Surgeons separate 3-day-old conjoined twins in 5-hour operation

Surgeons in India posed for a celebratory selfie after successfully separating 3-day-old conjoined twins in a painstaking operation. The baby girls – which are yet to be named – had a combined weight of just 7lbs and were joined at the tummy. Doctors said the pair's parents were anxious about separating them – but thankfully doctors managed … Continue reading “Surgeons separate 3-day-old conjoined twins in 5-hour operation”

Surgeons in India posed for a celebratory selfie after successfully separating 3-day-old conjoined twins in a painstaking operation.

The baby girls – which are yet to be named – had a combined weight of just 7lbs and were joined at the tummy.

Doctors said the pair's parents were anxious about separating them – but thankfully doctors managed to convince them it was for the best.


A five-hour op saw the medics anesthetize them both at the exact same time, before separating their breastbones and livers.

The surgeons at S S Hospital in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, performed the procedure for free because the parents were not able to pay.

The girls, pictured before the surgery, were only 3 days old at the time of the operation. (SWNS)

The medics took a photo with the two babies on the operating table to celebrate the op which was tricky due to their tiny blood supply.

"It was one of the rarest operations our hospital does," Dr. Vaibhav Pandey, assistant professor of pediatric surgery, said. "I am very happy that both survived in spite of the long operation and the children being weak. It was a challenging task."


The operation took place on Dec. 6 and was performed by a team of five surgeons, ten doctors, and 15 nurses.

They are set to be discharged later this week and will be named in a traditional ritual at home. (SWNS)

The babies, who were dehydrated before the operation, are due to be discharged from hospital later this week and are doing well, the hospital said.

They will be named during traditional rituals performed when they get home, it was said.

Boy, 6, diagnosed with flesh-eating bacteria after positive strep test

A 6-year-old boy in Mississippi is fighting for his life after a flesh-eating bacteria infection sneakily spread through his legs for days. Chance Wade, whose mom is urging other parents to “never take anything lightly,” had tested positive for strep three days after he started complaining about leg pain, reported.

“He was complaining about his leg, we took him to the doctor he tested positive for strep throat but he was still limping,” Melissa Evans, the boy’s mother, told the news outlet.


By the time he was diagnosed, doctors at Blair E Batson Children’s had discovered that the infection spread through both of his legs.

The boy has already been through three surgeries to stop the infection from spreading further. (Courtesy Melissa Dianne Evans)

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly throughout the body and can lead to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Timely diagnosis, rapid antibiotic treatment and prompt surgery are vital in stopping the infection from spreading. According to the CDC, group A Streptococcus is a common cause of necrotizing fasciitis.

Evans said she isn’t sure how her son contracted the infection, but that he’s already been through three surgeries to prevent it from spreading further since the end of November.


“It can come from many things, just a small cut, an open wound just a scratch… With all this weather changing, and sick babies, and everything going around, just never take anything lightly,” she told WJTV. “Just continue to pray for me and my baby he’s still fighting and it’s going to be alright.”

She told WJTV that she hopes she can bring her son home in time for Christmas, and has started a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical expenses.

Doctors caught between struggling opioid patients and crackdown on prescriptions

This is the second of a three-part series on the nation's struggle to address its crippling opioid crisis, and the unintended victims left in its wake. Read Part 1 here: As doctors taper or end opioid prescriptions, many patients driven to despair, suicide.

Dr. Stephen Nadeau received a warning from the Gainesville, Fla., hospital where he worked.

Their policy on prescribing opioids was changing, to go beyond federal guidelines aimed at the national overdose crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

The hospital would stop treating pain with opioids. And every doctor, including Nadeau, had to stop prescribing them. Doctors otherwise risked losing hospital admitting privileges – and perhaps even their medical license.

In Helena, Mont., Dr. Mark Ibsen was feeling heat from the state medical board – and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), for the high-dose opioids he was prescribing to patients in severe, chronic pain. An allegation made by what he described as a disgruntled employee charged Ibsen was overprescribing.

As a result, the state medical board suspended his license. The DEA visited five times, Ibsen said, suggesting he was risking his livelihood and could end up in jail if he kept prescribing.

Both doctors complied and stopped prescribing, affecting roughly 230 of their patients. Tragically, among those were several who committed suicide, the doctors said, when they couldn’t find another health care provider to relieve the pain.

That’s a scenario playing out across the country, as government agencies respond to the staggering rate of drug overdose deaths, involving primarily illegal opioids like heroin and illicit fentanyl. Doctors who maintain they are responsibly prescribing opioids are getting caught up in the crackdown, according to dozens of medical care providers interviewed by Fox News, leaving little room to both play by the rules and properly treat huge numbers of patients who legitimately suffer chronic and intense pain.

