Archives December 2016

Woman Hikes for 36 Hours to Save Family, Relies on Maternal Instincts to Survive

Hiking and backpacking is growing in popularity across the country. In fact, back in 2008, the number of hiking enthusiasts amounted to 29.23 million; by 2014, that number had grown to 39.05 million. But for one woman, a recent hike wasn’t for purposes of fitness or leisure — it was a matter of life or death.

Last Thursday, Karen Klein, her husband, and their 10-year old son were on vacation in Arizona, en route to the Grand Canyon. Realizing that the main roads to their destination were closed due to snow, the family relied on their GPS to find an alternate route that looked relatively safe. But after traveling on dirt roads for a while, their car got stuck in the mud.

In the middle of nowhere, and stuck without food or a cell phone signal, Klein decided to go look for help. She decided that since she was an avid hiker, trained in survival skills, and a fitness enthusiast, she would find the way to the main road and flag down a passing car for help.

Little did they know that all the main roads were closed because of a snow storm and there wasn’t a car to be found.

A few hours later, Klein found herself alone in the dark and far away from any road. She hiked for 11 hours before she eventually took shelter underneath an evergreen tree, rocking herself back and forth for warmth. To survive she ate aspen and evergreen twigs, and melted snow for water.

However, walking in the heavy snow for hours took its toll. In addition to losing a shoe, Klein also pulled a muscle in her hip and developed frostbite. The only way she could walk was by physically lifting her leg and moving it forward. She could take only 10 or so steps at a time before needing to

After almost 36 hours and 26 miles, Klein came across an uninhabited lodge for park rangers, broke a window with her elbow, and went inside for warmth.

When she didn’t return to the car after a day, her husband and son walked in the opposite direction that Klein had, searching for a cell phone signal. Once they called for help, the search and rescue team found Klein in relatively good spirits in the lodge.

On average, a hiker weighing 155 pounds and climbing hills carrying 10 to 20 pounds will burn 528 calories an hour, while a 208-lb hiker will burn almost 700 calories an hour. Consider these numbers, multiply them by 36, and add the fact that she barely ate anything, and it is simply a miracle Klein has survived.

As of the date of publication, Klein is doing remarkably well and is nursing a couple frostbitten toes back to health. While she does regret not planning her trip out a little more in detail, she thanks her “motherly instinct” for getting her through one of the most horrible ordeals of her life.

Klein tells NBC that the only thing keeping her going was her “solutions-oriented” nature, and she remembers thinking “”I can’t leave my son without a mom. I’m can’t leave my husband without a wife. I’m not letting my parents bury me.”

A true Christmas miracle.


(photo: Karen Klein and her husband, CBS News)

Florida Man Arrested for Extracting Teeth Without a Dentistry License

A man was arrested in Florida this week for practicing dentistry without a license. According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Robert Rheinlander had been conducting examinations, making dentures, and even performing tooth extractions out of his own home.

Rheinlander, who claimed he had been a dentist in South Carolina, offered to do dental work for patients at a lower cost. However, investigators discovered that he had never been a dentist at all. Rather, Rheinlander had been licensed only as a dental technician between February 2004 and March 2006, at which time he was disciplined by the South Carolina Board of Dentistry for an undisclosed reason.

Police first learned of Rheinlander’s illegal practice on September 29 when a couple came forward with a disturbing story. They told the detective that they had been introduced to Rheinlander by a mutual friend and he had offered to do their dental work for a very low cost. However, when the unlicensed “dentist” extracted the woman’s tooth, he left behind a fragment that ended up causing serious medical complications.

After digging into Rheinlander’s background, the couple soon learned that he was not a dentist. They also told police about another patient they had referred to Rheinlander. The officers met with the patient and learned that the ersatz dentist had pulled out 10 of his teeth without anesthetic and made him a set of dentures.

8948177_20161201_8850787About 74% of all adults have had at least one tooth extracted, and in fact, five million Americans undergo wisdom tooth extraction every year. The standard practice is to use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the extraction site; otherwise, the procedure would be extremely painful. Sedation dentistry is used for patients who are particularly nervous about the oral surgery or simply scared of the dentist (15% of all Americans).

Not only was Rheinlander not an experienced dentist, he was performing extractions without anesthetizing the patients, making these procedures both painful and extremely dangerous.

The fake dentist was finally caught by an undercover detective who set up an appointment with Rheinlander to catch him in the act.

Arrested on Wednesday, Rheinlander was charged with practicing dentistry without a license. He was released from jail the next day on a $1,500 bond.

After School Bus Tragedy, Emphasis Placed on Seat Belt Safety

As parents in Tennessee mourn the death of six children after a bus crashed into a tree, debates over bus safety across the country have ensued.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers aged 18 to 34 are less likely than drivers over 35 to wear their seat belts. In addition, men are 10% less likely than women to wear seat belts. In school buses, however, even fewer children are protected by seat belts.

