Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2003


November 1, 2003



Guardian appointed for comatose woman

A judge appointed a University of South Florida professor on Friday to independently investigate the case of a severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die battle.

Jay Wolfson, an expert on health care financing, will report to Gov. Jeb Bush and recommend whether the stay the governor enacted to keep Terri Schiavo alive should be allowed to remain.

Schiavo suffered severe brain damage when her heart stopped because of a chemical imbalance and has been in a persistent vegetative state for more than a decade. Doctors have said there was no hope for her recovery.

The judge said that if the law is found to be unconstitutional, Wolfson is to cease his work.


Separated twins' conditions upgraded

The conditions of separated Egyptian twin boys has been upgraded from guarded to good, a doctor said Friday.

Two-year-olds Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim are in separate rooms, but visit each other daily.

"Mohamed's legs are getting stronger, and he is now sucking occasionally on lollipops," Dr. James Thomas, chief of critical care services at Children's Medical Center Dallas, said in a news release Friday. "Ahmed's favorite activity is blowing kisses to anyone who comes to greet him."

The twins were separated from the tops of their heads in a 34-hour surgery on Oct. 12.

They will receive repeat head CT scans on Monday to assess the accumulation of spinal fluid in and around their brains.


Competitive teen surfer loses arm in shark bite

A shark bit off the left arm of a 13-year-old competitive surfer Friday morning while she was lying on her board in clear water, authorities said.

Bethany Hamilton, above, was attacked on Kauai's North Shore, authorities said. There was a single bite, and then the shark disappeared.

"There was no warning," said Battalion Chief Bob Kaden.

The teenager was surfing with her best friend and her friend's father, who immediately applied a tourniquet using a surf leash. Hamilton's mother, Cheri, said the move saved her life.

Tom Hamilton said his daughter was conscious and alert at a hospital.

The size of the bite was estimated to be 16 inches long and 8 inches wide, which suggests Bethany was attacked by a shark that was 12 to 15 feet long, Kaden said.


Toys 'R' Us ad riles anti-inhalant groups

A Toys "R" Us television commercial, which features the company's mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, inhaling helium from a balloon, has drawn the ire of anti-drug campaigners who say the ad sends a dangerous message to children.

"Any portrayal of inhalant use is bad, especially when we're reaching out to younger children who are at most risk of abusing inhalants," Charles Curie, administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said Friday.

The ad campaign has finished its rotation and will not be reintroduced, Toys "R" Us spokeswoman Susan McLaughlin said in a statement.

Inhaling helium has the effect of distorting the human voice. It also can displace oxygen in the blood and lead to unconsciousness and, rarely, death.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.