Some doctors like Ibsen and Nadeau are opting to simply stop prescribing legal opioids, as insurers, pharmacies, and authorities warn them about overstepping guidelines issued in 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Meanwhile, other doctors, nurses and medical associations accuse the federal government of interfering in the physician-patient relationship, and pursuing simplistic, politically expedient solutions that put tens of millions of Americans at risk.

“Not only is the government legislating the way we care for chronic pain patients,” said Nadeau, a professor of neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, “they are substantially taking away our ability to do it.”


Critics of the way the 2016 guidelines have been applied note they were not intended as law, but as a means to advise primary care physicians. The CDC specifically cautioned against abruptly stopping or forcibly tapering opioid treatment for patients already taking them, because of the danger of withdrawals, or debilitation.

More than 300 health care professionals, including former drug czars in the Clinton, Nixon and Obama administrations, have signed an as-yet unpublished public letter to the CDC, warning of a brewing crisis among pain patients, despite the “laudable goals” of the guidelines.

“Within a year of (CDC) Guideline publication, there was evidence of widespread misapplication of some of the Guideline recommendations,” said the letter, written by three doctors and a pharmacist. “Soon, clinicians prescribing higher doses, pharmacists dispensing them, and patients taking them came under suspicion.”

“Patients with chronic pain, who are stable and, arguably, benefiting from long-term opioids, face draconian and often rapid involuntary dose reductions,” the letter continued. “Often, alternative pain care options are not offered, not covered by insurers, or not accessible … Consequently, patients have endured not only unnecessary suffering, but some have turned to suicide or illicit substance use. Others have experienced preventable hospitalizations or medical deterioration.”

Others argue many authorities have misunderstood, or outright ignored, the CDC’s disclaimer. Health care providers who don’t drop opiate painkillers are setting strict limits on dosage limits, even for chronic pain sufferers who require more medicine because of serious conditions, or the way they hyper-metabolize opioids. Many who do so cite the CDC guidelines, saying they were told to follow them — or took them up as a kind of pre-emptive strike.

Not only is the government legislating the way we care for chronic pain patients, they are substantially taking away our ability to do it.

— Dr. Steve Nadeau, a professor of neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine

Dozens of pain patients have told Fox News they were dropped or forcibly tapered down by doctors who long treated them quite successfully, but who became fearful about losing their license after being formally admonished, or hearing about other doctors who ran afoul of the government.

Meredith Lawrence, who lived in Tennessee with her husband, Jay, while he suffered decades of pain following a tractor-trailer accident, recalled the helplessness she felt watching him suffer, while his dosage of opioids was being sharply reduced.

Lawrence said the doctor who had treated him successfully for years was very clear about his decision to taper down the dosage.

“He said ‘My patients’ quality of life is not worth risking my practice or my license over,'" she told Fox News. "I’ll never forget that.”

“Jay felt like they gave up on him,” she said, recalling what finally prompted her husband to kill himself. “That was the day Jay gave up. He felt the doctor gave up – and he gave up.”

Dr. Stephen Nadeau


Much of the opioid overdose epidemic in recent years stems from illegal drugs, not legitimate prescriptions. But more than a decade of overprescribing – out of ignorance for some, and for others the chance to rake in big profits – played a significant part, according to federal authorities and others who have studied the issue.

Assured by what some charged were deliberately deceptive pharmaceutical companies insisting opioids weren’t very addictive, some health care providers prescribed liberally, even for minor procedures such as a pulled tooth, or non-serious orthopedic injuries. Overprescribing led to greater daily dosages or easy-to-get refills – more than were needed. That, along with the theft and resale of opioids from people who had prescriptions, laid the groundwork for the crisis.

Most prescribers say they recognize many health providers were not prudent enough when prescribing opioids. And many doctors noted they were previously criticized for undertreating pain. Medical schools devoted little time to the study of pain and to opioids, they also say.

“Physicians and particularly medical school residency programs should have been taking more responsibility. Pain is the most common condition, and it’s one of the most difficult to treat,” said Nadeau. “And there [have been] pill mills that have relied on physicians to prescribe and many have done so very irresponsibly. But I think many are compassionate physicians … it’s a reflection of the inadequacy of their training that they basically had to learn the ropes on their own.”

John Martin, the DEA’s Administrator of the Diversion Control Division, said an overwhelming percentage of prescribers followed the rules. Of 1.6 million registrants, he said, less than one percent “operate outside the law.”

But there are still unscrupulous prescribers.

“Remember, with the opioid epidemic, just one practitioner that’s operating outside the law can really have a lot of serious consequences. In a small community, it can wreak havoc,” Martin said. “They’re really going after the worst of the worst of the criminal violators.”

Martin said most prescribers have nothing to worry about.

“Doctors are writing less prescriptions. And that goes down to education with the CDC guidelines," he said. "There's a new and different way of looking at using opioids for chronic pain.”

But that’s not what prescribers and patients see.

“Doctors around the country are terrified because of what happened to me and other doctors,” Ibsen said. “We don’t arrest car dealers if someone drives a car and gets into a fatal accident.”

