Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2009
Just as he was getting ready for school his mom collapsed right in front of his eyes.
But 6 year old Owen Stanley didn’t panic. Instead, he called emergency services which rushed an ambulance to help out.
“I’ve not been so well for a couple of months, then came down with a bug on Sunday, which didn’t help.
When I got up on Monday, I didn’t feel well at all and knew something was going to happen. I kept asking Owen ‘have you got mummy’s phone?’ ‘Mummy doesn’t feel very well’, as I felt myself getting worse.
The next thing I knew I was waking up in hospital. Apparently I had collapsed and Owen, just in his underpants went running across to my neighbour saying his mummy needs an ambulance.
It was she who called for help. Owen was so brave and didn’t cry or panic.
But the fact that he knew what to do is amazing and I have never explained what to do in those situations. It’s scary enough for me in that situation, let alone a little boy. I’m just so proud of him.”
— Deborah Stanley, 32
Deborah’s blood sugar and blood pressure had been extremely low and her body had gone into shock.
She’s expected to recover enough to attend a Mother’s Day school project.
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009
Every year one in 10 twins is diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome; a rare and often deadly condition where twins share one and the same placenta.
Ronna and Doug Wilson’s baby boys Harrison and Dillon were on the wrong side of those odds.
In her 18th week doctors of Houston’s Texas Children’s Fetal Center diagnosed her with the condition.
They suggested a pre-birth surgery during which the placenta would be split up to create two distinct placentas.
Only 11 institutions in the USA perform the procedure. Only 65% of babies survive the procedure.
The success rate depends largely on how early the condition is diagnosed.
“Our plan is to go in with a very tiny telescope in the sac of the recipient and operate underwater.
We actually take a laser light.
I wish we could get them all early, so we can anticipate the problems”
— Dr. Kenneth Moise, Texas Children’s Fetal Center
The procedure was a complete success.
“He smiles a lot, and he frowns. That’s really the only way we can tell the difference between the two of them.
They’re so much fun. Miracles!
About Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009
September 2008 the then 2 year old Oluchi Nwaubani fell into a swimming pool in London. At that time of year the water was freezing cold.
By the time she was rescued she had been under water for at least 18 minutes. Serious and extensive brain damage normally sets in after just 5 minutes without oxygen.
Paramedics were unable to start Oluchi breathing again. A medvac helicopter rushed her to the Royal London hospital where doctors gave her a 2% of surviving.
“For days we were thinking is she going to live or is she going to die.
Doctors were telling us she was never going to pull through.
They said that if she had not started breathing again in six hours she would probably not survive.
Six hours went by and when the doctors discussed turning off the machine we asked them to hold on.
Three days later my daughter suddenly started breathing again.
The doctors said she would never pass urine again because her kidney failed. But she is passing urine normally now.
They said she would not be able to talk anymore, she would not walk again – she would be a vegetable.
But she is walking, she is eating normally and she is able to say what she wants.
The doctors said that the amount of time she spent in the water meant she would never recover but when I asked her to say ‘hello’ to the doctor she tried to speak. And then I asked her to wave goodbye and she moved her hand.
Her doctor said he couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. Staff were calling her a miracle baby.
She seems to have defied doctors at every stage.
It was hard to explain to her sisters that she was alive because they had seen her die at the pool.
It has been a difficult time for us but the support we received from friends and family has helped us make it through.”
— Junior Nwaubani, Oluchi’s father
Doctors now believe her survival was due to a combination of the diving reflex, which slows down the body’s metabolism and need for oxygen, and the very cold temperature of the water which would have protected the brain from more extensive damage.
“It was really almost a miracle that this child has a normal recovery.
Some young children, particularly babies, have a special reflex that they had when they were in utero called the diving reflex. It essentially slows the body’s metabolism down to almost nothing, so they almost need no oxygen for the brain cells to survive.”
— Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
To Toya, her mother, the details matter a lot less.
“She shouldn’t be here, but she is.
There’s still room for recovery. She’s still on a road to recovery.
I’ve said it’s not a miracle instantly, it’s a miracle over time.”
— Toya Nwaubani
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009
Ted Scercy usually didn’t work on Sunday. But on Sunday November 22, 1992, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, he had to; the supervisor at the trucking company he worked at had him scheduled for a tractor-trailer drive.
It was somewhat depressing news to Ted. He had been looking forward to see his kids perform in a Thanksgiving program at the church he and his family went to.
A faithful man, Ted started his trip with a prayer.
