Since the day we are born, doctors continue to be our heroes throughout bouts of colds and fevers. On occasion, they will stand out, birthing babies (or sometimes gorillas) in the middle of their own deliveries. Santa Rosa doctor Scott Witt defied the odds when he hopped on a motorcycle to rescue eight preemies from a fire.
“I got a call at 2 a.m. basically saying that there was some fire encroaching on the hospital so so we might have to evacuate,” said Dr. Witt.
“In California, you can split lanes so I just kind of went down the middle of lanes and got past everybody,”
Four miles from the center and an additional six from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Witt braved a number of treacherous highways. Witt and his family lost their home, but his wife could not have been prouder of his actions.
“If my baby was in the hospital… I mean I’m a little biased but I would totally want them to be in some hands like Scott’s,” said Megan Witt.
Witt also trailed ambulances for three hours on several trips justifying not only his courage, but that a BMW is a pretty sturdy bike.
After delivering her baby brother, 12-year-old Jacee Dellapena decided she wanted to be an OB-Gyn. These dreams are not so uncommon. For 24-year-old Montana Brown, realizing her dream of becoming a nurse doesn’t seem simple at all. A two-time cancer survivor, Brown decided she would pay it forward in the very hospital she was treated in.
When she was 2 years old, Brown was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of childhood cancer of the connective tissue. She underwent chemotherapy for a year at the AFLAC Cancer Center.
Brown had gone into remission, only to later find out, at the age of 15, that her cancer had returned. The same nurses that cared for her 13 years prior were once again by her side. Brown has since expressed her deepest gratitude for their compassion.
“The nurses here, as great as they were when I was 2… they were extremely loving and caring and compassionate. And, just the love they showed me and my family in our time of need just really helped me,” she said. “It helped me want to become as kind and as caring and as compassionate as they were for me.”
Brown has come full circle and is now a pediatric oncologist at the AFLAC Cancer Center. I suppose that sometimes, the best way to pay it forward is to have a look back.
Just last month, twin sisters Marian and Mary Jane Fields took their sisterhood to the next level after undergoing a skin transplant. Now, kidney donees Annie MacDonald and Kim Moncion are bonding over their same-donor transplants. While their medical conditions were hard to deal with, their experience has brought them closer than ever.
“I looked into it and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, she’s literally down the road,'” MacDonald said.
“We’ve got a connection now… We’re kidney twins.”
Doctors broke the good news to MacDonald after five years on dialysis, while Moncion was luckier, waiting in the wings only a few months. MacDonald is hoping to reach out to the donor’s family in order to thank them for saving her life.
“Hopefully in a year I can send a letter to the family to let them know how grateful I am,” she said.
“They’re my hero. It’s amazing what gift they’ve given us. Even if I don’t hear back, at least I can reach out and tell them how happy I am and what they’ve given me.”
Dr. Derek Chaudhary, who tended to both women, is hosting a kidney walk to honor not only MacDonald and Moncion, but all patients in need of transplants. The fresh donees are proof that good can come of the darkest of moments.
As new medicine continues to break ground, healthy life hacks are bringing to light the strangest ingredients. From avocado husks to curry powder, the spectrum of power foods seems never-ending. The fact of the matter is — there are no limitations. In a recent study, a team at the Rockefeller University (literally) unearthed a previously undiscovered antibiotic in soil samples.
Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA.
With over 700,000 people falling victim to drug-resistant diseases a year, the discovery is a huge sigh of relief. Gene sequencing proved the antidote’s ability to cure skin wounds. However exciting, the wait is going to be a long one.
Dr. [Sean] Brady said: “It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic.
“It is a long, arduous road from the initial discovery of an antibiotic to a clinically used entity.”
In the meantime, stick to moisturizer, people — flower pot dirt won’t do you any good.
Delivering a baby is always a unique experience. You could be a preteen delivering your brother or an OB-Gyn delivering a gorilla. Regardless, the journey is always different. Pregnant doctor Amanda Hess thought she’d only be birthing her own child when she stepped out to deliver another woman’s baby.
While waiting to begin the procedures to have her labor induced, she glanced at the computer screen in her room that alerts the medical staff to patients’ conditions and noticed that an unknown woman was having complications with her pregnancy.
“I heard nurses running down the hallway,” Hess says. “I said, ‘Do you guys need some help?’”
Patient Leah Halliday-Johnson’s baby was experiencing sharp drops in her heartbeat. When Hess learned that the on-call OB-Gyn was not on duty, she immediately took action.