“Standards of care are being decided by a jury of people without medical training,” Ibsen added. “It’s a very bad situation. We’re playing Whack-a-mole with the wrong mallet.”

Remember, with the opioid epidemic, just one practitioner that’s operating outside the law can really have a lot of serious consequences. In a small community, it can wreak havoc…[the DEA agents] are really going after the worst of the worst of the criminal violators.

— John Martin, DEA Administrator of the Diversion Control Division


For many medical professionals, treating pain patients has become a thankless task. The stakes are too high, they say, as even those who try to responsibly manage opioid treatment for their sickest pain patients find themselves hounded by authorities or pharmacists.

Many doctors say they view opioids as a last resort. They are very strong medicines, which often come with strong side effects, ranging from constipation, nausea, liver damage and respiratory problems. Many pain patients said in interviews they were reluctant to take them initially, and eventually did only after other treatments and surgeries failed.

“If we had a good alternative to opioids, every physician would be at the front line of it to prescribe that,” said Dr. Lynn Webster, vice president of PRA Health Sciences, and the past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

In a recent survey by the North Carolina Medical Board of its licensees, 43 percent of 2,661 respondents said they had stopped prescribing opioids. They attributed their decision to concern about getting into trouble.

Patients complained to the board doctors had cut them off, pointing to the CDC guidelines or an initiative by the board aimed at cracking down on health care providers who prescribed high doses of opioids, or who had two or more patients die of overdoses in a year.

And of 3,000 doctors responding to a recent nationwide survey by the SERMO physician network for BuzzFeed News, 70 percent said they had dramatically cut down or altogether stopped prescribing opioids. The main reasons were “too many hassles and risks involved,” “improved understanding of the risks of opioids,” and fear of “getting into trouble,” according to BuzzFeed.

Yet another survey, commissioned by The Physicians Foundation, showed about 70 percent of nearly 9,000 physicians nationwide were prescribing fewer opioids.

In Nevada, where so many doctors stopped taking pain patients after the state implemented strict opioid prescription rules – which increased required record-keeping – physicians like Dan Laird now have a six-month waiting list.

“We turn patients away every day,” said Laird, who last year could fit in patients soon after they called for an appointment. “It’s heartbreaking, but many can’t find doctors.”

Many pain patients told Fox News that after being forcibly tapered down or abandoned by their pain doctors, they have lost much of their ability to function. Many said they have made suicide plans.

"I have heard from — either through email or posts on my blogs – about 1,000 people over past two years who have been denied pain medicine or forced to dramatically reduce their dose who have expressed a desire to die or commit suicide," Webster said.

Karen Nicholson, a former federal prosecutor who credits her opioid treatment with allowing her to function after years of being bedridden, said: “We’re looking only at the supply, and cutting off people who are not abusing the medication. It made all the difference in the world, I couldn’t sit or stand or walk because of nerve damage. I went from being bed-ridden and completely non-functional to doing my work as a prosecutor.”


Health care providers who prescribe opioids, particularly to high-impact chronic pain patients, are finding themselves on the radar of any number of sources – pharmacists, state medical boards, insurers, and law enforcement.

In a speech about the national overdose deaths epidemic in March, President Trump said: “Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable.”

But the red line triggering disciplinary action often is inconsistent, and murky. The CDC considers an opioid’s benefits to outweigh risks if it improves pain and function by at least 30 percent. But, doctors say, those factors rarely are considered when authorities scrutinize prescribing patterns.

More often, it’s large amounts of opioids and high doses – statistics on a spreadsheet or chart, without the context of a patient’s medical condition — that can bring disciplinary action.

On Nov. 2, Dr. J. Julian Grove posted to Twitter a letter his Phoenix office had received from Walgreens. Grove said he wanted to provide chronic pain patients “an insight to the veiled threats” that health care providers treating pain are getting these days.

The letter said: “Walgreens has determined that you may have issued prescriptions for opioids that exceed the CDC guidelines.”

It said Walgreens had the right to refuse to fill a prescription that falls outside the guidelines, and added: “Walgreens pharmacists may notify appropriate regulatory agencies when prescriptions are refused.”

Grove blasted the letter.

“I am a double board-certified anesthesiologist and pain specialist, treating complex pain and cancer pain always w/comprehensive approach," he said. "Insulting.”

Asked about Walgreen’s pressure on prescribers to follow the CDC guidelines, company spokesman Phil Caruso told Fox News in a statement: “As a key patient touchpoint in the nation’s healthcare delivery system, we regularly communicate with prescribers to help ensure the safe and effective dispensing of medications in the best interest of our customers … Fighting the opioid epidemic requires all parties, including leaders in the community, physicians, pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, insurance companies, PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers) and regulators to play a role and coordinate efforts.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta announced in October that some 30 doctors were put on notice there for prescribing opioids in larger quantities and higher doses than others. Prosecutors enclosed the CDC guidelines with the warning letters.