“I asked God, ‘Just make something good out of this night.’
God will answer your prayers… There’s no doubt in my mind that night that a miracle took place. I’ve always said that, and I’ll tell anybody.”
— Ted Scercy
A little bit after midnight Ted came around a sharp curve. At the bottom of an embankment he thought he saw a small red light.
He pulled his truck over and went down to check; a destroyed Datsun came into sight. The car had apparently hydroplaned on the wet road, got of the road and had hit a tree at high speed.
To this day Ted swears to have seen the red light and thinks it must have been an indicator light from the Datsun’s dashboard. However, the car’s battery was no longer working…
A man had been thrown 15 feet away; a woman had crashed through the windshield.
And in the backseat, behind the driver seat, was 7 year old Jeremy Cook was seated behind the driver.
Wearing his seatbelt he hadn’t been launched out of the car but the impact had lifted the driver’s seat and smashed it on top him, crushing Jeremy under it.
Working alone he was unable to get the seat off the boy but getting help from a passing driver worked. Ted freed Jeremy and performed CPR on the unconscious kid until paramedics arrived.
After 3 months of deep coma, doctors took Jeremy off life support. Convinced that his son would die, James Cooke spoke through the telephone from his own bed in another hospital.
“His cousin held the phone up to Jeremy’s ear.
His dad said, ‘Jeremy, Daddy loves you.’ When Jeremy heard those words, he woke up.
He said, ‘I love you too, Daddy.'”
— Ted Scercy
Jeremy left the hospital in a wheelchair; paralyzed from the waste down. He’s had 18 surgeries and trained very hard. 24 year old today, he now walks with crutches and walks to church three times a week for worship services and Bible study.
Ted Scercy was named Goodyear’s North Carolina Highway Hero.
As Jeremy grew older he sort of lost contact with Ted. As he came past his telephone number recently he decided to give the man a call. They talked for nearly 3 hours straight.
“I thank God and I thank Ted, too, because he helped.
My parents feel the same way I do. They’re very thankful that Ted stopped that night.”
— Jeremy Cook
Ted Scercy now drives local truck routes for Estes Express in Charlotte. He’s involved in mission work and disaster relief for his church and has received several humanitarian awards.
“I don’t do it to be recognized. I do it because if you’re there, you’ve got to do it.”
— Ted Scercy
Ted and Jeremy have regular contact nowadays.
Monday, Feb. 9, 2009
Shelby Alexander, 23, and her grandparents had rented a room at the Bavarian Inn Lodge for a nice weekend getaway. Shelby’s 18 month old daughter Aerieana was with them, of course.
Police Officer Gregory Rehmann, a guest too at the hotel and trained as a medical first responder, was relaxing next to the pool when two women ran into the court. One of them was yelling “My baby! My baby!”
“He went to the edge of the pool. He saw no child there, but he happened to see (Hathaway) lying on a walkway and realized what had happened.
The baby was crying, which is usually a fairly good sign, but it could be an indication of something serious, too.
You have to be careful not to misinterpret those things. Our people were there in less than three minutes, so she was treated right away.
My goodness, what a fall … When we have someone who falls from that distance, being the third floor, it certainly warrants concern on everyone’s part.”
— Donald C. Mawer, Police Chief Frankenmuth
The toddler has fallen an estimated 20-25 feet but didn’t harm her spinal cord or neck.
The initial swelling of the brain, always a serious concern wit head injuries, has decreased a lot. She’s also breathing good enough that doctors are considering removing the ventilator.
“There is an immense sense of relief in the family, but there is still a long row to hoe.
She is still a very ill little girl, and it sounds like she will probably be there for a significant period of time.
We all have children. When something like this happens, you feel it so deeply within yourself. When you see a small child … it hits you right to the soul.”
— Jim Engel, manager Bavarian Inn Lodge, after visiting the family in the hospital
Aerieana’s family is calling her their “miracle angel”.
Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009
Amidst a basket ball game gone wrong, one teen did what is right.
Last weekend about 300 people were assembled in the Tony Aguirre Community Center on West Pennway Street in Kansas City to watch a basket ball game between DeLaSalle High School and the Southeast Community Center team.
In the fourth quarter an argument broke out between two groups of people in the stands. At one point guns were drawn and 8 people starting firing.
As the hail of bullets sped across the hall, 19 year old basket ball player Jullaion Jones quickly stepped off the court, pushed 6 year old Desean Merritt to the floor, and covered him with his body.
Jullaion kept protecting the little boy like this even when a bullet grazed him in the leg.
