Medical Emergencies You Can’t Ignore

Hot Water Dangers
Nearly 50 percent of hot water burns occur when parents place their children in bath water that is too hot. It takes 30 seconds for a child to get a third-degree burn from water at 130 degrees F, five seconds if the water is at 140 degrees F and just two seconds if the water is at 150 degrees F.

"Kids and older people are at risk to actually die from severe burns," plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says. Their bodies will lose fluids more quickly and are more susceptible to shock.

Water heaters are often set between 140 and 150 degrees F at the factory. Turning down the temperature to 120 degrees F or less will reduce your chance of a serious burn.

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears cautions parents to never leave a child in a bathtub unattended, even if there is no water in it. Children are often tempted to turn faucet handles, which can result in searing burns in a matter of moments.

Smoking Intervention
Bill, 54, started smoking when he was 16 years old. Within the last 15 years, he had open-heart surgery and two lung surgeries to correct birth defects. Despite such drastic procedures, Bill continues to smoke. Over the years, he has tried to quit by using multiple smoking cessation remedies such as patches, gum, hypnotism and quitting cold turkey, but none have worked.
Bill's 21-year-old daughter, Ally, asks The Doctors to help her father quit smoking.

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"We all thought that my dad was going to quit smoking when he had his open-heart surgery," Ally says. "Just looking back to how scared he was and terrified, we didn't even think that smoking again was going to be an option."

Bill's wife, Carlene, is worried that the habit is going to cost him his life. "To me, it makes me feel like, does he not love us enough to quit," she says. "My biggest worry is that he's going to leave me before his time. And it's not just me, it's his girls."

The Doctors stages an intervention for Bill. They show him a video made by his family called Life After Bill. When it ends, his family makes emotional pleas for him to kick the habit once and for all.

Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center and a former smoker, explains why smoking is so addictive. "The cigarette is the most efficient delivery form for nicotine that exists," he says. "It gets to the brain so quickly. It takes five heartbeats to go from the tip of your finger to your brain, so it produces a spike of nicotine that's extraordinarily high."

After the intervention, The Doctors give bill a basket of aides to help him quit, and Bill vows to kick the habit for good. "Tomorrow's going to be the last day," he says,
fighting his emotions.

Medical Tests
Have you ever ignored your doctor's prescription to undergo further medical testing? A year ago, Kelly, 45, was told that she had an abnormal mass on her cervix and needed to have a biopsy, but because of her busy schedule as an E.R. nurse, she did not undergo the procedure.

"I was on one morning and I wrote in about myself, about the mass on my cervix," she says. "And now, with The Doctors' encouragement, I'm following up with a doctor to find out what's going on."

Urinary Tract Infections

UTIs are the second-most common infection in the body. If they are treated with antibiotics, the infection can clear within a few days, but if left untreated, they can become fatal. The Doctors and Dr. Holly Phillips, medical reporter for WCBS in New York, explain the severe consequences of not seeking medical care for a UTI. 

She visits OB/GYN Dr. Kestutis Kuraitis, who performs the cervical biopsy.

"Kelly's delay for a year, if these results are abnormal, could have some serious ramifications," Dr. Kuraitis says. "The tumor could progress more, it could become a higher stage, it could invade lymph nodes and blood cells. A year delay with an abnormal result could be, sometimes, fairly catastrophic."

Kelly's results reveal the mass is benign. But whether you are strapped for time or scared to go to the doctor, it is important to heed your physician's advice for follow-up exams. "The reason it's important is, yes, it may end up being benign,"
Dr. Travis says. "But if it's not, the sooner treatment starts, the better your prognosis."

Arachnoid Cyst
Chris, 36, has suffered from severe migraine symptoms since he was 9 years old. In November, he was diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst, a sac filled with cerebrospinal fluid on the arachnoid membrane, one of the three membranes that cover the brain.

The cyst, which is a benign legion, develops in four percent of the population but only 20 percent are symptomatic. If it grows too large in certain locations, symptoms such as headaches, nausea, seizures, vision problems and an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain can occur.

"After going to the first neurosurgeon and hearing the options for handling the arachnoid cyst, [it was] pretty depressing," Chris' wife, Julie, says. "[The options included] shunts, craniotomies and things like that."

A friend of Chris and Julie's told the couple to watch The Doctors' episode that featured Austin, a 14-year-old boy who suffered from severe headaches and nausea. Doctors found that he had an arachnoid cyst on his brainstem and skull base surgeon Dr. Hrayr Shahinian removed the cyst. Austin, his mother, Jennifer, and Dr. Shahinian appeared on The Doctors just three months after the surgery.

"When I saw Austin [on The Doctors], it was like, 'Oh my gosh, that's me,'" Chris says. "All those symptoms right there. That is me to the T."

The couple contacted Dr. Shahinian, who operated on Chris to remove the cyst, which was the size of a small lemon. Chris and Julie join The Doctors onstage just weeks after the surgery.

"I'm doing phenomenal," Chris reports. "I was back at work a week later."

Jennifer joins The Doctors via phone and says that six months after Austin's surgery, he has no recurring symptoms and is doing great! She shares a special message with Chris and Julie.

"I just want to say congratulations. Austin wants to say congratulations," she says. "We just want you to enjoy your new pain-free life and just appreciate every day, because a miracle truly happened."

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