U.S. Attorney B. Jay Pak called those doctors “outliers,” adding the warning letters were meant to point out “atypical practices.” Significantly, Pak said the doctors may not have done anything wrong.

“It is our plan to strategically reduce the impact of this crisis within our community by notifying outlier prescribers that their opioid prescribing habits are not in conformity with accepted standards, or the prescribing habits of their peers,” the agency said in a statement. “Through this initiative and others, it is the goal of the Department of Justice to reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third over the next three years.”

Prescribers particularly dread getting in the crosshairs of the DEA, which can revoke permission to manufacture, distribute and dispense controlled substances. The agency opens about 1,500 new opioid cases per year and makes more than 2,000 arrests. The arrests include DEA registrants, doctor-shopping patients, and prescription forgery rings.

Martin, the DEA administrator, said that actions against prescribers are not undertaken arbitrarily.

“When we are investigating something like a doctor that may be overprescribing, you know because we're not doctors, in the course of our investigation we are going to solicit medical experts,” Martin said. “We'll try to get what's called prescription drug monitoring program information and that's information that the states have at their level that shows how many prescriptions are being written by a doctor for a patient and being filled at a certain pharmacy."

“So we'll try to look at that stuff and then maybe go out to that pharmacy and do an inspection and look at their records and just see if there's anything more there and then we'll follow up with that,” he said.

Roughly 800 prescribers each year surrender their DEA registration – a kind of license – when the agency opens an investigation. DEA investigations can involve having assets and medical records seized. In some cases that can lead to bankruptcy, doctors said, prompting many to surrender their opioid prescribing rights, rather than fight a battle against a behemoth government.

Ibsen was an emergency room doctor in Montana when he became – as he puts it, an “accidental pain doctor,” taking “pain refugees” whose doctors had been arrested. Many patients were very ill and suffered severe chronic pain, said Ibsen, who added he was able to wean many patients down to lower doses.

Ibsen said he became a target of the state board of medical examiners after an employee he fired filed a complaint, saying he over-prescribed. His license was suspended but eventually reinstated – after four years. But he decided to stop prescribing opioids after five visits from the DEA.

“They were very vague,” he said of the DEA agents. “They said ‘You’re risking your freedom by prescribing to patients like these.’ I said ‘Patients like what?’ They said, ‘Patients who might sell the pills.’”

“Doctors are taking plea deals because they don’t want to go to prison,” said Ibsen, who was not charged. “Once they arrest a doctor, they seize all their medical records. A doctor can’t make any more income. They seize your assets, and can’t afford an attorney.”

Ibsen referred patients to a prominent pain doctor in California, Dr. Forrest Tennant, who became known for taking people cut off by other doctors. Tennant for years had been researching non-opioid alternatives.

Then the DEA raided Tennant’s office. The agency never charged him, but he, too, gave up prescribing opioids.

“It’s immoral and unsafe to forcibly taper down or abandon a patient,” said Tennant, whose patients included those with terminal illnesses. “Some doctors don’t give these patients any withdrawal medication. Who is the worst offender, then? The CDC, the DEA, the U.S. attorneys who are shutting down doctors, or the doctors who abandon patients?”

One Tennant patient, Jennifer Adams, a former Montana police officer who had been treated by Ibsen, died from a self-inflicted gunshot in April, after the California doctor’s office was raided by the DEA.

Tennant said he respects the idea “the DEA has a right and responsibility to investigate.”

“But since I used high doses, they said my patients were going to overdose and die,” Tennant said. “I’ve been practicing a long time, I’ve not had a single overdose. I’ve given patients thousands of opioid equivalents. I know how patients should be monitored.”

Dr. Lesly Pompy was one of a few pain physicians in a rural part of Michigan, serving as many as 1,500, the majority of them referrals from other doctors who could not treat their chronic conditions. A pain specialist since 1995, he kept long hours, sometimes going to hospital emergency rooms when he was summoned to help a patient in severe pain. Sometimes he would try nerve blocks, many other times opioids.

On Sept. 26, 2016, roughly 25 law enforcement officers raised Pompy’s office at the ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital.

“There were DEA agents, county and local police, they had everybody in my waiting room and who worked in my office put their hands up. Children were crying. There was a helicopter over the building. It was like a scene from a Jason Bourne movie," he said.

Pompy was charged with unlawful distribution of prescription drugs and health care fraud from 2012 to 2016. A federal jury indicted him this summer on 37 counts. The indictment maintained Pompy illegally prescribed some 10 million dosage units of controlled substances that fell outside the realm of standard practice. He was also accused of inappropriately filing claims to insurers.

Pompy denies the charges and claims that because he prescribed large quantities of opioids, some to severe pain patients who require high doses, he became a target.

"The damage that the proliferation of opioid distribution has done to our community, like many across the United States has been devastating,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said, according to published reports. “It’s particularly disturbing when the distributor is a medical professional.”

