Mosquitoes not only are annoying, but they also can make you sick.
“Skeeter syndrome” is not just a clever name. It’s a description for an allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva that can cause problems, particularly for children, Health Magazine reported.
That red and itchy swelling that can be painful is sometimes mistaken as a secondary bacterial infection caused by scratching and broken skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms include inflamed skin around the bite shortly after the mosquito bites a person. Other symptoms include fever, soreness and redness around the bite area, and in some cases, even blistering, Health Magazine reported.
Purvi Parikh an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy & Asthma Network, said that Skeeter syndrome victims typically have the same reaction.
“Most people get some type of reaction — a small bump and a little redness – but for some people it’s really extreme,” Parikh told Health Magazine.
Parikh said people who develop Skeeter syndrome can get relief by using an oral antihistamine, like Benadryl, or by applying an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream directly on the bite. A cold pack or cool, moist cloth also can help, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning diabetes patients that some drugs could cause a flesh-eating bacterial infection of the genitals, the agency posted on its website Wednesday.
The condition, called Fournier's gangrene, has been reported in connection with sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, the FDA said.
According to the FDA, the drugs help the body lower blood-sugar levels through the kidneys. Excess sugar is excreted in a patient’s urine, and urinary tract infections are a known side effect, the FDA said.
SGLT2 inhibitors approved by the FDA include Johnson & Johnson's Invokana, Eli Lilly & Co's Jardiance, as well those from Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca Plc, Merck & Co and Pfizer Inc.
Fournier’s gangrene is rare but can be a life-threatening bacterial infection, the FDA said. The bacteria usually enters the body through a cut or break in the skin, and then spreads and destroys the flesh it infects.
The FDA said from March 2013 to May 2018, 12 cases of Fournier's gangrene in patients taking one of the inhibitors were identified. The cases included seven men and five women, who all were hospitalized and required surgery.
Parents may want to add super lice remedies to the back-to-school shopping list.
A 2013 study in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that in North America, most head lice has evolved into a new, more powerful strain that is immune to traditional lice treatments, hence the name “super lice.”
Canada had been experiencing an alarming rise in cases, and there have been multiple outbreaks across the U.S. in recent years.
Because super lice can be difficult to get rid of, prevention is key, and that’s where those popular selfies come into play.
Any activity that brings kids’ heads within close contact with one another, or involves sharing combs, hats, etc. will raise the risk of contracting lice. Dawn Mucci, founder of Lice Squad, told Global News in 2016 that she is seeing a growing number of lice cases among teens, likely due to the selfie craze.
Despite the scary name, Lice Clinics of America cautions that combing and nitpicking can still be effective treatments. The clinics also provide a lice remover kit for super lice, and AirAllé, an FDA-cleared lice device for professional lice treatments.
Still, the best way to prevent infestation is to keep your head away from other heads.
Parents should consult a medical professional on the most effective, safe treatments for super lice.
“See ya’ later, suckas!”
Garrett Matthias’ final message to the world held the same gusto with which the 5-year-old lived his life, which ended July 6 following a 10-month-long battle with cancer.
The Van Meter, Iowa, boy wrote his own obituary, with help from his parents, Emilie and Ryan Matthias. Emilie Matthias told the Des Moines Register that she and her husband began writing down things Garrett would say as he talked about his wishes, particularly after learning in mid-June that his cancer was terminal.
The Register reported that Garrett was diagnosed in September with alveolar fusion negative rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that began in the temporal bone of his skull, his cranial nerve and his inner ear. He underwent grueling treatments in the hope of beating the disease but, by the time he died, his treatment-resistant tumors had invaded the lining of his brain, causing painful headaches and backaches.
His parents decided he would get the funeral he wanted, complete with a bouncy house for every year that he lived. Garrett’s memorial, scheduled for Saturday, will also have snow cones, carnival treats and fireworks.
Garrett, nicknamed “Great Garrett Underpants” for his dislike of pants, will also have a Viking sendoff: A local archer will shoot a flaming arrow onto a small boat carrying his ashes across a neighbor’s pond.
“I’d say things like, ‘When I die, I want to turn into a star,’” Matthias told the Register. “He’d say, ‘I want to be burned like in ‘Thor,’ and then I want to become a gorilla.”