“Jullaion moved me and hided me in the corner, and covered his body over mine.”
— Desean Merritt, 6
His father is grateful for the kind, potentially life saving act.
“I almost get teary-eyed just thinking about it.
It could have been worse than it was, God was really good that nothing happened to anyone.
I’m glad He put Jullaion there to do what he did.”
— Sean Merritt
In total 5 people were injured. Police said all the injuries are non-life-threatening.
Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008
When 2 1/2 year old Shay Asser’s ear infection induced fever went too high, it triggerred a fit which stopped him from breathing.
His father, Brian, 32, went into first-aid auto pilot.
“Shay was lying on the floor having a fit.
I picked him up and ran downstairs with him, but by that time he wasn’t breathing and his lips and face were purple.
I learned how to do resuscitation years ago from St John’s Ambulance, but I had never used it. Somehow I remembered what to do. I think I was on auto-pilot.
I got two breaths into him and he started choking and threw up, then he started breathing.
— Brian Asser
Paramedics arriving on the scene then injected the boy with muscle stimulants, effectively waking him up.
Dad is being hailed a hero not just by his wife but by the ambulance spokeswoman as well.
“This shows just how important first aid skills are in the home. We hope Shay is well again and praise Mr Asser for helping to save his son’s life”
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008
These US Thanksgiving is a very special one for Nicholas Soma.
It’s his first Thanksgiving that he will sit down with his family and actually be able to hear them.
He was born with the continental defect, affecting his outer ear cartilage and ear canal.
His malformed ears and absence of ear canals meant he was mostly deaf.
His parents never stop looking for a solution. With the help of family, supporters and donations from Hawaii residents they were able to pay for the reconstructive surgeries by two doctors in California.
Nicolas now doesn’t need any hearing aid and looks like any other kid.
Monday, Nov. 24, 2008
As part of the fire prevention program the Stratford fire department spent a day at a school teaching “stop drop and roll”, the importance of testing smoke detectors, and how to escape a fire.
That evening Emily, five, was quiet when her father tugged her in bed.
When he inquired as to her silence she started explaining her day at school and the conversation developed.
“Daddy, do we have smoke detectors?” she asked.
“We do,” he said.
“We need to test them. The firemen said so,” Emily said.
“We’ll do it in the morning,” he said. “It’s time to go to sleep.”
“No, Daddy, now. Please?” she pleaded. “We have to.”
So holding her in his arm he carried her into the hall way and tested the first detector: he pushed the test button and nothing happened. Tried again nothing.
The other new batteries that they have in the house and while Emily was watching change the batteries of the smoke detectors.
Emily, her big dog Jack, enter Winny went to sleep peacefully.
That night the family and the animals fled the fiercely burning house, having been awakened by shrill siren sound of the smoke detector.
It was only two weeks later that Fire Marshall Tom Velky learned about Emily’s role in the family’s survival.
“Her persistence undoubtedly saved her family from probable, serious burn injury and possibly death.
She’s a hero.
In a surprise award ceremony Emily last week received a “State of Connecticut Honorary Service” medal from the Stratford fire Department. It’s only the second time ever that such a metal had been given to a nonmember of the fire department.
Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008
In the UK too it’s not too hard to find the good kids, the good people.
This week students from the Faraday house of the Philip Morant School in Colchester have been raising money for charity by all means possible.
First they selected a bunch of good causes, among which Cancer Research. Then they came up with activities to support those; a car wash, a pupils versus staff football march and a charity concert.
In one case 11 of them even made the almost ultimate sacrifice: they shaved their head. Fun? Yes. Embarrassing? A bit, maybe. But they did raise almost $800 with it.
Others avoided the bus and opted for sponsored walks to school which for some meant a 32 mile walk. That marathon walk brought in another $700.
All together they raised well over $4000 in one week. For charity.
Good kids: they’re everywhere.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2008
In Milwaukee a 14 year old boy rescued his two younger sisters.
A grease fire had filled the house with smoke.
The boy called 911 and then was able to not only crawl out of his own bedroom window but the break the window of the room his younger sisters were in. He helped them out and got them to safety.
Authorities say the combination of the working smoke detector and the boy’s quick thinking and reaction has saved the live of all three children.
The scene of the fire.
Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2008
A QUICK-THINKING teenager has been hailed as a hero after hauling a pensioner out of perilous waters.
Sixteen-year-old Will Hughes was fishing with his grandfather at an angling pool near Worcester when an elderly fisherman fell in.
