2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Whittington suffers heart attack NEWS IN BRIEF
Shotgun pellet from Vice
President Cheney's gun reaches
78-year-old lawyer's heart
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - The 78-year-
old lawyer wounded by Vice President Dick Cheney
in a hunting accident suffered a mild heart attack
yesterday after a shotgun pellet in his chest traveled
to his heart, hospital officials said.
Harry Whittington was immediately moved
back to the intensive care unit and will be watched
for a week to make sure more of the metal pellets
do not reach other vital organs. He was reported
in stable condition.
Whittington suffered a "silent heart attack" - obstruct-
ed blood flow, but without the classic heart-attack symp-
toms of pain and pressure, according to doctors at Christus
Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial.
The doctors said they decided to treat the situation
conservatively and leave the pellet alone rather than
operate to remove it. They said they are highly optimis-
tic Whittington will recover and live a healthy life with
the pellet in him.
Asked whether the pellet could move farther into
his heart and become fatal, hospital officials said that
was a hypothetical question they could not answer.
Hospital officials said they were not concerned about
the six to 200 other pieces of birdshot that might still be
lodged in Whittington's body. Cheney was using 7 1/2
shot from a 28-gauge shotgun. Shotgun pellets are typi-
cally made of steel or lead; the pellets in 7 1/2 shot are just
under a tenth of an inch in diameter.
Cheney watched the news conference where doctors
described Whittington's complications. Then the vice
president called him, wished him well and asked if there
was anything that he needed.
"The vice president said that he stood ready to
assist. Mr. Whittington's spirits were good, but obvi-
ously his situation deserves the careful monitoring
that his doctors are providing," the vice president's
office said in a statement.
Cheney, an experienced hunter, has not spoken pub-
icly about the accident, whichtook placeSaturday night
while the vice president was aiming for a quail. Critics
of the Bush administration called for more answers from
Whittington has said through hospital officials that he
does not want to comment on the shooting. A young man
at Whittington's Austin home who identified himself as
his grandson said yesterday he did not have time to talk to
a reporter and closed the door.
The furor over the accident and the White House delay
in making it public are "part of the secretive nature of this
administration," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry
Reid of Nevada. "I think it's time the American people
heard from the vice president."
Before hospital officials announced details of Whit-
tington's condition, the hunting accident had produced a
raft of Cheney jokes on late-night television.
"I think Cheney is starting to lose it," Jay Leno said.
"After he shot the guy he screamed, 'Anyone else want to
call domestic wiretapping illegal?!"'
Yesterday morning, the White House spokesman
briefly joined in the merriment, joking that the
burnt orange school colors of the visiting Univer-
sity of Texas championship football team should
not be mistaken for hunters' safety gear.
"The orange that they're wearing is not because they're
concerned that the vice president may be there," press sec-
retary Scott McClellan said. "That's why I'm wearing it."
Hospital officials said they knew that Whittington had
some birdshot near his heart and that there was a chance
it could move closer since scar tissue had not had time to
harden and hold the pellet in place.
After Whittington developed an irregular heart-
beat, doctors performed a cardiac catheterization,
in which a thin, flexible tube is inserted into the
heart, to diagnose his condition, said Peter Banko,
the administrator at the hospital.
Attorney Harry Whittington stands in a committee room
at the Texas Capitol building last July.
The shot was either touching or embedded in the heart
muscle near the top chambers, called the atria, officials
said. Two things resulted:
It caused inflammation that pushed on the heart in
a way to temporarily block blood flow, what the doctors
called a "silent heart attack." This is not a traditional heart
attack where an artery is blocked. They said Whittington's
arteries, in fact, were healthy.
It irritated the atria, caused an irregular
heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, which is not
immediately life-threatening. But it must be treated
because it can spur blood clots to form. Most cases
can be corrected with medication.
Prophet cartoons spark more violence
Thousands rampaged through two cities yesterday in Pakistan's worst violence against
Prophet Muhammad caricatures, burning buildings housing a hotel, banks and a KFC,
vandalizing a Citibank and breaking windows at a Holiday Inn and a Pizza Hut.
At least two people were killed in Lahore, where intelligence officials suspected
outlawed Islamic militant groups incited the violence to undermine President Gen.
Pervez Musharraf's U.S.-allied government.
An Associated Press reporter in Lahore saw crowd members who appeared
to be orchestrating the attacks, directing protesters - some of whom were
carrying containers of kerosene - toward particular targets. The demonstra-
tors also set the provincial government assembly building on fire.
In the capital, Islamabad, hundreds of students stormed through the main entrance of
the tightly guarded enclave that houses most foreign embassies, brandishing sticks and
throwing stones. They were dispersed with tear gas, and no foreigners were hurt.
The unruly protests and deaths marked an alarming spike in the unrest in Paki-
stan over the cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September
and have been reprinted by other Western newspapers.
Al-Qaida conspirator removed from court
A federal judge ruled yesterday that confessed al-Qaida conspirator
Zacarias Moussaoui will not be in the courtroom for jury selection at his
upcoming death-penalty trial, after Moussaoui again defied the judge at a
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said her main reason for holding yester-
day's hearing was to determine "how Mr. Moussaoui plans to behave ... whether
you plan to remain quiet ... or whether you plan to make speeches."
The 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent, who pleaded guilty last April
to conspiring with al-Qaida to use aircraft to target U.S. buildings, then walked to
the lectern and pulled out what appeared to be a handwritten speech. "You have
been trying to organize my death for four years," Moussaoui told the judge.
He launched into yet another effort to disavow his court-appointed law-
yers and in the process offered diatribes against President Bush and the
Iran resumes uranium enrichment programs
Iran has resumed small-scale enrichment of uranium, a senior Iranian nuclear
negotiator said yesterday - a defiant declaration in the face of global opposition
to Iran's atomic program.
The resumption still leaves Iran a long way from reaching the stage the world
fears most: large-scale enrichment of uranium - a process that can produce fuel
for an atomic bomb.
Javad Vaeidi, deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, in
announcing the small-scale enrichment, also told reporters that Iran would resume
negotiations with Moscow on Feb. 20 over its plan to enrich Iranian uranium on Rus-
sian soil - a proposal designed to allay fears that Iran will build nuclear weapons.
Bird flu reaches Austria, German and Iran
Iran said yesterday that 135 wild swans died of bird flu in marshlands near the Cas-
pian Sea in the country's first case of the spreading virus, and officials in Germany and
Austria said the virus had apparently reached there as well.
The disease's likely spread to three new countries follows the recent deaths of
humans from the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Turkey and Iraq, Iran's neighbors, and the
march of the disease into European countries Greece and Italy.
Olympic officials in Italy said bird flu posed no threat to the Turin Olympics, but
a Nigerian official warned that bird flu was fast spreading in that country.
a U.N. expert said the strain.may have surfaced in a second African country.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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