Surgery where it’s most needed: Orthopedic heads mission to heal poor patients in Dominican Republic

Even in a city where the quality of health care is closely tied to one's ability to pay, few could imagine just how bad medical conditions are for some of the Dominican Republic's poorest citizens. Imagine having to buy surgical supplies for your own operation? Or not being able to find a wheelchair or crutches, or not having enough money for carfare to get to a health clinic? Those are just some of the conditions that Dr. John Kennedy and his group of physicians from the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan encountered during their first trip to the Dominican Republic in 2004. "This is a very personal trip for all involved and as a doctor I'm honored to be part of this truly meaningful, collaborative effort," says Kennedy in his New York-distilled Irish accent. A team that started with three specialists and has now doubled in size left yesterday for their third consecutive annual trip. They will spend one week in a rural area near Santo Domingo performing between 15 and 20 orthopedic surgeries for free for those patients in the greatest need. Kennedy, a specialist in orthopedic surgery and lower limb, also belongs to a group of physicians that works with players from the New York Giants, Manhattan Rugby, the New York Red Bulls soccer team and the National Basketball Referees Association. Speaking from within a cramped, fifth-floor office against a backdrop of X-rays and medical files, he explains that he's simply a spokesperson for a much larger group of people who collaborated to make these trips possible. "There are many people in the hospital who have supported this effort and they include other doctors covering patients, the hospital providing us with the time off as well as the hospital's donation of orthopedic devices such as crutches, wheelchairs and other equipment," Kennedy says. He also acknowledges key support from the Dominican government, who helped them to get medical supplies into the country. In addition, Dr. Cruz Continue Reading

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers turns attention to healing

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers will not decide whether he will play again this season. His surgically repaired collarbone will make that call.Speaking with reporters Friday for the first time since fracturing his right collarbone in an Oct. 15 loss to Minnesota, the Green Bay Packers quarterback said he wants to play again this season. He hopes that backup quarterback Brett Hundley and his teammates can keep the Packers in playoff contention while he is out, but how he heals is the key factor."I'm always positive," Rodgers said. "It comes down to how fast the bone heals. If it heals and we're in the right position, there's a conversation."Injured when he was taken down by the Vikings' Anthony Barr after throwing a pass while rolling out of the pocket, Rodgers underwent Oct. 19 surgery in which screws and a plate were affixed to his collarbone. Rodgers reacted angrily to Barr's hit and the two exchanged words. Barr later said he didn't intend to injure Rodgers.Asked how he felt about the hit Friday, Rodgers replied, "I mean, it was deemed a legal hit, and you know that you don't have the same protection outside the pocket. A simple shove-down probably would have sufficed in that situation, but it is what it is."Rodgers was placed on injured reserve the day after surgery, which by NFL rules meant he could begin practicing after six weeks and could play again after eight weeks - or longer, depending on how quickly he heals. Rodgers said he put his sudden excess of free time to good use by searching for ways he could accelerate the bone's healing in ways that are "obviously natural and legal and safe." He declined to get into specifics.Rodgers broke his left collarbone in 2013 and he missed seven games without having surgery. He returned for the regular-season finale, in which he threw a fourth-down, 48-yard touchdown pass in the final minute to beat the Chicago Bears and give the Packers the NFC North title. The playoff berth kept alive a streak of Continue Reading

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers eyes return this season only if ‘healed completely’

