DiversityNursing Blog

Baby buried by 2010 Haiti quake: See her now

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 12, 2015 @ 10:13 AM

By Elizabeth Cohen

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For 10 days following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, two CNN colleagues and I lived in a tent hospital run by Project Medishare. Our hearts ached as we heard the cries of the injured, as we watched surgeons performed amputations without general anesthesia, as people died in front of our eyes.

But, in the midst of this despair, a miracle arrived at Project Medishare. CNN Senior Photographer Ferre Dollar caught these images seconds after she arrived. Look closely at the center of the photo.

This 4-month-old baby had spent four days alone in the rubble and was unconscious and extremely dehydrated. No one knew if she would live or die. 

But look at her now!

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CNN medical producer John Bonifield and I had the pure joy of seeing this wonderful young lady again last week. Her name is Jenny, and she's 5 years old and a pre-kindergartner in Miami. She can write her name and loves to color and dress up as a princess and is adorable and spunky and smart and funny. 

Here are all the miracles that it took to save her life: 

1. That someone happened to find Jenny in the rubble four days after the quake. 

2. That at a time when vehicles were in short supply, Jenny's rescuers flagged down a car to rush her to the hospital. 

3. That the Medishare team of doctors and nurses, led by Dr. Karen Schneider, an emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins, managed to get fluids into her. Jenny was so dehydrated her veins had collapsed and Schneider had to put a needle through her shinbone and directly into her bone marrow to deliver fluids. They didn't have to sedate her -- Jenny was so unconscious she didn't even cry.

4. That Project Medishare found a flight headed immediately to Miami, because she needed surgery the tent hospital couldn't provide. Hospital workers flagged down a UN truck and promised the driver they'd name the baby after her if she got the airport on time. 

5. That the baby, then named Patricia after the truck driver, survived the flight to Miami and the emergency surgery. 

When the baby arrived in Miami, it was presumed her parents were dead. She'd been found in the rubble next to the body of a woman, thought to be her mother. 

But that woman turned out to be her baby sitter. Shortly after the baby arrived in Miami, a couple came forward saying they were her parents. Many people doubted them, thinking they just wanted to get to Miami, but DNA testing showed they were telling the truth and the baby's name was actually Jenny. 

Now Jenny and her parents, Nadine Devilme and Junior Alexis, and her 17-month-old little sister, Naima, live in an apartment in North Miami. Her parents have explained to Jenny that the bumpy scars on her left arm are from when she was crushed in the rubble of the Haiti earthquake. They've told her she's a miracle, that Jesus saved her. 

Jenny nods her head and says she understands. But really she's a little embarrassed by all the attention and just wants to go put on her Cinderella dress and go outside and ride her bike and then draw pictures of big red flowers under a sun and sign her name: 

Jenny Alexis.

Source: www.cnn.com

Topics: rescue, survive, miracle, emergency, earthquake, Haiti, baby, nurses, medical, hospital, medicine, treatment

Stray Dog Credited for Christmas 'Miracle' Cancer Cure

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 10:42 AM

By LIZ NEPORENT

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Adopting a stray dog while in the midst of battling a disease that was deemed incurable hardly seems like the best timing, yet that’s exactly what Bill Hogencamp and his wife Kathy decided to do.

They believe that decision helped save his life.

Hogencamp, an 84-year-old semi-retired architect from Phenix, Alabama, was diagnosed with incurable cancer of the gall bladder, liver, colon and the lining of his abdomen back in May. Doctors told him he wouldn’t live to see Christmas.

“I have seven children and I’ve traveled all around the world,” Hogencamp said. “I thought if this is it, then this is it.”

Hogencamp chose to undergo treatment even though his doctor told him there was no hope, he recalled. In October, he had an operation to remove three large tumors.

Eleven days after his surgery, his wife was on her way to pick him up from a rehabilitation facility when she spotted a small white dog wandering down the middle of the road, in danger of being hit by a car. Although she was in a rush, she said something compelled her to stop and rescue the pup.

“He walked past six other cars right up to the side of my car and put his paws up on the door,” she recalled.

While his wife was hooked on the cute little dog right away, Hogencamp needed some convincing.

“I hadn’t had a dog in twenty years and I had no desire to have a dog,” he said. “I kept saying we need to find his owner.”

