<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:33:43 -0500 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:33:43 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Highland Park Doctor Charged With MediPot Violation]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:54:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/dr-joseph-starkman-web.jpg

State regulators could strip a Highland Park doctor of his license over an alleged violation of the state's medical marijuana law.

Dr. Joseph Starkman last year told a 79-year-old patient he was qualified to use marijuana due to a previous glaucoma diagnosis and then charged the patient $250 for the sham paperwork, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said in a Monday release.

Starkman did not perform the eye exam on the patient, regulators allege. Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act only permits a physician who has a bona fide physician-patient relationship and is treating the patient’s qualifying debilitating medical condition to certify them for use of medical cannabis.

Furthermore, while regulations for growing, dispensing and registering patients for the legal use of medical cannabis were approved by a legislative committee on July 15, no licenses have been issued for growing or dispensing cannabis and no physician certification forms will be available until next month.

The IDFPR said Starkman established himself and his business as a cannabis clinic, doing business as "Integr8 Illinois," at 1732 1st St. in Highland Park, according to the state complaint.

A message seeking comment was left with Starkman's office on Tuesday. The complaint against him is the first in the state since medical marijuana became legal in Illinois.

Photo Credit: DoctorStarkman.com]]>
<![CDATA[Feeling the Pain of Lightning Strikes, Again and Again]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:38:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/72814+Lightning.jpg

Jeryll Hadley and a friend were trying to set up a tent over a campfire along California’s Gualala River 25 years ago, their hands on the metal center pole, when lightning struck the tree next to them, throwing them about 30 feet apart.

Both still standing, they looked at each other and he said, “’I think we’ve been zapped,’” she said. “The only thing I remembered during the event was my left hand, the one on the pole, was neon blue.”

“Of course I heard the loud noise, but it just felt like an implosion, very strange,” she said. “But other than that I didn’t feel anything and we went on through our camping trip.” 

Hadley, 67, of Ukiah, California, was left with burn marks on her throat and forehead, she said. Only later did she start having terrible pains in her shoulders, short-term memory loss, and a new anger that once led her to throw a wooden salt shaker at her first husband.

“That is not me,” she said.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles, Nick Fagnano, was killed and eight others hospitalized after a rare lightning storm on the beach in Venice.

“Those people that got hit, their life is going to be much different, I hate to say,” said Sandra Hardy, another California woman who survived a lightning strike. “It isn’t a one-time event.”

Sixteen people have been killed by lightning across the United States this year, according to the National Weather Service. Six of the deaths were in Florida, two in Colorado, and the others in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia.

About 10 percent of those who are struck die. Survivors, who primarily suffer from an injury to the nervous system, can have symptoms ranging from mild confusion and dizziness to long-term problems processing new information, chronic pain form nerve damage and depression.

Hadley did not start attributing her symptoms to the lightning strike until attending a conference with survivors. She is now on medication for her anger, sometimes garbles her speech and said that a doctor once compared her experience to an electric lobotomy. On the other hand, all symptoms of polycystic kidney disease that she had have disappeared, she said.

“For the most part I’m living a normal life,” she said.

Last year was a record low for lightning fatalities. Twenty-three people died, fewer than in any other year on record, data from the National Weather Service showed. That contrasted with the 432 people killed in 1943, the deadliest year.

Officials attribute the drop to a variety of factors, from better lightning protection to fewer corded phones to more awareness among emergency medical providers and advances in medical treatment. CPR and defibrillators are keeping people alive, said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service.

"We feel very glad that we've brought the number down but there's still many people out there that are unnecessarily either killed or injured by lightning," Jensenius said. "If they would just simply follow the simple guidelines, if you hear thunder you need to be inside, the simple saying, 'When thunder roars, go indoors,' there would be many more lives that would be saved and fewer injuries."

More than 9,200 people have been killed by lightning in the United States since 1940, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping records, NBC News reported. In the last 30 years, there have been 51 deaths on average each year.

The ground current is what kills or injures most people, Jensenius said.

"When lightning strikes a point, it doesn't disappear deep into the ground, it spreads out along the ground surface," he said.

Hardy, now 70, was driving home from California’s Mammoth Mountain in June 1998, when she got caught in a heavy rainstorm in Owens Valley.

“I could see the lightning strikes coming down on the ground, coming straight down, it was a heavy, heavy rainstorm, so I took off my watch, took off my glasses, I took the collar off my dog,” she said.

A lightning strike hit power lines at the side of the road and her car, she said.

“It just paralyzed me,” she said. “It killed the engine to the car and the car just rolled off to the side and I couldn’t really move or anything and a motorist came up behind me right away and he’s pounding on my door to open up the door.”

Hardy, who was a facilities manager for the Los Angeles County schools, could barely talk or remember how to get home and her kidneys were hurting her, she said.

