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No Time To Read, But Time To File

SUNDAY, OCT. 5, 1997

Dear Ann Landers: My wife and I laughed so hard we cried when we read your column about those crazy lawsuits. When “Harriet” put down the paper, she said, “I read something in the Memphis Commercial Appeal a few days ago that certainly qualifies for Ann Landers’ collection of goofy lawsuits.”

It seems a woman has filed suit against a small mom-and-pop pharmacy because she purchased a tube of contraceptive jelly, spread it on a piece of toast and ate it. She then had unprotected sex, believing she was “safe,” and became pregnant.

The contraceptive came with instructions, but the woman says the pharmacist should have put a specific warning on the box saying it wasn’t effective if eaten. She is asking for a half million dollars, even though she is quoted as saying, “Who has time to sit around reading directions these days, especially when you’re sexually aroused?”

We will keep an eye on this lawsuit and let you know of further developments. - Faithful Readers in Memphis

Dear Faithfuls: Please do. Meanwhile, the next story does not exactly cover the medical professionals with glory. It happened in Wilkes Barre, Pa.

It seems that after several patients complained of excruciating pain on the operating table, the hospital administration suspected there might be a problem with the anesthesia. Two intravenous drug bags were sent to the laboratory for analysis.

The mixtures, prepared by the anesthesiologist, were found to contain only small amounts of painkillers. It turned out that the doctor was diluting the medication in order to feed his drug habit. He was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison. The judge informed him that he got off easy and could have received up to 54 years for assault and other offenses for his role in 12 operations.

I’d like to know if this anesthesiologist will be permitted to practice when he’s out of jail. I hope my readers in Wilkes Barre will keep me posted.

In the next case, involving a 6-year-old child, many felt that the charges should have been dropped, but they weren’t.

A first-grade girl who kicked and spit at her school principal and a police officer during a crime prevention class was handcuffed and charged with felony battery.

The girl was held at a juvenile detention center until her father came and picked her up. Police said they arrested her because she was “out of control.” The police captain said, “The whole idea was to get the child some help.” Several observers thought that it would have been more prudent to have charged her with a misdemeanor and spared the 6-year-old from the possibility of having a criminal record. I agree.

Here’s one more story. Christmas will be here before you know it, so a word of caution to parents who plan to take their children to see Santa: Instruct them not to pull on Santa’s beard.

Last Christmas, in New Hampshire, “Santa Claus” slapped a 7-year-old Cub Scout for pulling off his costume beard. The incident took place at a Cub Scout Christmas party. “Santa” faced a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The child’s father asked the police to file an assault charge, but the prosecutor declined to pursue the case.

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