Health & Wellness

Health news

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Children with cancer will be able to get the care they need in one location under a new plan announced Thursday by Women and Children's Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Starting at this time next year, anyone over the age of 18 who is getting a new driver's license will have to declare whether or not they want to be an organ donor.

Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs says because the question is currently optional, many people skip it.  

"We believe that this will be a significant step to encourage those to really think about organ donation and not just pass over it. Sometimes they pass over it without even knowing [and] if they did know, they would want to sign up," Jacobs said at a news conference Monday morning.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Buffalo Bills organization is gearing up for a large event Friday night in downtown Niagara Falls.  The Bills "Billieve" Breast Cancer Awareness Event will help raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.  

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley sat down with organizers of the event -- including two Buffalo Bills wives and a breast cancer survivor.

"I had a mastectomy.  I had chemotherapy. I had radiation.  I had the whole nine yards," said  Susan Morreale. 

Five years ago Morreale experience what many women fear -- the discovery of a lump in her breast.

If you think you're too busy to get a flu shot -- think again!  Western New York Immediate Care will be holding drive-thru flu clinics in the region Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Claire Jones is with Immediate  Care.  She says you don't have to leave your vehicle to receive shot.

"Drive right up, roll down the window and roll up their sleeves," said Jones. "They will be met by a registration person.  They will have their temperature taken.  They will drive up to the next person to get their shot.  The whole process takes not even five minutes."

Mike Desmond/wbfo

Albany is pushing harder to persuade people to donate organs and tissue when they die.

"Lauren's Law" is named in honor of now 12-year-old Lauren Shields from Rockland County, who received a heart transplant in 2009.

Sheilds has lobbied for greater encouragement of organ donations in a state which is 48th in donations, with only 18 percent of adults enrolled to donate.  Donation is higher in Western New York. Nationally the number is 43 percent.

9,700 New Yorkers are on the waiting list for donations among the 113,000 around the country awaiting a transplant.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Women and Children's Hospital is not only building a new home, it's also getting a new name.

When the facility opens in 2015 at Main and High Streets downtown, it will be called The John R. Oishei Children's Hospital.

The Oishei Foundation has made a $10 million donation, the largest single gift in the foundation's history, to name the facility in honor of the Buffalo industrialist and philanthropist.

Kaleida Health Board Chair John Koelmel thanked the Oishei Foundation for its "tremendous generosity, passion and courage" and "for being a real difference maker." 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

This Friday the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will hold the 14th Annual Light the Night Walk.  The fundraising event celebrates and commemorates the many lives touched by cancer. 

WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley met with this year's Light The Night committee member and chair of Day of Fundraising for Light the Night -- Wayne Bryant of Williamsville.  He is a cancer survivor and shares his story.

The push is on for flu vaccinations.

Erie County Health Commissioner Doctor Gale Burstein says now is a good time to have your flu shot and possibly a pneumonia vaccination also. She suggests talking to your doctor about what you may need.

The health commissioner says earlier is better because there are several new strains of flu in the shot for which is there is no past immunity and the body needs time to adjust.

There are a variety of ways to get a shot this year, including the nasal spray vaccination.

Photo provided by Communications Workers of America (CWA)

Local healthcare workers protested outside the State Health Department office on Delaware Avenue Friday afternoon.

They held a picket against Albany's failure to pass a Safe Patient Handling bill. Healthcare workers -- who lift patients -- often suffer from back injuries. The bill would require hospitals and nursing homes to provide equipment to help lift patients.

Bill Nowak is with the healthcare coordinating committee of CWA District One. He says state lawmakers need to stop playing games with patient safety.

NFL Charities is awarding more than $1.5 million in grants to 15 institutions nationwide, including the University at Buffalo, for sports-related research.

Nearly two-thirds of the money is earmarked for concussion prevention and treatment. UB is using its $100,000 grant to further develop a standardized exercise test for athletes who have experienced concussions. Dr. John Leddy of UB's Concussion Management Clinic compares their test to a stress test for the heart, only this one is for the brain.