“From that day on my body started to deteriorate,” she said.

Hardy, of Manhattan Beach, developed problems with her hearing, her vision, her bladder, her memory and by October of 2002, had acute symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her dog survived a year, but died after developing tumors, she said.

“The myth that you’re safe in a car, it should be corrected,” she said. “It’s not going to kill you but you’re not safe.”

The conference that Hadley attended was organized by Steve Marshburn, who was himself struck in 1969 in Swansboro, North Carolina, when lightning hit the drive-through window of the bank where he worked. He was sitting inside and it broke his back, he said. Other injuries became evident over the years, he said.

At the time there was little information for lightning strike survivors, but since then he has formed a group, Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors.

“There is help out there,” he said.


Photo Credit: Joey]]>
<![CDATA[Urban Garden Provides Jobs and Job Training In Englewood]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:51:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Growing+Farms.png Growing Home's Wood Street Urban Farm has been Making A Difference in the Englewood community since 2007. This organic garden provides an opportunity for those who have a hard time find employment. NBC 5's Art Norman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Food For Thought: Drinking Coffee]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:47:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/coffee_generic_1.jpg Sandy Goldberg discusses disease-fighting powers, downfalls and portion control when it comes to drinking coffee.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Chikungunya: What You Need to Know]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:40:24 -0500 Aedes aegypti mosquito.]]> Aedes aegypti mosquito.]]> http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/tlmd_virus_mortales_03.jpg

A person caught the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya in the United States this month, health officials say — marking the first time mosquitoes in the U.S. are believed to have spread it.

Other cases of the illness, which is relatively new to the Americas, have been reported in travelers returning home to FloridaNew YorkTexas and elsewhere, often after trips to the Caribbean.

Here is some key information about chikungunya and the virus that causes it.

How do you get chikungunya? Mosquitoes transmit the virus between people. The two species usually responsible, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, bite mostly during the day. In the U.S., they are found in the Southeast and in some parts of the Southwest, though Aedes albopictus also is found up through the Mid-Atlantic and in the lower Midwest.

What are the symptoms? The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, often in the hands and feet; also possible are muscle aches, headaches, joint swelling and a rash. Symptoms, which can be severe, usually begin three to seven days after a person is bitten. Most people feel better within a week, and death is rare, though joint pain can persist.

How do you treat chikungunya? There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. Medicines like ibuprofen, naproxen, paracetamol and acetaminophen can relieve fever and pain, though.

How do you avoid getting chikungunya? To protect yourself, try to avoid being bitten. Use air conditioning or window screens. Use insect repellant, and if possible, wear long sleeves and pants. Get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes can breed.

Who is most at risk for a severe case? Newborns exposed during delivery, people 65 and older and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease are at the highest risk.

What does the name mean? It is derived from a word in the Kimakonde language, spoken in southern Tanzania, where the virus was first detected. It means to become contorted or bent, describing the stooped appearance of someone suffering from joint pain.

Where has it been reported? Outbreaks have occured in Africa, Asia and Europe and on the islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The first case transmitted in the Americas was reported in the Caribbean in late 2013.

How do you pronounce chikungunya? Like this: chik-en-gun-ye.

Source: Centers for Disease and Prevention, World Health Organization

Photo Credit: wikicommons]]>
<![CDATA[Babies Get Herpes After Ritual: DOH]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 04:10:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_Circumcision0906_722x406_2119014932.jpg

Two more infants were diagnosed with herpes in New York this month after undergoing ritual Jewish circumcisions, the Health Department says.

In both cases, the infant boys were born to mothers with full-term pregnancies and normal deliveries. They were circumcised using the direct oral suction technique practiced by some Orthodox Jews eight days after their birth, and developed lesions on their genitals shortly thereafter, the Health Department said.

Their conditions Wednesday weren't immediately clear.

NYC to Require Consent for Oral Suction Ritual

There have been 16 confirmed cases of herpes since 2000 in newborn boys after circumcisions that likely involved direct oral suction, including three in 2014, according to the Health Department. 

Two of the infants died and at least two others suffered brain damage.

During the ancient ritual, the person performing the circumcision attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside. Authorities say the saliva contact could give the infant herpes, which is harmless in adults but could kill newborns.

In 2012, the Board of Health voted unanimously to require anyone performing circumcisions that involve oral suction to obtain written consent from a parent or guardian. The consent form delineates the potential health risks outlined by the Health Department. 

A group of Orthodox rabbis sued in an attempt to block the regulation, but a judge sided with the city.

The parents have to sign a form acknowledging that the city Health Department advises against the practice because of risks of herpes and other infections.

<![CDATA[Fruit Sold at Trader Joe's, Costco Recalled]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:02:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/07-21-2014-peaches-recall.jpg

If you love stone fruits, there's a new recall you should know about.

