Man Receives First-Ever Mouse-Heart Transplant

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Vol 34 Issue 03

Old Friend Avoided In Hometown Convenience Store

HARWICH, MA—Boston graphic designer Kirk Bannon ducked out of a Harwich Stop 'N' Shop convenience store Tuesday, successfully avoiding contact with store cashier and onetime high-school classmate George Moseley. "George and I were in Mr. Telscher's first-period biology class together," said Bannon, 26, who was back in his hometown for a friend's wedding. "Looks like he's an assistant manager." After sneaking out of the Stop 'N' Shop, Bannon drove to a Gas 'N' Go three blocks away to purchase a gallon of milk and a New York Times.

Unremarkable Man Resembles Burt Ward

KALAMAZOO, MI—Walter Hodgson, a generally unremarkable Kalamazoo-area accountant, bears a strong resemblance to actor Burt Ward, it was reported Monday. "From a certain angle, especially when his hair is parted to the left, [Hodgson] really looks a lot like that guy who played Robin in the old Batman series," said Rick Tufts, who lives in the same apartment building as Hodgson. "Other than that, I can't say that there's anything all that distinctive about him."

Al Gore Excited, Proud To Be At Local Event

LAS CRUCES, NM—Vice-President Al Gore expressed excitement and pride over his presence at Saturday's 25th annual Las Cruces Air Show, where he delivered the honorary opening address. "I can't tell you how excited and proud I am to be here. This truly is one of the great American traditions," Gore told the crowd of 260. "And I know that President Clinton, who unfortunately could not be here today, feels the same way." Moments after his remarks, the excited, proud Gore left aboard Air Force Two, missing the entirety of the air show. Organizers of the event speculated that he was too excited to stay.

Creepy Late-Night Mortgage Ad Gives Insight Into True State Of Economy

Millions of late-night television viewers were given a rare glimpse into the true state of the economy Monday, when a creepy ad encouraging Americans to mortgage their homes to get out of debt aired numerous times on stations across the U.S. "Homeowners," the commercial stated, "do you have credit-card bills, loan payments or other large monthly bills that you can't afford? Capital Credit, the nation's leading home-mortgage specialists since 1965, can help. Call our toll-free number today." Said Jacksonville, FL, insomniac Bob Voss, who saw the ad at 1 a.m., 1:25 a.m., 1:56 a.m. and 3:12 a.m.: "I guess maybe there's something they're not telling us about the economy."

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Hola amigos! What's goin' down? I know it's been a while since I last gave you the gospel according to Anchower, but I've had problems like you wouldn't believe. First off, I blew a tire 'cause my alignment was all messed up, but my alignment couldn't be fixed until I replaced my master bearing. Plus, my clutch cable broke for the second time 'cause the firewall is bent in. Hombres, this ain't been an easy time in the life of Jim Anchower.

Requiem For Mrs. Zweibel

To-day marks the 100th anniversary of my marriage to my beloved wife, Mrs. Zweibel. Not a day goes by in which I don't think of my 41 years with her. I only wish I could remember her name. I think it was Mabel. Or perhaps Henrietta.
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Man Receives First-Ever Mouse-Heart Transplant

MILWAUKEE, WI–In the first operation of its kind, doctors at St. Luke's Medical Center successfully transplanted a mouse heart into a human Tuesday.

Surgeons replace Raymond Calvecchia's ailing heart with one from a healthy mouse.

Hospital officials are calling the procedure "a complete success."

"The patient is recuperating nicely," chief cardiologist Dr. Alex Sutin told reporters. "We are confident he will be able to enjoy a long, happy life, just as long as he doesn't overexert himself by, say, attempting to walk."

The patient, 58-year-old Beloit, WI, bus driver Raymond Calvecchia, was diagnosed last month with a rare degenerative heart condition known as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. He was not expected to live another eight weeks without a donor heart, Sutin said.

"We searched every database for a suitable human donor," said Sutin, who performed the groundbreaking operation, "but none could be found. In the end, we decided to go with a compatible mouse."

"Mice have very clear arteries," Sutin noted.

Though the nine-hour procedure was ultimately successful, some difficulties arose during surgery. "We ran into problems when it came time to graft Mr. Calvecchia's aorta onto the organ," Sutin said. "The heart kept falling into the aortal opening and had to be fished out with forceps."

Dr. Albert Ozawa examines the mouse heart prior to surgery.

Calvecchia is awake and alert, but he could not address the media, as doctors have cautioned him against movement of any kind for the rest of his life.

"His heart is already pounding like a jackhammer at a rate of approximately 1,100 beats per minute," Sutin said. "His family has advised the nursing staff what TV shows he prefers, as changing the channels or requesting that it be done could induce a massive coronary."

Due to the rate of cardiac excitement that could result, Calvecchia is not permitted to watch news, sports or comedy shows of any kind. The only programming he is allowed to have on is cable-access city-council meetings and UPN's The Sentinel.

The operation is being hailed as the biggest breakthrough in interspecies transplants since October 1995, when doctors at New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital implanted a Brooklyn man with a hamster liver. Though the procedure was initially successful, the liver developed terminal cirrhosis when the patient used an alcohol-based mouthwash.

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