The topic of death arose multiple times over the months Garrett fought cancer, as his parents attended funerals of other children who had succumbed to the disease. Matthias said he would see them come home from the services filled with sadness.
“He would say, ‘Why are funerals so sad? I’m going to have bouncy houses at mine,’” Matthias told the newspaper.
When the Matthiases learned that Garrett’s condition would not improve, they came up with a questionnaire and began compiling his answers. That questionnaire, recreated below, turned into a portion of his obituary.
My name is: Garrett Michael Boofias.
My birthday is: I am 5 years old.
My address is: I am a Bulldog!
My favorite color is: Blue...and red and black and green.
My favorite superhero is: Batman…and Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Cyborg.
When I grow up: I'm going to be a professional boxer.
My favorite people are: Mommy, Daddy, my sister ‘Delcina’ (Delphina); the grandparents with the new house (Fredric and Cheryl Krueger); the grandparents with the camper (Daniel and Nita Matthias); my cousins, Grady, ‘that guy I took down that one time’ (Luke) and London Marie; my auntie Janette and stinky Uncle Andy (Andrew and Janette Krueger); those two guys, you know, my uncles (Kristopfer Krueger and James Taylor); Batman!!
The things I love the most: Playing with my sister, my blue bunny, thrash metal, Legos, my daycare friends, Batman and when they put me to sleep before they access my port.
Things I hate: Pants, dirty stupid cancer, when they access my port, needles and the monkey nose that smells like cherry farts. I do like the mint monkey nose at Mayo Radiation, and that one guy that helped me build Legos (Randy).
When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!
Burned or buried: I want to be burned (like when Thor’s mommy died) and made into a tree so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla.
Big or small funeral: Funerals are sad. I want 5 bouncy houses (because I’m 5), Batman and snow cones.
The obituary noted that Garrett’s parents would honor his wishes -- and that a symbolic “Asgardian” burial ceremony and fireworks will be held just after sunset Saturday.
“A private burial of Garrett’s ashes will be held at a later time once his parents figure out how the hell to get his ashes made into a tree and locate a nature preserve, so his tree resides in a protected area,” the obituary read.
Though the questionnaire portion of Garrett’s obituary was somewhat light-hearted, the Matthiases pulled no punches when it came to writing about what their son had been through.
“The reality for Garrett and so many other children is pediatric cancer is an ugly, nasty beast that leaves a path of destruction,” the obituary read. “For Garrett and many others before him -- cancer kills. Those that are ‘lucky’ enough to survive endure long-term, debilitating side effects and the constant fear of relapse.
“We will fight for a cure until no other kids are robbed of their childhood, no other siblings lose their best friends and no other parents have to bury their babies.”
Matthias told the newspaper that Garrett’s doctors were always frank about the realities of his treatment.
It’s not those beautiful commercials with these kids with bald heads that are smiling and everyone is cured,” Matthias said. "They were upfront that chemo is poison; radiation, burns. The other way is to cut it out. You choose and make hard decisions about poisoning, burning and cutting your child. Those are things nobody should have to do. Those shouldn’t be the ways we treat our kids.
“Cancer is horrible. This kid is awesome, and he died of cancer.”
Matthias’ cousin created a GoFundMe page for the family to help pay Garrett’s medical and funeral costs. As of about noon Friday, it had raised $40,000 of the $75,000 goal.
The family also encouraged people to make donations to several nonprofits that helped Garrett during his fight, including the Little Al Foundation, the Pink Tractor Foundation and the University of Iowa Dance Marathon.
A health care worker in England was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murdering eight infants at a Chester hospital, and police suspect her of trying to kill six more.
The unnamed woman was arrested following more than a year of investigation into the deaths. The Guardian reported in May 2017 that Cheshire police were investigating the deaths of 15 babies in the neonatal unit at Countess of Chester Hospital over a 12-month span.
Cheshire police officials said Tuesday that the scope of the investigation -- dubbed Operation Hummingbird -- has expanded since then, with the total number of suspicious infant deaths now at 17. They are also investigating another 15 near-deaths between March 2015 and July 2016.
The health care worker’s arrest is not the end of the investigation, according to Cheshire police Detective Inspector Paul Hughes, who is the lead detective on the case.