GREEN BAY - Without a sling, and with considerably less pain than he originally endured, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers addressed the media Friday for the first time since breaking his right collarbone 19 days prior.“It’s good to be back,” Rodgers said in the Packers' locker room. “Good week for me last week having surgery and then getting to stay out west for the initial rehab and checkup. But it’s good to be back here with the guys.”Rodgers underwent surgery to repair an injury he said was “significantly different” and “much more intense” than the broken left collarbone he suffered in 2013, which sidelined him for seven games. This time Rodgers’ right collarbone fractured under the weight of Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, who hit the quarterback after a pass was released. The NFL deemed Barr’s hit to be legal; Rodgers believes a two-hand shove would have sufficed.Nonetheless, the surgical procedure was performed in California at a location handpicked by Rodgers, though he declined to share the name. Doctors inserted a plate and an unspecified number of screws into his collarbone to stabilize the fracture, Rodgers said, and all sides were pleased with the end result. RELATED: Presence of Aaron Rodgers should aid Brett Hundley DOUGHERTY: Without Aaron Rodgers, Packers are just another team RELATED: Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari 'agree to counseling' on Conan Rodgers remained in California through the bye before returning to Green Bay this week, joining the rest of his teammates in their preparation for Monday’s game against the Detroit Lions.“Well, the beauty of it was (team doctor) Pat (McKenzie) and I have a very close relationship,” Rodgers said. “He’s done surgery on me a couple of times and he encouraged me to find a great trauma doc to do this, and I looked into a few different people. Continue Reading

In Trump Nation, healing is overrated

“In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity.’’ — Winston S. Churchill“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do.’’ — Donald J. TrumpAt inauguration time, magnanimity usually prevails. Winners reach out to losers and a brief honeymoon ensues. But many Trump supporters say there’s little this president-elect can, should, or probably will do to mollify Hillary Clinton supporters.Erwin Jackson, a Tallahassee, Fla., landlord, says political healing is overrated anyway: “I’m not worried about people who are disappointed. I’m excited. The Democrats are in denial. Healing is something they’re gonna have to work out on their own.’’Pat Acciavatti, a retired excavating company owner in St. Clair Township, Mich., agrees: “When Obama won, and when Bill Clinton won, I just shut up, hung my head and took my medicine. I wasn’t protesting in the street.’’Both are members of Trump Nation, an array of Trump voters in all 50 states who’ve spoken with the USA TODAY Network.Although Trump inherits a more divided country than any recent predecessor, he seems less interested than any in making nice. And that’s OK with Trump Nation, which generally believes there are only two remedies to the post-election divide.One is time. “It heals all wounds,’’ says Barry Fixler, a Bardonia, N.Y., jewelry store owner who opened his own local Trump headquarters last year. But, he predicts, “it’ll take the Democrats years to come around.’’The other is for Trump to do what he said he’ll do — like bring back jobs, secure the Southern border and generally make America great again.“That’s going to promote more positive interactions between the two camps,’’ says Rachel Quade, a real estate agent and Republican Continue Reading


BOSTON - While reestablishing his ability to win at the Garden, Kevin Weekes got the Rangers their playoff clincher and enabled them to take a three-point Atlantic Division lead into the weekend. Now, the veteran goaltender gets to take his act back on the road. Weekes will start this afternoon against the Boston Bruins and could also get the nod tomorrow night at the Meadowlands against the Devils as the Rangers tread lightly with mending rookie No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist practiced yesterday and wanted to play one of the two games this weekend after sitting out two with a mild hip flexor strain. But with the Rangers hoping to ride him on a long playoff run - and with Weekes sharp in victories over Philadelphia and the Islanders - Lundqvist probably won't make his next start until the Isles return to the Garden on Tuesday. Defenseman Darius Kasparaitis could be back in the lineup that night as well. Having missed seven of the last eight with a groin pull, Kasparaitis returned to practice yesterday. However, center Steve Rucchin did not skate. The Rangers would like to give the veteran center as much time off as they can to promote as much pre-playoffs healing as possible in the right foot fracture he suffered when struck by a shot two games ago in Ottawa. Rucchin played with the injury Tuesday night against the Flyers before seeking medical attention that revealed the break. Rangers coach Tom Renney said Rucchin could have played against the Islanders Thursday if the game were critical. But with a playoff berth clinched and the lead at three points after second-place Philadelphia's 4-2 win in Buffalo last night - which clinched a playoff spot for the Flyers - the Rangers planned to proceed as cautiously with Rucchin as with Lundqvist. Besides, rookie center Jarkko Immonen acquitted himself nicely in his NHL debut as Rucchin's replacement Thursday, scoring the first of three unanswered Ranger goals in the 3-1 victory over the Islanders. Continue Reading