Dr. Hess, in practice about seven years, says occasionally women deliver a baby in the hospital when a doctor can’t make it in time and in those cases, the nurses handle the birth.
But Dr. Hess didn’t mind at all, and afterward returned to her own room and started the medication to induce her own labor.
To us, the decision may have demanded more thought — but to Dr. Hess, it was a total no-brainer.
There is much debate as to whether certain jobs should be handed over to artificial intelligences or remain to be carried out by a human workforce. Human error plays a huge role in why most industries choose to replace employees with machines. Researchers from the University of Utah are helping to minimize these risks with a new robot that can complete complicated procedures up to 50 times quicker than its human counterparts.
The robot can reduce the time it takes to drill into the skull from two hours to two-and-a-half minutes.
The robot is guided around vulnerable areas of the skull by data gleaned from CT scans and entered into the robot’s programming.
The CT scans show the programmer the location of nerves or veins that the bot will have to avoid.
Not only is the machine less prone to erring, it is also cutting surgery costs, as shorter surgeries are cheaper. While robotic surgeons are mostly prototypes, the day they become the norm doesn’t seem too far off.
With a plethora of existing conditions and viruses, the need to improve healthcare systems never stops. As hospitals and clinics are not always readily available to the majority (or perhaps we’d prefer an apple a day to keep the doctor away), app empire Swype has raised $8.5 million for Xealth, a web platform connecting patients and doctors.
Founded in May 2016, Xealth is a cloud-based digital platform that allows doctors to prescribe digital treatments such as instructional videos to patients.
“Healthcare’s just such a big challenge for the U.S. right now,”
“It felt like that big problem for all of us was worth attacking, and it seemed like it was also well poised to get disrupted digitally,”
The main issue lies in third party vendors, whose digital tools cannot be shared by doctors if they are not integrated with their hospital system.
Xealth is basically a connective tissue that lets hospitals and vendors hook up through the cloud and bypass all that work.
Xealth also tracks if patients are completing tasks [prescribed by doctors].
Doctors can easily keep tabs on patients and make sure they are following the instructions given to them. After all, we all know that one guy who never follows the regime.
While Xealth isn’t going to replace physical consultations, it is predicted to have a great impact on users. Xealth endorses other services such as shared decision-making programs and collation of patient data.
Developers are always looking for ways to make healthcare more accessible to the everyday smartphone user. The FitBit specializes in monitoring one’s daily steps and heart rate while Fooducate recognizes eating habits. It’s safe to say that Apple is determined to jump on the health-junkie bandwagon.
According to at least two sources in the know, Apple envisions creating a system that would enable patients to store vital health data… so it could easily be shared at the patient’s discretion with their doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers, on command.
Apple is tackling the longtime healthcare issue of data sharing between patients and doctors.
The same problem Apple is trying to solve in creating this iPhone-based healthcare data system is something the healthcare industry has been grappling with for years now. Patients often find that their healthcare data can’t easily be shared with or between their doctors — even despite today’s increasingly digital landscape.
How effective can this new system be?
Apple does have one key advantage: the majority of healthcare practitioners use iOS — with over 1 billion Apple devices currently active around the globe.
Lately, Apple has been taking major leaps towards improving the everyday lives of users in areas of finance, education, and health.
Do you think Apple is revolutionizing the healthcare industry?
Every now and then, we hear about unlikely heroes on the Internet. Some have pulled kittens out of pipes. Others have dove into canals to save dogs. But OB-gyn Rebekah McCurdy has gone above and beyond, delivering a baby gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo via C-section.
[Philadelphia Zoo] wanted someone on standby in case any of the [primate] pregnancies became complicated.
For a while, these precautions proved unnecessary… But when Kira, the second female gorilla, went into labor last Thursday, things took a different turn.
While obstetric gynecologists are trained to deliver infants, non-human offspring require a different kind of attention.
Gorillas are clearly very different from humans. Their pelvis is both wider than ours, and larger relative to the baby. The babies are also proportionally smaller.
Still, gorillas are among our closest relatives, and their reproductive parts are similar enough to ours that McCurdy could easily apply all of her experience despite never having dealt with a non-human patient before.
McCurdy is unimaginably proud of her newest achievement.
To have delivered a western lowland gorilla—a critically endangered ape with fewer than 100,000 individuals left in the wild—was an “incredible privilege,” [says McCurdy].
“It wasn’t until afterwards that it really hit me. Oh my, I believe I just delivered a gorilla.”
McCurdy herself was also 28 weeks pregnant during the surgery, making her a true supermom.