“It’s really important to remember there’s still a long way to go in this inquiry and a lot of work before we’re able to fully ascertain exactly what happened to these 32 babies subject to this investigation,” Hughes said in a video released by authorities. “And we are committed to a thorough investigative process.”
Hughes said Tuesday morning’s arrest will have a huge impact on the families of the babies.
“It’s important to remember they are the heart of this inquiry,” Hughes said.
The BBC reported that officials would not say what the woman’s role was at the hospital when the babies died. Police officers were also searching a home in Chester in connection with the investigation.
A news release issued Tuesday said the parents of the babies are being supported throughout the investigation by specially-trained officers and are being kept abreast of all developments.
“Whilst this (arrest) is a significant step forward in our inquiries it is important to remember that the investigation is very much active and ongoing at this stage,” Hughes said in a news release. “There are no set timescales for this coming to a conclusion, but we remain committed to carrying out a thorough investigation as soon as possible.”
Hughes described the investigation as “highly sensitive and complicated.” He said a team of medical specialists has been consulted and continues to work alongside the investigative team to ensure the probe is as thorough as possible.
Detectives have also interviewed a number of staff members at Countess of Chester Hospital. Hughes said his team is aware of the impact the investigation is having on staff and patients at the hospital, which serves Chester and the surrounding area.
Hospital officials, who last May brought the Cheshire police in to investigate the unexplained infant deaths, said in a statement Tuesday that they continue to cooperate with the police investigation.
“Asking the police to look into this was not something we did lightly, but we need to do everything we can to understand what has happened here and get the answers we and the families so desperately want,” Ian Harvey, medical director for Countess of Chester, said. “The Countess is now equivalent to a Level 1 Special Care Baby Unit, and we are confident the unit is safe to continue in its current form.”
The hospital’s own investigation began after officials there noted an increase in neonatal deaths in 2015 and 2016. The hospital in July 2016 limited the intensive care services provided by the neonatal unit, according to previous statements from hospital officials.
An independent review was conducted the following February by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Nursing. The independent reviewers, whose final report can be found here, made a number of recommendations for the hospital’s neonatal unit, but could find no single cause or factor to explain the increase in baby deaths.
One of the recommendations in the report was to further investigate the deaths of the infants. Ultimately, the police were called in.
“We are deeply sorry for the further distress and heartache this will cause,” Harvey said at the time. “Throughout this, we have never lost sight of the families left bereaved by the loss of their baby, and they will continue to be our main concern.”
A California hospital has permanently removed an emergency room doctor from its roster after she was caught on video mocking a man who was likely in withdrawal from his anxiety medication.
Samuel Bardwell, 20, went to El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos June 11 after suffering a panic attack after basketball practice, his father, Donald Bardwell, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Donald Bardwell said his son takes Klonopin to control his anxiety, but had run out of the drug a few days before the incident.
Klonopin, a benzodiazepine, is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks, as well as seizure disorders, according to WebMD. A sudden stop to the medication can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, shaking and stomach or muscle cramps, the website said.
“He had a prescription waiting for him at the pharmacy, but couldn’t pick it up,” Donald Bardwell told the Chronicle. “He’s a student and he works. We didn’t know what the consequences of not taking the meds would be.”
Samuel Bardwell told CBS San Francisco that when he collapsed, he could not speak, was numb and was in pain. Bardwell, who ABC News reported is a newly-enrolled student athlete at West Valley College in Saratoga, was taken by ambulance to the emergency room.
That’s where Dr. Beth Keegstra was assigned to handle his care.
Keegstra kept them waiting for more than three hours, then came into the room with a security guard, the Bardwells told CBS San Francisco.
“I was just, like, ‘Why would there be security when I have done nothing wrong?’” Samuel Bardwell said.
Father and son said that Keegstra accused the athlete of seeking drugs and tried to get him to leave.
“She said, ‘I know why you people are here, you people who come here for drugs,’” Donald Bardwell told the Chronicle. “I said, ‘What do you mean, you people?’”
That’s when he started recording the exchange with his cellphone.
In the video, father and son are heard trying to explain Samuel Bardwell’s anxiety attacks.