WPIX/Ch. 11 correspondent Mary Murphy was getting ready for a family trip to Ireland this summer when she was tipped off about a memorial to the firefighters killed on 9/11 near where she was going. The memorial, consisting of trees, was set up by a former New York City nurse determined to plant one tree for each of the 343 firefighters killed that day. As of Friday she was 20 trees short. "I just couldn't bypass that," Murphy told the Daily News. So, before she headed out for vacation, she arranged to have an Irish crew meet her at the memorial in Kinsale, County Cork. Murphy's piece, "The Healing Trees," airs tonight at 8 as part of the station's "The Spirit of New York" special. "It was quiet, it was almost eerie," she said of the spot. "You would only hear the howl of the wind and the occasional cricket. I almost felt for the firefighters it was a resting place, even though they're not there." The story is one of a handful that have been airing this anniversary highlighting positive events to stem from 9/11. Recently, for example, WABC/Ch. 11's Bill Ritter did a piece on a camp where kids of 9/11 victims can go for fun. Last week, Ch. 7's Jeff Rossen did a piece on a New York family, uncomfortable after 9/11, that moved to North Carolina, where they're doing just fine. "You will see stories looking back. Those will be in our coverage [today]," Rossen said. "We've been trying to fill out the coverage this time around by checking up on people. ... We've found that people have been able to move on in parts of their lives." Rossen also said it's been nice to do some of the upbeat 9/11-related pieces. "I'm so used to doing 9/11 stories that are depressing," he said. "This a nice change of pace, to see people getting on with their lives." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Yoga pro Colleen Saidman Yee talks sex, drugs, and healing practice for new memoir

A former model uses tales of sex, drugs and rock and roll in a book hitting stores on Monday to introduce the healing power of yoga sequences and demonstrate how the ancient practice of breath and meditation can fortify the mind as well as the body. In “Yoga for Life: A Journey to Peace and Freedom,” Colleen Saidman Yee, a former fashion model turned yoga teacher, recounts how yoga helped her battle a heroin habit, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after she was injured in a car accident when she was 15 years old. She hopes readers lured by the drama of her life story will stay for the step-by-step yoga instruction the rest of her book provides. “It’s sort of raw, but that’s who I am,” said Saidman Yee, 55, about putting her personal demons in print. “I’m hoping people will see themselves in the book.” Saidman Yee designed the book’s illustrated yoga sequences around specific challenges. “They’re issues that pretty much everyone has: self-esteem, mothering, divorce, whatever our parents passed on to us, alienation, even boredom,” she explained. New York-based Saidman Yee, and her husband and fellow yoga star Rodney Yee, have been dubbed the power couple of yoga. The two, who married in 2006, head a yoga operation of DVDs, international workshops and three studios in the New York area. With fashion designer Donna Karan they run Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, which brings yoga to hospital patients and healthcare professionals. Most yoga research has focused on the purely physiological benefits of improved flexibility, muscle strength, endurance and balance, said Jessica Matthews, senior adviser for health and fitness education at the American Council on Exercise. But research suggests yoga can be effective against emotional distress as well. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology Continue Reading

