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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical company Hospira announced Friday that they are aware of "cybersecurity vulnerabilities" associated with the company's Symbiq Infusion System.

The devices, computerized pumps that allow for continuous delivery of general infusions, are used in hospitals and nursing homes. Hospira notes in a statement that there have been no known breaches of their devices.

Still, the company has "worked with [customers] to deploy an update to the pump configuration" and "[provide] our Symbiq customers with another layer of security for the devices while they remain in the market for another few months."

The updates, Hospira adds, "will address reported vulnerabilities specific to Symbiq."

The FDA adds that the devices are no longer being manufactured or distributed, recommending that healthcare facilities transition to alternate infusion systems as soon as possible.

Breaches of the Symbiq device "could lead to over- or under-infusion of critical patient therapies," the FDA adds.

"As we learn about vulnerabilities, we are committed to continuing to communicate with customers regarding cybersecurity, software and infusion pump updates or enhancements," Hospira's statement reads.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York City doctor, who made headlines after he was diagnosed with Ebola, said he hoped an experimental vaccine could be “a way forward” for a region decimated by the deadly virus.

Craig Spencer, an emergency room physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital, made headlines last year when he contracted Ebola after treating patients for the disease in Guinea. His diagnosis in New York City set off a wave of media coverage of the 33-year-old doctor who spent 20 days in isolation as he fought off the deadly disease.

After his treatment Spencer returned to Guinea to treat patients and he got to see firsthand how the vaccine trial affected patients and health care workers.

In a newly published study in the medical journal The Lancet, researchers found that an experimental Ebola vaccine appeared to be successful in early trials. Thousands of patients who had been exposed to Ebola were given the vaccine right away or after three weeks. Those given the vaccine right way were found not to develop the virus, although researchers started tracking virus results after 10 days in case anyone who had already been infected. Sixteen of those who were given the vaccine after 21 days developed the virus.

Officials from the World Health Organization said more research would be needed to confirm the early findings from the Guinea-based study.

Spencer said it was difficult for health workers to get the trial underway — many in the country were still afraid of health care workers or heard rumors about the government not helping patients in need.

“When I was back, it certainly was not calm, it was not easy,” said Spencer. “Many people were still very uncomfortable with Ebola in the country.”

After seeing the devastation of the disease with no clear treatment or vaccine, he said the vaccine is “certainly helpful,” but remains concerned people will assume it can end the outbreak alone.

He pointed out the outbreak had decimated the medical infrastructure in the countries hit hard by Ebola leading to deaths by other more common illnesses or complications like childbirth.

More people “could die of measles than will die of Ebola throughout this outbreak,” explained Spencer, citing that 200,000 people are expected to get the measles virus in the area.

“There was a study that estimated that up to 7 percent of doctors in Sierra Leone and 8 percent in Liberia,” had died from Ebola, said Spencer. “This was for a region that before the outbreak had less practicing doctors [in] countries combined that there were in the one hospital in New York City where I was treated.”

He remained concerned that if people think the vaccine works they will no longer think help is needed, even though measles—which can be prevented with a vaccine—also kills far more than Ebola.

“One of the big messages is that Ebola is bad but post-Ebola could be worse,” said Spencer.

Spencer said he's gone to Africa for years and expects he’ll be back in west Africa in the next year to work with patients.

“I’ve learned so much about medicine and humanity," Spencer said. "What it really comes down to is everyone deserve the same right to be treated and to be free of disease.” said Spencer.

Copyright à © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Thanks to a revolutionary procedure, a woman who was blind for 16 years is now able to see.

Carmen Torres, of South Florida, is the first recipient of a bionic eye. At 18, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, in which the vision declines over a period of time, according to ABC News affiliate WPLG-TV.

“You have to move forward with your life," Torres, 45, said of her condition at a news conference Friday.

Through an implant on the eye, the patient wears special glasses containing a video camera. An image is processed through a tiny computer affixed to a purse or belt. A signal is sent into the glasses that then transmits the image to the implant.

According to Torres, she can now see sidewalks and buildings as well as find windows and doors.

"It's very emotional,” she told reporters. “But I am very strong and I didn't cry. I was happy and just laughing like crazy."


ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(DESTIN, Fla.) -- A heroic act to save a drowning girl last Saturday left a Special Forces soldier paralyzed.

Sgt. First Class Tim Brumit was responding to screams that a girl was drowning in the waters of Crab Island in Destin, Florida, amid a storm. As he later recalled, he felt his neck break immediately upon hitting the water. He was pulled out of the water by another soldier, according to ABC News affiliate WEAR-TV.

"They said 'don't go in the water it's storming,' I dove,” he said. "My misjudgment was that the wave moved out of the way and turned into a foot of water probably, and soon as I went, I'm 6'4, so I went in the water, hit my head first, and I'm like, ‘Oh, I'm done.’"

A member of the 7th Special Forces group who had been deployed 11 times in 12 years, Brumit was taken to Baptist Hospital paralyzed from the neck down. He suffered a damaged spinal cord and two broken cervical vertebrae.

Still, Brumit expressed optimism and said: "I've been through tougher. This is not going to set me back." He said he would still go back into the water again.

The drowning girl was rescued by a person on a boat.

Copyright à © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC)(DERWOOD, Md.) -- A Maryland animal shelter is hoping that a heartfelt letter written by Susie the cat's previous owner before her death, will help the feline's chances of finding a forever home.

"I'm sure that when she wrote it, she wrote it just to the intent of getting it to the adopter," said Katherine Zenzano, community outreach coordinator of Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center in Derwood, Maryland. "But we realized Susie was wasn't going anywhere. Some cats are really great at selling themselves and Susie wasn’t selling herself.

"If this letter can in any way help Susie, or any other cats in the same situation, we are happy to get it out there because we think it can touch a lot of people."

Zenzano told ABC News that Susie, a 5-year-old domestic short-hair orange tabby, was brought into MCASAC on May 15 by her owner's son, who said he was no longer able to care for his mother's cat following her death.

"He had said that he could not have the cat where he lived," she added. "We assume his mother knew this was going to happen because she wrote a letter to the person that was going to adopt Susie. He gave it to our intake counselor, so that's now in a file waiting for whoever comes to adopt her, and it will be passed onto them."

"It [the letter] was very touching," she added. "The adoption counselor had tears in her years. She couldn’t bring herself to read it, but she though it could serve a purpose."

Susie's owner's note read, in part:

Dear Friend, Thank you for adopting my friend, Susie. She was one of three cats in a litter. November 15, 2010 is her approximate birthdate. She moved in with me on December 1, 2010.

Susie is unusual but I enjoy her company.

She is a good snuggler but she likes to be the boss. She spends much of her time on my bed but I always seems [sic] to know where I am. I hope you enjoy Susie as much as I have.

Zenzano said it's not often the shelter learns this much about an animal, but thinks sharing the letter could help make Susie a desirable pet for potential owners.

"It's just a sweet history of their life together," she added. "Every cat has a story. Every animal that comes here has a story and we are left to guess so much. We piece together a lot of the story for them, but with Susie we have a lot to go on."

While Susie was at first a bit skittish coming to the shelter, Zenzano said she's warmed up to the staff and has been profiled as a "love bug."

She added that there have been some families that have expressed interest in adopting Susie, but there have yet to be any serious inquiries.

Copyright à © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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