Pompy’s former patients and some former employees have stood by him, saying he is being scapegoated. Former patients have held rallies and started a Facebook group in support of him.

Janet Zureki, a former patient of Pompy, said that — as often happens after a prescriber's arrest — patients were left in limbo, having to scramble to find another pain doctor. “After the raid and he could no longer prescribe, everyone was dangerously cut off of their medicines, including me,” she said. “It took me three months to find another pain doctor and they put me on a lower dose of medicine. During that three month period, I had to go without medicine and go through withdrawal.”

Zureki defends Pompy.

“As a doctor, I found him to be very compassionate and he also ran a tight ship,” she said. “I have been in his office and have heard him address someone who wasn’t taking their medicine properly, so I know he didn’t stand for that. He worked tirelessly to help the people in our community,” she said.


Nadeau is bewildered over having to stop treating his pain patients, at least one of whom died by suicide. And he said his hospital’s decision to stop working with opioids is by no means unique.

Hospitals increasingly see opioids as a liability; an overdose can land them in a lawsuit, he said. But he wrestles with the fact there are people he can no longer help.

“I can’t provide comprehensive care for my patients, meaning treatment of pain, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and other problems,” Nadeau said. “In patients with chronic pain, there nearly always are a lot of problems.”

Nadeau reached out to fellow physicians to see if they would take his pain patients.

“It’s been extremely difficult to find physicians to provide comprehensive pain therapy,” he said. “I don’t blame physicians for being scared to death and for prescribing to CDC guidelines, but I do blame [some of] them for treating patients badly.”

For his part, Ibsen is treating patients with medical marijuana. Ibsen said he always strived to get patients on opioids to agree to taper down, and about 80 percent did, often using medical cannabis. For the others, opioids were the best treatment, Ibsen said. He understands the threat of the overdose epidemic all too well.

“My nephew died of a heroin overdose” in the summer, he said. “But incarcerating doctors is not going to solve the addiction crisis.”

“There are two things doctors do – we save lives and we relieve suffering. If we’re not willing now to relieve suffering, then what are we about?”

Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for, and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.

Terminally ill mom dies week after dream wedding

A terminally-ill mother has died just days after friends organized her dream wedding in just 36 hours.

Tasha Burton, 36, was admitted to a hospice on Nov. 27 at 10 a.m., and at 1 p.m. on Nov. 28, she and fiance, Daniel Corley, walked down the aisle.

The couple, who had been together for three years and have a 19-month-old son, were building a life when Burton was diagnosed with bowel cancer in October 2017.

After a year of battling the disease, a recent scan revealed that the tumors had spread to her lungs, liver and lymph nodes and doctors said she only had two weeks to live.

Burton's best friend, Kat Leyden, decided to arrange a dream wedding for the couple.

She put an urgent request on Facebook through the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation, and was overwhelmed when friends, family and big-hearted businesses wanted to help.


Sadly, one week after the wedding, the mother-of-one passed away.

"I am truly sorry to have to tell you that my beautiful wife sadly lost her fight tonight at 5.30pm," Corley wrote in a Facebook post. "She passed away peacefully surrounded by love. I am absolutely devastated but know that she will live on through our beautiful son Alaric. Tasha was surrounded by family and friends and fought to stay with us for as long as she could. She was a truly special person and will be missed by many people, especially her husband, son and family.”

The wedding was organized by The Hospice of St. Francis, in Berkhamsted, Herts., in just 36 hours and the team managed to pull together Burton's dream wedding.

"Without the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation, we would have been completely lost but the Hospice has put all the pieces of the jigsaw together," Leyden said. "The Hospice’s mantra is all about helping people to live their precious lives well and this is that ethos in action."

Tasha Burton, 36, was admitted to the inpatient unit at the Hospice of St Francis, in Berkhamsted, on Nov. 27, and on Nov. 28, she and her fiance, Daniel Corley, walked down the aisle.  (SWNS)

The couple got engaged in 2016 and Burton gave birth to their son, Alaric, shortly after.

But when he was just 6 months old, a scan revealed that the new mom had bowel cancer.

The couple walked down the aisle to James Arthur's "Say You Won't Let Go," and Burton was given away by her father, David, and her son.

After the couple walked out to John Legend's "All of Me," Burton said: "It was just lovely, absolutely amazing."

"People's generosity was absolutely stunning and getting it all organized in 36 hours was just incredible," she said at the time. I was so happy."


"We got together in July on my birthday and six months later we were engaged," she said. "We knew it was love. Getting married is something we've always wanted to do so today really is the fulfillment of a dream and we can't thank everyone enough."

Daniel added: "It's been the most amazing day – I don't think I've ever seen Tash look so beautiful."

Before Burton died, her and her family set up a JustGiving page where they were aiming to raise £5,000 to create lasting memories for her and her loved ones.

The young family has managed to raise 89 percent of their target for Daniel and Alaric.

