Born legally blind, experimental surgery returns his sight. So, he buys a Corvette. Wouldn’t you?

Mike Schickerowski was never supposed to drive, let alone go flat-out in a V8-powered car. The 44-year old Alberta resident was born with an eye condition that made him legally blind and disqualified him from driving. He got his sight back after undergoing an experimental surgery — then chose a Chevrolet Corvette as his first car.

Schickerowski told Canada’s Global News that he was born with nystagmus, a condition that “involves involuntary movement of your eyes.” Although he could see, objects were always out of focus.

Schickerowski nonetheless underwent an experimental surgery at a clinic in California, and the procedure gave him his eyesight back. So he started the process of applying for a driver’s license and purchasing his first car, a seventh-generation Corvette.

Global News added Schickerowski bought his Corvette without seeing it, and before he took his driver’s test. He passed the test on his first try in July 2020, and has been enjoying his yellow coupe ever since.

Although driving a Corvette is an unforgettable experience, Schickerowski said the best part of getting his vision back is being able to do things with his family, like taking his son fishing and taking his daughter out for ice cream. “I was never able to do that before on my own.”

Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up, bro’!

In for surgery? Bring someone along to catalog medication errors!

About half of all surgeries involve some kind of medication error or unintended drug side effects, if a new study done at one of America’s most prestigious academic medical centers is any indication.

The rate, calculated by researchers from the anesthesiology department at Massachusetts General Hospital who observed 277 procedures there, is startlingly high compared with those in the few earlier studies. Those studies relied mostly on self-reported data from clinicians, rather than directly watching operations, and found errors to be exceedingly rare.

“There is a substantial potential for medication-related harm and a number of opportunities to improve safety,” according to the new study, published today in the journal Anesthesiology. More than one-third of the observed errors led to some kind of harm to the patient.

Attention has been focused on reducing medical errors since 1999. That’s when the Institute of Medicine identified them as a leading cause of death, killing at least 44,000 Americans a year — more than car crashes or breast cancer. Since then, hospitals have attempted to improve safety during surgery with simple checklists to avoid lapses like operating on the wrong side of the body. They’ve also switched to electronic prescribing systems that can warn doctors of potential medication errors.

…Mistakes at the intersection of medication and surgery “have really not been studied in any systematic way,” said Karen Nanji, an anesthesiologist at Mass General and lead author of the new study.

Drugs delivered during an operation don’t have the same safeguards that other medication orders do. In most parts of a hospital, prescriptions are typically double-checked by pharmacists and nurses before they reach the patient. Operating wards are riskier.

“In the operating room things happen very rapidly, and patients’ conditions change quickly, so we don’t have time to go through that whole process, which can take hours,” Nanji said.

While all the errors observed in the study had the potential to cause harm, only three were considered life-threatening, and no patients died because of the mistakes, Nanji said. In some cases, the harm lay in a change in vital signs or an elevated risk of infection…

The research may begin to draw attention to drug mistakes in the surgical suite. “It’s like a black box,” said Helen Haskell, a patient safety advocate and founder of Mothers Against Medical Error, whose son died because of a medication error after a routine surgery. Patients under anesthesia may not be aware that an error is made, especially if there is no lasting consequence.

Realize this study was done at one of the best general hospitals in the country. I shudder to think what the percentages might be some other places in the United States. Imagine what the numbers may be in a hospital where patient rights, modern standards, aren’t the rule.



Dr. Pravin Jaiprakash Gupta, MS, FICS, FAIS, FASCRS, FACS of the Fine Morning Hospital and Research Center, Laxminagar, Nagpur, India, presents, in the journal Digestive Surgery, Vol. 24, No. 5, 2007, a paper entitled : Red Hot Chilli Consumption Is Harmful in Patients Operated for Anal Fissure – A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study.

“Patients were randomly assigned to receive analgesics and fiber supplement alone (control patients) or consumption of 1.5 g chilli powder twice daily along with identical fiber and analgesics (chilli group). “

“Conclusion: This study shows that consumption of red chillies after anal fissure surgery should be forbidden to avoid postoperative symptoms.”

Note: Dr. Gupta is also known for his invention — “A surgical device which is called as radiowave gun handle was named after him as ‘Pravin Gupta Procto Gun’ by the famous USA company Ellman International Inc.”

Anyone living where the state question is “red or green?” knows the answer to this study well in advance. You only have to make a mistake like this once to remember the result for the rest of your life.

Note: Everyone in New Mexico has their personal favorites. The illustration at right is mine. Try it on a sandwich of leftover roast pork for a breakfast treat.

He ate 43½ socks — Silly dog!

Teaching his buddy how to be just as silly

The 3-year-old Great Dane was miserable and retching when its owners rushed him to a northwest Portland emergency animal hospital.

It was something he ate!

X-rays showed a stomach full of “a large quantity of foreign material.” Nearly two hours of surgery later, Dr. Ashley Magee had the answer – the dog had consumed 43 ½ socks.

DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital spokeswoman Shawna Harch said it’s perhaps the strangest case in the hospital’s history…

So strange that the hospital entered last February’s tale, complete with X-rays, in an annual contest sponsored by the vet magazine, Veterinary Practice News, and won a prize. Fittingly enough, the contest is called “They Ate WHAT?”

The DoveLewis entry summary says the Great Dane was discharged home a day after surgery. Harch says the owners aren’t available for comment but she confirms the dog is alive. No word on what he’s eaten lately.

People think dogs are carnivores. They are omnivores who prefer meat. Ours likes carrots as well as meat.