Wawona Packing Company, based in California's Central Valley, is recalling white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, and plum varieties.

The whole fruits were all packed between June 1 and July 12, and shipped to Trader Joe’s and Costco stores.

The concern is the fruit could be contaminated with listeria. The bacteria can cause dangerous, flu-like symptoms. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially susceptible.

More information – including a list of the specific products recalled – is available on the FDA website.

Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana Residents Test Positive for Painful Mosquito Virus]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:29:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP702217698660.jpg

A painful virus passed on by mosquitoes typically found in the Caribbean and Central America has made its way to Indiana.

Seven Indiana residents have tested positive for the Chikungunya virus, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The first case in the state was reported last month after a resident in Allen County tested positive for the virus.

Officials announced Thursday that six more cases have since been discovered.

The majority of those infected have traveled to the Caribbean, including four teens who were recently on mission trips to the area.

“Unfortunately, we did expect more cases in Indiana this summer with more Hoosiers traveling to the Caribbean for vacation, business or mission trips,” Jennifer Brown, DVM, State Public Health Veterinarian at the Indiana State Department of Health said in a statement.

Chikungunya has infected some 350,000 people and killed 21, and has been spreading throughout the Caribbean since December 2013. It is also found in Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific areas.

Though there have been cases seen in the U.S. before, the virus has recently been spreading to those who did not travel to the affected regions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chikungunya does not often cause death, but the symptoms can be severe, officials said. The most common symptoms are high fever, severe joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or a rash.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus, the ISDH reports.

State officials are telling residents to take the following precautions to protect against the mosquito-borne virus:

  • Avoid places where mosquitoes are biting, especially from late afternoon and dusk and dawn and early morning.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin and reapply as directed;
  • Use mosquito netting if you have exposure to the outdoors while sleeping in high-risk areas;
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; and,
  • When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Double Fatal Stabbing Prompts Hospital Lockdown]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:11:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/methodist-hospital.jpg

Methodist Hospital in Merrillville, Indiana, was placed on lockdown early Friday morning after an elderly patient was fatally stabbed there and another body was discovered at a nearby home in Gary, officials said.

The hospital patient, 80-year-old Margarine Haywood, was stabbed in an assault at about 12:30 a.m. Officials conducting a well-being check later found her husband, 88-year-old James Haywood,
slain at the couple's home on the 1500 block of Hovey Street in Gary shortly after 3 a.m., police said.

One man, described only as a man in his 40s, was located on the 3800 block of Carolina Street, was arrested, and was being questioned at the Gary Police Department. Authorities said the suspect knew both of the victims but did not elaborate.

"This is completely out of the ordinary and we do want to stress that although it seems as if this is some random act of violence. It is not," said Robert Wiley, the chief of detectives for the Merrillville Police Department.

It wasn't immediately known which victim was slain first. Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram said officials from the Lake County Coroner's Office were trying to make that determination.

The hospital facility, on the 8700 block of Broadway, in Merrillville, was put on lockdown immediately after the stabbing. That lockdown was lifted shortly after 5 a.m.

"I can assure you that the hospital is secure. Everyone is safe. Staff and patients are safe, and that the hospital is operating as usual, business as usual," said Wright Alcorn, the hospital's vice president of operations.

The hospital lockdown is the second in as many days in the Chicago area. Mount Sinai Hospital, on Chicago's west side, was locked down Thursday morning after what a hospital spokesperson said was a "possible threat."

Photo Credit: Sky 5 / NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Hospital Lockdown Lifted Following "Possible Threat"]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 06:05:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mt.-sinai-hospital-chi-2.jpg

Police lifted a lockdown at Mount Sinai Hospital on Chicago's west side Thursday afternoon.

Police responded to the facility shortly before 11 a.m. after it received a threatening phone call, and kept the lockdown in effect for more than 3 hours.

A Chicago police spokesperson said the lockdown was precautionary measure while police investigate.

"We received a possible threat and are taking all necessary precautions to protect the safety of our patients, employees and visitors," hospital spokeswoman Dianne Hunter told NBC Chicago at around 11:30 a.m. "It is at the recommendation of the Chicago Police Department that we are taking heightened precautions."

Police officers -- some wielding automatic weapons -- blocked the entrance to the emergency room and took up positions around the building. Police ordered pedestrians not to use the sidewalk in front of the hospital.

"I haven't seen this many machine guns since I was in the military," said Elijah Washington, who was visiting the hospital.

Some reports -- which were not confirmed by NBC Chicago -- indicated a man threatened to bring a gun to the facility.

"They said someone was inside the hospital threatening to shoot a lot of people up inside the hospital," said hospital visitor Doreatha Schaefer.