Jimmy Dean sausage recalled over potential metal contamination

Consumers should check their freezers for Jimmy Dean sausage, as ready-to-eat pork and poultry links were recalled because they may contain pieces of metal, the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced in a news release Monday.

In total, the company recalled 29,028 pounds of frozen sausage.


The recall was issued after five customers reportedly complained after reportedly finding pieces of metal in their sausage links. No injuries have been reported at this time.

The back of the affected packages. (FSIS)


The 23.4-ounce packages of “Jimmy Dean HEAT ‘n SERVE Original SAUSAGE LINKS Made with Pork & Turkey” is the product subject to the recall, according to FSIS. It features a "Use By" date of Jan. 31, 19 and establishment number "19085" on the back of its packaging. Consumers who purchased this food item should either throw it away or return it to the place of purchase, the FSIS recommended.

It’s currently unclear which states or stores the potentially contaminated items were sold at. A Jimmy Dean spokesperson told NBC News the FSIS will post a list once the affected retailers and states are identified.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Crosswords and puzzles do not prevent mental decline, study says

Tackling a tricky crossword or a challenging Sudoku puzzle will not fend off age-related mental decline, new research has shown.

Scientists have, in recent years, argued that brain-training exercises, such as completing puzzles or learning another language, can reduce the risk of developing dementia. But that may not be the case after all, according to a team of Scottish researchers whose research was published in the BMJ. Keeping your brain fit, by a USA Memory ChampionThe study’s authors argue that such pursuits will not necessarily act as a preventative, but they could still provide a “higher cognitive point” from which to decline.

    The study considered 498 participants, all born in 1936 and who took a group intelligence test when they were 11 years old. Those records were kept by the Scottish Council for Research in Education. Then, at about 64 years old, they were tested for the current study and followed up with several more times for memory and mental processing over the next 15 years. The research was led by Roger Staff, honorary lecturer at the University of Aberdeen and head of medical physics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.Senior spelling bee champ shares his secrets for staying sharpThe researchers stressed that their work is an observational study, so it is “impossible for a causal effect to be inferred.” Read MoreJames Pickett, head of research at the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society, said that other factors should also be taken into consideration. “Of all the diseases in the UK, dementia is now the biggest killer, so exploring potential factors which could reduce the risk of developing this devastating condition is fundamental to beating it,” he said. “Although playing ‘brain games’ such as Sudoku may not prevent dementia, is has been shown that regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with disease.”Do brain-training exercises really work?”We know that what is good for the heart is good for the head, and there are other ways we can reduce our risk of developing dementia,” he added, “by taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking and heavy drinking, and exercising regularly.”Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

    Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

      The Alzheimer’s Society recently launched a brain game app called GameChanger “which won’t reduce the risk of dementia,” Pickett said, “but through playing it, it can help build an understanding of cognitive changes and the difference between cognitive decline and dementia. Eventually, he said, “the GameChanger project could find people who are showing early signs of cognitive decline and get them involved in studies and trials to hopefully stop them developing dementia.”

Jimmy Dean sausage recalled due to metal contamination

A popular breakfast sausage is taking itself off the menu. CTI Foods LLC, is recalling 29,028 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat poultry and pork sausage links after five people called the US Food Safety and Inspection Service to let them know they had found metal pieces in the sausage, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

The Owingsville, Kentucky-based company recalled the product Monday. There are no reports of anyone getting hurt by the metal, but the USDA said there are some concerns that some people may unknowingly still have the package in their freezers.These packages were originally shipped to Tennessee and then distributed to retail stores.

    Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

    Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

    If you think you have it in your freezer, look on the package for the code A6382168, with a time stamp range of 11:58 through 01:49. This is the 23.4-oz pouch that is called “Jimmy Dean Heat ‘n Serve Original Sausage Links Made with Pork & Turkey” with a “use by” date of January 31, 2019. It will also have “EST. 19085” on the back of the packaging.The USDA suggests you throw the package away or return it to the store where you bought it.Read MoreIf you have questions about the recall you can contact the Jimmy Dean customer service line at (855) 382-3101.

Breaking news alert: People are inherently good, nonviolent

It matters how you personally respond when you hear news of violence. The way you process and frame it has real mental and physical impacts.

Mass shootings, deadly hate crimes, terror, murder, gun violence and war all have their particular details, but each story revives age-old, yet urgent, questions about who we are as a species. Too much bad news can make you sickAre people inherently violent? Are some people evil? Can we stop violence? Our answers to these questions are more than philosophical. They influence how we process the world around us, making us optimistic or pessimistic, hopeful or scared.

    “Every time we experience or hear about a traumatic event, we go into stress mode,” explained Susanne Babbel, a psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery. “We might go numb or have an overactive fear response to the perceived threat. Our physiology is triggered to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.”According to a poll last year by the American Psychological Association, 31% of respondents said news of hate crimes caused them stress, 31% said crime in general did, and 30% said news of wars or conflicts with other countries stressed them out. Read MoreWe also know that stress is associated with a host of health issues, including sleep deprivation and heart disease. And when stress is chronic and ongoing (as bad news seems to be, as well) it can even shorten your life.

