This week, CBS News 48 Hours introduces you to some amazing new medical techniques that are keeping patients alive longer and increasing their quality of life. Witness firsthand some of these life-changing medical breakthroughs.
Cindy Walentiny appears to be a typical suburban mom. But ask her to cut a sandwich and you'll see she's not. She suffers from a debilitating disease called, "essential tremor," which causes her hand to shake uncontrollably. After almost 20 years of taking medications that don't help, Walentiny tries a revolutionary brain operation. This risky procedure will implant into her brain electrodes that will keep her tremors under control. Even the smallest mistake during surgery could cause paralysis. What happens?
And you'll meet 81-year-old Frances Whitton, who suffers a paralyzing stroke. Luckily, she is put under the care of Drs. Marilyn Rymer and Graham Lee, pioneers in stroke treatment. Whitton undergoes an experimental treatment to push a clot-busting drug, urokinase, through a catheter that will reach the blood clot deep inside her brain. Three weeks later, 48 Hours checks in with Whitton on the astounding results of her surgery.
Beth and Jim Williams of Richmond, Virginia, were thrilled when they found out they were having a child. But soon Beth learns she has breast cancer. Until recently, pregnant women with breast cancer were advised to have abortions and begin chemotherapy treatments immediately. But the couple decides to continue Beth's pregnancy. See how the tense story unfolds.
For the Whites, bedtime is anything but restful. Like 40 million other Americans, Tim White is a chronic snorer. His snoring is so loud that his wife and kids can't sleep. Tim decides to undergo a new procedure known as somnoplasty, which uses radio frequencies to shrink the snore-causing tissues in his throat. Will it work?
Aired: 31 Aug 1998