Thanks, Mike

Snake eats golf balls — surgery goes just fine

A gray rat snake was found in a chicken coop in north Georgia. The snake had two large round objects in its stomach, which, from the fact that it was in a chicken coop, you’d think would be chicken eggs. The snake apparently thought so, too, but they were golf balls.

Now here’s the really weird part: the chicken owner took the snake to get help for its problem! A team of veterinarians at the Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island performed surgery and removed the golf balls from the snake. The reptile is recovering, and will be returned to the wild when it is deemed healthy. No doubt it will head straight to the nearest chicken coop when that happens.

Anyone who thinks nature is perfect ain’t spent enough time outdoors.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Noises in tourist’s head were from flesh-eating maggots

She can smile about it, now

A British woman returned from a holiday in Peru hearing scratching noises inside her head to be told she was being attacked by flesh-eating maggots living inside her ear.

Rochelle Harris, 27, said she remembered dislodging a fly from her ear while in Peru but thought nothing more of it until she started getting headaches and pains down one side of her face and woke up in Britain one morning with liquid on her pillow.

Thinking she had a routine ear infection caused by a mosquito bite, she sought medical treatment at the Royal Derby Hospital in northern England, where a consultant noticed maggots in a small hole in her ear-canal.

“I was very scared. Were they in my brain?” said Harris, recounting her ordeal in a new Discovery Channel documentary…

Doctors tried first to flush the maggots out of the ear using olive oil.

“It was the longest few hours that I have ever had to wait… I could still feel them and hear them and knowing what those scratching sounds were, and knowing what that wriggling feeling was, that just made it all the worse,” she said.

When flushing the maggots out failed, the medics resorted to surgery and found a “writhing mass of maggots” within her ear, raising concern they could eat into her brain.

The surgery removed a family of eight maggots. Analysis found that a New World Army Screw Worm fly had laid eggs inside Harris’s ear.


Iron bar removed from construction worker’s head

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission – Ricardo Moraes

A builder is recovering after an operation to remove a 1.8m-long iron bar from his head…The bar fell from the fifth floor of a building under construction, went through Eduardo Leite’s hard hat, pierced the back of his skull and exited between his eyes.

Amazingly the 24-year-old survived and when he arrived at hospital he was conscious and able to tell doctors what had happened.

Luiz Alexandre Essinger, chief of staff of Miguel Couto hospital, Rio de Janeiro, said doctors successfully withdrew the bar during a five-hour operation on Wednesday.

“He was taken to the operating room, his skull was opened, they examined the brain and the surgeon decided to pull the metal bar out from the front in the same direction it entered the brain,” Essinger said…

Ruy Monteiro, the hospital’s head of neurosurgery, told the Globo TV network Leite escaped losing one eye and becoming paralysed on the left side of his body by just a few centimetres.

He said the bar entered a “non-eloquent” area of the brain that doesn’t have a specific, major known function. Leite is expected to remain in hospital for at least two weeks.

Phew! Anytime I worked a job site requiring a hard hat I always made certain that critter stayed on my noggin every second on the job. But, this is just too scary. I don’t think the sturdiest mountaineering helmet generally available would have helped much with this accident. Eduardo Leite is a lucky dude to have survived.

Thumbs up for toe swap operation!

A man has praised surgeons after his missing thumb was replaced with one of his toes.

Fisherman Donald Gunn lost his right thumb while at sea when his hand got caught in rope. Surgeons at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary used the second toe from the Caithness man’s left foot.

He said: “The difference it has made to me already is unbelievable. I am delighted with the result and cannot thank the team enough.”

Consultant plastic surgeon Amir Tadros had believed the toe transplant was a viable option. Mr Tadros said: “This is a very complex procedure but the difference it could make to Mr Gunn’s life convinced me it was worth trying.

“By using the second toe from his left foot we ensured that the patient’s balance wasn’t affected and the cosmetic appearance was almost the same as a normal foot…

He explained: “It’s a rare operation, it’s been around since the 60s, but is not very often done

Mr Gunn added: “It’s hard to explain the impact of losing my thumb had on my life. “It might only be a small part of the body but it’s only when you lose it that you realise how important it is.

Folks don’t need to study evolution and the progress brought by the opposable thumb to realize the value of that little bit of structure. Bravo to the physicians and surgeon involved in aiding Donald Gunn.

Boob Doctors charged in porn star’s death

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Two doctors who performed breast enlargement surgery on a German porn actress have been charged with negligent manslaughter after the woman’s death, a prosecutor’s spokesman said.

The 23-year-old woman, identified only as “Sexy Cora,” fell into a coma during the surgery at the Alster Clinic in Hamburg on January 11, according to Wilhelm Moellers, the spokesman for the Hamburg state prosecutor. She died Thursday.

Doctors who responded to an emergency call to the clinic called police and filed charges that started the investigation of the clinic, Moellers said.

A statement from the clinic said the doctors were “extremely upset and deeply regret the death of patient C.W.” and that they are giving “full and complete support” to investigators.

“As matters stand currently a defect in the anesthetizing device can be ruled out,” the clinic statement said. “The claim that the monitoring could have given readings other than the actual vital functions of the patient has nothing to do with the facts and has no connection to reality…”

“Erroneous behavior by the doctors is unproven and at this point just an ‘assessment’ by one of the emergency medical personnel who’d brought Ms. W to the University Clinic Hamburg,” the clinic said…

Everyone’s standing in line, jostling each other to be certain the world knows they’re not to blame.