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Shannon and Mike Gimbel faced an agonizing choice. Doctors told them one of the twin girls they were expecting needed to be terminated or both would die. Doctors at Swedish Medical Center had diagnosed Gimbel's twins with Twin-To-Twin Syndrome, or TTTS. It is a condition in which the twins are connected by blood vessels. One twin literally drains the life out of the other. Left untreated, there is an 80 to 90 percent chance that one or both will die.

Shannon and Mike were struggling with the suggestion to terminate the weaker baby when their physician at Swedish, Dr. Kent Heyborne, approached them with another option. He'd made contact with Drs. Robert Bell and Michael Belfort of St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Utah surgeons teamed with those at Swedish to perform laser surgery in the womb to cauterize the blood vessels that were connecting, and slowly killing, the twins.

Shannon says she remembers holding her breath as a nurse used an ultrasound to listen for heartbeats after the surgery. One, then another. Both girls had made it. Reese and McKenna Gimbel were born at Swedish two months later.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 0 comments READ FULL POST


A teenager went into a coma and awoke speaking another language. The case of Sandra Ralic, 13, has doctors baffled. She spoke Croatian before, but since waking up from her 24 hour coma, she has been unable to speak Croatian, but is able to communicate perfectly in German.

Her parents say she had only just started studying German at her school in Knin, southern Croatia. Local hospital chief Dujomir Marasovic said: "We are still trying to find out what caused the coma and why she has apparently forgotten how to speak Croatian."

Thursday, September 8, 2011 1 comments READ FULL POST


A newborn's pinkish face just after birth is the first memory of their child for many new moms. But Valerie Leah doesn't have this memory, because her son Oliver was born while she was in a coma. Valerie, a 35 years old expectant mom, was sick with the swine flu while she was 27 weeks pregnant and in a desperate attempt to save both mother and child, the doctors decided to put her in coma and perform a C-section. It wasn't until 3 weeks after she had actually given birth that she was able to finally hold her newborn.
The couple, who already has two sons, said the ordeal began when all members of the family were struck down with the H1N1 virus. Valerie was the last to catch the virus but her condition deteriorated fast and she was admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties. When she didn't respond to treatment doctors decided to sedate her completely, and put her on life support. Baby Oliver later arrived by C-section weighing 2lb 10oz and was immediately whisked away to the special care nursery. When Valerie opened her eyes a week later she couldn't understand her flat stomach. Then the confusion changed to bewilderment knowing that she had delivered a baby boy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 0 comments READ FULL POST


A three-year-old has mysteriously picked up an addiction to smoking cigarettes and downing beers after surviving a road crash. Ya Wen has been smoking up to a pack a day since an accident where she was hit by a speeding van. Her parents say that her personality has changed since leaving hospital, where she recovered from five days in a coma and severe injuries. Her mother Gao said she has started acting like an adult. She found her daughter hiding in a toilet and smoking her father's cigarettes. At first she just thieved those, but now gets them on credit from a local shop. Mrs Gao, who lives in a shelter, said her daughter has now been addicted to smoking for a year and has also changed her preference in clothes. She only likes boy's clothes.
Ya Wen's father has now stopped smoking and the family have moved to the other side of the city, but said she still cries for cigarettes whenever she sees them.

Saturday, September 3, 2011 0 comments READ FULL POST

After years of excruciating pain that drove him to thoughts of suicide, John Roach decided to gamble on a controversial new treatment—a ketamine-induced coma.

Suffering from a debilitating neuromuscular disorder called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), John, 50, is one of about 100 chronic-pain patients resorting to a radical new treatment in search of relief—a medically induced coma using ketamine, a surgical anaesthetic and hallucinogen sold illegally as "Special K." Advocates say ketamine comas can be a godsend for some. Dr. Robert J. Schwartzman, neurology chairman at Philadelphia's Drexel University College of Medicine, sent more than 60 patients to Germany and Mexico, since coma therapy isn't FDA-approved. Some 200,000 people suffer from RSD, in which ordinary pain escalates to crippling levels.

John, a jovial retired phone-company worker, had tried surgery, physical therapy and heavy doses of pain medication, including OxyContin, codeine and fentanyl. When nothing worked, he thought of ending it all. Back home now, John is amazed that he's been virtually pain-free. Getting regular ketamine booster injections (at non-coma levels) from his physicians, Schwartzman and Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, he has removed a protective compression sleeve he wore for years and can once again wear his watch and wedding ring. Best of all, he can walk hand in hand with Rosemary and scoop up his granddaughters for hugs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 0 comments READ FULL POST

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