Fern Cooper, 65, and 13 other cataract-surgery patients arrived at Ontario's Oakville Trafalgar Hospital on June 25 to learn that they would not receive the usual anesthesia because the hospital had decided to schedule an "experimental day" to evaluate how unsedated patients responded. (The Ontario Health Insurance Plan had recently cut anesthesiologists' fee.) A topical numbing gel, plus doctors' reassurances were provided, but Cooper, previously diagnosed with severe anxiety, told the Toronto Star of the terror she felt when, fully awake, she watched the surgeon's scalpel approaching, and then cutting, her eyeball.
The Continuing Crisis
-Officials organizing a show for high school girls in Sherbrooke, Quebec, signed up a 20-year-old apprentice hypnotist to perform, but by the end of his session, he had failed to bring all of the entranced girls out of their spells, including one who was so far under that the man had to summon his mentor from home (an hour's drive away) to come rescue her. The mentor, Richard Whitbread, quickly rehypnotized her and then snapped her out of it with a stern voice, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News report. He noted that his protege is a handsome young man, which might have unduly influenced the girls.
-Christianity has grown in acceptance recently in Ratanakiri province, Cambodia, according to a June report in the Phnom Penh Post, as up to 80 percent of the population has given up the traditional Theravada Buddhism (mixed with animism) as too demanding. According to local officials, traditional priests typically prescribe expensive offerings, such as a slaughtered buffalo, as the price of improving a relative's health. Said one convertee, with the money saved using Western medicine instead of traditional sacrifices, she was able to build a house for her family.
-According to a June lawsuit by a former student, Western Nevada College's course in human sexuality was so over-the-top that it might be described as a collection of instructor Tom Kubistant's erotic fantasies about college-age kids. Among Kubistant's demands, according to "K.R.," were keeping a masturbation journal (and ramping up the activity to twice the student's pre-course level), disclosing one's uninhibited sexual fantasies that in some cases were described by the instructor to the class at large, and conducting discussion groups on the uses of sex toys and lubricants. By the fifth week, K.R. claimed, Kubistant had abandoned his schedule of topics and begun to dwell extensively on "the female orgasm." Kubistant's instructions appear to fit the faculty handbook's definition of sexual harassment.
-Awww, Mo-ther! Alleged drug dealer Jesus "Pepe" Fuentes, 37, was arrested in Chicago in May after his mother botched a heroin pickup for him. Fuentes, eager to catch a concert by the rapper Scarface, sent his mother instead to gather the 10-kilo drop. She collected the drugs, but the entire shipment was lost when she failed to use a turn signal and was stopped by police.