“When he has these, he’s throwing up and going in and out of consciousness,” Donald Bardwell tells Keegstra. “I literally saw him go in and out of consciousness.”
“He is completely awake and alert right now,” Keegstra says.
Bardwell tells the doctor that if his son leaves the hospital, he will have another anxiety attack like the first because he was in the same shape as when they arrived.
“I’m sorry sir, you are the least sick of all the people who are here, who are dying,” a visibly angry Keegstra tells Samuel Bardwell.
She grabs his arm and tries to force him to sit up.
“I can’t get up,” Samuel Bardwell says.
“I am literally trying to help you sit up,” Keegstra says.
“You’re helping me?” an incredulous Samuel Bardwell says.
He continues to tell the doctor that he cannot get up, at which point she asks if he wants hospital staff to wheel him home on the gurney.
“That’s not what I said,” Samuel Bardwell says.
Keegstra tells him that he just lifted his head with no problem, so he should be able to put his hands on the rails of the hospital bed and pull himself up.
“I cannot do that,” Samuel Bardwell says. “I could not do it in the ambulance, I cannot do it now.”
“Yes, you can,” Keegstra says.
He tells the doctor that he just tried to inhale and couldn’t.
Keegstra begins laughing.
“He can’t inhale. Wow. He must be dead,” Keegstra tells someone off camera before turning back to her patient.
“Are you dead, sir?” Keegstra asks Samuel Bardwell. “I don’t understand. You are breathing just fine.”
Donald Bardwell steps in, telling her that his son’s breathing is labored, and Keegstra points to his vital signs, which she says show that his blood oxygen levels are normal.
“This is not labored breathing,” she says.
Keegstra and Donald Bardwell bicker back and forth about his son’s care, which the father says consisted of fluids and medication for his son’s pain and anxiety last time an anxiety attack landed him in the emergency room.
“So, you need narcotics, is that what you need?” Keegstra asks Samuel Bardwell.
“Here we go,” he mutters. “I didn’t say narcotics, I just said pain reliever and anxiety medication, because I’m in pain and I have anxiety. I didn’t say nothing about narcotics.”
“And you just told me that this was not an anxiety attack. That this was something completely different,” Keegstra says.
“If I could get up off this bed, I would,” Samuel Bardwell says.
“Yeah, you really should,” Keegstra says. “Because this is ridiculous.”
Keegstra tells the patient that she came in there wanting to help him, but that he kept changing his story. Samuel Bardwell says he told her the same thing the entire time
“No. You have changed your story every (expletive) time,” Keegstra says.
“Whoa,” Samuel Bardwell says.
“Yeah, that’s how (angry) you’ve gotten me, OK?” Keegstra says.
“I didn’t do anything,” he says.
“Yes, you did,” she responds.
The video ends with Keegstra’s angry instructions to a nurse in the room.
“Put and IV in him, give him a liter of fluid and we’ll get him out of here,” Keegstra says. “That’s what he says he needs. He’s obviously a doctor and he knows what he needs.”
Samuel Bardwell told CBS San Francisco that tests ultimately showed he was dehydrated. Besides the fluids, he was also eventually given medication for pain and anxiety.
Donald Bardwell uploaded the video of Keegstra’s rant to Facebook early the next morning.
“This is how they treat black people in Los Gatos emergency room,” he wrote. “SMH (shaking my head). Everyone share this video. For the record, this is my son.”
Bardwell’s friends obliged, and the video soon went viral. As of Tuesday morning, it had been viewed more than five million times and shared more than 120,000 times.
The younger Bardwell said he had a feeling things would go wrong when he spotted Keegstra talking to the security guard before they entered his room.
“I already knew from that point,” Samuel Bardwell told ABC News. “I said, ‘Please, Dad, can you please take out your phone? I need you to take out your phone now ‘cause I have a feeling something is gonna happen.”
Samuel Bardwell said he is considering legal action against Keegstra and the hospital.
Officials at El Camino Hospital responded to the video Thursday, reaffirming the hospital’s commitment to patient care.
