The Doctors share inspiring stories of patients and families who never gave up in the face of devastating diagnoses. See how love, support and modern medicine helped them beat the odds.
“Life and better health are always worth fighting for. Use all the weapons at your disposal,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Matters of the Heart
Baby Audrina was born with one-third of her heart outside her chest, a rare condition called ectopia cordis, which affects only eight out of 1 million babies. With ectopia cordis, the heart remains completely unprotected by the skin or sternum, and 90 percent of babies born with the condition are stillborn or die within the first three days of life. Though Audrina’s prognosis was bleak, her parents entrusted the surgeons at Texas Children’s Hospital to operate. See Audrina’s heart and how she’s recovered since the 6-hour surgery.
Is Polio Still a Threat?
In the United States, polio seems like a disease of the past. Since 1955, Americans have received vaccines to defend against the condition, and by 1979, the country became polio-free.
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease that still has no cure. It’s transmitted through contaminated water and food or by direct contact, and 90 percent of those infected show no symptoms. Roughly 4 to 8 percent will experience minor symptoms such as fever, fatigue, nausea, headache and pain in the limbs, while 1 percent will suffer permanent paralysis and sometimes death.
Unfortunately, countries like northern Nigeria, northern India and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan account for more than 75 percent of global polio cases today. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made it its mission to eradicate the disease all over the world, and so far more than 10 million people are walking today who would have otherwise been paralyzed.
“One of the greatest blessings of all our careers is we’ve never had to tell a patient ‘you have polio,’” Dr. Travis says. “Quite simply because we’ve done one heck of a job.”
Baby Jameson is a bilateral trans-radial congenital amputee, meaning, he was born without hands or forearms. His parents, Brooke and Jim, were informed of Jameson’s condition after a 20-week ultrasound, and immediately began researching options for their son. To this day, doctors haven’t determined a reason for Jameson’s disorder.
• Jameson’s prosthetic expenses will add up as he grows. Help Jameson and his family by donating to Hands for Jameson.
A sudden and severe increase in blood pressure in considered a hypertensive crisis and should be treated quickly.
Dr. Freda-Lewis Hall, Pfizer's chief medical officer, explains the symptoms to look for.
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