Born With an External Heart

CNN reported yesterday on a baby born with ectopia cordis, a rare congenital condition in which the sternum (breastbone) and pericardial sac do not form properly; the heart develops outside the chest.

Before the surgery, Naseem’s heart looked like a peeled plum sitting atop his pink chest, with the aorta diving back underneath the skin. Nevertheless, the heart was beating away normally.

During the six-hour operation, surgeons first wrapped Naseem’s heart in Gore-Tex, then a layer of his own skin, to substitute for his missing pericardium, the sac that encloses the heart. The heart was then slowly eased inside his chest.

Looks like the surgery went well. Later on, surgeons will graft pieces of his ribs to construct a sternum. You may read the whole story and see a couple photographs at CNN.

Update: Ncurse has more on this over at ScienceRoll. (Edited at 09:25, 25 November 2006.)


“Displaced Katrina Couple” Asks For New Home, Then Sells It

I was rather taken aback to read this story in today’s Chicago Tribune: A Memphis church, in addition to performing other charitable acts, decided to donate a home to one family displaced by Hurricane Katrina. After conducting dozens of interviews, they selected Joshua Thompson and his (questionable) wife, Delores. Woody Baird of the Associated Press writes the following, published in the Chicago Tribune:

MEMPHIS — A church that wanted to do something special for Hurricane Katrina victims gave a $75,000 house to a couple who said they were left homeless by the storm.

But the couple sold the place without ever moving in and went back to New Orleans.

The shocking thing, though, is how little their behavior seems to bother the couple. Interviewed by WHBQ-TV, they make no effort to tell their side or offer any explanation; the show no shame and treat the incident with contempt. The Tribune story continues

“Take it up with God,” an unrepentant Joshua Thompson told a TV reporter after it was learned that he and the woman he identified as his wife had flipped the home for $88,000.

“Our hearts went out to them,” said Jean Phillips, a real estate agent and member of the Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ. “They actually begged for the home.”

The church was also shocked by an ungrateful interview the couple gave with WHBQ-TV in Memphis.

Words can’t properly convey the couple’s attitude; you must watch the interview to see their behavior. You may see it at CNN’s web site.

Unfortunately, incidents like these lead to a lack of desire to donate to victims of natural disasters or others in need. It’s sad when people take advantage of others’ generosity.