DiversityNursing Blog

Pets Find Pain Relief Using Ancient Method Of Acupuncture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 10:24 AM

By MICHELLE CASTILLO

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Pets are getting some pain relief thanks to a centuries-old method that has helped some of their owners: acupuncture.

A dachshund named Samson benefitted from the treatment. Samson was pawed aggressively by another dog at the park and needed surgery immediately. After his first procedure, it was clear he was still in some pain. Doctors recommended a second surgery, but owner Ellie Sutton wasn't so keen to make Samson go under the knife again.

"I wouldn't want to risk something like paralysis," Sutton told CBS News. She decided "to try every other kind of step first."

To her surprise, the veterinarian suggested acupuncture, the traditional Chinese medicine method of inserting needles into the skin to stimulate parts of the body.

Veterinary acupuncturists can use .2 to .3 mm needles that range in length from .5 inches to 1.5 inches on pooches.

"A lot of people come for acupuncture because they've exhausted a lot of the traditional Western medicine roots, whether it's medication or surgery," Dr. Marc Seibert, Samson's vet, told CBS News. Siebert is the owner and medical director of Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital and Lower East Side Animal Hospital in New York City.

Seibert explained there are two main theories behind how acupuncture works. Eastern medicine teaches that energy flows through channels in the body called meridians. When the meridians are blocked, the person -- or the animal -- experiences physical pain. The acupuncture needles help direct the energy to the correct path.

Western medicine, on the other hand, suggests that acupuncture may help by bringing oxygen to the area that the doctor is trying to treat. Hormones called endorphins, which promote feelings of well-being, are released, and the anti-inflammatory parts of the immune system kick in.

"Most people think of acupuncture as a pain reliever, but it's more than that," says Dr. Ihor Basko, a holistic veterinarian in private practice in Honolulu, certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in Ft. Collins, Colo., told Paw Nation. "Acupuncture can boost the immune system and improve organ functions, and it has other benefits. It can complement conventional medicines and procedures without dangerous side effects."

Not everyone is convinced the method works. Veterinarian Craig Smith, the complementary-care expert for the American Veterinary Medical Association, told U.S. and World News Report that it's hard to know for sure if canines and felines are feeling relief from their pain.

"While many people treating pets with acupuncture report success, there isn't any data that proves it works," he said.

Ellie Sutton admitted that a lot of the "energy flow" talk is hard for her to believe. But she says Samson has definitely benefited from the treatment.

"The fact is he walks better afterwards," she said.

Source: www.cbsnews.com

Topics: needles, body, animals, pain, acupuncture, pets, pain relief, nurse, medical, medicine, treatment, doctor

Man awakens from 12 years in 'vegetative state'

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:33 PM

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Martin Pistorius fell into a mysterious coma when he was a vibrant 12-year-old boy in the 1980s.

He found himself locked inside his own body – unable to speak, make eye contact or even move his own limbs.

Martin’s doctors told his parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, that the boy had cryptococci meningitis. They said Martin should be taken home to die in peace.

But Martin would live 12 years in that vegetative state.

Joan said, “Martin just kept going, just kept going.”

According to NPR, Martin’s father would wake up every day at 5 a.m., dress the boy, put him in the car and drive him to a special care center.

“Eight hours later, I’d pick him up, bathe him, feed him, put him in bed, set my alarm for two hours so that I’d wake up to turn him so that he didn’t get bedsores,” Rodney recalled.

And during those 12 years, according to the Pistorius family, there was never any indication that Martin’s condition was improving.

One day, Joan, in a state of hopelessness, told her son, “I hope you die.”

She never imagined that Martin would have understood those dreadful words.

Have you worked with a patient in a similar situation and thought perhaps he/she could hear and understand you? If so, what made you aware of it?

But by the time he was 14 or 15 years old, Martin began to awaken.

“Yes, I was there, not from the very beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state, I began to wake up,” Martin recalls. “I was aware of everything, just like any normal person. Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present again. The stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that – totally alone.”

Martin had even heard his mother’s cruel words.

“You don’t really think about anything,” he said. “You simply exist. It’s a very dark place to find yourself because, in a sense, you are allowing yourself to vanish.”