The facility, at 1500 S. California Ave., in the city's North Lawndale neighborhood, is a Level 1 trauma center with more than 300 beds.


Photo Credit: Charlie Wojciechowski]]>
<![CDATA[Long Lines at Pot Farmers Market]]> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 05:56:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/mm+farmers+market+noon.jpg

A large number of people were spending their Fourth of July in line to a unique kind of farmers market in Boyle Heights. The featured product: medical marijuana.

The lines were outside the door to the 20 to 30 medical marijuana growers inside the Boyle Heights California Heritage Market on Friday. Some people reported waiting up to an hour-and-a-half to get in.

Paizely Bradbury, the executive director of the farmers market, said she has been monitoring the line all morning long.

"I've been walking up and down the line. It's insane,” Bradbury said. “You are dealing with the growers themselves and you are going to get pretty much 70 percent off than a dispensary."

A grower, identifying himself only as Keith, said the response to the market has been tremendous so far on the first of a three-day event.

“So far this is crazy because nobody has seen the likes of this,” he said. “Neither farmers or people buying."

Membership and access to the market is free only to medical marijuana license holders, and organizers said ID’s were being checked before anyone entered.

Organizers said there is a possibility that the farmers market will be a weekly fixture if all goes well with the opening.


<![CDATA[LA Pot Dispensary Farmers Market]]> Sat, 28 Jun 2014 21:09:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/medical+marijuana+stock+cannabis.jpg

For some Los Angeles residents, the 4th of July weekend will be a chance to stock up on marijuana.

Patients eligible to use medical marijuana will be able to buy the drug directly from growers at a pot-centric farmers market. The California Heritage Market, which will feature 50 vendors, is open to any card-carrying medical marijuana patient in California.

“It will provide patients access to growers face to face,” said executive director Paizley Bradbury.

The market will be held in an enclosed outdoor area at West Coast Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Boyle Heights. Bradbury said organizers will check ID to verify that shoppers can buy marijuana before allowing them to enter.

The vendors have also been screened to ensure the market doesn’t “just let anybody come off the street.”

“A lot of people have been contacting me and saying, how are you doing this?” Bradbury said. “This is the legal way. This is what the laws are allowing us to do.”

Bradbury said the West Coast Collective decided to host the market out of frustration that the medical marijuana industry, especially in Los Angeles, has strayed from its original purpose of providing medicine to patients.

“Dispensary owners purchase medicine from growers and have created this market where their patients have no idea where their medicine is coming from,” she said.

She added that the city needs to do more to regulate growers and dispensaries, which she said often raise prices and give false information to patients. The farmers market, she said, will bring medical marijuana “back to its roots.”

A website for the event says the market "virtually guarantees that fresh medicine will be abundant and affordable."affordable.

The market, which also features food and games, will be held on July 4, 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the West Coast Collective. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[3D Mammograms Offer Sharper Results]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:34:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/obamacare-mammograms.jpg New technologies could help resolve some of the controversy around breast-cancer screening — potentially improving the accuracy of scans that detect the cancer. NBC 5's Nesita Kwan reports.]]> <![CDATA[Whooping Cough Epidemic in Calif.]]> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:42:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/whooping+cough+vaccine.jpg

The number of whooping cough cases in California has officially reached epidemic proportions, the California Department of Public Health reported.

Whooping cough, known to doctors as pertussis, has experienced a resurgence this year with more than 3,400 new cases reported between Jan. 1 and June 10, according a statement released by the department.

The department said whooping cough is cyclical, peaking every three to five years. The last big spike in cases was in 2010.

Los Angeles County has experienced about 350 new cases so far this year with Long Beach being hit especially hard. The city has seen more than 90 new infections, making up nearly 20 cases per 100,000 people.

Pertussis is a highly infectious bacterial disease that can be spread by coughing. Symptoms of the disease vary by age group.

Adults can find themselves beset with respiratory problems that can last for weeks, while infants who are too young to be vaccinated are in danger of serious illness or death. The common name for the disease comes from the “whooping” sound children can make when experiencing the violent coughing attacks associated with the disease.

Infants may not have typical pertussis symptoms and may have no apparent cough. Parents describe episodes in which the infant’s face turns red or purple.

The organization said two-thirds of pertussis hospitalizations have been in children aged 4 months or younger. Two infant deaths have been reported.

“Preventing severe disease and death in infants is our highest priority,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the department, in the statement. “We urge all pregnant women to get vaccinated. We also urge parents to vaccinate infants as soon as possible.”

The Tdap vaccine, which also guards against tetanus and diphtheria, can be administered to pregnant women to protect infants who are too young to be vaccinated.

In addition, the department said infants should be vaccinated as soon as possible, which can be as early as 6 weeks of age.

Older children and adults are also recommended to be vaccinated especially if they are regularly around newborn babies.