South African rhino loses horns in poacher attack, but survives and is healing

JOHANNESBURG — The rhino’s rescuers gave her a name: Hope. Poachers in South Africa had darted the rhino with a tranquilizer and hacked off her horns while she was sedated, leaving the animal with a horrific wound covering much of her face. A couple of days later, staff on a wildlife reserve found the grievously injured rhino — alive. Last week, veterinarians operated on the 4-year-old female, a rare survivor of increasing attacks by poachers who killed more than 1,200 rhinos last year in South Africa, home to most of the world’s rhinos. They removed maggots and dead tissue, applied dressing and fastened a fiberglass cast with steel screws. The wound measured 20 by 11 inches, the biggest of 10 similar cases that the team has treated in the last three years. “If we can save Hope and she can go back and produce more offspring, then in her lifetime she would have contributed to the survival of the species,” said Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp, a veterinarian from the University of Pretoria and a member of Saving the Survivors, a South African group that treats rhinos with gunshot wounds, facial gouges and other injuries inflicted by poachers. Demand for rhino horn is high in parts of Asia, where it is seen as a status symbol and a cure for illness, despite a lack of evidence that it can heal. Hope was attacked in Lombardini, a wildlife reserve in Eastern Cape Province, where several rhinos were poached recently. Her nasal bone was badly fractured and part of it was removed in a surgical procedure May 18 after the rhino was transferred to another reserve. It could take at least a year for Hope’s wound to heal after multiple treatments, Steenkamp said. It cost $75,000 to treat Lion’s Den, a rhino with a similar but less severe injury, and Thandi, a rhino whose horns were hacked off in 2012, who recovered and gave birth in January, according to Saving the Survivors. Continue Reading

Amanda Knox’s Italian ex-boyfriend says he needs to heal ‘the wounds inside my soul’ after being acquitted

Amanda Knox’s Italian ex-boyfriend said Monday he needs to heal “the wounds inside my soul” now that they have been definitively acquitted of her roommate’s 2007 murder in Italy. Making his first public comments since the judicial saga officially ended Friday night, Raffaele Sollecito, 31, said: “I feel today like someone who was kidnapped, who after seven years and five months has returned to freedom.” In 2007, Meredith Kercher, 21, was found fatally stabbed in her bedroom of the house she shared with American student Knox and other roommates. “Everyone was pointing a finger at me, like I was a murderer, without a shred of evidence,” he said. Sollecito and Knox spent four years in jail as the case dragged on in Italy. The roller coaster ride came to an end last week, when Italy’s highest court tossed their convictions. Sollecito said he’d spoken to Knox, who’s now living in Seattle, and they’d exchanged “many good wishes for a new future.” Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Tracy Morgan says he’s healing, and vows to return to stage: “I’m gonna grab that mic and I’m never gonna let it go, never!”

Comedian Tracy Morgan tearfully vowed Monday to return to the stage and make fans laugh again. Still recovering from a hellacious car crash that nearly claimed his life, Morgan paid a visit to the “Saturday Night Live” studios at Rockefeller Center for a sitdown with “Today” show host Matt Lauer. He said that while he’s physically on the mend, his emotional scars may never heal. “I love comedy and I wonder how I’m gonna be funny again,” the “SNL” alum said during part of the interview that aired Monday on “NBC Nightly News.” “The fans let me know, ‘We can’t wait for you to come back,’” he said. “I can’t wait to make them happy again.” Morgan, 46, said he hopes to one day host “SNL” again. “I promise you,” he said through tears, “one day when I’m 100%, I’m gonna grab that mic and I’m never gonna let it go, never! I’m gonna be the funniest I can be because I ain’t never gonna take life for granted no more.” But Morgan’s brain doctor told the Daily News the former “30 Rock” star has a long road to recovery, and will likely never fully be himself again. “He still has a lot of great talent left and he’s gonna use that in a real prolific way,” said Dr. Brian Greenwald, medical director of the Center for Head Injuries at JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J. “Certainly Tracy still has a lot of goals to meet,” Greenwald said. “I don’t have an end date for (therapy).” Greenwald said he and his team will “do everything we can” to get him to be the best Tracy Morgan he can be. “He came in here on a stretcher and walked out,” Greenwald said. In the “Today” interview, Morgan broke down as Continue Reading