Odds & Ends
A woman about to undergo a liver transplant was busted smuggling a bottle of vodka into the hospital. The incident is just the latest in a string of scandals involving a former head of transplants at the University Hospital in Göttingen. According to the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper, a nurse at the hospital told a court in Lower Saxony earlier this month that she found a bottle of vodka in a patient’s bag and poured it out. The patient in question allegedly admitted to drinking a bottle of vodka a day leading up to the operation. Patients in Germany’s liver transplant program are supposed to remain sober for six months before the operation. The allegations came out at the trial of the hospital’s former director of transplants, a 46-year-old man identified only as Aiman O. The man is accused of manipulating medical files to help his patients receive faster organ transplants in at least 25 cases. He had been charged with 11 cases of attempted manslaughter and 3 cases of grievous bodily harm. When news of the scandal first broke in 2012, the number of people signing up as organ donors plunged to the country’s lowest level since 1997.
A political activist in the Eastern European Republic of Belarus managed to register his pet bird as a candidate for an upcoming municipal election, but pulled out because “being a regional councilor isn’t very prestigious.” Kanstantsin Zhukouski Photoshopped a picture of his parrot Yasha onto a copy of his passport and sent in an application to set up an associated campaign group for the bird. The application was successfully processed by the Mazur electoral commission. Zhukouski said he had trained the animal to repeat several useful political phrases, such as “Where is money?” and “I want to go to the council chamber.” Shortly after the prank was revealed in local media, however, Yasha pulled out of the race—possibly to avoid a penalty for electoral fraud on the part of his owner.
A wanted felon was arrested less than an hour after he shared the local police’s wanted photo of him on Facebook. According to the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, 35-year-old Anthony Lescowitch took to social media to repost his wanted photo mere minutes after Freeland police posted it to the department’s Facebook page on Monday, Jan. 20. According to the paper, he was wanted on assault-related charges. Police, seeing Lescowitch’s repost decided to trap the felon. An officer pretended to be an attractive woman and messaged Lescowitch about his wanted photo. He wasn’t interested in getting a drink, but he agreed to meet the woman for a cigarette. As soon as he arrived at the agreed-upon meeting site, he was arrested by police. Police followed up the incident with the following message on their Facebook page: “Captured!!!!!! Shares our status on Facebook about himself, captured 45 minutes later.” Lescowitch was scheduled to face a preliminary hearing on Jan. 29 on charges including aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.
A former medical examiner has pleaded guilty to stealing human body parts but told the court she only did it to train her cadaver-sniffing dog. Traci England, 46, will be sentenced on Feb. 10 on two felony counts of misdemeanor misconduct in public office. Theft and obstruction charges were dismissed as part of a plea bargain. According to the criminal complaint, filed in Oneida County Court, England took a piece of bone from a corpse’s spinal column after another medical examiner removed it during an autopsy. Investigators wrote in the complaint that England “made a comment on how lucky she was to have gotten this section of spine because it was hard to come by.” During a search of her home in the town of Newbold, investigators found what appeared to be brain and liver tissue along with a piece of bone on a shelf in her garage. According to FOX-11 in Green Bay, the family of the man whose spine was stolen are suing England and the Oneida County Court for extreme emotional disturbance and stress.