Photo from CDC Website

There has been one confirmed human case of the West Nile virus in Erie County. 

County health officials said Thursday an adult was hospitalized, but has been since released to recover at home. 

The Health Department is warning residents to take precautions against mosquitoes that carry the disease.  Director of Public Health Dr. Scott Zimmerman says the drier than normal summer has not flushed out standing water, allowing mosquitoes to breed.

A local foundation named for a young boy with a lethal disease is urging Congress to pass legislation that would speed up the Food and Drug Administration's lengthy drug approval process. 

Suneel's Light Foundation Chief Science Officer George Hajduczok says the FAST (Faster Access to Specialized Treatments) Act removes regulatory uncertainty and formalizes the process for getting drugs approved faster.  

Given the popularity of animal exhibits and petting zoos at county fairs, health officials are reminding the public about the importance of practicing good hygiene. This after an outbreak of swine flu in about a dozen states. 

So far, the outbreak has been limited to mid-western states.  But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the 162 cases reported as of Friday an extraordinary increase over the 13 swine flu cases confirmed during all of 2011. 

Veterans who rely on Veterans Affairs and private providers for their healthcare don't have to carry around paper copies of the medical records anymore. Local vets can now allow healthcare providers access their medical records electronically.

VA Healthcare System of Western New York Director Brian Stiller says the VA has joined HEALTHeLINK, the region's clinical information exchange. The program allows private practitioners, local hospitals, labs, and the VA to share a patient's test results, x-rays, MRIs and medication history.

WBFO News photo

For a smoker, the Herculean task of quitting takes many paths.

Pills. Jogging. Stress management. Chewing gum. Name it, a smoker has tried, failed, and continued lighting up.

Subbing veggies for smokes, is not new, but according to UB researcher Gary Giovino, new information indicates it may be a highly effective way out for the nicotine addict.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A controversial crematorium at 2600 Sherdian Drive in the Town of Tonawanda has been shuttered for the the next six months.

State Attorney General Erie Schneiderman announced an agreement with Sheridan Park, the operators of the Amigone Funeral Home crematory. WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley talked with residents and the CEO of Amigone

Under an agreement with State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,  Sheridan Park, operators of the Amigone crematory will have to find solutions to eliminate odors, smoke, and particles or relocate to another site.

WBFO News photo

Good For You, a radio forum presented by WBFO/AM 970 and BlueCross BlueShield of WNY, examines ways to improve the quality of health care, while lowering costs.   

Four local health care experts gathered before a live audience in the WNED studios.  The panel included:

Dr. Andrea Manyon, A Primary Care Physician and Associate Dean of Student Affairs, U-B School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Chief of Family Medicine for Kaleida Health System

Karen Blount, an RN and Vice President of Healthcare Services for BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A mobile mammography unit has arrived in Buffalo to offer breast screening to underserved and undertested women.

Erie County Medical Center Lifeline Foundation, First Niagara Financial Group and the Buffalo Sabres Alumni collaborated to purchase the 45-foot, pink bus. It was unveiled Wednesday morning inside First Niagara Center.

The bus includes two digital mammography machines and dressing rooms.   It will be operated by Western New York Breast Health, directed by Dr.  Vivian Lindfield.

Proposed designs for a brand new Women and Children's Hospital were unveiled this morning during a meeting of Buffalo's Planning Board. 

The hospital plans to relocate the entire facility to the corner of Ellicott and High streets in the Medical Corridor.  Kaleida Health and hospital leaders say the 12-story, state-of-the art facility would be designed to provide better patient care and attract new doctors.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has announced the creation of a Medicaid Anti-Fraud Task Force. 

Poloncarz says Medicaid continues to represent the single largest cost to the county -- $211 million already this year.  He says the new task force will root out "provider-level" waste, fraud, and abuse from doctors, dentists, transportation services and pharmacists.

Poloncarz says the task force will go after "the types of entities that overbill the system." He cited a Monroe County pharmacist that fraudulently billed for prescriptions that were never filled.