While Chapman said vaccination does not offer lifetime immunity, he stressed that it was still the best defense against the potentially fatal disease.

Photo Credit: NBCNewYork]]>
<![CDATA[The Health Benefits of Drinking Wine Explained]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:48:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edtAP1011180117961.jpg After a long day, a glass of wine may help ease some tension. But did you know it could also help your health? One glass of red wine could actually improve your memory.

<![CDATA[Medical Pot Bill Inspired by Girl]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 19:57:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP204780883216.jpg

On good days when her epileptic seizures aren't severe, RayAnn Moseley laughs, sings, dances, swims and practices with the children's choir at her church. She easily brings smiles to the people around her.

On bad days, the 11-year-old wakes up in bloody sheets or lies down on the school floor and says nothing all day. When her seizures become particularly intense, she is rushed to the hospital.

The images of those extremes collected in a collage helped persuade Florida lawmakers to support a bill that will soon allow parents to treat their epileptic children with marijuana that has a low amount of THC, the chemical that causes intoxication. What seemed improbable a few months ago is now about to become a law with the help of a severely epileptic girl whose story melted hearts.

"When we first started this, people were like, 'Are you crazy? It's never going to pass,'" said RayAnn's father, Peyton Moseley, who along with his wife, Holley, met with dozens of lawmakers showing them the photos of RayAnn. "They could see the difference when she's having good days as opposed to when she's having bad days. It helped to really put a face on it."

Even Gov. Rick Scott, who has firmly opposed medical marijuana, welcomed RayAnn into his office, hugged her and assured her parents he would sign the bill.

Once Scott signs the bill, which passed the Legislature overwhelmingly on the last day of this year's legislative session, strains of marijuana with low amounts of THC and high amounts of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used to treat seizures, will be legal in Florida for certain medical conditions.

Still, a handful of House members raised concerns, including a lack of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug's use and the possibility that the bill will open the door for wider spread use of marijuana.

"This could be the rifle shot that starts a massive avalanche," Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said after the vote. "When I look at that I simply can't pull the trigger."

The journey to passage began late last year when the Moseleys traveled from the Pensacola area to Colorado and talked to parents of epileptic children whose seizures have been reduced or eliminated after treating them with oil from a marijuana strain known as "Charlotte's Web," named for the epileptic girl it originally helped in 2012. They also talked to the Stanley brothers, marijuana growers who developed the strain, which is legal in Colorado.

That's when they decided to seek the treatment's legalization in Florida, teaming up with two lobbyists and a publicist who donated their time. Simultaneously, conservative Panhandle Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was being pressured by a Democratic colleague to support the idea of legalizing Charlotte's Web. He was skeptical, but willing to listen. He set up a phone call with the Stanley brothers, who told him about the Moseleys.

"I was not on fire for the issue until I got to meet the Moseleys," Gaetz said. "Sharing the Moseleys' story lit a fire in me that I couldn't find a way to put out until passing this bill."

Part of that story is how RayAnn came into the Moseleys' lives. RayAnn's birth mother was a prostitute and drug user. She often didn't get the medication doctors prescribed to treat the seizures that have tormented her since birth. The state took custody of RayAnn when she was 2, but it's not easy finding foster parents for a child with cerebral palsy and intractable epilepsy. They placed her at a hospital where Holly Moseley, a pediatric nurse, saw her in a crib covered with netting.

"We just connected. You just can't help but fall in love with those blue eyes," Moseley said. "You could just see inside of her that need for love."

Three days later, Moseley was off but couldn't help thinking about RayAnn stuck in a crib that looked like a cage. Christmas was approaching and she got permission to have RayAnn join her family for the holidays.

"She laughed the whole night - there was just a big smile on her face," Moseley said. Right after Christmas, the Moseleys hired a lawyer and started a three-year fight to adopt RayAnn, whose birth mother resisted giving her up. The same month Moseley gave birth to her first of two biological children, RayAnn became the couple's adoptive daughter.

"On the good days, it's fabulous," said her teacher, Angela Pettus. "She is just so much fun, she is such a joy. She keeps us laughing, she keeps us entertained."

But on the bad days she can be angry and frustrated either by the side effects of her medications or when her seizures increase in intensity.

"She will go through spurts of extreme growth where she's getting things, things are starting to click. She's doing great, she's reading, she's comprehending, she's doing math," Pettus said. "Then she'll go through a period of seizures and she'll lose a lot of it and we're back to square one again. It's hard to watch that in a child."

"There's just a lot of intelligence in there, that if they could get her seizures under control and they could get her leveled out, her doors could be wide open," Pettus said.

RayAnn's cerebral palsy affects her ability to speak and, while her parents understand her, most people have a difficult time communicating with her. The Moseleys hope that could change with help from Charlotte's Web.

