Health

The 10 Most Shocking Health Stories of 2009
From the Octomom craze to the world's first flu pandemic in 40 years, read about the year's most shocking health stories 

Docs Discover Dallas Twins Have Different Dads

Mia Washington was certainly surprised when she found out her 11-month-old twins Justin and Jordan did not share the same father.

 

Washington, who lives in Texas, decided to seek medical advice when she and her partner noticed the twins had very different facial features, and paternity tests revealed that two eggs had been fertilized by two different sperm – and there was a 99 percent chance the boys had different dads.

 

Washington later admitted she had an affair and got pregnant by two different men at the same time.

 

“Out of all the people in America and of all the people in the world, it had to happen to me,” Washington told MyFoxFW.com. “I’m very shocked.”

 

When twins have two fathers, doctors call it superfecundation, and there are only a handful of documented cases in the world.

Woman Gives Birth to Two Babies, Not Twins

Julia Grovenburg and her husband, Todd, were shocked when doctors told them Julia was pregnant with not one, but two babies.

 

But even more shocking was the fact that these babies were not conceived on the same day, and therefore, were not twins.

 

This rare occurrence is known as superfetation and it happens when the mother conceives a child while pregnant with another.

 

Dr. Karen Boyle of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center told ABC News she has only heard of 10 reported cases of superfetation.

 

Doctors think Julia conceived baby girl Jillian first, and her brother, Hudson, two-and-a-half weeks later.


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Minnesota Boy Flees Chemo Treatments

A Minnesota teen and his mother gained national attention when they went into hiding last May rather than comply with a judge’s order that the boy report for chemotherapy. Daniel Hauser, 13, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and doctors had recommended he undergo chemotherapy to treat the condition.

 

But Daniel said the treatments made him ill and he stopped having them after having just one. Daniel and his mother Colleen returned home on May 26 about a week after fleeing the judge’s ruling and Daniel resumed chemotherapy two days later. He finished chemotherapy in early September and is said to be in remission.

Sudden Deaths of Jackson, Mays, Richardson and Murphy

March 18, 2009: Two days after falling at a ski resort in Quebec, Canada Natasha Richardson died at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

The Tony award-winning actress was reported to be "fine at first" after she hit her head, but the 45-year-old actress' health began to deteriorate within an hour.

 

An autopsy later found she died from bleeding in her skull caused by the fall she took on the ski slope.

June 25, 2009: One of the most talked-about stories of 2009was the death of Michael Jackson. The King of Pop died on June 25 after he was given a fatal combination of drugs, according to officials. Forensic tests found the powerful anesthetic propofol acted together with at least two sedatives caused Jackson's death.

In August, the Los Angeles County coroner ruled his death a homicide. At the time, it made it more likely that criminal charges would be filed against the doctor who was with the 50-year-old pop star when he died. But Dr. Conrad Murray has yet to be charged in the case and has since returned to work in Houston.

June 28, 2009: Three days after Jackson’s death, boisterous TV pitchman Billy Mays died of a heart attack in his sleep after going to bed at his Tampa condo the night of June 27. His wife found him unresponsive the next morning.

An autopsy showed that cocaine use contributed to the death of the 50-year-old infomercial king. In August, the medical examiner's office said although Mays died from heart disease, cocaine use was a contributing cause of death.

 

Dec. 20, 2009: Hollywood was stunned when actress Brittany Murphy died suddenly at the age of 32. The L.A. coroner said it appears the actress died of natural causes, but details of an autopsy has yet to be released. 

 

Murphy, who starred in "8 Mile" and "Clueless," was found unconscious in the shower by her mother, and was in full cardiac arrest when the paramedics arrived. She was pronounced dead when she arrived at the hospital. 

 

Cancer Claims the Lives of Kennedy, Fawcett and Swayze

June 25, 2009: After a 2 1/2 year battle with anal cancer, actress Farrah Fawcett died in June at a Los Angeles hospital. She was 62.

 

The multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated American actress best known for her role as the vivacious Jill Munroe in the 1970s television series 'Charlie's Angels,' ultimately went public with her cancer fight, chronicling her treatments in Germany in a documentary that aired earlier this year.