Martin added, “As time passed, I gradually learned to understand my mother’s desperation. Every time she looked at me, she could see only a cruel parody of the once-healthy child she had loved so much.”

At the care center every day, Martin’s caregivers played “Barney” reruns. They too believed he was a vegetable.

He said, “I cannot even express to you how much I hated Barney.”

Now Martin, 39, is in full control of his body. He’s married and lives a normal life in Harlow, England.

In his book “Ghost Boy,” he writes, “My mind was trapped inside a useless body, my arms and legs weren’t mine to control and my voice was mute. I couldn’t make a sign or sounds to let anyone know I’d become aware again. I was invisible – the ghost boy.”

Source: www.wnd.com

Topics: coma, illness, body, vegetative state, cryptococci meningitis, special care, unexplained, medical, hospital, treatment

Connecticut Teenager With Cancer Loses Court Fight to Refuse Chemotherapy

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 12, 2015 @ 10:17 AM

By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS

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The police were banging on the doors and the windows of her home while she cowered in the closet, a 17-year-old girl recounted. She remembered clutching her phone, crying, calling her mother.

“I was scared,” she wrote of the experience.

It may sound like a drug raid, or the climax of a movie. But in fact, the police, along with representatives of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families, had come to take the girl for chemotherapy.

Do you think she has the right to refuse chemotherapy?

The girl, identified in court papers as Cassandra C., learned that she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September. Ever since, she and her mother have been entangled in a legal battle with the state of Connecticut over whether Cassandra, who is still a minor, can refuse the chemotherapy that doctors say is likely to save her life. Without it, the girl’s doctors say, she will die.

“It’s poison,” Cassandra’s mother, Jackie Fortin, said of chemotherapy in an interview on Friday. “Does it kill the cancer? I guess they say it does kill the cancer. But it also kills everything else in your body.”

Ms. Fortin continued, “It’s her body, and she should not be forced to do anything with her body.”

Doctors said in court documents that they had explained to Cassandra that while chemotherapy had side effects, serious risks were minimal.

On Thursday, Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled that Cassandra had had the chance to show at trial that she was a “mature minor,” competent to make her own medical decisions, but had failed to do so. And so the chemotherapy treatments, which had already begun, will continue.

Cassandra was a healthy, artistic 16-year-old before the illness was diagnosed, her mother said. She liked to paint and draw, mostly abstract pieces, but also cartoons and silly things. She had a paper route and a retail job. She had a tattoo on her back of the character Simba from “The Lion King,” the namesake of her cherished, yellow tabby cat. She had been home-schooled since the 10th grade.

Then she found a lump on the right side of her neck. She went to her pediatrician, and after rounds of tests that dragged on for months, doctors at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford told her she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to court documents, her doctors said that with chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation, patients had an 85 percent chance of being disease-free after five years.

Ms. Fortin, of Windsor Locks, near Hartford, said that she and her daughter had wanted a second opinion and a fresh battery of tests. They had begun looking for a new team of doctors to verify the diagnosis, and hoped to find alternatives to chemotherapy.

But the state said in court documents that Ms. Fortin had not brought her daughter to some medical appointments and was “not attending to Cassandra’s medical needs in a timely basis.”

The Department of Children and Families took temporary custody of the girl in late October 2014. Two weeks later, she was allowed to go home, so long as she underwent chemotherapy. But after two days of treatment, she ran away from home.

“Although I didn’t have any intention of proceeding with the chemotherapy once I returned home, I endured two days of it,” Cassandra wrote in an essay published in The Hartford Courant this week. “Two days was enough; mentally and emotionally, I could not go through with chemotherapy.”

About a week after running away, Cassandra came home. In her essay, she wrote that she had returned because she was afraid her disappearance might land her mother in jail. In December, she was hospitalized.

“I was strapped to a bed by my wrists and ankles and sedated,” she wrote in the essay, which was accompanied by a photo of her in the hospital. “I woke up in the recovery room with a port surgically placed in my chest. I was outraged and felt completely violated.”

“How long is a person actually supposed to live, and why?” she wrote. “I care about the quality of my life, not just the quantity.”

In a statement this week, the Department of Children and Families said it preferred to work with families, not compel them, but had no choice in some cases.

