Wednesday, 20 May 2009


First up a couple of medical items-Telegraph An Australian country GP has saved a boy's life by using a household drill to bore into his brain after he was injured in a bike accident.

Nicholas Rossi, 13, fell off his bike in the small rural town of Maryborough in Victoria and hit his head.

He was not wearing a helmet, and the impact knocked him momentarily unconscious.

He recovered enough to go home, but complained to his mother Karen, a trained nurse, of a bad headache. Mrs Rossi took her son to district hospital where Dr Rob Carson, a local GP, was on duty.

The boy was kept under observation, but one hour later, he started drifting in and out of consciousness. Dr Carson recognised the problem as internal bleeding in the skull and noticed that one of Nicholas's pupils was larger than the other, another sign of bleeding that was placing pressure on the brain. The injury was the same that recently led to the death of actress Natasha Richardson after a skiing accident.

Dr Carson believed Nicholas had torn an artery just above his ear between his skull and his brain, creating a large and life-threatening blood clot.

In scenes reminiscent of a television medical drama, Dr Carson realised he had minutes to save the boy's life and there was no time to transfer his patient to a hospital with a dedicated brain surgery unit. Instead, he telephoned Dr David Wallace, a neurosurgeon 105 miles away in Melbourne, to help talk him through the operation - which he had never attempted before.

But there was one problem. The hospital was not equipped with a surgical drill. Instead, Dr Carson had to use the next best thing - a household drill found in the hospital's maintenance cupboard. He disinfected the drill and, under Dr Wallace's guidance, used it to bore into Nicholas's skull to release the blood clot.

Aided by a team of nurses and an anaesthetist, the doctor drained the excess blood out of Nicholas's head. He knew the unorthodox procedure had worked when the boy's pupil returned to its normal size. The team kept Nicholas alive until he was airlifted to Melbourne one hour later.

He was released from hospital on Tuesday.

Brave or foolhardy?

And this-Obesity is best for heart disease sufferers Researchers found that obese heart patients respond better to strokes and heart attacks compared to normal or underweight patients.

Although obesity is a leading cause of heart disease, paradoxically scientists say fat and even high cholesterol may have protective benefits.

But researchers say losing weight is still best because obesity triggers more heart attacks and strokes.

Cardiologist Carl J. Lavie, of the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, said: " Overweight heart patients do better than thin patients, but overweight patients who lose weight do best of all.

"It is important to remember that obesity is the leading cause of heart death, and overweight and obese patients have a much higher incidence of heart attacks and strokes."

The obesity paradox has been studied since Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh published his findings in the journal Kidney International in 2003.

It is knowns as "reverse epidemiology" where obesity and even high cholesterol may have protective benefits and be associated with a greater survivability in certain groups of people such as the very elderly and those with certain chronic diseases.

You just can’t win can you?

Another bit of Health and safety gone mad A Town Hall is unable to fly the Union flag on Armed Forces Day because bureaucrats will not let anyone climb 8ft to reach the pole.

For decades the flag has proudly flown over the building in the historic market town of Bourne, Lincs, to honour official occasions.

But last month members of the public noticed that for the first time in living memory there was no St George's Cross on the patron saint's day.

Now it has emerged health and safety fears mean the pole will remain bare for Armed Forces Day on June 27 and the Queen's birthday.

South Kesteven District Council, which maintains the Town Hall, says it is too risky to ask the site manager to climb a ladder and unfurl a flag.

Former soldiers condemned the stance as an insult to the bravery of members of the services.
Town councillor and former mayor Brian Fines, 72, a former Lieutenant Colonel, said: "What a sad and sick society we're becoming.

"This despotic government's health and safety laws have prevented the council flying a flag from the building that's the hub of our town.

"We're told they're not allowed to use a ladder to access the mast, which is ridiculous. It's annoying and upsetting a lot of people."

The council has offerend no response but the current mayor, Councillor Shirley Cliffe, branded the situation "ridiculous" and confessed: "I just don't understand it."
Neither do I.

What's in a name Donald Trump is suing a writer for claiming he is a millionaire and not a billionaire.

The real estate mogul has launched a lawsuit against Timothy L. O'Brien who questioned Trump's net worth in article in 2005.

Trump claims his reputation and brand were damaged and that he missed out on business opportunities because of the story.

A judge said that she would rule within two months on whether the case should be dismissed before it gets a chance to go to trial.

Neither man was in Superior Court in Camden for a hearing on Monday.

Trump said O'Brien, now an editor at The New York Times, knew the lower estimates were not true and that it was malicious to include them.

In a December 2007 deposition in the case, Trump says his true net worth is harder to calculate because it includes the value of the Trump brand.

"My net worth fluctuates and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings," he said. "Even my own feelings."

In the same deposition, Trump acknowledged that he sometimes exaggerates – including when he said, after the book's publication, that his business was doing as well as ever.

Some people!

Or, how about councils gone mad Pensioner Sheila New who revamped her grade II-listed cottage by painting it blue could face court action and a heavy fine unless she returns it to its original shade of yellow.

The 70 year-old is refusing to comply with orders to re-paint the 230-year-old property in Crewkerne, Somerset, and has claimed her local authority has behaved like "Nazis".

Some residents have complained that the contrast between the bright blue and the dark weathered stone of the neighbouring St Batholomew's Church is too great.

Mrs New tried to claim retrospective planning permission, but was refused by South Somerset district council.

The ruling was later backed by a planning inspector, who specified that the colour must fit with the natural golds, buffs and yellows which characterize the conservation area and local building stones.

The council said Mrs New had failed to agree with any of the specified colours and has been issued with an enforcement notice. She has now filed an appeal against the notice.

If Mrs New loses the appeal, she could face prosecution for non-compliance with the order. If convicted, the maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine, the council said.

You stick to your guns Sheila, whose house is it anyway?

And finally:

He may have only had one eye and one arm but Lord nelson’s other bits were still working.
Lord Nelson shared the considerable financial costs of pleasing his mistress with her husband when the three of them lived together, newly-uncovered documents show.

Sir William Hamilton became one the most famous cuckolds in British history when he moved with his younger wife Emma, Lady Hamilton, into the celebrated admiral's house in Merton, south London in 1801.

But not only did the two men share a lover, they also pooled their resources to cover the huge sums necessary to meet her expensive tastes.

A set of 16 household accounts covering the period of the unusual domestic arrangement, which is up for auction next month, show that Lord Nelson and Sir William split many bills evenly.
Lord Nelson invited the couple into his home after falling in love with Lady Hamilton during the Napoleonic Wars in Naples, where her husband was the British envoy.

The naval commander's infatuation proved to be an expensive business; a document uncovered two years ago suggests that he paid his wife Lady Nelson the equivalent of £18,000 a year after abandoning her.
Lady Hamilton remained with Lord Nelson following the death of her husband in 1803, but ended her life in poverty after he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar two years later.

They paid out up to £156 4s 4d a week – around £11,000 in today's money – to local tradesmen for treats such as fresh meat, fish and oysters, to which Lady Hamilton was particularly partial.
By the looks of it that wasn’t the only thing she was partial to.

“Life isn't weird: it's just the people in it.”


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