    All people are inherently good

    When we hear about bad things happening, especially when lives of many are lost or damaged at the hands of a few, we need to remind ourselves that people are generally good. We are hard-wired for goodness. It’s easier to recognize this fact when you think of children. Without mitigating factors, their innate goodness would not erode with age. But goodness is not the sole virtue of the young. The vast majority of people, when faced with simple, clear ethical choices, choose good over bad and even good over neutral.This might be how stress and heart attacks are linked Imagine a stranger’s baby is about to fall off a chair next to you. You would try to catch it, right? Intuition tells you that you can count on nearly everyone else to try to catch that baby, too. Empathy is an evolutionary gift, an instinct that extends in concentric circles from the self, to loved ones, to community to countries and, for the enlightened, all of humanity — a concept dating to the ancient Greek Stoic Hierocles. Everyone is capable of widening one’s circle.Our innate sense of good over bad is where we all start. Despite thousands of years of war, rape, homicide and other violence, we are all still, fundamentally, baby catchers.

    Aren’t war and other violence evidence that we are inherently violent?

    War is not a symptom of a war-like nature; war is just evidence of how violence begets violence. The vicious cycle is broken only by nonviolence, as demonstrated by heroes of history who had the discipline, bravery and patience to prove it out, such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. If violence were the solution to violence, it would have ended a long time ago.Just because there have been wars through much of human history, it’s not proof we are genetically predisposed to violence. As education expert Alfie Kohn put it, every society has made pottery, but that doesn’t mean we have a pottery-making gene.And despite the seemingly constant barrage of terrorism and gun violence, research shows that we are living in the least violent time ever in human history. Over the centuries, we have found more ways to reduce the causes of violence and the courage to respond nonviolently to it, even if we still have far to go.

    Some people are evil, though, right?

    Putting aside religious arguments on the existence of evil, when we brand people with that label, we lose the opportunity to address the causes of their actions.Remember, we start from a place of moral purity. But under certain circumstances, we are all capable of doing things to others that are painful and vicious. Some of these acts go beyond our capacity to immediately understand them, and we might label “evil” what is really illness, fear, desperation, hate or a combination. Are we born with a moral core? The Baby Lab says 'yes'Hate and desperation, in particular, have seeds in abuse, hopelessness, isolation, poverty and other injustices. Hate is also taught. But nonviolence and empathy can also be taught and put into action to eliminate these causes.”If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed,” Victor Hugo wrote in “Les Miserables.” “The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.” What darknesses are we, and the society we form, and the leaders we give power to, causing?

    So we’re not responsible for our actions?

    Free will is a fascinating philosophical debate that has been raging since the ancient Greek philosophers. And today, there are still competing camps, not consensus. We’ll probably never get to the true answer of whether there is free will. Maybe we are just the product of everything that happens to us. Or maybe we are fully independent in the choices we make. So let’s take a reasonable middle approach — most of us do, anyway — and agree that while some influencing factors are outside our control, we still have the ability to make choices out of free will, including what do with our anger, fear and hatred.Believing in free will and believing that circumstances may lead to violent behavior — but do not guarantee it — is hopeful. It means we believe we can reduce violence by intervening. Free will means people may choose to do bad things, but they can choose to stop doing them, too. There needs be more research to better understand which factors lead to violence, as well as the positive mitigating factors that can prevent it: role models, opportunity, an equal playing field for education and employment, love, parents, teachers, access to mental health care and meeting people’s basic needs. If we had more data on these methods, perhaps we’d have better public policy.But the research that does exist has shown interventions work when it comes to reducing violent behavior. Those who work in this field often attest to this, and large studies have proved the effectiveness of those who aim to divert others from paths of violent crime.

    Solutions: Nonviolent intervention

    The more governments and individuals do to reduce the conditions that cause the darkness in which violence breeds (wars, poverty, systemic racism, xenophobia, homophobia, religious intolerance, bullying), the fewer acts of horror on the news we will have to process. We can’t go back in time to change the conditions that have led to the violence we have now, but we can influence the future. As my pacifist professor in college, Colman McCarthy, would ask: Where are the criminals of 20 years from now?Understanding our fundamental goodness and potential to change is not a mere philosophical exercise. Our conclusions directly affect how we see the world. And how we see the world affects whom we elect as our leaders. Those leaders affect which laws we live under and how we combat violence and the causes of violence.Subscribe to this column

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    Look for opportunities to break cycles of violence near and within you. Support policies and politicians with a belief in nonviolent intervention. And think about starting a discussion the next time someone calls another person or group of people evil, a discussion that does a better, more solution-oriented job of understanding the root causes of deplorable behavior.

