- The Washington Times - Friday, April 21, 2006

Man survives 12 nails in head

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon man who went to a hospital complaining of a headache was found to have 12 nails embedded in his skull from a suicide attempt with a nail gun, doctors say.

Surgeons removed the nails with needle-nosed pliers and a drill, and the man survived with no serious lasting effects, according to a report in the current issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

The unidentified 33-year-old man was suicidal and high on methamphetamine last year when he fired the nails into his head.

The nails were not visible when doctors first examined the man in the emergency room of an unidentified Oregon hospital a day later. Doctors were surprised when X-rays revealed six nails clustered between his right eye and ear, two below his right ear and four on the left side of his head.

No one before is known to have survived after intentionally firing so many foreign objects into the head, according to the report, written by Dr. G. Alexander West, the neurosurgeon who oversaw the treatment of the patient.

FEMA wants its money back

JACKSON, Miss. — More than 2,000 Mississippi residents were notified that they must repay millions of dollars in federal Hurricane Katrina benefits that were excessive or, in some cases, fraudulent.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is seeking a total of $4.7 million from 2,044 persons, giving them 30 days to repay or set up a payment plan.

Some storm victims got duplicate or extra benefits because of FEMA errors, agency spokesman Eugene Brezany said, and others might have received benefits for expenses that later were reimbursed by insurance settlements.

Some others benefited “by intentional misrepresentation” or the mistaken belief that secondary residences qualified for payments, he said. Recipients could have received from $2,000 to $26,200.

Flag-flap worker settles lawsuit

TAMPA, Fla. — A former city employee fired for refusing to remove a Confederate flag tag from his truck has settled a lawsuit with the city, his attorney said.

Larry A. Carpenter will receive $4,500, but will not get his job back as a traffic maintenance specialist, attorney Luke Lirot said.

“He feels vindicated by knowing the courts have recognized he had a First Amendment right to display the Confederate flag as a reflection of his Southern heritage,” Mr. Lirot said.

A federal judge ruled previously that Mr. Carpenter’s constitutional rights had been violated, but that he was not entitled to compensation because he had not fully pursued damages against the city’s civil service system.

Betty Ford released from hospital

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Former first lady Betty Ford returned home yesterday after an overnight stay at Eisenhower Medical Center for undisclosed tests, a family spokeswoman said.

Mrs. Ford, who turned 88 this month, had an appointment for tests Thursday afternoon, spokeswoman Penny Circle said.

Miss Circle said Mrs. Ford has been in good health and there was nothing to be concerned about.

Former President Gerald Ford, 92, who was hospitalized 12 days in January with pneumonia, remained at the couple’s Thunderbird Estates home about a mile from the medical center.

The nation’s oldest living former president and his wife have lived in Rancho Mirage since leaving the White House in 1977.

Blunt, wife adopt child from Russia

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt and his wife, Abigail, have adopted a son from Russia, the congressman’s office announced yesterday.

The 18-month-old boy, Alexander Charles Blunt, was born near Moscow in 2004 and had been raised in orphanages and hospitals until the adoption, Mr. Blunt said in a statement. They are calling him Charlie.

“We are so fortunate and so pleased to be able to share our lives and opportunities with him,” said Mr. Blunt, a Republican from southeast Missouri.

Mr. Blunt, 56, said he and his wife worked with a Texas-based agency for a year until the adoption became final.

He has three adult children from a previous marriage, including Matt Blunt, the Republican governor of Missouri. He also has four grandchildren.

Bad heroin linked to six overdoses

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities are warning about a lethal batch of heroin for sale in the Camden area after at least six apparent overdose deaths since last week and about 40 hospitalizations in the past few days.

Dr. Steven Marcus, medical director of the New Jersey Poison Center, said he suspects the culprit is a synthetic heroinlike drug known as methyl fentalyl, which has shown up in the heroin supply in Chicago and Maryland recently. He said the substance is much stronger than heroin.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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