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The Odd Truth, Sept. 9, 2004

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum.

Olive Oil Injection

STEYR, Austria - A medical intern at a western Austria hospital mistakenly injected an elderly patient with olive oil instead of antibiotics after mixing up bedside vials, officials said Wednesday.

The patient, a 79-year-old woman who had been admitted to Steyr Hospital for an appendectomy, was not in life-threatening condition, hospital director Harald Geck told the Austria Press Agency.

The mix-up apparently happened when the intern at the hospital 90 miles west of Vienna reached for the wrong vial and injected the patient with olive oil that had been prepared by a hospital physiotherapist for a massage, Geck said. The woman had risked developing a potentially deadly lung embolism, he said.

Geck said the woman was in stable condition and would not suffer any serious complications.

Dog Shoots Man

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger.

Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. He was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist.

Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn't find them a home, according to the sheriff's office.

On Monday, Bradford was holding two puppies - one in his arms and another in his left hand - when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff's report said.

Deputies found three of the puppies in a shallow grave outside Bradford's home, said sheriff's Sgt. Ted Roy.

The four others appeared to be in good health and were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which planned to make them available for adoption.

Botched Bathroom Circumcision

VANCOUVER, Wash. - A father who allegedly tried to circumcise his 8-year-old son in the bathroom after reading selections from the Bible has been charged with first-degree assault of a child.

Edwin Bruce Baxter, 33, was charged Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court. Judge Diane Woolard set bail at $50,000 and scheduled an arraignment for Sept. 17.

If convicted, Baxter faces at least 10 years in prison.

According to a probable-cause affidavit, Baxter told sheriff's deputies he tried to circumcise his son with a knife Friday after reading Genesis 17 and Exodus 4 - both passages refer to the procedure.

He became concerned and called 911 when the boy appeared to be losing too much blood.

Baxter told deputies he had no medical training.

The boy was taken to Southwest Washington Medical Center, where he received several stitches.

Baxter, of Ridgefield, is married with nine children. He works as a truck driver with Helser Brothers Transfer Co. in Portland, Ore., according to court documents.

The parents have been reported in the past for allegedly failing to enroll their children in school, said Doug Lehrman, Vancouver administrator for the state Department of Children and Family Services.

Baxter was convicted in 1993 for domestic violence, Clark County senior deputy prosecutor Kim Farr said.

Sleeping Car Thief

HONOLULU - Sleeping on the job is never a good idea - especially if you're a car thief. Police in Honolulu report they've nabbed a suspected crook who was catching few Z's in a stolen car. An officer was responding to a suspicious vehicle call, when he found the car parked with the motor running. After running a check on the tags, the officer arrested the 24-year-old man who was snoozing inside. The suspect also faces possible drug and drug-paraphernalia charges.

Skull and Bones Bust

LOS ANGELES - A California man has been charged with trying to sell the 200-year-old skull of a Hawaiian native on e-Bay.

Jerry David Hasson is accused of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, a federal law that protects archaeological finds.

Authorities contend he put the skeletal remains on sale on eBay in February, claiming the warrior died on Maui in the 1790s. On the site, Hasson allegedly claimed he found the skull and other remains on a Hawaiian beach.

An undercover agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs arranged to buy the skull. An anthropologist determined the skull was that of an adult female of Polynesian ancestry who was around 50 when she died.

Hasson could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Arthritic Camel Finds Relief In Acupuncture

BROOKFIELD, Ill. - Keepers at the Brookfield Zoo tried everything they could think of to help relieve arthritis in the front legs of Jewel, an aging Bactrian camel.

But in 2003, a former colleague suggested another, less traditional approach - acupuncture. The staff saw an improvement a few days after the first treatment.

"I hadn't seen this camel run for more than two years, she'd gotten so lame," said Mary Schollhamer, Jewel's chief keeper. "But when she saw me that morning, she ran all the way to the fence to greet me. I was so moved, I started to cry."

Dr. Barbara Royal said Tuesday that she treats the 1,600-pound animal every two or three weeks with the same needles that are used on humans.

Although keepers reward Jewel with a treat every time a needle goes in, she's not always happy about the treatment, Schollhamer said.

"Camels can kick in any direction when they're upset, so Dr. Royal has to be careful around Jewel," Schollhamer said.

What Diet Is He On?

FLORENCE, Italy - He looks incredibly good for his age.

Michelangelo's masterpiece "David" turned 500 years old yesterday. Exactly five centuries ago, the famed sculptor and painter unveiled his 13-and-a-half-foot-tall interpretation of the biblical hero.

The city of Florence, Italy, is throwing a two-month party to celebrate the anniversary - holding very modern dances at night and staging traditional Renaissance readings in the daytime.

Scholars are set to hold public debates over the meaning and best qualities of the statue.

And, of course, tourists are expected in droves. "David" has rarely looked better. A head-to-toe cleaning that took centuries of grime away was finished in May.

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