"In the state of Colorado we do know that 85 percent of children who are using non-euphoric marijuana to control seizures and spasms have seen a 50 to 100 percent reduction in those seizures," Gaetz said.

"I imagine that there's this whole other inner being in RayAnn that hasn't come out yet that wants to come out, that just hasn't physically been able to come out. I just look really look forward to meeting her for the first time pharmaceutical free," Peyton Moseley said. "I don't think God has brought us this far for it not to work."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Formerly Conjoined Twins to Go Home]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 05:56:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ezell+Twins+06.JPG

The formerly-conjoined Ezell twins are sharing an exciting milestone -- they'll soon be headed home for good.

Mom Jenni Ezell said Emmett and Owen are going home on Wednesday.

The babies were once conjoined breast bone to belly button, but a Dallas doctor was able to surgically separate them at Medical City Children's Hospital last August.

The boys are currently at Our Children's House at Baylor for rehab, but mom said the twins are strong and even breathing on their own.

The twins left Medical City in April for the inpatient rehabilitation center.

Photo Credit: Ezell Family/Medical City Children's Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Interfaith House Heals Homeless Community]]> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:12:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/INTERFAITH+HOUSE.png Interfaith House provides a healing environment for the homeless of Chicago. They have been Making A Difference since 1994 by changing over 7,000 lives. NBC 5's Art Norman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Quinn Signs Law Requiring Students Learn CPR]]> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:18:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/CPR+demo.jpg

Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday signed legislation requiring that Illinois high school students learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other safety skills.

"It is not often our high school students are faced with the opportunity to save a life," Quinn said in a statement after the bill-signing ceremony in Normal. "Should an emergency arise, we want our students ready to step in and take action."

The new law also requires students to get trained on automated external defibrillators.

"This common-sense law will make sure they are better prepared to help their classmates, teachers, family and friends in case of an emergency," he said.

The bill -- HB3724 -- was prompted by paramedic George Laman. His daughter, who had a heart condition, collapsed and died in 2008 during drill team practice at a suburban Chicago high school. Quinn's office said an AED was available at the school, but not used until paramedics arrived. Her family believes her life could've been saved had someone known how to use it.

The legislation was sponsored by sponsored by State Representative Daniel Burke (D-Chicago) and State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago).

<![CDATA[NJ Baby Latest to Die in Nap Nanny]]> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 03:54:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edt-AP31966872310.jpg

An 8-month-old baby girl in New Jersey is the latest child to die in the recalled infant recliner known as the Nap Nanny. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the Hopatcong baby was secured into the chair by a belt but was found hanging over its side, trapped between the chair and a crib bumper.

The agency is warning parents, again, not to use the chairs. Several children have died in them, the CPSC says.

The Nap Nanny was designed to mimic the curves of a baby car seat, elevating an infant slightly to help reduce reflux, gas, stuffiness or other problems.

The commission says the chairs are not being sold in stores any longer but are still a popular product at yard sales, online auctions or as hand-me-down gifts.

"The products are hazardous and it is illegal to sell or resell them," CPSC says.

The agency did not say when the New Jersey girl died.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Ranks 15 in Annual List of Fittest Cities]]> Wed, 28 May 2014 11:51:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Gym-workout-weights-generic.jpg

The Chicago area knows how to work it.

The metropolitan area ranked 15th in the annual American Fitness Index, identifying the healthiest and fittest areas in the United States.

“The AFI data report is a snapshot of the state of health in the community," Dr. Walter Thompson, chair of the AFI Advisory Board, said in a statement, "and an evaluation of the infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles. These measures directly affect quality of life in our country’s urban areas.”

The American College of Sports Medicine unveiled the list Wednesday with the top five spots going to Washington D.C.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Portland, Oregon; Denver; and San Francisco.

Memphis, Tennessee, ranked last, topped by Louisville, Kentucky, at No. 49, Oklahoma City at No. 48 and Indianapolis at No. 47.

The Chicago area received a score of 56.6 out of 100 possible points. Washington, D.C., scored the highest at 77.3, and Memphis scored the lowest with 24.8.

Researchers, with help from the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and 26 health and physical activity experts, analyzed data from the U.S. Census, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System among other data to award points and give a snapshot of the health and fitness of each area.

“Health advocates and community leaders have come to expect the arrival of the American Fitness Index as an annual check-up regarding their community’s health and fitness levels,” Thompson said.

<![CDATA[T-Shirt Company Keeps Disabled Veterans On The Move]]> Mon, 26 May 2014 10:48:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000007341207_1200x675_266201667763.jpg The Oscar Mike T-shirt company was founded by Noah Currier, a Marine veteran who was left paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. He is making a difference by helping disabled veterans get to adaptive sporting events. NBC Chicago's Art Norman reports]]> <![CDATA[LA Residents Show No Signs of MERS After Exposure: Officials]]> Wed, 28 May 2014 14:51:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP13061817965.jpg

Note: The CDC said on May 28 it was incorrect in reporting that an Illinois man caught MERS from another person. See the updated story here.