“This week, a patient who visited the emergency department at our Los Gatos campus had an interaction with a physician whose demeanor was unprofessional and not the standard we require of all who provide care through El Camino Hospital,” hospital CEO Dan Woods said in the statement. “We have expressed our sincere apologies and are working directly with the patient on this matter. Please know that we take this matter very seriously and the contracted physician involved has been removed from the work schedule, pending further investigation.”
Woods updated the statement Friday to say that the contract company that provides the hospital’s emergency room services, Vituity (formerly California Emergency Physicians), had been asked to remove Keegstra permanently from the hospital’s roster.
Donald Bardwell told the Chronicle that Keegstra treated his son like a drug addict.
“I guess she was so angry and assumed he was a druggie and had drugs in his system,” Bardwell said. “She thought she could talk to us any which way she wanted.”
Commenters on the video were mostly supportive, though some, like Keegstra, accused Samuel Bardwell of seeking narcotics.
Donald Bardwell addressed the “naysayers” in a separate Facebook post, in which he shared a response from someone who told him about benzodiazepine withdrawal.
“It’s very serious and life-threatening, especially when physicians do not recognize it,” the person wrote.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Keegstra has more than 20 years of experience as an emergency physician. In 2015, she started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a mission trip she said was to bring medical treatment to rural villages in Vietnam.
Her LinkedIn bio states that she has been with California Emergency Physicians, which recently changed its name to Vituity, since 1997.
Her employment status with Vituity following her suspension from El Camino Hospital was not immediately known. The Medical Board of California’s website shows that Keegstra, who graduated from medical school in 1987, has a clean record.
Lawyers representing a Texas death row inmate who killed his estranged wife and her two children, including her 13-month-old daughter, in 2004 are arguing this week that their mentally ill client should be allowed to continue appealing his death sentence in the infant’s slaying.
Their oral arguments on behalf of Andre Thomas, 35, were held Tuesday before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Thomas’ attorneys have for years argued that Thomas is too mentally ill to be put to death.
Those claims are bolstered by the fact that Andre Thomas plucked out one of his eyes five days after his March 2004 arrest in the slayings, KSAT in San Antonio reported.
Five years later, while housed on Texas’ death row, Thomas removed his second eye and ate it, according to prison officials. Texas Department of Corrections information shows that he is currently housed at the Beauford H. Jester IV psychiatric unit in Fort Bend County.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Thomas suffers from schizophrenia, characterized by psychotic delusions and “hyper-religious preoccupations.” His lawyers have argued he was “actively psychotic” when he committed the crimes for which he was convicted.
Thomas was found guilty of the March 27, 2004, slayings of Laura Christine Boren, 20, the couple’s son, Andre Lee Boren, 4, and Boren’s infant daughter, Leyha Marie Hughes. According to KSAT, the three victims were stabbed to death and their hearts ripped from their chests.
In Boren’s case, Thomas missed her heart and removed a portion of her lung instead, according to a 2013 profile of Thomas in Texas Monthly. Thomas, then 21 years old, stabbed himself in the chest multiple times, laid on the floor next to his wife’s body and waited to die, the magazine said.
When he didn’t, he pocketed the organs he had cut out and walked five miles to his home. He went to the Sherman Police Department a few hours later and confessed, Texas Monthly reported.
“I thought it was what God wanted me to do,” Thomas told investigators, according to the magazine.
After he plucked out his eye while awaiting trial in the Grayson County Jail, Thomas repeatedly asked hospital personnel to let him see his wife and beg her forgiveness, which he said he had already obtained from the children.
“I love her, and I need her to forgive me,” he told them of Boren, Texas Monthly said.
Court documents filed before Tuesday’s oral arguments said Thomas’ mental illness went undiagnosed and untreated “until after the delusions it caused led him to commit the crime here,” KSAT reported. One of his attorneys, Catherine M.A. Carroll, also argued that her client’s trial lawyers failed to challenge a judge’s ruling that found him competent to stand trial.
Carroll also claimed Thomas’ trial lawyers did not request a competency hearing and that jurors were not given enough information on the defendant’s long history of mental illness, the news station said.
Texas Monthly reported Thomas began telling classmates about the voices in his head when he was as young as 10 years old. By the age of 13, Thomas had made his second suicide attempt, the magazine reported.
Carroll also alleged that the jury in the case was racially biased against Thomas, who is black. Boren, his estranged wife, was white.
