Porn Star, Death Panel Victims, Car Show Model: People We Lost in 2017

(HEADLINE HEALTH) We lost many leading lights in 2017, often in tragic conditions that were preventable. We share their stories in order that others might learn from their experiences and live. Our condolences to out to all those who lost a loved one in 2017.

August Ames

August Ames. PHOTO, Toglenn, CC

Canadian-born porn star August Ames took her own life in December at age 23.

In the days prior to her death, Ames (real name, Mercedes Grabowski) was berated on social media for her refusal to engage in sex acts for pay with homosexual men.

Ames had taken to social media to warn porn industry co-workers about the health risks of engaging in intimate contact with actors who have appeared in gay porn. The resulting accusations of homophobia against her were more than she could bear. The coroner ruled Ames died of suicide – asphyxiation by hanging.

Takeaway: Don’t give anyone a chance to judge you for taking an unpopular stand to protect your health. Keep your health, opinions, and personal life off of social media. August’s story.

Deer hunters 

Something’s killing U.S. deer hunters, and it’s probably not what you think.

While numerous hunters are killed in firearms accidents, often because they are mistaken for game by fellow hunters, the most common cause of death in deer hunters is cardiac arrest.

One of many victims of the 2017 season was former Marshall Co., Illinois Sheriff Sherl “Chip” Webster.

Known as a lawman who “always had integrity,” Webster died at 66 of an apparent heart attack after a day of deer hunting on family property.

Takeaway: vigorous outdoor activities require maintaining basic fitness throughout the year.

Incorporate daily exercise into your life to reduce the risks associated with physically demanding pursuits. Full story. 

Eric Bolling, Jr.

The Boulder Co. coroner’s office announced that former Colorado University student Eric Bolling Jr., son of ex-Fox News personality Eric Bolling, died in Boulder in September from an accidental overdose involving a mix of cocaine and fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a powerful pain killing opioid that’s wreaked havoc in Colorado and nationwide during recent years.

Takeaway: the words “drug” and “recreation” should never go together. Nancy Reagan got it right 30 years ago: just say ‘no.’ Eric’s story.

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Death Panel Victims 

The lives of hundreds, or more likely thousands of cancer patients are being held hostage by Big Pharma.

Mammoth drug companies have created drugs that cure cancer, but are demanding ransom of hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient. Patients who can’t find a way to pay are dying.

While lawyers and administrators for hospitals, insurers, and drug makers haggle with one another – and with their government overseers – about who is going to pay, cancer patients are dying. Sarah Palin was right: death panels are real and they are here.

Takeaway: placing your hope in Big Pharma and Big Government is folly. Prevention is what works. Victims’ story.

Florida nursing home patients

A 94-year-old woman living at the Florida nursing home where eight residents died in the wake of Hurricane Irma is suing the rehabilitation center, claiming “negligence and reckless indifference” toward elderly residents.

Rosa Cabrera’s legal guardian filed the lawsuit on her behalf against the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida.

Eight residents died after the facility’s electrical system for its air conditioning stopped working in the aftermath of the hurricane that hit Florida in September.

Takeaway: nursing homes have waiting lists. Keeping infirm patients alive is not always convenient or economical; they are easily replaced by other patients whose bank accounts are untapped. Their story.

Amanda Davis

An Atlanta TV anchor whose career spanned more than 25 years, died in December after being hospitalized for a massive stroke.

Amanda Davis, 62, was news anchor for WGCL-TV. Prior to that, she was a reporter and anchor for Atlanta’s Fox affiliate, WAGA-TV.

In 2016, she spoke publicly about a DUI arrest and her battle against alcoholism. She told the Atlanta Journal she wanted to stay sober so she could help others battle their addictions.

Takeaway: alcohol abuse can lead to cardiovascular disease later in life. Limit yourself to one or two drinks a day, four to six days a week. If you’ve regularly consumed larger quantities, don’t assume it’s too late to benefit from cutting back. Amanda’s story | Rose Marie’s story. 

Rose Marie

The actress who saw no reason to retire and enjoyed a 90-year career to the fullest passed away at age 94.

Rose Marie was best known for her portrayal of Sally Rogers on the 1960’s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show. Her career spanned an incredible ten decades, from her time a child star in the 1920’s until shortly before her death in December. She was most assuredly the last living entertainer who could claim to have performed for President Calvin Coolidge.

Takeaway: Rose Marie never retired. Working from age 3 to age 94, she exemplified the belief that your age is only a number. “I’m very happy with the life I’ve had. I only wish I could live it over again. It was wonderful,” Rose Marie told an interviewer early in 2017.

Ralphie May

The stand-up comic noted for making fun of his own morbid obesity died in October … of morbid obesity. “I’m too damn fat” was an oft used a punchline in his stand-up comedy routine; paying audiences laughed on cue. The official cause of death for the 45-year-old was cardiac arrest.

Takeaway: Diseases are not funny; don’t tell them, even about yourself, and don’t laugh at them. Ralphie May’s morbid obesity was enabled by his own fans. Ralphie’s story. 

Karen Stella Wong

The car show model from Singapore died three days after an attack suffered while she was singing karaoke. Doctors said she suffered a brain hemorrhage most commonly caused by high blood pressure, and less commonly but a blood vessel defect.

Takeaway: Get your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If it’s too high, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to bring it down into the normal range. Karen’s story. 

 Bethany Lynn Stephens

A young woman from rural Virginia was mauled to death by her own dogs while out on a walk in December. According to the sheriff, the dogs consumed part of Bethany Lynn Stephens’ body in the day that elapsed between the time of her death and the recovery of her remains.

Takeaway: Controversy swirls around pit bills. Consider your choice of a pet very carefully. Bethany’s story. 

Nicole Yarran

The 32-year-old died of colon cancer after her doctor ignored the symptoms she she reported, saying she was ‘too young’ to have colon cancer.

Takeaway: If your doctor ignores the symptoms you tell him about, find another doctor or get a second opinion. Nicole’s story. 

Owen Halverson and Ashley St. Onge

Two teen motorists died while walking on New Hampshire highways at night in separate incidents in December.

Owen Halverson was struck on the Everett Turnpike while checking the damage to the car he had been riding in.

Ashley St. Onge pulled over the the side of I-93 in bad weather and got out of the car in order to allow a passenger to take over the wheel. She, too, was stuck and killed. The survivors said that she had pulled over because she was afraid to drive in winter conditions.

Takeaway: Driving or being a passenger in a car is the more dangerous thing most people ever do in their lives. Teens are most at risk. Do not stop on a highway or get out of your vehicle except in an emergency. If you must exit your vehicle on a highway, move away from travelled lanes immediately and call 9-1-1. Their stories. 

New Year’s Eve Victims – Don’t Be One 

2017 is not over … there are still a few hours to go.

New Year’s Eve is one of the most deadly nights of the year. Enjoy your holiday safely. Don’t drink and drive.

Consider celebrating at home, or within safe walking distance of home. An Uber or a designated driver is a good choice if you’re going out, but you’ll still be exposing yourself to the risk of other drivers on the road who are under the influence.

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