At least 16 people in Los Angeles County exposed to MERS on a flight from Florida showed no signs of having contracted the virus, health officials said Thursday.

The group shared an airplane with a Florida man who worked in Saudi Arabia and was the second confirmed case in the US to have contracted the mysterious virus, according to the LA County Department of Public Health.

Health officials interviewed and tested all 16 people and said no one in the group showed any signs of having MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, officials said.

"This information should alleviate any fears," a health department spokesperson said.

MERS has been confirmed in more than 500 people globally, including three recent cases in the US. At least 171 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.

MERS is a new virus, but it is not yet a global emergency or epidemic. Two of the American cases were health workers in Saudi Arabia, and the third case caught it from the first man who contracted it.

The virus spreads from one person to another, but not very well, and usually only with close and prolonged contact.

The symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is no specific treatment yet, but early intervention can improve chances of recovering.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Target, Trader Joe's Hummus Recalled Over Listeria Concerns]]> Thu, 22 May 2014 16:46:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP517020972850.jpg

Lansal, Inc. issued a voluntary recall Thursday of more than seven tons of hummus sold at Target and Trader Joe's stores across the country because of concerns about a possible listeria contamination.

Though no illness has been reported, Lansal said the potential for contamination was discovered during a routine test of Target Archer Farms Traditional Hummus.

Beyond the national recall of certain items, Illinois was specifically included in the recall of two Trader Joe's dips: 24-ounce 5 Layered Dip Large and 11.5 ounce 5 Layered Dip Small.

Tryst Yellow Lentil Hummus with Sunflower Seeds & Apricots was recalled in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest regions of the country.

The national recall included the following Target products: 10-ounce Target Archer Farms Traditional Hummus, 17-ounce Target Archer Farms Roasted Garlic with Roasted Garlic Tapenade and 17-ounce Target Archer Farms Roasted Red Pepper with Roasted Red Pepper Topping.

Stores and distributors were told to remove all affected products from sale, and Lansal said it's working with state Departments of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and local authorities to get the word out.

The organism Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems, according to a statement from the FDA. 

Symptoms may include headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. A listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women, according to the FDA.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Resident Tests Positive for MERS]]> Mon, 19 May 2014 05:56:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP13061817965.jpg

An Illinois resident who had contact with an Indiana MERS patient has tested positive for the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Local health officials said the Illinois resident did not seek or require medical care, showing no signs of the virus, but his health has been monitored and he is said to be feeling well, the CDC reports.

This marks the third confirmed case of the virus in the United States, after a second case was reported in Florida earlier this week.

The first reported case of the deadly respiratory virus known as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) in the United States was discovered earlier this month after an American working as a health care worker in Saudi Arabia flew into the U.S. through Chicago.

The patient, who was treated at Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., has since been released from the hospital and is said to be doing well, officials said.

Officials are now investigating after evidence shows a MERS infection in an Illinois man who had close contact with the Indiana patient.

The Illinois resident does not have any recent history of travel outside of the United States, but met with the Indiana patient on two occasions shortly before the patient was identified as having MERS.

Officials said the patient shook hands with the Indiana man and later reported having minor cold-like symptoms.

As part of their follow-up investigation, a local health department contacted the Illinois resident, who tested negative for the virus on May 5. On Friday, however, the test result came back positive.

“The risk to the general public still remains low,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “It was out of an abundance of caution that we conducted rigorous follow-up with this individual and have identified this person to have been infected with MERS-CoV at one time. Previous MERS-CoV illnesses have not shown to be spread easily from person-to-person in communities. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), working with our local health departments, will remain vigilant for any new MERS-CoV infections and we are prepared with surveillance, guidance and testing to handle any additional infections.”

Public health officials are still working to collect blood samples from people who were identified as close contacts of the Indiana patient, according to the CDC, and efforts are under way to identify, notify, test, and monitor close contacts of the Illinois resident.

CDC officials explained that these laboratory test results are preliminary and suggest that the Illinois resident probably got the virus from the Indiana patient and the person's body developed antibodies to fight the virus.

"This latest development does not change CDC's current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS," said David Swerdlow, M.D., who is leading the CDC's MERS-CoV response. "It's possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick. Along with state and local health experts, CDC will investigate those initial cases and if new information is learned that requires us to change our prevention recommendations, we can do so."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Loyola Performs Five Lung Transplants In One Day]]> Fri, 16 May 2014 05:56:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Loyola_lung_transplants.jpg

On any given day, five lung transplant surgeries are performed in hospitals across the country, but last week Loyola University Medical Center performed five of the surgeries in one day.

