Friday, March 14, 2008

News from the Weird

Sit back, enjoy your morning coffee and read more stories from the weird:

This really bites:

In February, a Mississippi judge released two convicted rapists of children, who had each been in prison for more than 12 years, based on DNA. The men had been convicted primarily by the "bite mark" analysis of since-discredited dentist Dr. Michael West, who used iridescent lights and yellow goggles to demonstrate that scratches on the victims were bites by the two men. Subsequent independent analysis identified the scratches as scratches, perhaps even made by West himself, according to a director of the Innocence Project. West is a favorite colleague of medical examiner Steven Hayne, who seems always to find evidence of guilt of anyone charged by district attorney Forrest Allgood, according to a Reason magazine investigation. West's bite "technology," in particular, has been widely ridiculed by forensic professionals. [Clarion-Ledger (Jackson), 2-15-08, 2-14-08;, 2-20-08]

Breaking up is hard to do

A 25-year-old woman was arrested for assault in Bremerton, Wash., in December after fighting with her boyfriend in the shower over whether the man's dog could join them. The woman objected and said the arrangement would be a deal-breaker for their relationship, to which the boyfriend replied that he hoped his next girlfriend would appreciate the dog more. At that, according to police, she punched him several times in the face, and in their struggle, he dislocated his shoulder. [KOMO Radio-AP (Seattle), 12-28-07]


Female Muslim medical students at several hospitals in Britain are objecting to a campaign that demands more rigorous hand-washing (to stop the spread of dangerous bacteria), complaining that being forced to bare their forearms above the wrist is immodesty prohibited by their religion. Doctors cited in a February Daily Telegraph story said washing up to the elbow is crucial for safety. Some women at Birmingham University said they would change careers rather than comply. [Daily Telegraph (London), 2-4-08]

Say what?!!

In January, the state medical board in Sydney, Australia, admonished psychiatrist Yolande Lucire for testifying in a court case about her belief that Ritalin and similar drugs had produced residual organic hallucinosis in children that might explain their violence later in life. The board said it disagreed with her and ordered Lucire to make an appointment with a senior psychiatrist for therapy, to help her deal with her problem of making unconventional diagnoses. [Sydney Morning Herald, 1-27-08]

But I only have a headache

Construction worker Brian Persaud's malpractice lawsuit is scheduled for trial in March against the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital based on a 2003 incident in which he was taken there (after being clobbered on the head by a plank at work) and given a rectal exam. Persaud was alert when informed of the imminent exam, but then went nuts, resisting the doctor and was sedated so that the test could be performed. The doctor defended the exam, citing the need to check for spinal cord injury. [San Francisco Chronicle-AP, 1-16-08]