 

August 25, 2009: Edward. M. "Ted" Kennedy, the Democratic "liberal lion" who for nearly 50 years represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, died in August at his home on Cape Cod more than a year after he announced he had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He was 77.

 

September 14, 2009: After a very long, public battle with pancreatic cancer, actor Patrick Swayze died in September at home with his family and friends at his side. He was 57.

Swayze, who was diagnosed in January 2008, defied the odds in many ways – living for more than a year-and-a-half with this extremely deadly form of cancer. During that time, he put together a memoir with his wife and even started filming the new crime drama “The Beast,” in which he refused to take painkillers because he was worried it would affect his performance.

 

Urinary Tract Infection Leads to Painful Death

A Brazilian model whose hands and feet were amputated due to a common urinary tract infection died in January.

 

Mariana Bridi, 20, was twice a finalist in the Brazilian stage of the Miss World beauty pageant and she participated in the 2007 Miss Bikini International Contest.

 

Bridi first became ill in December 2008 and doctors diagnosed her with kidney stones. They later changed their diagnosis to a urinary tract infection when Bridi’s condition worsened. Once hospitalized, doctors discovered the infection caused septicemia (the presence of bacteria in the blood), which had set into her limbs, cutting off circulation. They were forced to amputate.

 

The Espirito Santo Health Secretariat said in a statement that Bridi died in January from complications related to a generalized infection, which was caused by Pseudomoas aeruginosa, which is known to be resistant to multiple antibiotics.

 

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Woman Gives Birth to Octuplets

When California resident Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets in January of this year, the world looked on with astonishment.

But once it was revealed that the single mother, who already had six children at home, was unemployed and on public assistance, purposely had six embryos – two of which split into twins -- implanted in her during fertility treatments, that astonishment quickly turned to disgust.

 

Doctors were quick to criticize both Suleman – dubbed “Octomom” by the press -- and her fertility specialist, Dr. Michael Kamrava, saying implanting six embryos into a womb was not only unethical but also dangerous to both mother and babies. 

Kamrava was expelled from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine for his role in the birth of Suleman’s octuplets. Suleman is said to have signed a deal to develop a reality show.

World Sees First Flu Pandemic in 40 Years

When government health officials identified a new flu strain consisting of pig, human and bird viruses that had sickened people in Texas and California last April, little did anyone know that the discovery would eventually lead to the World Health Organization declaring the world’s first pandemic in 41 years.

 

The long-awaited pandemic announcement came on June 11 and was scientific confirmation that a new flu virus, the H1N1 swine flu, had emerged and was quickly circling the globe. The new flu virus is believed to have originated in Mexico and is particularly deadly for pregnant women and teens – two groups not usually at risk for severe side effects from the seasonal flu. In the first seven months of the pandemic, it has killed at least 10,000 Americans and sickened 50 million more. 

(AP2009)

Woman Sets Breast Record - 38KKK

A Texas woman reportedly underwent nine breast enlargement operations so that she could have the world’s largest breast implants.

 

American doctors refused to help Sheyla Hershey, 28, in her quest, so she traveled to Brazil to increase her bust size, which is now a staggering 38KKK.

 

“To me, big is beautiful,” Hershey said. “I don’t think I have anything to worry about.”

 

Hershey’s surgery required a full gallon of silicone.

 

Click here to read more about this story. 

 

Girl, 16, Has Body, Mind of a Toddler

Brooke Greenberg is almost 17-years-old. But unlike other teenagers her age, Brooke, who lives in Baltimore, Md., isn’t searching for colleges or learning to drive a car.

 

Brooke, who is believed to have a mutation of the gene that controls aging and development, is only two-and-a-half feet tall and weighs 16 pounds. She can’t walk or talk and must wear diapers.

 

However, doctors are hopeful that Brooke’s condition holds the secret to the fountain of youth.

“What she brings to science is information on how we may delay aging,” said Dr. Richard Walker, a biomedical researcher and editor-in-chief of “Clinical Interventions in Aging,” who is studying Brooke’s case.

 

Click here to read more about Brooke and her family. 

 

The 10 Most Shocking Health Stories of 2009

From the Octomom craze to the world's first flu pandemic in 40 years, read about the year's most shocking health stories 

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