Will, a student at North Bromsgrove High School, quickly jumped in after the man and pulled him out. “The man went in backwards and only his head and hat was visible. He couldn’t get himself out because of the weight of his clothes,” said Will.
“I got a bit of an adrenalin rush, and my heart was thumping, but I just did what anyone else would have done.”
After the drama, which happened at the Newton Works waters in Hallow, the lucky man, 75-year-old Brian Waldron, from Charford, Bromsgrove, went home with his wife none the worse for wear.
A grateful Mr Waldron said: “If it hadn’t been for Will’s actions, it could have been a much different story. He jumped in beside me almost as quickly as I hit the water. There was no way I could have got out on my own.”
Mr Waldron said he has been ordered by his wife to fish by the shallow end in future. As a thank you, the couple presented Will with a £30 gift voucher and the Newton Works Angling Society awarded him free membership for a year. Will’s mum Cheryl said: “I am very proud of Will. Young people generally get a bad name, but this action shows that they are not all bad.”
Monday, Jul. 14, 2008
A southern tier teenager is being hailed as a hero after pulling a two-year-old out of Chautauqua Lake.
A toddler’s life hinged on the efforts of 14-year-old Josh Sweatman.
Josh Sweatman said, “I gotta get him out before his dies.”
“When I got him out, he was choking up all the water he swallowed.”
Last Sunday, police say a twelve-year-old was pushing his two-year-old cousin around in a stroller at Celeron Park in The Town of Ellicott.
When the twelve-year-old got too close to the edge of the Chautauqua Lake, the two-year-old went under.
Josh Sweatman dove into action.
“I put down my stuff and ran over the tires from the stroller was sticking up so I grabbed it and I pulled him out.”
Josh’s father says he and his son were out fishing that day.
“I was fishing out at the Pier and I heard a little boy calling for help, and Josh my son was running over to the short dock where they were and I see him pull a stroller out with a two-year-old child in it.”
Town of Ellicott Police Officer Matt Kubinski said, “Luckily, the child was not hurt badly.”
Officer Kubinski says they’re still unsure why a child was pushing another child in a stroller, and why the two were so close to the lake without an adult supervision.
Authorities charged the toddler’s mother Kristen Anderson with endangering the welfare of a child. She’s expected to answer to those charges in a Town of Ellicott courtroom, next week.
In a small community where news spreads fast, just about everyone is calling Josh a hero.
Even Josh is starting to believe it.
“I’m a hero…”
Thursday, Jul. 10, 2008
A six-year-old girl remains hospitalized in serious condition after she fell off a tractor last week and was caught under the machine’s mower, according to family members.
Jessie Keaton was riding a tractor last Tuesday afternoon when her father, Jason Keaton, was apparently distracted by his five-year-old son, Jason, who was also on the vehicle while Keaton was operating the bush hog. The boy was not injured.
Brenda Jester, Jessie’s aunt, described the accident, which occurred around 3:30 p.m. She spoke Monday night with Jason Keaton and the girl’s mother, Loretta Lynn McGee.
“He told me that it all happened in a blink of an eye,” Jester said.”All he remembers is that the tractor had run over her and she was under the bush hog . . . The little brother saw that. He was talking to his daddy and got him distracted . . . They were just about done for the day. It just happened so fast.”
Keaton immediately jumped off the tractor on his property off U.S. 601 South near the Davie/Yadkin county lines and called 911. Emergency first responders, including members of the Courtney Volunteer Fire Department and the Yadkin County EMS, rushed to the scene. Although critically injured, Jester said that Jessie was still conscious.
She remains at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem where Jester said she had undergone several operations. Jester said that doctors, despite their best efforts, were forced to amputate Jessie’s right leg below the knee, and part of her left ring finger. Doctors, who have kept the girl heavily sedated for most of her hospital stay, were also tending to a large cut to the back of her head, Jester said.
“The worst of it is over,” Jester said. “She has another surgeryscheduled for Thursday. Her left foot is still a little iffy and her hands had real bad cuts on the palms . . . But she is really improving. She was more alert and hungry this morning before she went into surgery. Right now, it’s just a waiting game. We just hope it continues to get better.”
Jester said that the father is inconsolable.
“He’s been there at the hospital nonstop. But he’s blaming himself,” Jester said. “He always had the young-ins with him in the yard when he was working. It was a habit; not a good habit.”
Jessie’s mother, Jester said, is undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
“She’s holding up pretty good,” Jester said. “She has not leftthe hospital.”
