The information released about Harry Whittington’s condition and complications is apalling on the surface. Going a little deeper between the lines brings up some questions and a few correlations that the average reader would miss. I have worked on a “step down unit” like the one Whittington was transferred to for six years. In a hospital with a state-of -the-art heart center and the cardiologists to make it probably the best place to go in Denver metro if you are having chest pain*. I have also hunted; birds and large game.
An earlier article in the Houston Chronicle giving the statistics on hunting accidents cited shotguns as the more frequent cause (65%) due to the close proximity and moving targets. There is an implication that those injuries are not that serious because the birdshot pellets are so small and scatter into a larger and larger area.
Statistically, this is true. Harry Whittington is the exception. The press release indicated that the doctors had transferred him to the step down unit after they decided not to remove the pellets lodged in his skin. He then went into atrial fibrillation (an arrhythmia caused by the upper chambers beating too fast for the ventricles to keep up) due to a pellet lodged in his heart. The official accident reports indicate the range was 30 yards. It’s unfortunately possible for even a pellet, with enough force, to penetrate the chest at an unprotected area. After that, migrating from the skin to the heart requires getting past ribs/sternum, intercostal muscles and ligaments, lung tissue and the pericardial sac. Over a long enough perios of time (decades?) it could happen. That leads me to conclude that the pellet in his heart – or a lot closer to it than the skin, was there when he arrived at the hospital (See previous post by Pamela, for confirmation that the hospital knew there was bird shot near Whittington’s heart.)
Some of us skeptics were wondering why it took so long to get the information out. And why it wasn’t more complete to begin with. Aside from the pellet in his heart, atrial fibrillation, and a minor heart attack, Mr Whittington has other potential complications. Can (would) Cheney be charged with involuntary manslaughter if Whittington dies of complications? Stay tuned, the media may actually stay on this.
The really interesting scenario here is poetic justice to me. The defenders have established that Cheney is a very safe hunter, Whittington did something a hunter should know better than to do, they were all wearing orange… And, we’ve heard Cheney was very worried about Harry’s condition during dinner while they were getting updates from the hospital. (I really appreciate that, he doesn’t come across as a guy who feels much of anything). And Harry has a birdshot pellet; fired 30 yards from him, that penetrated his protective gear and anatomy – lodged in his heart. Really bad luck dude…
The probability is that the pellet that got to his heart penetrated his body in the area under or around the arm- just beyond the range of most protective gear. Does this strike any LOUD BELLS? The armor protection the Iraq soldiers are missing is the piece that goes over the shoulders and arms to protect that part of the chest. Many combat deaths have been due to the victim getting hit in that gap. This would be someone in a war zone, where they aim at you, and use really nasty bullets, intended for people, that explode on impact.
I”ll bet neither Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell will make any profound Religious Judgements on this one.
* Our hospital average for a “Cardiac Alert”- a patient coming in with EKG changes showing a heart attack in progress- is 77 minutes from ER arrival to Cardiac Cath lab. National Goal is 90.