Despite an extensive search and nearly a dozen false leads, the Hogencamps were never able to track down the dog’s owner. They learned from a vet they visited during their search that he was a Maltese, probably around 6 years old, fixed but not chipped.

Besides, the dog very quickly won Hogencamp over. They soon became inseparable.

Whenever Hogencamp sat down, the dog -- who they named Mahjong after Kathy’s favorite card game -- would jump in his lap. Whenever Hogencamp napped, Mahjong would curl up next to him. When Hogencamp returned home after being out, Mahjong would hop onto his hind legs and dance with joy.

As he and his wife settled into life with a dog, Hogencamp underwent chemotherapy. Just before the holiday he received some miraculous news: Tests showed that he was now cancer free.

The doctors are at a loss to explain this amazing turn of events, Hogencamp’s wife said. But she said the family believes that Mahjong has played a huge part in her husband’s recovery.

“The dog seemed to know right away that Bill was sick and it was his job to take care of him -- and Bill knew it was his job to take care of the dog,” she said.

Hogencamp agreed. He said their relationship gave both him and the dog a sense of purpose. Although he knows he owes much of his cure to great medical care and a lot of luck, he said that he is convinced the little white dog was sent to him to help him get better.

As they celebrate Christmas, Hogencamp said he has two final chemotherapy treatments. He said he’s spending the day with friends, family and of course, Mahjong.

“My life has been a miracle,” Hogencamp said. “And now Mahjong is part of that miracle.”

Source: http://abcnews.go.com

Topics: life, rescue, dog, operation, stray dog, miracle, diagnosed, tumors, health, doctors, cancer, treatment, surgeries, cure, Christmas

Sandy's Most Delicate Rescue Was Fertility Clinic's Embryos

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Nov 02, 2012 @ 02:12 PM

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 By (@katiemoisse) Nov. 1, 2012

Among all the rescues carried out during the chaos caused by Sandy, the most delicate was the mission to save embryos in rows of incubators that were in jeopardy when the NYU Fertility Center lost its power.

The Manhattan clinic lost power shortly after Sandy struck Monday night. A generator perched atop the 8-story building kept incubators running through the night, but flooding in the basement cut off its fuel supply.

"The generator ran out of gas around 8:15 Tuesday morning," said Dr. James Grifo, the clinic's director.

Without power, the incubators housing delicate embryos at womb-temperature for in vitro fertilization began to cool. But Grifo and his team took action, hoisting five-gallon cans of diesel fuel up darkened stairwells to feed the failing generator.

"It was really a privilege to be part of that," Grifo said of his staff's "heroic" efforts.

The fuel bought the team enough time to transfer the embryos into liquid nitrogen, where they can be stored indefinitely.

The embryos were secured as another urgent issue arose.

At 10 a.m., a patient arrived for an egg retrieval -- a surgical procedure timed down to the hour after a two-week run of expensive fertility drugs.

Grifo loaded the woman into his car, along with her husband and their baby, and rushed them to a colleague's clinic uptown.

"It's amazing what people can do when everyone's on the same page," Grifo said, adding that the rest of the clinic's patients were booked into clinics throughout the city to "salvage" their cycles.

"It's a testament to the people in New York who work in medicine," he added. "Some of our most vicious competitors offered assistance."

Sandy spawned record-breaking tides around lower Manhattan, prompting power outages from East 39th Street to Battery Park at the southern tip of the island. The NYU Fertility Center is on First Avenue and 38th street, just a block from the overflowing East River.

The storm forced the nearby NYU Langone Medical Center to evacuate 300 patients in gusts of wind topping 70 miles per hour. Cells, tissues and animals used for medical research were left to die in failing refrigerators, freezers and incubators.

But thanks to Grifo and his team, eggs and embryos at the fertility clinic were spared.

"Hopefully we'll get some babies out of it, and that'll be a nice story as well," he said.

Sandy was an example of what some fertility clinics call an "act of God," an unfathomable tragedy that patients are warned about before starting the IVF process.

"There's so much riding on this," said Dr. James Goldfarb, director of the University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland. "Even when everything's going smoothly, it's stressful for women. But add the stress of having to start all over again, that's extremely stressful."

Topics: hurricane sandy, embryos, fertility clinic, rescue

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