“When experts — such as the several physicians involved in this case — tell us with certainty that a child will die as a result of leaving a decision up to a parent,” the statement said, “then the Department has a responsibility to take action.”

Cassandra’s legal battle is not unprecedented, but it is unusual, said Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum, director of the Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

“Nobody likes to overrule a parent and a child, particularly when they are in agreement,” he said.

Courts tend to be cautious about ordering treatment over a patient’s objections, Dr. Appelbaum said, and whether they do so often involves several factors, including the seriousness of the condition, the child’s maturity, and concern about whether the child’s opinions are being influenced by a parent or other third party. Several of those variables appear to have figured in this case, he said.

But Ms. Fortin’s lawyer, James P. Sexton, said that Cassandra was only months shy of her 18th birthday, when the decision about her care would be hers to make. By then, the chemotherapy will most likely be over.

Today she is confined to the hospital. Her communications are limited, as are her visits with her mother. Mr. Sexton said the family would continue to fight in court.

Source: www.nytimes.com

Topics: body, choice, teenager, court, Hodgkin's lymphoma, police, forced, DCF, nurses, doctors, medical, cancer, hospital, chemotherapy, treatment

What 30 Minutes a Day can do for Your Mind and Body

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Sep 24, 2014 @ 11:04 AM

By Felicity Dryer

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We live in a high-stress world. Between having to attend to work, kids, homes and run back and forth between meetings and all of the other demands of everyday life, to say that things can get stressful is an understatement. 

If your constant on-the-go lifestyle has left you feeling run down, beat down and just plain old exhausted, then you need to stop and smell the proverbial roses for a little bit.

Taking time to enjoy something that is peaceful and that is just for you can do wonders for your health, your mental clarity and for your happiness. You don’t have to invest much time in such activities, either; reserving just 30 minutes a day to something that you enjoy and that promotes a bit of peacefulness and tranquility can do wonders.

Here’s a look at some activities that you can do for just 30 minutes a day and that will provide you with some simply amazing benefits.

Yoga: It seems like yoga is all the rage in the fitness world as of late (well, not really as of late; it’s been a trend for quite a while) – and there’s a reason why; yoga provides some pretty amazing benefits.

Just 30 minutes of yoga a day will help to increase your strength and flexibility, as well as tone your body. In addition to physical benefits, yoga can also increase your brain function. A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois found that people who participated in just 20 minutes of yoga a day experienced an increase in the speed and accuracy of their brain functions. Yoga also helps to reduce stress levels and boosts mental clarity; talk about some pretty amazing benefits for just 30 minutes of your time each day.

Meditation: Another activity that can provide fantastic benefits in just 30 minutes a day is meditation. When you think of people meditating, what comes to mind? People who are more peaceful, more astute and have more clarity? If so, there’s a good reason why – Because meditation helps to promote all of these things.

In fact, just 30 minutes of meditating a day can boost your creative thinking abilities, heighten your energy levels, decrease your stress levels and even ease the feelings of depression.

A Long Walk: If someone tells you to ‘go take a walk’, take them up on it! There are so many wonderful benefits associated with walking, and the best part is, it is so easy to do. Walking for just 30 minutes a day improves your cardiovascular health, decreases stress and anxiety, helps to keep off excess weight, tones muscles, boosts energy levels and it can even help to decrease your risk of dementia. Walking also just makes you happy. So kick off those painfulwork shoes and dust off your sneakers, and get moving. There is nothing more therapeutic than soaking up the warm sunshine and observing the beauty of nature while walking on a nice day.

Reading: Everyone knows that reading is important, but do you know why? Reading for just 30 minutes each day can increase your vocabulary, boost your creative thinking and critical thinking skills, stimulate your mind, improve your memory and focus and decrease stress levels. So, when you’re feeling like you just need to escape for a little while, curl up with a book or a magazine and submerse yourself in reading.

No matter how crazy your lifestyle is, you can spare just 30 minutes a day to enjoy the benefits that one of these activities can provide. You’ll be amazed by how much happier you will feel – you owe it to yourself!

Source: http://www.interplayhealth.com

Topics: mental health, body, mind, meditation, relax, pressure, yoga, fitness, physical health, health, benefits, lifestyle, stress

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