The family has medical insurance. But there’s no way to estimate how long and costly Jessie’s hospital stay will be.
“It’s just like anything else,” Jester said. “It will only pay so much.”
Zola Murphy, Jessie’s grandmother, was emotionally devastated when she first learned of the accident. She said that she still can’t get the terrible image of her granddaughter’s near-death experience out of her mind.
“I’ve done cried all I can cry,” Murphy said Monday. “She’s justa little miracle girl.”
Jester said that the family has been overwhelmed by the community’s response. So many have telephoned or visited the hospital, she said.
“The people have come down here left and right,” Jester said.”All of my prayers are working. Jessie is doing so much better today.”
Maryland Human Resources officials say a 3-year-old boy found wandering in West Baltimore in pajamas and flip-flops has been reunited with his parents.
The boy, identified as Nazaiah Johnson, was found Tuesday in the 2500 block of West Lanvale Street. He was too young to tell people his name or where he’s from.
His parents, Brian Johnson and Tynisa Leach, say they asked a friend to care for the toddler while they were at work and agreed to let him stay there overnight.
Leach says the sitter told her about 5 p.m. that Nazaiah was missing and she thought he left the house early in the morning as the adults and other children in the home slept. Leach called authorities, but they weren’t able to take the boy home that night. They were reunited Wednesday morning.
Friday, May. 30, 2008
Kevin Lomax, 9, loves a good ‘K.’ But don’t even get him started on ‘G,’ which he says is the hardest letter to write in cursive.
But Kevin conquered the ‘G,’ and the other 25 letters in the alphabet, to win a medal as the National Handwriting Champion of all public school students in his grade level, beating out 177,000 other public school students for the honor.
He received a medal and a certificate yesterday at Greensboro West Elementary School, where he is in third grade. He was also awarded a Nintendo DS game package and a $500 U.S. Savings Bond.
Kevin, who prefers cursive but still prints sometimes, beat out students from around the country, after being judged on legibility, stroke formation, spacing and the size of each stroke, as well as dotting his ‘i’s and crossing his ‘t’s.
In an era when many students are focused more on thumbing cell phone messages, Kevin is serious about his penmanship.
‘Look at his ‘I’,’ said Jane Sharp, pointing to a sample of Kevin’s handwriting. ‘It’s perfect.’
Sharp is Zaner-Blosser educational consultant for Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Zaner-Blosser has sponsored the national handwriting competition for 17 years and publishes handwriting instruction books.
Tinesha Smith, Kevin’s mother, said that even though her son is a ‘perfectionist,’ she was surprised when he won the national award.
‘I was really shocked because he just started learning handwriting this year,’ she said. ‘But he just got it. Whatever he has to do, he has to be perfect. If he can’t get it right, he kind of gets angry with himself.’
Kevin’s grandmother, Patricia
Smith Johnson, agreed, adding that he always strives to be the best, no matter what the challenge. And when his teacher wanted him to learn handwriting, he put his mind to the task.
‘If somebody wants him to do better, then that’s what he strives for,’ Smith Johnson said.
Brenda Teacher, Kevin’s teacher, said she spends a lot of time working with children on their strokes.
‘He really focused on the strokes,’ Teacher said. ‘I spend a lot of time on strokes, because once they’ve got the stroke, then they’ve got it. But Kevin is a perfect student, not just in handwriting, but all the way around.’
Greensboro Mayor Vanessa Hill said Kevin’s achievement reflects well on the Hale County town.
‘We’re so isolated and so far behind the times,’ said Hill, ‘that I think it’s good for the entire area to know that kids in this area can meet such standards.’
Hill does not remember learning handwriting, but does remember, like many adults, when it became more important to be able to type, ‘and, at some point, handwriting didn’t matter anymore.’
Many educators today lament the lost art of handwriting.
Sharp, who taught school for 28 years, has seen the decline of handwriting instruction.
‘I really do appreciate it when proper penmanship is instructed. And all good instruction starts at the top, from the superintendent to the principal and on. It is almost a lost art,’ Sharp said of handwriting. ‘You can’t escape handwriting, even though we’re in a computer age. Children have to express themselves through handwriting even in a computer age. And handwriting can’t just be caught. It has to be taught.’
Kevin, who will attend fourth grade at the same school next year, said he’s just a regular kid. His favorite color is blue, and he loves pizza. But when asked what he will do this summer with his time off from school, it’s clear that he is exceptional:
‘I want to practice writing and try [to win the national championship] again in fourth grade,’ he said with an ear-to-ear grin.