News Channel 5 reports that the Metro Council’s Education Committee has delayed a vote in Tennessee that has requested the Metro School Board to install seat belts on all new school buses. The resolution, sponsored by Karen Y. Johnson, requested that the school board “require that all buses nearing mandatory replacement age, or otherwise requiring replacement, be replaced with buses equipped with seat belts.”

It’s estimated that installing seat belts would cost an extra $12,000 for each bus.

“I don’t think any price is too much for the safety of our children,” said Anna Shepherd, the Metro School Board Chair.

CNN reports that the National Safety Council and American Academy of Pediatrics have long recommended that seat belts be installed on new school buses. Only New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and California have laws requiring passenger seat belts on their buses.

“That’s the best protection that we can give our kids. It’s what they’re used to in cars,” said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We know that there are very few fatalities involving children on school buses every year — they are a safe form of transportation — but anything that we can do to make them safer is really our responsibility.”

School officials stated that every school bus costs Metro between $40,000 and $50,000 a year to operate and members of the Education Committee would prefer the school board to come up with its own plan for safety.

Study Shows Parents Spend More Time Commuting to Work Than Playing With Their Kids

For many parents, balancing work and home life is as tricky as threading a needle. It’s so difficult, in fact, that parents are spending less time with their kids and more time in their car.

According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Nintendo, 48% of parents report spending more time commuting to work than playing with their kids. In addition, the average parent tells their child they are too busy to play a full eight times a week.

“Between busy school and work lives, quality family time is becoming more and more limited,” said Meredith Sinclair, a lifestyle expert in play and family time explains to Business Wire.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports the average commute time in the U.S. to be 25.4 minutes. This number is dramatically higher in urban areas such as Denver, C.O., Washington, D.C., and Seattle, W.A. Comparatively, areas in Utah, Nevada, and western Texas have commute times of less than 10 minutes.

Tele-commuting could help this problem. As of right now, at least half of the American workforce holds a job that is compatible with partial tele-commuting. Many believe this work environment is the way of the future, and research shows it will only increase from here. In fact, within the past two decades, the amount of jobs allowing tele-commuting grew 25%.

Tele-commuting brings many benefits. A Forbes survey found that if a worker tele-commutes, they were 87% more likely to enjoy their job. This is because those with freedom in their schedule are more likely to have a better work and home balance, while boosting productivity.

Forbes details these three tips on how to convince a boss on allowing tele-commuting within the office.

1. Timing

Schedule a meeting instead of bombarding them with the question at any time.

2. Qualify your value

Put your value into numbers that your boss will understand. Include how much revenue you will be able to bring in once you are working from home with higher productivity and fewer distractions.

3. Anticipate red flags

It is always important to be mindful of the potential concerns your boss may have with tele-commuting, and be willing to work together to formulate a plan.

House of Representatives Passes 21st Century Cures Act with Overwhelming Support

In a strong show of bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act with a 392 to 26 vote. The bill, aimed at integrating health information technology services and streamlining drug innovation, will now make its way to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass and eventually gain approval from President Obama.

As one of the last congressional votes for 2016 — and, for some representatives, the last votes of their Washington tenure — the Cures Act includes $6.3 billion in funding for various projects and initiatives over the coming years. Some $500 million will go toward an overhaul of the current drug approval process in the Food and Drug Administration, and another $4.8 million is allocated for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. There are also suggested funds for research on Alzheimer’s disease as well as Vice-President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” task force.

In addition to research funds, the bill also paves a pathway for more integrated health information technology (HIT) and electronic health records (EHR) for use between healthcare providers and patients. Past studies suggest that hospitals across the country could collectively save over $30 billion a year by connecting smart technology medical devices such as vital sign monitors, pumps, and ventilators with patient EHRs. Electronic billing can also provide a more efficient way for patients to interact with billers.

Advocates of the bill say that the measures will help improve the “discovery, development, and delivery” of new drugs and treatments, especially those for rare and debilitating diseases.

“There’s so much to like within the bill,” said Paul Melmeyer‎, associate director of Public Policy at the National Organization for Rare Disorders. “It gives [the FDA and the NIH] more tools to determine and assess safety and effectiveness within therapies — tools they they may not have had otherwise statutorily, but now Congress is giving them the ability to use.”

Despite the overwhelmingly favorable vote, some representatives and senators remain largely critical of the 21st Century Cures Act for its perceived allowance of pharmaceutical companies to push new drugs through the approval process and onto the market without thorough clinical trials.

“It’s time for Congress to stand up to the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, not give them more handouts,” said Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Of the 26.5 million businesses in the United States, big pharma companies such as Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson generate about $413 billion in global revenue every year.

A White House statement released after the Cure Act’s approval by the House acknowledged that “the bill is not perfect,” but the strengths of its ability to combat urgent issues such as the opioid epidemic and mental health outweighed its faults.