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Doctors Play Infestation by Ear

May 02, 1985|JENNINGS PARROTT

--When a patient walked into the emergency room at a New Orleans hospital with a cockroach hiding in each ear, doctors knew they had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to settle one of the uncertainties of medical science. "We recognized immediately that fate had granted us the opportunity for an elegant comparative therapeutic trial," Drs. Kevin O'Toole and Rick Martinez reported in a letter published in the authoritative New England Journal of Medicine. They tried the time-honored way, which is to drop mineral oil in the ear, and the oiled cockroach "succumbed after a valiant but futile struggle." But it took dexterity to winkle the creature out, the doctors said. In the other ear, they tried a newer, competing technology, which is to squirt the cockroach with lidocaine, an anesthetic, to make it bug out on its own. "The response was immediate," the letter said. "The roach exited the canal at a convulsive rate of speed and attempted to escape across the floor. A fleet-footed intern promptly applied an equally time-tested remedy and killed the creature using the simple crush method."

--The late Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated last October, has been posthumously awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union "in recognition of outstanding contributions made to the struggle for preserving and strengthening peace," the news agency Tass announced.

--Country music's answer to the famine relief song "We Are the World" will get its premiere Monday on the syndicated radio show "Country Today." The song, "One Big Family," features George Jones, Eddy Arnold, Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins and others.

--Jeannette Rankin of Montana, the first woman elected to Congress and the only member to vote against U.S. entry in both world wars, was saluted by her state and nation. In a moving 90-minute ceremony in Washington in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, the late suffragette pioneer and ardent pacifist was accorded a permanent place of honor among the 87 men and five other women deemed by the states as their finest. Rankin died May 18, 1973, one month short of age 93. Of the women's liberation movement, she once said: "The way we know it's growing is that the men make fun of it." She recalled that, during the suffrage movement, "We just paid no attention or we made fun right back. They'd whisper, 'If you vote, all the bad women will be able to vote, too,' and we said, 'All the bad men vote, don't they?' " Shortly before her death, Rankin said: "If I had my life to live over, I'd do it all again. But this time, I'd be nastier."

--Artificial heart recipient Murray P. Haydon spent some time on a second-floor hospital balcony in Louisville, Ky., and doctors said he "thoroughly enjoyed" his first venture into the sunlight since receiving the artificial heart on Feb. 17. Haydon spent about 15 minutes on the balcony while a portable power unit operated his heart.

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