, gunshot wounds, or suicides. In California, two county District Attorneys are suing five of the biggest drug companies in the world, and the lawsuits include the same kind of arguments once used against big tobacco industry, demanding "public protection."

Warren Olney's "To the Point" radio show has a segment on the topic today:

The companies are accused of a "campaign of deception" to persuade doctors that narcotic painkillers are safer than they really are. But the narcotic painkillers involved have been approved by the FDA. Is a government agency helping create a "population of addicts?" What's the role of physicians who write the prescriptions? Are they ill-informed, poorly trained or trying to make money?
More on the case at advocacy group harmreduction.org, and there's a Los Angeles Times writeup here. Read the rest

Man survives chainsaw in the neck (X-ray!)

This X-ray shows the chainsaw that was embedded in the neck of James Valentine, 21, of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, when he arrived at the hospital on Monday. After delicate surgery and just thirty stitches, he's now walking around and talking. Valentine said he was at work cutting trees when the chainsaw "kicked back" into his neck. The chainsaw stopped about 1/4 of an inch from the carotid artery that brings oxygenated blood to the head. His coworkers held the blade in place until medics took over. (CNN) Read the rest

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