      The American Psychological Association survey included the hopeful news that 51% of respondents said the state of the nation inspired them to volunteer or support causes they value, and 59% had taken some form of action in the past year.Our peaceful responses to violence create the ripples of change that will ultimately lead to less collective suffering.

Record number of cases of polio-like illness AFM in US this year

With 24 newly confirmed cases of the polio-like illness acute flaccid myelitis announced Monday, 2018 has become a record year for the illness.

After a mysterious illness paralyzed her son, this mom turned to polio survivors for answersIn its weekly update on cases of the illness, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 158 confirmed cases in 36 states this year.

    This is the highest number of confirmed cases in a single year since the CDC began tracking cases in August 2014. Since then, there have been a total of 484 confirmed cases of AFM, according to the CDC. The illness has peaked every other year in the fall. From August to December 2014, there were 120 confirmed cases. In all of 2015, 22 confirmed cases were reported. In 2016, there were 149 confirmed cases, and in 2017, 35 confirmed cases were reported. Read MoreIn addition to the confirmed cases reported this year, there are 153 patients under investigation as possibly having AFM.Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

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    Last week, the CDC said the number of cases this year seemed to have peaked, as indicated by a decline in the number of patients under investigation. The decline was expected to continue, with fluctuation in the number of confirmed cases; some of those under investigation would be confirmed while others would be eliminated. This week’s report holds true to expectations. The number of patients under investigation is 12 fewer than last week, while the number of confirmed cases jumped.

      Although it’s not clear what exactly causes AFM, the CDC said, “Most of the patients with AFM (more than 90%) had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before they developed AFM.” More than 90% of AFM patients have been children.

Holiday hospitalization carries higher risks, study says

Research has shown that going to the hospital in July or over the weekend can be riskier for patients because of factors such as medical errors, understaffing or staff fatigue. The holiday period can also be added to the list, according to a new study.

“In taking care of patients who are admitted over the December holiday period, I had noticed, along with my colleagues — we all kind of had this anecdotal experience, or maybe just more of a myth — that discharging patients over the holidays was a little riskier,” said Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, one of the authors of the study, published Monday in the BMJ. Lapointe-Shaw is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto and a general internist physician at Toronto General Hospital.

    She and her co-authors looked at the records of 670,946 patients discharged from acute-care hospitals in Ontario between April 1, 2002, and January 31, 2016. They compared discharges in three periods: the Christmas period, which included Christmas and New Year’s, and two control periods, two-week stretches four weeks before and after the holidays. Why you should never go to the hospital in JulyThe researchers also looked at the scheduling of follow-up appointments within seven and 14 days and the risk of death or readmission to the hospital within seven, 14 and 30 days. Read MoreRoughly a third of the patients — 217,305 — were discharged during the holiday period. “They had a small increased risk, and they were considerably less likely to have the follow-up with the physician,” Lapointe-Shaw said. Patients who were discharged in the holiday period had a 36.3% chance of a physician follow-up in seven days and a 59.5% chance of a physician follow-up in 14 days. For those in the control groups, the rates were 47.8% and 68.7%, respectively. When it came to death or readmission, the patients discharged during the Christmas period were 13.3% more likely to be readmitted or to die within seven days, 18.6% in 14 days and 25.9% in 30 days. For the control groups, the risk rates were 11.7%, 17% and 24.7%, respectively. The study found that “per 100,000 patients, 26 excess deaths, 188 excess rehospitalizations, 483 excess visits to an emergency department, and 2,999 fewer follow up appointments could be attributed to being discharged from hospital during the December holidays.” You are still more likely to die in a hospital on the weekend”Something is happening differently for these patients,” Lapointe-Shaw said. “They are at higher risk, and despite that, they are not getting as much of the optimal transitional care that we would like them to get.” Dr. Seth Goldstein, an associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, noted that “over the past few years, there’s been a bit of a spotlight on hospital systems and how to maintain quality of care 24/7.”I think what this study does is points out that it’s not unique to nights and weekends,” he said. He believes that reduced hospital staffing, and a time when patients are less likely to want to be in the hospital, could have this effect. Goldstein, who was not involved in the study, is also a pediatric general and thoracic surgeon at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “I think the effect is probably real, and there are potential patient factors and hospital factors that can play a role” in these increased risks, Goldstein said. Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

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    Patient factors include an unwillingness to be in the hospital during the holidays and a change in routine, including eating and drinking habits, he said. Hospital factors could include lower numbers of staff and quicker discharges of patients so they can be home for the holidays.Goldstein says solutions for hospitals include ensuring that safety and quality mechanisms are in place and, for patients, “seek urgent, emergency care when the condition arises, and you shouldn’t try to wait it out at home because it’s Christmas.”

      The fact that researchers are looking into the issue is also important to him. “It’s a good study, because awareness is the first step of anything you’d ever do to try to tackle the problem a little more head-on,” he said.