Hospital mixes up big toe and fetus

Courts

A Big Toe Is Not a Fetus
Hospital mixed up the two, suit claims

By Richard Connelly

Amy Ramos was five months pregnant when she had complications and her baby's heart stopped.

She and her husband Richard arranged to bury the fetus, telling the East Houston Medical Center to send it to Carter Funeral Home, where they had a service and burial on August 11.

And then: "About two hours after the burial service, [they] received a telephone call from the doctor stating that there was a mix-up and they were given a big toe instead of a fetus."

Talk about phone calls you don't want to get. Or make, for that matter.

The plastic container used in the burial was dug up, and indeed was found to contain a big toe and not a five-month-old fetus.

The Ramoses are suing. For, among other things, "failure to properly identify the remains of [a] five-month-old fetus."

Jay-sus: A big toe? How casually do you have to throw something in a container to mistake a big toe for a fetus?

The plaintiffs are asking for damages "aggregating more than $100,000."

The hospital and funeral home have not yet responded to the suit.
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Crime

Serial Cat-Mutilator on The Prowl?

By John Nova Lomax

This time last year, there was a series of cat-killings in the Heights/Timbergrove, River Oaks and Montrose. The cats were mutilated — some eviscerated, others beheaded, still others quartered, and some all of the above.

One mutilated kitty was left on display in front of a shop at the corner of Greenbriar and Westheimer, while another was left beheaded in centerfield of Timbergrove's Jaycee Park baseball diamond.

While it was never proven that all the cases were related, it was also possible that many more than these six documented cats might have been killed by the same person. A police spokesman said at the time that there were numerous anecdotes about violently (if less gruesomely spectacularly) killed cats in those neighborhoods, but that the owners of those cats had not reported them to law enforcement, as they believed the cats had been killed by animals.

HPD Sergeant/animal cruelty officer Virginia Brasher had been in charge of the cases, and she said things seemed to have died down last summer. No new reports of mutilated kitties came in to her until August 10 of this year, when I had the sad duty of reporting the death of Captain Kitty, the regal brindle feline to whom I proudly served as step-daddy for the past ten or so months.

My fiancée, Kelly, found Captain Kitty dead behind our backhouse the evening of August 10. Though she was in a high state of decomposition, her belly appeared to have been shaved and slashed open. Judging by where the body was found, there is no chance of her having been killed by a dog or coyote.

Captain had been missing since the previous Saturday evening, but we hadn't thought much of it. Middle-aged cats are sometimes "rescued" by lonely people who willfully mistake even the best-fed cats for strays, and that was what I believed — hoped — had happened with Captain.

Captain had been acting strangely the last few weeks — she often wanted to be let out in the wee hours of the night even when her bowl was full. We joked that she had a boyfriend, and I thought maybe she was getting some shrimp or fish from some lonely soul, but I now think she was being groomed for murder.

We have reason to believe the killing happened in the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning.

So Heights/Timbergrove, Montrose and River Oaks cat lovers: Be advised. You might want to keep your cats in at night until this creep is caught. And if you have heard any other similar tales or have lost a cat recently in similar circumstances, call HPD's Sergeant Brasher at 713-308-3140. Let's put this person away before another cat dies or, as with so many psychos, he decides to move on to human prey.
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DOING IT DAILY

There is a ton of new stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you're only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or "/rocks" or "/eating") and under "Tools" on the top-right side of the page, use the "categories" drop-down menu to find these stories:

Crime

A pastor lured guys into Chris Hansen-type meetings with alleged 16-year-olds, then showed up himself and blackmailed them...into letting him blow them, police say. We attached the police document that says the pastor said he never had sex with men, then admitted to five times, then ten, and police still weren't sure that was all. The notorious XXXL Bandit struck again, and waddled away to freedom. And cops and firefighters learned that if you're going to fix traffic tickets, don't do it in the public eye on Facebook.

Sports

College and pro football practices began, and we watched developments. We were also baffled by the Astros fan who ducked out of the way and let a screaming foul ball hit his date. Classy. And somehow, the Brian Cushing saga still had a few twists and turns to take.

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