The Chronicle reported that the jury that convicted Thomas was all white. Four of the jurors were allowed to serve, despite expressing opposition to interracial marriage.
One juror said it was not “what God intended,” and another said white people “should stay with (their) bloodline,” the newspaper reported.
Prosecutors are contesting the appeal, according to KSAT. They have argued that, while mentally disabled people are barred from being executed, the courts have not extended that same prohibition to the mentally ill.
“The Fifth Circuit has consistently refused to find a connection between the intellectually disabled and the mentally ill, repeatedly rejecting arguments like the one Thomas makes now,” Assistant Texas Attorney General Fredericka Sargent wrote, according to the news station.
A federal judge in 2016 rejected Thomas’ appeal, prompting this week’s oral arguments seeking the ability to keep the appeal going.
The latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the deadly multistate E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region brought a bit of positive news.
While the CDC reported 23 more cases of illness from 13 states since the agency's May 9 update, the affected produce should no longer be available for sale.
The latest news release from the CDC posted on Wednesday said that the "last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, 2018 and the harvest season is over. It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in stores or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life."
The CDC reports that, as of May 15, 172 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 32 states.
A study, conducted by researchers at Silent Springs Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, and Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, suggests the main ingredients in things as common as shampoo and conditioner may contain harmful chemicals linked to cancer and preterm birth. The study was made available online in April by the Environmental Research journal.
Products like leave-in conditioner, hot oil treatments, root simulators and relaxers, commonly used by black girls and women, may also contain harmful chemicals.
“Historically speaking, we come from a culture where we were using juices and berries and then we don’t have those things anymore and our culture got very used to using wheelbarrow grease and using petroleum to style our hair, especially during enslavement times,” Daria Jones, a Boston hair stylist, told Boston 25 News.
“We need to step away from the stigma of actually selecting a product that’s black or ethnic and we need to go for products for our hair texture or hair porosity and really focus on those things,” Jones said.
Jones works at one of Boston’s only salons that use completely natural sulfate and paraben-free products.
Researchers said black hair care products are largely untested and unregulated, and 84 percent of the harmful chemicals detected in the study weren’t on the label.
Parabens and the fragrance diethyl phthalate, or DEP, that can be found in these popular products are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, fibroids, puberty and preterm birth.
The staff at Parisian Style Beauty Supply and Salon in Malden, Massachusetts, said the biggest mistake people make is that they don’t read the labels on beauty products.
According to the salon’s staff, one of the first three items listed on the back of hair products should be water, and customers should always opt for products that are paraban and sulfate-free.
“What goes in your hair goes in your body as well because your scalp has pores,” Ashley Sousa, and employee at Parisian Style Beauty Supply and Salon, said.
With findings such as these, researchers are calling for more regulations within the beauty industry.
An Indiana couple is offering words of caution to parents everywhere after their 5-year-old daughter lost her foot last week in a lawn mower accident.
Italia McAllister was playing with her 3-year-old brother Tuesday evening outside her grandparents’ Elkhart home when she got too close as a family member mowed the lawn. The girl’s father, Cody McAllister, told the Indy Star that the children began chasing the riding lawn mower as the driver rode into a corner of the yard.
Not realizing they were behind him, he put the mower in reverse, McAllister told the newspaper. Trash barrels on the back of the machine knocked Italia over, and her left foot got caught underneath the mower.
“We were sitting on the deck, and I heard, you know, just like a rock getting caught in a lawnmower,” McAllister told the Star. “I mean, that’s the sound I heard, and there’s no rocks in that area.
“So I just happened to look, and she was laying on the ground and I knew it was bad.”
McAllister ran to his daughter and scooped her up, taking her inside the house, the Star reported. Though a family member called 911, they didn’t wait for help.
McAllister’s father, who is an emergency medical technician, stopped the bleeding and splinted Italia’s mangled foot.
“He saved her life,” McAllister said of his father.
The McAllisters drove Italia to the nearest hospital, from which she was flown to Indianapolis’ Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.
Her mother, Robyn McAllister, wrote on Facebook that day that her daughter’s life was irrevocably changed but that she was already on the road to recovery.
