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Wendy Williams Passes Out During Show (VIDEO)




CLEVELAND -- Daytime talk show show Wendy Williams passed out live on the air during her show on Halloween while dressed as Lady Liberty.

"I saw her eyes kind of flutter back and she stumbled back and fell and it didn't look like she trying to brace her fall," says Lolita McDavid, MD, Medical Director of Child Advocacy and Protection at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. "I have to believe that it really did happen. I'm very surprised she came right back."

Dr. McDavid warns this incident is an opportunity for parents to make sure kids where appropriate costumes that don't obscure their vision or potentially cause them to trip.

Williams apparently overheated in her Halloween costume at about 48 minutes into her show she tapes in New York City. She started slurring words and swaying back and forth before eventually collapsing during her annual "How You Doin' Halloween Costume Contest" show. She returned after a commercial break to explain her collapse was not a stunt and that she did indeed pass out.


Cleveland Leads the Nation in Premature Births (VIDEO/AUDIO)





CLEVELAND -- The March of Dimes has released its annual Premature Birth Report Card, which found the premature birth rate (birth before 37 weeks) has risen for the second year in a row after nearly a decade of decline in the United States, increasing from 9.6% in 2015 to 9.8% in 2016. It also found a large disparity based on race -- with a premature birth rate of 9.0% for Caucasian women but 13.3% percent for African Americans. 

With a premature birth rate of 14.9%, Cleveland ranked number one in the nation for percentage of premies among the top 100 cities followed by Detroit (13.9), St. Louis (13.3), Memphis (13.3), and Baltimore (13.0). 

"I'm disappointed," says Jonathan Fanaroff, MD, Co-Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland. "We want to make progress in a field where I'd like to make myself obsolete if I could."

Dr. Fanaroff says there are many factors that contribute to high premature birth rates, including high risk pregnancies, diabetes, high blood pressure, access to care, insurance, late or no prenatal care, and in vitro fertilization.

"We have a wonderful NICU, I'm very proud of the work we do, but the reality is there's no better place than the womb in almost all circumstances," says Dr. Fanaroff. "Keeping the baby in for just a few weeks can make a major difference."

Irvine (CA), Seattle, Portland, Santa Ana (CA), and Irving (TX) ranked at the top of the list and earned a grade of A from the March of Dimes. The U.S. saw 380,000 preterm births last year.

Premature birth is the leading cause of infant mortality and can lead to lifelong health problems including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, jaundice, respiratory issues, and vision loss.


President Declares Opioid Epidemic a Public Health Emergency (VIDEO/AUDIO)




CLEVELAND -- Opioids claims the lives of about 100 Americans every day so, today, President Trump took the step of declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency with the possibility of securing money in a year-end spending package.

"It's greater than a national emergency, it's a public health issue and it's becoming a public health epidemic," says Renee Klaric, Manager of Addiction Services at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "If you look at a lifetime of treatment at an increasing rate, you will not only have someone who's addicted but you have their family involved and the healthcare system involved so it is going to grow in this generation but also it's going to fall over into the next generation."

Aside from the obvious risk of opioids causing overdoses and death, Klaric says issues like Hepatitis B, AIDS, diabetes, heart issues, and other health problems (or comorbidities) associated with drug use can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of each patient as well as proving fatal as well.

Since primary care physicians (PCPs) are on the front lines in the battle against opioids,  University Hospitals has hired an addictionologist who specializes in the treatment of people with drug and alcohol problems who will train the other PCPs on helping with the crisis.

"If I have someone who we treat through addiction services and we take them through withdrawal and we send them to one of our primary care physicians who are also treating addiction," Klaric says, "they're also going to treat one of the seventy other co-occurring conditions that come with addiction and that's the beautiful integration of primary care medicine and behavioral health."

With the formation of addiction services, University Hospitals is not looking at opioid abuse in a vacuum but rather an interconnected part of larger problems, looking to treat secondary issues like trauma in addition to the primary problem of alcohol and drug abuse.

Another weapon in the opioid battle is the Northeast Ohio Hospital Consortium on Opioid Addiction which includes the large hospitals in the region working together to look at reforming guidelines for prescribing opioids, studying prescription patterns, and expanding medication-assisted treatments as well as the accessibility of Narcan (or Naloxone).

"They are all working together to reduce opiate overdoses and deaths," says Klaric.


Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid Visits UH and Rainbow (VIDEO)




CLEVELAND -- Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, visited University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital where she met with University Hosptials CEO Tom Zenty, Rainbow President Patti DePompei, UH Cleveland Medical Center President Dan Simon, and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Bill Hannible. Among the topics discussed included regulatory issues.


"Funky" Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign (VIDEO)




CLEVELAND -- It's an iconic comic strip: "Funky Winkerbean" runs in more than 400 newspapers and celebrates its 45th anniversary this year -- and the characters have grown up with its creator, the strip showing marriage, children, and, in the case of Les and Lisa, even more serious issues.

"After they're married, Lisa is diagnosed with breast cancer," says Tom Batiuk, an Akron native, Kent State University graduate, and current Medina, Ohio resident. "Having grown into adulthood, I was starting to hear from friends and family who were dealing with the illness."

Lisa's cancer goes into remission but then an event in Batiuk's life made him revisit Lisa's story.


"Then I was diagnosed with cancer, prostate cancer, and I realized I'd only skimmed over the surface of the story in the first telling," says Batiuk. "It was much more highly charged and emotions were much stronger."

Lisa eventually succumbs to cancer. Batiuk took the entirety of Lisa's story and, this month, released "Lisa's Legacy Trilogy," a three-volume set that chronicles Lisa and Les' life as well as their battle with the disease. A portion of the proceeds go to breast cancer research but Batiuk also wants to raise awareness.

"Use her story as a catalyst, to talk about the disease," Batiuk says. If he has one message, it's get screened early. It saved his life and might've saved Lisa's. Still, according to Batiuk, Lisa lives on.

"With the Lisa's Legacy Fund for Cancer Research, it's nice to see her there and still contributing hopefully in the real world," he says.

"Lisa's Legacy Trilogy" is available at your local bookstore as well as at funkywinkerbean.com/books.html. If you want to donate for breast cancer research at UH Seidman Cancer Center, the link is: LisasLegacyFund.org


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