WBFO News photo by Omar Fetouh

The state's top cop is cracking down on stores that sell dangerous designer drugs.  More than a dozen so-called "head shops" across New York, including one in Buffalo, are headed to court.

The sale of synthetic drugs in head shops has contributed to a public health crisis in New York and across the nation, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The attorney general has filed lawsuits against 16 retailers for violating the state's labeling laws by selling designer drugs known as "bath salts" and "synthetic marijuana."

Workplace bullying is more common than one might think, but it is difficult to get a handle on the scope of the problem. 

There are several reasons why, including reluctance of the aggrieved to come forward, steadfast denials from company  that anything is wrong, and human resource directors who look the other way. 

Erie County's parks and beaches are now smoke-free. 

The Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and other county leaders were joined Monday by members of the Erie-Niagara Tobacco Free Coalition at Como Lake Park in Lancaster  where they unveiled the first batch of "smoke-free" signs.

Burstein says the new smoke-free policy  is now in effect at all county-run parks and beaches.   She says the goal is to clear the air of second-hand smoke

Photo from New York’s Single Payer Official Website

Single payer advocates in New York State are vowing to continue to push Congress to move to an expanded and Improve Medicare for All program. 

WBFO's Eileen Buckley talked to a member of the statewide group for reaction to Thursday's historic Supreme Court healthcare decision.

Single payer advocates say they will urge Congress to amend the Affordable Care Act to allow states to implement their own healthcare plans in 2014. 

Dr. Raul Vazquez  is with the Urban Family Practice in Buffalo serving many of those who don't have healthcare, but instead are covered by Medicaid. 

 "Right now, these patients are getting care, but they are getting care in the emergency rooms," said Vazquez. "What the law stands to do is develop different models of care."

Dr. Vazquez says under the law, the state would establish a health care exchange that would provide citizens with a place to shop for a plan that fit  their budget, providing relief for those who currently can not afford health insurance.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Prescription drug abuse in Western New York has been described as an epidemic.  But a new prescription drug bill approved by state lawmakers would begin to prevent the problem. 

This week  in our Press Pass conversation WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley talked with Buffalo News reporters Susan Schulman and Dan Herbeck.  They were part of an award-winning News series last year called "Prescription for Danger" and reacted to the new bill that Governor Cuomo promises to sign into law.    

Ride for Roswell 2012 surpasses previous fund drive

Jun 24, 2012
Photo from Ride for Roswell Facebook page

The annual Ride for Roswell held Saturday across Western New York was a huge success for cancer research.

The fundraising event collected $3.7 million.  That surpassed the previous Ride record of $3.2 million raised in 2011.

More than 10,000 supporters of The Ride For Roswell, including riders, volunteers, patients and survivors, closed out the 17th annual fundraiser to benefit lifesaving cancer research studies and 30 patient care programs.

It is an alarming trend in Western New York and across the country: babies born addicted to prescription pain killers. 

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer visited Buffalo's Sisters of Charity Hospital Monday, telling reporters
and hospital staff the nation must act now to reduce the alarming number of prescription drug-addicted infants. 

"Western New York is facing a serious problem with the growing trend of what is known as NAS,  Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome," said Senator Schumer. 

Daniel Robison / WBFO

The newest addition to Buffalo’s skyline has opened its doors.

The 10-story, $300 million Gates Vascular Institute/Clinical and Translational Research Center houses a state-of-the-art surgery center, research labs and a business incubator.

“This is a magnet for the region,” says Jim Kaskie, CEO of Kaleida Health. “If you’ve got issues with your heart, your brain, your arteries or veins, you want to be here.”

Kaleida Health collaborated with the University at Buffalo on the project.

An Orchard Park contractor has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for eight alleged workplace safety violations at a Buffalo worksite. 

An OSHA inspector discovered that Aria Contracting employees were removing asbestos and asbestos-containing materials from a former warehouse at 2925 Main Street without wearing protective suits and respiratory protection.