“Italia, we love you so much and Mommy and Daddy (are) by your side as much as we can be,” Robyn McAllister wrote. “She lost her whole foot! Surgery will be taking place soon, and we’ll update everyone when we can!”
Cody McAllister posted videos of Italia in her hospital bed on Thursday, watching videos on a computer tablet that explain what she will undergo in future surgeries. A nurse sits with her, helping to explain and asking the little girl if she has questions.
The family spent Mother’s Day at Italia’s side as she began the long road to recovery. The little girl, who is known for her love of cheerleading, dancing and gymnastics, was already showing signs of her spirit returning, her mother said.
“I can already start to see her spunky side coming back,” Robyn McAllister told WSBT in Mishawaka on Sunday. “Today, she just started doing her little songs that she makes up.”
Despite being in the hospital, Italia has been keeping up with her schoolwork and preparing for her kindergarten graduation, the news station reported. Her parents are working with her school, Pinewood Elementary School, to set up a webcam so she can participate with her classmates.
Italia is also attempting to walk on her own using a walker. The family posted video of the determined little girl Monday on social media.
Aside from dealing with Italia’s injury, the family has also had to deal with criticism from people who don’t understand how the injury could happen with so many adults around.
“Nobody ever thinks to look behind them on a lawn mower,” Cody McAllister told the Star. “That’s why I’m trying to raise awareness of it and get people to realize it can happen to anybody.”
Lawn mower accidents involving children are more prevalent than most people might think.
The e-Nable Community, which describes itself as a group of volunteers around the world who use their 3D printers to create prosthetics for those in need, reported that lawn mower accidents are the leading cause of childhood amputations in the U.S.
Each year, 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors, e-Nable reported. More than 600 of those result in amputations.
Jilliam Warden, a prosthetic-orthotic clinician at Cook Children’s Heath Care System in Fort Worth, wrote last year that the issue affects a relatively small portion of the pediatric population but is a serious one nonetheless.
“The saddest cases (of amputations) are those that are completely preventable, and these traumatic lawn-mowing accidents are exactly that,” Warden wrote. “If your child is lucky enough to avoid an amputation after a run in with a lawn mower, they are still going through a very scary and traumatic injury. And let’s not get started on what the driver of the lawn mower will have to contend with for the rest of his or her life.”
Italia’s parents have declined to name the relative who ran the little girl over, citing the fact that he is wracked with guilt and that they don’t want to make his grief worse, the Star reported.
Science Daily reported last year that the most common type of childhood lawn mower injuries, about 39 percent, involve cuts. Next, at 15 percent, are burns.
Hands and fingers are the most often injured, usually when a child touches a hot surface on the machine, the study reported. Legs, feet and toes are next on the list.
Children younger than 5 years old are the most likely to be injured by touching a hot surface or from a back-over injury, Science Daily reported.
Researchers are urging more safety measures built into lawnmowers, including shields that would keep hands and feet from slipping under the mower, as well as a mechanism that would prevent the machine from being able to automatically mow in reverse. An override switch could be located behind the driver’s seat, which would require the driver to look behind him before reversing with the blades whirling.
Some of the suggested safety measures are addressed in the industry, but not all, Science Daily reported.
The science publication offered some safety tips to help prevent accidents:
Italia will require a prosthetic leg to be able to walk, run and play again, the Star reported. She has already begun physical therapy and will undergo additional surgeries to get her limb ready for the device.
Her aunt has started a GoFundMe page, “Italia’s Road to Recovery,” to help fund everything the little girl will need. As of Monday afternoon, the page had raised more than $12,000 of its $30,000 goal.
The hospital is accepting cards and gifts on the patient’s behalf, as well. They can be sent to Italia McAllister, Burn Unit 5 East-Room #5221, Riley Children's Hospital, 705 Riley Hospital Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202.
Cody McAllister said that despite everything she’s been through, his daughter’s signature sense of humor remains intact. Visitors to her hospital room are left laughing.
“She can just look at you, crossing her eyes and sticking out her tongue,” McAllister told the Star. “She’ll make up her own jokes and they don’t even make sense, but they’re still funny.”
McAllister said he is amazed by his daughter’s resilience.
“Honestly, she’s my hero,” he said. “I would never be able to do what she’s doing right now.”
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