Katharin Czink is WGN’s Medical Watch Producer.

Recent Articles
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    Chicago medical community celebrates two major heart care milestones

    Chicago celebrated some milestones in heart care today. The first was a record-setting transplant.  Zale Walk is just four months old but already he holds a distinguished title. Earlier this week he became the 250th patient to receive a new heart at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Zale was born with a complex condition. His left ventricle, the major pumping chamber of the heart, never developed properly. He’s been in the hospital since birth and for the last several months has been […]

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    Help for those who are first to help others: PTSD takes toll on firefighters, EMT

    Just like soldiers in combat, fire fighters and emergency medical responders share the same increased risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Approximately twenty percent suffer with PTSD. It’s an established statistic – but today, a new report further underscores the growing need for mental health support at the fire house. Think about what they see. Just one example from recent weeks had first responders arriving at what initially appeared to be a burned-out building.  But the scene turned gruesome. Inside, they […]

  • Bella Beltrame

    Bella Beltrame, 5, featured on WGN, dies after brave battle with cancer

    CHICAGO — Bella loved life, and even battling an aggressive cancer, she smiled and played. The WGN Medical Watch Team flew with her on her desperate journey to find care and now we have a sad update to a story we brought you in February. A vibrant 5-year-old girl who became ill suddenly during the holidays last year. Her parents had no idea what was wrong. After Bella’s parents took her to the emergency room, WGN began to document Bella’s story. WGN took an […]

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    Olympic athletes put ‘cupping’ and alternative medicine in the spotlight

    An ancient Chinese therapy taking center stage at the Olympics might look scary, but athletes swear by its effectiveness. “Cupping,” where cups are placed on the skin to create suction, is used for everything from treating flu symptoms to enhancing recovery in athletes. Many got a first glimpse of the round red cup marks left by cupping on Gwyneth Paltrow’s back in 2004. The actress said she turned to alternative medicine to help alleviate back pain and rid her body of toxins. […]

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    New app may help kids with facial differences learn to speak easier

    For some, the sounds don’t come easy, especially for children who weren’t able to form proper speech at the earliest stages. One in 600 babies in the U.S. is born with cleft lip and palate. Now a first-of-it’s kind app, developed in Chicago, may help kids speak out with more confidence. What sounds like a typical speech therapy exercise, is a distinct pattern — the result of a facial deformity — in many cases, a facial cleft. When the tissue […]

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    Feds issue dire travel warning over Zika in Miami

    A dire new warning about the Zika virus: pregnant women should stay away from south Florida. The travel restriction was issued today by federal authorities in an effort to curb the spread of Zika and resulting birth defects caused when pregnant women get the virus. The news has many people wondering, where else might Zika spread in the U.S and how can you protect yourself? So far 1,600 people have been infected with the Zika virus from travelling, 400 of them […]

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    Lurie releases sobering Chicago homicide stats

    CHICAGO — Hard numbers that are hard to understand. We’re talking about gun violence in the city of Chicago. Today, Lurie Children’s Hospital released a report highlighting some sobering – yet not surprising – statistics. In 2015, 64 out of every 100,000 people ages 20-24 in the City of Chicago were victims of homicide. The majority were African-American men. That’s a 21 percent increase in the last 10 years. “It’s incredible,” says Lurie Children’s Hospital emergency medicine physician Karen Sheehan. “There’s […]

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    How to stay cool, safe while working out in the heat

    Just like a car can heat up in a matter of minutes – from 85 to 120 degrees in a half hour, think of your body as the same type of vessel. It takes just five to 10 minutes to overwhelm your system`s ability to process heat. “The biggest thing you`ll notice first of all is exhaustion,” says Dr Matthew Pirotte, NMH Emergency Medicine. “So if you are out exercising, you’ll just feel like you can’t go any more.  That […]

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    The ‘Lolla Lift’ in the ER: Doctors prepare for onslaught of underage drinkers

    On the Medical Watch: The festival effect in the ER. Shocking statistics from Lollapalooza weekend last year have doctors scrambling to prepare to care for teens this year. The music and the heat mix with long stretches standing and in many cases drinking alcohol not rehydrating water. The effect is frightening. “There’s a lot of vomiting, a lot of emotional outbursts and some behavioral aggression problems,” says Dr Karen Mangold of Lurie Children’s Emergency Medicine. “There are some kids who […]

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    From counseling to clothing, suburban center helps new moms get through tough times

    It’s critical at a time when mental health funding is scarce.  Yet mood, anxiety and depressive disorders are abundant. For a little-known organization operating in the northwest suburbs – it’s their mission to make sure families get the help they need. It was about a year ago when Delia Galicia first came to the non-profit  Preservation of Human Dignity or PHD. The young mother was referred by her doctor after opening up about the anxiety and depression she was experiencing […]