Katharin Czink is WGN’s Medical Watch Producer.

Recent Articles
  • Cupich says upcoming abuse summit start of sweeping reform in church

    It is a serious topic muddled by a numbers game. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office said there are hundreds of unanswered sexual abuse allegations against catholic priests. Chicago’s archbishop, Cardinal Blasé Cupich, who is at the Vatican for a summit on sex abuse, said there were only five credible cases last year nationwide. And while there are still failures that are unacceptable, there is progress when you look closely at the number of abusive priests. “Making this a priority that […]

  • Compassion and technology help monitor tiny hearts

    In a month devoted to matters of the heart, the babies in a local neonatal intensive care unit wear red hats for warmth and comfort. But in another part of the hospital, parents who have babies with heart ailments seek comfort in technology and care. Like the Youkers. After two miscarriages, Mandy and P.J. Youker are expecting a baby girl. Grace Joy is due in March. “When you hear that heart beat it really legitimizes what’s going on,” Mandy Youker […]

  • Parents whose son died after taking ecstasy want to educate others on dangers of drug

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. — It’s a story you’ve likely heard before: a successful, bright and beloved young man takes an illegal substance widely used recreationally and has a tragic reaction. But in this story, it wasn’t an overdose,  and in this case, the Lake Forest native was not a regular drug user. What happened when Greg Friedman took ecstasy is a story his parents want everyone to hear. “He was an athlete that expressed itself at an early age. High […]

  • Hyperbaric treatment uses oxygen to help heal frostbite injuries

    NORTHBROOK, Ill. — In these frigid temperatures, frostbite is a major danger to our skin, but now there’s a solution: oxygen! At Healing with Hyperbarics in North Suburban Northbrook, they’ve added frostbite to the menu. Inside, tubular hyperbaric chambers are lined up and humming along. Patients sitting inside them rest, watch a little TV and take in oxygen pumped in from a giant tank sitting in the parking lot. “Oxygen has a lot of healing properties. It reduces inflammation, which occurs […]

  • As students shine on stage, Chicago teacher is real star of the show

    CHICAGO — January’s Teacher of the Month knows how to build confidence in her students. It’s a lesson at the heart of the drama program she started at Immaculate Conception School on the city’s Northwest side, and while her students shine on stage, they said Ms. Julie Szwedo is the real star of the show. Szwedo always knew she wanted to be a teacher, just like her father, who was also a Chicago police officer. “He used to take me […]

  • Physician on how to avoid hypothermia, frostbite

    Keeping safe in the cold: What to wear and what to watch out for

    As deadly cold threatens Chicago, experts have offered logical and surprising tips for staying safe. In temperatures and wind chills expected Tuesday into Wednesday, skin can and will freeze if it is exposed to conditions. In just five minutes you are at risk for frostbite.   What to wear if you must go out: Dress in layers. Do not choose cotton for the first layer. It will absorb water and do more harm than good.  Instead, start with polyester then […]

  • Health experts speak out after survey shows parents’ doubts about flu shot

    CHICAGO — We’re in the thick of flu season, but there’s some good news to share. Experts are seeing lower levels of the severe disease compared to last year. But a local report released Thursday sparked concern and prompted healthcare experts to speak out. Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr Julie Morita said Thursday it is not too later to get a flu shot. “Many people believe it’s too late to get a flu vaccine, but it is not […]

  • How a simple count helped one mother save her unborn baby’s life

    Born from grief, a movement nurtured by mothers has grown to help bring life and spread news of a practice so simple, yet life-saving. Now 14-months old, Laura Smith’s daughter Lucy was active inside the womb with movements Smith loved feeling after struggling with infertility. “When I first started feeling her, it was very reassuring,” she said. When Smith reached her third trimester, her doctor shared information about a program called “Count the Kicks” and encouraged her to track her […]

  • From the streets to social media, how law enforcement is targeting sex traffickers

    Nearly 100 people from Illinois have called the National Human Trafficking Hotline looking for help. Nationally, 3,700 have reached out. They all said they were being sex trafficked. As counselors try to give them aid, law enforcement works tirelessly to track down offenders. Local law enforcement is attempting to help survivors thrive and targeting abusers who enslave and then sell boys and girls for sex. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, as a steady flow of cars and trucks rolled along […]

  • ‘I was trafficked by my mom’: Opioid addiction, sex trade collide in one survivor’s story

    Two separate health crises are colliding. For months, WGN has covered the opioid epidemic sweeping the country. WGN has also detailed stories of sex trafficking in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Now there is a revelation: the opioid epidemic is injecting life into the sex trafficking trade and destroying the lives of its victims. One survivor recently spoke with WGN’s Medical Watch team. “My story isn’t about intimidation, it’s about manipulation,” she said. “Traffickers aren’t just strange men. I was […]

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