WEIRD STUFF: 95-year-old tasered by cops

May 22, 2023
Clare Nowland was tasered by police as she approached them with a walking frame and a steak knife in an Australian nursing home.
Clare Nowland was tasered by police as she approached them with a walking frame and a steak knife in an Australian nursing home.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP):

95-year-old tasered by cops

Police shocked a 95-year-old woman with a stun gun as she approached them using a walker and carrying a steak knife in an Australian nursing home, sending her to the hospital in critical condition after her head hit the floor.

The extraordinary police takedown of Clare Nowland, who has dementia, last Wednesday prompted a high-level police internal investigation.

It also has sparked debate about how New South Wales state police use stun guns, which are widely known as Tasers, after a major manufacturer. They are a less lethal option than firearms, but have occasionally proved more dangerous than other policing options.

Police said Nowland received her injuries from striking her head on the floor, rather than directly from the stun gun's debilitating electric shock.

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BERLIN (AP):

Cleaner helps doctor to cut off man's leg

Officials at a hospital in western Germany have expressed regret after it emerged that one of their surgeons got a cleaner to assist in a toe amputation.

Public broadcaster SWR reported last Friday that the incident at the Mainz University Hospital, which happened in 2020, didn't result in any complications to the patient, but the doctor has since been fired.

The hospital's chief executive, Norbert Pfeiffer, said the surgeon wrongly decided to go ahead with the routine procedure even though no qualified assistant was available, SWR reported.

When the patient, who had received a local anaesthetic, became restless the doctor asked a nearby cleaner to hold the man's leg and pass surgical instruments, according to local daily Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung. The paper reported that the cleaner had no medical experience.

The incident came to light after a hospital manager spotted the cleaner -- bloody gauze pads in hand -- in the operating theater, it reported.

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Researchers want obesity renamed

Scientists say people who overeat should be treated as if they have an illness called "chronic appetite dysregulation", so the stigma surrounding obesity can be removed.

Experts at University College Cork and the University of Galway in Ireland say that people in this situation should be regarded as suffering from a disease, as it will make them more likely to seek professional help for the issue.

However, psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton argues that the move will take away "personal responsibility" to deal with obesity, and suggested it is part of a trend to medicalise aspects of people's lives.

He said: "People who are overweight and want to lose weight should be met with compassion and support. But we can be kind and caring to people who are struggling without claiming they have a disease. Disease suggests there is an inevitability, when it does not have to be that way."

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