It's the first time this has ever happened in Illinois, and the procedures -- performed in a 24 hour period between May 8 and 9 -- required around-the-clock work from a huge team of doctors and nurses with four of the surgeries occurring at the same time in two operating rooms.

Julie D'Agostino was one of the recipients of a new lung. She needed the surgery after a 2011 transplant failed when she was a teenager.

"Julie and I are now related. We share a set of lungs together," said 68-year-old Robert Senander, a judge who received the other lung from one of the donors.

"He's my brother from another mother," D'Agostino said.

The lungs for the surgeries came from a total of three donors.

"Our goal when we woke up was not to do five transplants in 24 hours, but when the offers come ... some patients can't walk across the room, can't talk without becoming conversationally short of breath," Dr. Jeffery Schwartz said.

A week later, the patients are already surprised at how things they could barely do before are now easy, which will become the new normal.

"We are all blessed. Some more than others, but we are all blessed," patient Roderick Beck said.

Around 1,800 lung transplants are performed in the U.S. every year.


<![CDATA[Airports Post MERS Warning Signs]]> Thu, 15 May 2014 00:45:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MERS_sign.jpg MERS health warning signs are popping up at airports across the country to alert travelers about the threat of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. NBC5’s Nesita Kwan reports.]]> <![CDATA[2nd U.S. MERS Case Reported]]> Tue, 13 May 2014 06:30:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP13061817965.jpg

A second case of the deadly respiratory illness known as MERS has been discovered in the United States, health officials confirmed Monday.

The new case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, reported in Florida, comes 10 days after the first case of the virus was reported in the country. The first patient, a man who lived in Saudi Arabia and traveled to Chicago on a planned trip to visit family, recovered from the illness and was released from the hospital over the weekend.

The Florida patient is a healthcare provider who lives and works in Saudi Arabia and began feeling sick on a flight to London, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health said at a news conference Monday.

The patient traveled on to Boston and Atlanta before arriving in Orlando on May 1, the CDC said. The patient was visiting family and didn't go to any of the area theme parks, officials said.

On May 8, the patient was hospitalized. Tests by the CDC confirmed the MERS Sunday night. The patient remains isolated in the hospital and is doing well, the CDC said.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and a syndrome known as SARS, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003. Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that country last spring.

Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

Officials said the disease isn't highly contagious, but there is no cure.

The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.

Officials said the risk is relatively low for the Florida case but they are doing everything possible to find people who may have had contact with the patient. They are tracking down the 500 or so passengers who may have been on the three flights in the U.S. out of an abundance of caution.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[MERS Patient Released from Indiana Hospital]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 10:56:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*122/5-31-MERS.jpg

A patient who was battling the first confirmed U.S. case of a deadly new respiratory illness has been released from the hospital, officials said Friday.

“The patient has tested negative for MERS, is no longer symptomatic and poses no threat to the community,” said Dr. Alan Kumar, chief medical information officer, Community Hospital in Munster. “Community Hospital finalized its discharge plan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Department of Health, and the patient was discharged from the hospital. We are proud of our medical staff for recognizing and responding quickly to this incident, and we wish to thank the CDC and the ISDH for their assistance and collaboration.”

The hospital and state confirmed that the patient, who lives in Saudi Arabia and came to the United States on a planned trip to visit family, was the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in the United States.

The first tests on those who came in close contact with the patient, including his family members and about 50 hospital employees, have yielded no new cases. Indiana Health Commissioner William VanNess attributed that fact to the swift response by hospital staff and the cooperation of local, state and federal authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"At this point, it appears that MERS picked the wrong hospital, the wrong state and the wrong country to try to get a foothold," VanNess said at a Monday morning press briefing.

The patient checked himself into Community Hospital on April 28 after feeling ill. Dr. Daniel Feikin, an epidemiologist with the CDC, said the patient works in a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Ariabia. He flew from Riyadh through London to Chicago on April 24 before boarding a bus to Indiana.

The man's symptoms appeared after he was in the United States, Feikin said.

"Although we didn't know where it would happen, we're not surprised that MERS-CoV has come to the United States," said Feikin. "We know that infectious diseases do not respect international boundaries. In this day and age of global travel and trade, infectious diseases can spread almost anywhere."

Feikin said CDC officials were using the flight manifest to contact about 100 other passengers who were on the plane with the patient. About 75 of them had been reached by Monday morning and none were exhibiting symptoms, he said. Additionally, none of the "about 10" people who were on the bus were symptomic.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003. Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that country last spring.

Officials said Monday the patient did not recall working directly with a MERS patient in Riyadh but said the hospital where he worked did have some MERS cases.

Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

Officials said the disease isn't highly contagious, but there is no cure.
The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>